I had just returned from the UK after my sojourn in the Queen’s country for a Masters Degree and had hopes of getting a job immediately I got back into the country. Returning back not only exposed me to the harsh weather conditions (Oyinbo weather was very good to my skin..lol) but also to the light and security situation and to top it all of the dire job situation in my dear country. I came back with a few saved up Pound Sterling notes to fall back on as I waited to get a job. A month passed, two months followed and still no sign of a job coming forth and my saved up cushion funds were depleting on a daily basis.
I consider myself an active person but waking up everyday with no end in sight to the “job search” debacle was happiness deflating to say the least. There was nothing I didn’t try, from purchasing Guardian newspapers on Tuesday for their job advertorials to searching for companies in my industry online and blasting them with job application mails. All to no avail. Attended an interview during the period, got a job but the offer letter was late in coming and my mind was getting used to my daily wake-up-eat-read-watchTV-sleep routine. Then out of the blue, an interview/exam on my birthday, medicals and then a job offer about a month after. God win. This article is for those going through what I went through and are in need of a way out.
1. Stay positive: It wasn’t easy keeping my sanity during the seven months that I spent at home waiting for that dream job. What kept me going was my self belief. I knew I could get “the job” done anywhere but employers are not aware because my CV and I haven’t been granted an interview yet. All I needed was a chance to prove myself and I knew like I knew my name that I would get the job. Stay positive always. Never give up. Never.
2. Be prayerful: We never know how much we need God until we need something from Him. I was closer to God by default because I needed Him to prove Himself to me. I was in dire need of a testimony. It doesn’t have to take the desire for something to desire more of God but as human beings, that’s what we do on a regular basis. Remain prayerful and remember that all things work together for good for those that love God (Romans 8:28).
3. Be prepared: During my job search, I kept myself mentally prepared for any job interview or exam always. I went through my GMAT regularly and brushed up my interview skills so when the time came, I was more than prepared to take the bull I had waited so long for by the horn. Be prepared. Always.
4. Improve your selling point: I consider myself to have mastered the art of writing an attention grabbing CV but I can’t say the same of many others. I have seen CV’s that have made me cringe in my seat. CV’s with date of birth, Local Govt. Area, State of Origin should be abolished. Not only are CVs wrongly put together, job seekers are totally oblivious of the impact a cover letter on the other hand can have on their chances of getting that interview. To write and amend your CV personally read How To Write A Standard CV and Writing the Curriculum Vitae (PDF file). For professional help with your CV, I’ll recommend www.cvwizards.com.ng.
5. That interview: According to a report, the fear of speaking in front of a crowd ranks higher than the fear of death. Like it or not, most interview situations equate to speaking in front of a crowd with some interview rooms filled with up to 5 interviewers who seem to have the same mission in mind, “make sure she doesn’t get the job”. Mastering the act of remaining calm, knowing what to say, body language and answering the most important question of all “tell us about yourself” is the key to getting the job. I wrote an article titled “Answering The Hardest Interview Question“. Therein is how I talked myself into getting my current job. It should be of help to you too.
6. Work for FREE: A friend staying in Lagos was invited for an interview in Abuja. She attended the interview but was told she wasn’t getting the job. She told me about it and I encouraged her to work for free with the firm. My thinking was that instead of staying at home doing nothing, she could work with the firm, gain as much experience and knowledge thereby boosting her CV and employability skills. She reluctantly agreed and a few months after, her hardwork/smartwork was noticed by Management and she was given the job for real. Which she wouldn’t have gotten if she didn’t work for “free”. Graduates are too money conscious that they fail to realize that money will come but for now, polish your brain.
7. Get certified: I was conversing with a friend currently undertaking her youth service when I told her about the various incentives given to corpers including subsidized course fees for various courses. While looking for a job, why not attend seminars and educational programs. There are various free online courses as well (check out www.edx.org, www.pushcv.com and www.coursera.org) for vFREE courses to improve your employability skills and boost your CV. Stop the sleeping-pinging-eating-watchingTV routine. Add courses to it.
8. Read books: Out of boredom and to gain knowledge, I read over 20 books during the period of my job search. Not books based on job search per say but books on various topics including Romance, Autobiography of Sports stars, Motivation, Faith etc. Readers are leaders. Knowledge is power. Read.
9. Keep busy: Instead of idling away your time doing nothing and waiting for that job offer. Get busy doing something else to make some money. Your friend sells clothes/shoes/bags, advertise for her, make sales and get your commission. Get clothes and shoes and sell if you may. Attend catering school and start baking cakes for people. Attend decoration class and decorate for free and in no time, your work will be appreciated and paid for. Work with your father/mother to keep you busy. Stay busy and keep that mind active and working.
10. Keep your job search skills sharp: It’s no secret that “long leg” gets things done faster in Nigeria than what you know. Which means knowing someone in the right place can get you something faster than someone who doesn’t. We know you are good, but who else knows you are good. First step is subscribing to online job sites, secondly joining and maintaining a healthy profile on the business oriented social networking site called “LinkedIn”. Thirdly, avoid the “one CV” temptation. Learn to tailor your CV according to the job requirements. Don’t blast one CV for every job application. But more importantly, work on your contacts. You know someone that knows someone that knows someone in that company. Go all out, call Uncles and Aunts, communicate with family members until you get that interview. It worked for me, I’m sure it will work for you.
BONUS –> Create jobs: One of the biggest mistakes with job seekers is not realizing that they have job creating skills in them. Instead of striving to work for someone and enrich that person, why not turn your passion into a career and enrich yourself. Entrepreneurship is demanding, risky and tasking but remember no one becomes a Billionaire as an employee. Only employers of labor become strikingly rich.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life – Confucius
So there you have it, the job might be late in coming but you will surely get it. Smile and be positive and don’t forget to share your testimony with us when it comes. All the best.