Hey hey hey!
I wrote this article and sent it to BellaNaija to publish it. I doubt they did because I never got a reply.
I wrote this even before I wrote my last paper and now wonder why I didn’t share here first. (Yeah, I’m back home now). I think it’s great information and I’m sure this will help you or someone you know.
Please, pardon the tenses. This was written more than a month ago.
I will soon finish my undergraduate studies, but I also already have four solid working experiences.
I do not know what life after school holds for me. But, interestingly, I even have a company willing to take a chance on me right after school- without a certificate. They said “they like what I have accomplished in a short time and what I am doing with my platform”.
This article will not be one to give you any magical tips to get a job right after school, but one that will encourage you to put in the work needed as I share what has worked for me.
1. Use your break wisely: I admit that I did not have many breaks because schooling in Ghana automatically structured how much break I got. But I never wasted my long breaks- the ones after each session. Only level 300 students were given letters from my school to do internships; but after our level 100, my roommate and I decided to (legally) pay for this letter in order to find work. You might think that no one will take a level 100 student in their company, but in my case and the case of my roommate, it showed that many companies are willing but definitely don’t have many of such applications. It is important to note that government schools in Nigeria often have breaks (also known as strikes) which can be leveraged on. And if you do get the internship, be professional (no matter your age) and let your employers or colleagues know that you appreciate the opportunity. I am still friends with my boss from level 100 and she knows how grateful I am that she took me in and mentored me. While I worked with her, she always said that what helped her was that she also took many internship opportunities while in school. You can do the same.
2. Be involved in school: This might sound silly but this also helped me. I know that many are rushing to just finish school so they can get a good job and live a pretty good life, but employers often ask about your school experiences as well. I was an editor-in-chief for a club in school. I also got really involved with volunteering and social work. So much so that I started an organization with my closest friend in school and we have organized two ‘Feed the Homeless’ projects which fed over 500 people and a breast cancer advocacy program that gave free breast checks to participants. 4 students were found with lumps and directed on what next to do.
Which employer wouldn’t love to hear this? A lot of work went into these projects and I can leverage on them at any interview to show how dedicated I can be to my ‘new’ organization and how proactive I can be if a problem arises. Even if you don’t like your school, find something in it that excites you and put in some work.
3. Leverage on people: Some of us go about life like we will never need people. My first job (or internship) was an opportunity gotten from my sister’s boss. The one after my level 200 was gotten by a close friend who I met at a volunteer program in Lagos. The one after my level 300 was gotten by a friend I see as a mentor who I got to know from the friend I met at the volunteer program. (See connection. Lol) The one during my final year was gotten by a friend who was also a classmate.
Let’s be truthful, many people get jobs because somebody that knows somebody that also knows another person told them about the opportunity. Leverage on your relationships. I needed a reference letter some months back and had to ask my former boss to kindly write one for me. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I was rude, inconsistent or ill mannered when I worked with him. Leverage on people and treat them well. As long as it’s left to you, be at peace with all men.
Kindly note that this article is not to toot my horn or one to show that I know it all- trust me, I don’t. But, I see how many young people expect that great jobs will fall into their laps right after school when they’re not willing to put in any work.
I also understand that not everyone will have the same experiences I did and if you don’t have long breaks after each session, then put in more effort in being involved in school.
Many employers aren’t impressed by a first class or a beautiful certificate. Most want to know, can you do the job?
What are you bringing on board?
What is different about you?
And, what experiences in the past show that you are different from every fresh graduate?
I hope that this article helps you or someone else. If you know any fresh undergraduate or someone who still has sometime in the University, kindly share this article with them. They will thank you for it.
Love and light,