Dream Graduate Jobs Why they seem elusive

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If you have searched for fresh graduate jobs in Nigeria for a long while, you might start wondering why you have not secured one yet. In this page we have provided some reasons why you may not have secured a job. Also provided are some steps to take in order to solve the problem.

However, the first thing that any smart graduate must know is that there are not enough jobs to go round. Jobs are scarce because most young people are looking for jobs, while very few are thinking about developing successful businesses. Jobs are created by people, they do not grow in thin air.

So, do not allow anybody to tell you that you do not have job because of a cause coming from your village or anything like that. Unemployment is a big issue in Nigeria and you are not alone. This guide is aimed at helping you diagnose your situation and seeing whether there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting your dream jobs today. Note that this guide is aimed at fresh (entry-level) graduate looking for job opportunities.

To diagnose your situation, you have to ask yourself a few simple questions:

How old are you?


The older you get the harder it is to get fresh graduate jobs. This is because most companies in Nigeria have an age ceiling for taking in entry-level graduates into their organisations.

In Nigeria today, once you are 28, you are not likely to get entry-level jobs in any of the leading companies in the country. In fact the age limit is falling as some organisations now take 25 years maximum. In addition, companies tend to favour younger graduates to older ones for entry-level jobs.

Let us say you are 27 and you attend an interview with another graduate who is 25, assuming both of you had similar score in the interview; the company will likely favour the younger guy for the job.

If you are above 28 you need to add more to your CV that will make employers overlook your age. One solution is to go for a higher degree. If you have a Bachelors degree go for a Masters degree . Another option is to go for a certification program.

Today there are certification programs in lots of fields such as project management, business admin, engineering and so on. IT certification programs like CCNA, Java, Oracle, CISA, Microsoft, and so on, can also be helpful if you are seeking an Information technology career.

Another option is self employment. If you cannot secure any of the available jobs, you can create one for yourself and for others. This will ensure that your career keeps moving. It will also enable you to acquire experience that will enable you get experienced graduate jobs.

Do not just fold your hands looking for job, keep yourself busy preferably with something related to your field so that you continue to develop yourself professionally.

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How long since you graduated?


If you have stayed out of jobs for a long period after you graduated from school you may also find it difficult getting your dream job. This is because most organisations in Nigeria will consider you as rusty.

The longer you stay out of jobs the harder it is to get one. In Nigeria for example graduates are made to go for a compulsory year of service (NYSC) before they are qualified to take up positions in companies. Some times it may take one to three years after graduation before one is called-up to serve in the NYSC scheme.

For these unlucky graduates that wait for two years or more before NYSC they will be at least three years graduates before applying for their first jobs. Also NYSC adds to your age.

Assuming you were 25 years at graduation you will be at least 26 years when applying for your first job, assuming you served immediately or as high as 28 years for some unlucky graduates.

This is why we believe that the NYSC scheme should be made compulsory only for graduates 24 years or below at graduation and that any graduate who could not serve one year after graduation for no cause of his/hers (like carryover) should be provided with exemption certificate.

Despite the importance we ascribe to the NYSC scheme, it has destroyed the career of a lot of young, vibrant graduates. So, it must fine-tuned for the challenges of today.

If you do not get a fresh graduate job four years after graduation your chances of getting one will be very slim. If you are having this problem you need to take a similar step as an over aged graduate.

To summarise our advice is that you go for a Masters degree program. You may also go for certification programs CCNA, Oracle, Java, project management. You can also attach yourself with a smaller firm where you can acquire the relevant experience that will make up for this deficiency and improve your ability in securing jobs in bigger organisations.

Self employment may also be an option (My favourite). Nigeria needs millions of jobs and you can be one of the thousands to create them.

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What is your grade?


A poor grade of degree can also be a hindrance to securing entry-level jobs in most organisations. For example in Nigeria, second-class upper for bachelors and upper credit for HND seems to be the standard for securing good fresh-graduate jobs.

If you do not have good grades in your current degree, you need to go for a higher degree. You may also highlight your certifications and experience as a substitute for your poor grades.

What computer skills?


Computers are now increasingly used in business. This means that most companies in Nigeria today demand for reasonable computer skills from prospecting employees. Hence you need to acquire computer training if you do not have the skills currently.

Basic demanded by most forward going organisations include, computer housekeeping (computer operation and manipulation), word processing skills (like MS Word), Spreadsheet (like MS Excel), Presentation (Like MS Powerpoint), and internet skills (like email, browsing skills, social media,).

Do not stop at acquiring the skills, you should include such computer skills in your CV. That is the only way employers will know you have such skills. If you have international certification in computing you should also include it in your resume. Good computer skills will improve your chances of securing jobs in Nigeria.

Do you have certifications?


As have been seen so far one of the ways to make up for deficiencies like age, rustiness and lack of experience is to go for a certification programme. These programmes will enable you to acquire competence in a given area. An Exam is usually conducted to enable you prove your competence.

International certifications seem to be more acknowledged than local ones. Some popular international certifications that can improve your chances of getting jobs in Nigeria include CCNA, CCNP, CISA, CISPP, MCSE, Oracle, Java, Solaris, and so on. ICAN is also popular for accounting and finance jobs in Nigeria.

Other certifications that can improve your chances of securing jobs in Nigeria include certifications and short courses in marketing, project management, insurance, banking, stock brokerage, estate management, forex trading, business management, foreign languages (French, Chinese, German, etc), LAN set up, VOIP, Fibre optics implementation, VSAT, taxation, software development, application development, the list is endless.

When going for these short courses go to a reputable training institute. Also go to an organisation where you will be empowered to take on the world.

Nigeria’s booming IT sector now demand that even entry level graduate engineers acquire some of these certifications. CCNA, CCNP and all other IT related certifications are very popular for IT jobs in Nigeria.

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Do you have relevant experience?


Although fresh graduates are not expected to be authorities in their field of study, it is however required for them to have reasonable practical and theoretical experience necessary to learn and excel in the job.

A lot of undergraduates do not make good use of the industrial training programme (ITF). Some undergraduates go for companies where they will not gain any relevant practical experience because of higher pay. For example a civil engineering student may go to a bank to take a useless bank teller position, instead of going to a construction company where he will gain some valuable experience. This is because a bank is likely to pay more than a construction company in ITF.

Such an under graduate is depriving himself/herself of the opportunity to acquire relevant experience that would have increased his/her chances of securing jobs when he/she eventually becomes a graduate. Do not sacrifice your tomorrow for your today.

If you are a graduate and lack experience you need to go for an attachment program. An attachment program will enable you gather experience that will enable you secure jobs or even start up your own business.

In Nigeria the NDE programme of the federal government though not, efficient has helped a number of graduates secure job attachment positions in organisations in Nigeria. Some of these people are later absorbed in these organisations. Some also acquire experience that enable them improve their worth in the job market. Others gain enough experience to establish their own businesses, creating jobs in the process.

Visit any NDE centre in Nigeria to inquire about their programmes. NDE will pay you a monthly stipend during your attachment period. Your employer during this period is not compelled to pay you, so he has very little to lose. Some state government also have similar programs, you can take advantage of them.

You can also apply for attachment programmes directly at the company. Look for small businesses in your town and apply for an attachment programme. Look for one relevant to your training. This helps you gain some experience that will enable you secure experience jobs.

What about your resume (CV)?


Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume is one of the most important jobs prospecting tool at your disposal. You use your resume to showcase your skills, experience, education, achievements and your personality to employers.

The presentation and organisation of your resume is very important. A poorly organised resume means you may never be called for an interview. Your CV must highlight your strengths. Add information that will sell you to the company in your resume.

A job resume should start with your name and contacts (address, email, phone number, website, etc). There are different styles available so you can look for a book in preparing a winning resume for available options.

Include your most important assets first. If you have good grades or higher degrees you should make your education the first item after your name and contacts of course. If however, your experience is more illustrious you should make it the first item on your CV.

Do not forget to add your certifications and computer skills in your resume. You may also add hobbies and personal profile. Personal profile is very important if the job ad specified qualities that job applicants must possess. Try to match your personal profile with the expectations of the organisation.

If your final year project is interesting you can also include it in your resume. Note that any item on your CV can be a subject for discussion on the interview date. So, do not include any information you are not comfortable discussing at jobs interview.

It is also important to customise your CV for each job. Include the job code and position applied for. Some job ads the CV format to be used, for such jobs, adhere strictly to the format specified.

It is also generally advised that your job resume should not be more than two pages.

Presenting yourself well using a resume is a subject on its own. We advise that you look for a book on the subject. There are many of them. You can also search the internet for more information.

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Where do you get your information?


Your inability to secure jobs may be because of lack of information on available vacancies. Research has shown that networking is one of the most potent jobs search channel available today. The people you know will inform you when there are vacancies in their organisation.

Networking is all about developing contacts with people who can assist you in getting jobs. Make sure everybody that can assist you secure a job know that you are looking for jobs.

The internet has provided a great opportunity for social networking. In these neighbourhoods you will meet people who can give you leads to vacancies available in some organisations.

In some of these forums visitors simply post information of job vacancies available in the employment market. We advise that you visit some of these sites especially those dedicated to job information.

Jobs listing websites simply list available vacancies in organisations nationwide. Some of these jobs listing sites include:
If you know of any other, inform us using our comment link and we will check it out and add it on this page.

You can also search using search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo). By entering search terms like ‘Career’, ‘jobs’ and ‘job’ followed by your country or town you may get links to job opportunities in your area. For example if you are in Nigeria, you can go for a search term like ‘career Nigeria’ or ‘jobs Nigeria’. This will usually link you to website where you can gather such information.

You can also use job specific terms like ‘management trainee jobs’, ‘graduate engineer jobs’, ‘trainee jobs’, etc. Do not forget to add the country or city of interest in the search terms.

You can also look for job ads in newspapers. Some newspapers in Nigeria have specific days that they publish vacancies for your convenience. Meet a vendor and ask for specific days for each newspaper. For example the Guardian newspaper publishes vacancies in her Tuesday and Thursday publications.

You can also make use of employment agencies and jobs search firms. These companies maintain contacts with employers. They will usually interview you and if you impress them they can recommend you to one of their clients for further interview.

If you live in Lagos, Nigeria, there seem to be quite a lot of them there. Be careful though as some of them are not genuine. Some of the genuine agencies will not demand any money as they are usually paid by their clients for each successful applicant that secures the job.

What is your level of education?


Not having a high education qualification can hinder your job search campaign. If you have just SSCE or OND you should consider getting a higher qualification.

With the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, degree and HND holders are swallowing their pride to take up lower jobs (and lower pay) that ordinarily are meant for OND and SSCE holders. This means less job opportunity for OND and SSCE holders.

This is because a higher qualification can become important when two people with similar work experience are seeking the same job position.

So you should seriously consider acquiring a higher education qualification.

Hope you secure your dream job soon. Good luck.

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