Hello fresh graduate…get your first job offer here!
Pretty smiles, loud laughter, flashing cameras and phones, flowing robes and overflowing food consumed by people in over-expensive apparels.
Does this scene seem familiar to you? It definitely would if you have attended the convocation ceremony of a higher institution and should be further ingrained in your memory if you were actually the one in the flowing robes.
It is, however, unfortunate that the joy you felt that day cannot be carried over to the next day, week or month depending on when the realization hits that you have now been thrown into the volatile ‘labour market’, a phrase that can make the stomach of even a “first-class” graduate churn.
It has been reported that annually, over 200,000 individuals graduate from higher institutions all over the country but a very small percentage of these individuals find befitting jobs leaving the remaining either settling for jobs that are below their qualification or settling at home. Some other entrepreneurial graduates might decide to take their destinies into their own hands and establish their own businesses but only a few businesses stand the test of time.
Before you roll your eyes and lament the horrible state of the Nigeria’s unemployment level, please note that the unemployment problem is not only peculiar to this country or even continent.
According to Forbes, it has been reported that over half of the USA’s college graduates were either jobless or unemployed.
The infographic below compiled by Statista in 2013 which highlights the countries with the highest levels of graduate unemployment further solidifies the fact that it is a global issue.
As much as we would like to continue providing the details of graduate unemployment in the world, we cannot ignore the fact that while many graduates are either unemployed or underemployed, others are steadily landing and changing jobs with ease.
What are these graduates doing differently?
In the next few paragraphs, we will find out what makes the high-flying fresh graduate stand out from the regular out-of-job graduate.
In order to stand out from the pool of graduates, new graduates should be willing to go above and beyond the regular job search. By following the next set of tips, you should well be on your way to securing a befitting job after graduation.
- Develop additional skills outside your basic school-taught skills
“The moment you realize the need for something, it is already too late”
One of the major problems with Nigerian graduates is the tendency to come out with the mentality that there are no jobs and thereby make no attempt to develop themselves to become employable for the “few” jobs available.
What these graduates do not understand is that the average employer will not pay you a substantial amount just because you went to school and came out with a degree.
You must be able to prove that you have acquired skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for and will enable you contribute positively to the company.
In this age and time whereby we have access to different resources for learning online for free, ignorance has become an inexcusable blunder.
In the world of today, one cannot survive with just one skill; you must upgrade yourself to go with the trends. Gather as many skills within your interest as possible, diversify your experience and do not put all your eggs in one basket.
No one really knows how the world will be tomorrow, therefore, do not become a victim of being over focused on the development of just one skill.
- Develop soft skills
In addition to gaining technical skills, fresh graduates should take the time to also develop soft skills including communication and teamwork skills as this is one of the major indicators of whether an applicant will fit perfectly into an organization or be a misfit.
In fact, most employers will rather pick someone who doesn’t have the right background or technical skill but has a great attitude over one who has the perfect skill set but hasn’t mastered the art of communication and displays a bad attitude.
- Social Media is not just for fun
The above infographic shows that Social Media is not just all fun and games. Many companies are actually looking to these platforms to seek for exceptional job candidates that can fit into the role they are looking to fill. Some companies also perform background checks including, but not limited to, social media profiles to ensure that potential employees would be a right culture fit for the organization.
Therefore, as a fresh graduate, you should take advantage of these platforms to project yourself as the perfect candidate for the job that you are gunning to get. Update your LinkedIn profile with every little experience you have gathered from being an intern in your 2nd or 3rd year to being the Vice-President of your department’s association. Every single detail counts especially as you have not gathered enough experience in the workplace.
Do not also ignore your other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make sure you delete any picture that does not portray you in a good light (that picture of you drunk and half-naked on the night of your convocation won’t cut it) and put up-to-date information that will show you as a responsible and cultured individual.
However, you should not only rely on social media to secure a job, check out the job vacancies on websites, newspapers, and do not forget to leverage the power of your network.
- Only apply for jobs you have passion for
One of the fastest ways to experience burnout as a fresh graduate searching for a job is by applying for every job that you come across regardless of your interest, qualification, or even skillset.
In fact, employers will immediately notice if you have no interest in or passion for the job during the interview for the position.
Therefore, in order for you to not just get any job but also a fulfilling one, make sure that you apply for jobs that are within your skillset, interest, and passion.
- Preparation is key
This tip cannot be overemphasized as one of the easiest ways to turn off a potential employer is by displaying no knowledge of the job requirements or company whatsoever including its history, founders, major products and services offered, and even achievements.
A candidate who shows up for a job interview armed with this knowledge without the complete skillset necessary for the job can impress the interviewer more than one who is skillfully qualified for the job but did not bother to research about the company or their services.
Information about the company can easily be accessed on the internet via their website, social media profiles, newspaper stories, etc. Also, ensure that you research on the latest development in the industry that the company operates.