Graduating from university is such an exciting milestone. You start to picture what life as an independent adult is going to be like and then you are tossed in into the hazy job market.
The cycle I have noticed so far is this: Notice an opening for a position, edit your cv and cover letter to match, apply for the job. Now at this point, you either get a rejection letter, get called for an interview or do not hear anything at all. When I do not hear anything, I do my best to reach out to the company and the response is typically a dismissive one. I’ve become a pro at hadling rejections so they don’t bother me anymore.
The thing is, finding a job in Nigeria is never a big issue, websites like myjobmag, jobguru, careersng and so on are crawling with job openings. Heck, even the corner store is looking to hire a sales person or a cleaner. However, among all the opportunities are unreliable work environments, interview scams, inconsistent pay at a poorly structured companies and so on. Finding a good job with a consistent salary and benefits that assists with the boost of your career and where you can grow as an individual is where the main issue lies for most fresh Nigerian graduates.
Some of the jobs that can offer all the necessities on a golden platter of an employment letter are banks, multinationals and oil companies…as the oil industry is well grounded in Nigeria’s economy. So we see a lot of unemployed people, both fresh graduates and experienced workers, rushing for these positions with very few getting in and others having to settle for the next best thing they can get just to make ends meet.
Every other morning when I go jogging around 7am, I sight one of my neighbours, dressed formally on his way out of the estate, credentials folder tucked under his arm, on his daily quest to find a job. After about 3 weeks, I stopped seeing him around. I wonder if he got frustrated or if he finally landed a job; I hope to God that it is the latter.
Regardless of having a small business of my own, it is still in the startup phase and I have a deep passion to grow my career in corporate communications. I have been to more than 50 job interviews in the past one year and none have landed me a good job yet. So, I am basically still a job seeker, a frustrated one in fact.
Every job seeker that has had to rely on the traditional job search process to secure work can relate to the struggles and harshness of the job market. Because of this, nepotism and “connections” seems to be the surest way for the unemployed to secure a safe position without having to go through the job hunting hassle, disappointment and letdowns. Whether an application has been sent off or not, the right connections can never do a job seeker wrong.
So I really just wonder if this narrative will ever change for graduates to kickstart their careers with a solid foundation. Or are graduates supposed to settle for any opportunity they can get, event if its a cashier position?
Are you currently employed? How did you get your job? Did nepotism or “connections” have anything to do with it? What advice would you give to the unemployed Nigerian? I would really love to hear stories and experiences of anyone that has had to navigate through the Nigerian job market.