How to Get Your First Job After College

To be employed as a youth in Nigeria is no easy feat. Many Nigerians struggle to get the traditional office job.

I was in the category of Nigerians who struggled to get a good role. After my NYSC, I would say that it took me about 2–3 years to get a good paying full time role.

I consider myself lucky because some Nigerians have waited longer and are still waiting to figure out how to earn a good means of living.

To encourage, inform and inspire youths on how to be employed, in March of 2021, I did an Instagram Live Interview with Maryam Abdulrasheed, a media and communications professional to discuss youth employability and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

If you missed the live video, it is still available on my Instagram. I just thought to share all the great bits of wisdom and advice here

How Can Nigerian Youths Make Themselves Employable?

To make yourself employable, you should have both soft and hard skills that are needed for the job.

Hard skills are technical skills needed to complete a task. They are acquired through formal education, training programs or online courses.

Soft skills are the way you communicate with others and your ability to learn from others. Or your ability to take initiative which matters.

It matters for you to start acquiring soft and hard skills while still in school or if in Nigeria, while doing your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

You can’t wait till you are fresh out of NYSC to look for jobs. You must start making yourself employable right from the beginning stage.

What Do You do if You Can’t get an Office Job?

The reality in Nigeria is that getting an office job is a luxury. Not everyone is able to obtain this. If you can’t immediately get an office role, don’t count yourself out of the job market. You can still make money.

You can teach people what you already know and use that as a skill. You can link up with vocational training centres. You can go to schools and teach teenagers and offer your services. You would be doing this all for a fee.

If you know where your cluster of clients are, you must go to them rather than struggling to find them.

Also, another thing to do is to look around you and fill a gap for what people may not like to do.

Some people shop now for people and do it at a fee.

The things you would waste time doing in the kitchen, chopping vegetables is already done.

In the side hustle E-book I wrote, I said that you should find something that people don’t like doing and do it.

Another example is that some people don’t like washing beans. What if you wash beans and grind it, then store it? Then, people would buy it and make moi-moi?

People also don’t like washing meat, so what if you wash it, then pack it and freeze it?

Other options are that some ladies just pack food and take it to banks. This is helpful because bankers don’t have the time to step out and get their food. Some bankers could even request that you make food in batch for them.

Of course, you would be rendering these services all for a fee.

If you can’t find the usual 9–5 job, you should look inwards and see the things and talents in you that you can sell.

Lastly, when you start out, don’t be all about instant gratification because your beginning stage will not look the same three to five years down the line.

How Can We Learn to Excel in Entrepreneurship?

Unfortunately, in the Nigerian school system, we are not all taught about entrepreneurship early on. It’s so important that they teach a business side to every course so it’s easier when you come out of school.

Rather, some people end up having to teach themselves the business side of whatever they are doing.

Some challenges that can be faced is that when some set out on the path to entrepreneurship, they might feel reluctant to charge others. It’s like youths setting out on a job hunt for the first time and taking any offer because you feel they are doing you a favor.

That is the wrong approach to have. The right approach is to know that you have valuable skills that are needed.

Entrepreneurship matters because if the traditional job does not happen, don’t sit, and expect it to come.

In the side hustle E-book I wrote, I discuss several other ways that you can render your skills to others.

For example, if you love fitness and are consistent at it but you don’t have a job, you can make a job out of it.

Talk to people who work out in your neighborhood. You can talk to 10 of them and say that you will coach them. You would be their coach and accountability partner.

You can then charge them monthly. The result is that you would be earning like a salary earner. Imagine having ten clients and then charging them monthly for 10k or 20k.

How Do You Create Opportunities to Land a Traditional Job?

If there is a particular job that you want, you should network at events where you are likely to meet people of importance and influence. Or just events that relate to your field or sector.

In addition, make use of LinkedIn to reach out to CEOs and MDs of companies and NGOs. Tell the Directors who you are and what you can do for them. Sometimes, you just never know. It can be by you pitching yourself that gets you a job.

The organisation might not have an opening but because you pitched yourself well, they now see where you fit in.

In addition to LinkedIn, you can also try searching for jobs through other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook Jobs.

What Should We Put in Our CVs?

Having the right knowledge of how to tweak and organize your CV matters. Your CV does not need to have irrelevant information.

I put up a post about things that you should take out of your CV in 2020.

The HR person looking at your CV has limited time because there are several candidates vying for one role. Your CV does not need to tell us your religion or what year you were born. Nor should it include the local government area that you are from in Nigeria.

On LinkedIn, you would find HR professionals that can tell you what works now with your CV.

To access Maryam’s books on job-hunting or finding a side hustle, check it out through the link below.

Also, you can follow Maryam on Instagram and Facebook.

In a comment, let me know the best tip for finding a job or getting on the path of being your own boss?



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Isioma Ononye

Isioma Ononye

I write about finding yourself, developing your self-esteem, faith, mental health and communications. My Personal Guide on Confidence👉🏾