Journey to a successful career: A series

The National Bureau of Statistics revealed recently that Nigeria’s population is about 198 million out of which youths (15 – 35 years) constitute about 95 million.  About 56 million of these youths are either unemployed or underemployed.  This is serious, dangerous and worrisome.

Indeed, about 500,000 graduates are churned out of the Nigerian tertiary education system (universities, polytechnics and colleges of education) yearly.  Further, the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Director – General, in 2017 Brigadier General Suleiman Kazaure revealed that no fewer than 300,000 graduates are mobilized annually by the NYSC.

Several of these graduates need help with what their next steps will be, in this next phase of life.  This article, designed in series, seeks to guide those critical next steps.

Our Situation

Imagine this scenario… an individual just graduated from a tertiary institution in Nigeria, proceeds on the compulsory one year National Youth Services Corps (NYSC), and is expected to start “serving” after completion of the one-month Orientation Camp segment, of the service year.  Suddenly, one becomes a job seeker in the labour market where abound several millions of unemployed and underemployed youths from previous NYSC streams, as well as the current stream. Also, there are other categories of job seekers seeking for jobs in small domestic organizations, large domestic organizations, international organizations, public sector ministries and parastatals, with limited vacancies.

Consequently, in seeking employment, how does this individual distinguish himself or herself from the 36 million other job seekers in this oversaturated market?  How does he or she find the right job that aligns with his or her strengths?  Why will the proposed employer choose him/her over several thousands of other applicants?  Even when the individual can secure the job, does he/she have the right skills set to retain the job, grow and excel at it?  These and much more will be addressed in these series, titled 12 Point Guides to A Successful Career.

The series would be weekly and would aim to cover the following areas; viz:-

1)     Life after university graduation…The Job Search

This will cover discussions on career choices and skills required to fit into a job, individual goals/objectives, mission and vision, plans for the future as well as principles/core values.

2)    How to create a Résumé or Curriculum Vitae (AKA CV)

This sub series will cover information required for careers in different industries, such as Finance, Telco, ICT, Oil & Gas, Services, etc.  From experience, each vacancy would require a tailor made résumé for effective marketing of the candidate.

3)     Creating the right cover letter to accompany a CV/ Résumé

This will deal with how to effectively package the individual, to be easily identified in one’s preferred industry.

4)     Planning for Aptitude/Psychometric Test

Arising from a deluge of candidates, most organizations now conduct aptitude psychometric and IQ tests to further reduce the size and number of candidates for consideration.  Mechanics of these tests would be discussed.

5)     Preparation for Interview

A critical look at preparation for an interview; such as appropriate dressing, research the subject, organisation, job, anticipated questions and answers from panel members and interviewee, salary negotiation, etc.

6)     Commencement of Career: Starting Work

A preview of first day and week at work and a look at a typical induction process, staff indoctrination, organizational culture and policies, job description, key performance indicator, setting targets, performance reviews, etc.

7)     Development of Career Path

As you settle down in an organisation adopting and adapting to its culture and norms, you would begin to visualize your future vis-á-vis your career goals and objectives and thus you would require job rotation, identifying your strengths and matching them to your career path, etc.

8)     Achieving Work/Life Balance

A preview of life/career:  when an individual gets married, starts a family and finding the right balance between family and work.  A discussion on mid-life crisis; its effects and how to best manage it would also be covered.

9)     Career Progression/Knowledge Acquisition and Self Improvement

This series looks at what next after one has identified his career path, skills and competencies required to push one up on the corporate ladder, relevant professional exams and certifications, performance appraisal, promotion and challenges, plans, etc.

10)  Leadership

Aspects of trainings that prepare one for leadership, how to distinguish yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone, the quest to deepen knowledge and sharpen skills, how to deliver consistently and exceptionally.  Plans in more details.

11)  Corporate/Organizational Politics

What is organizational politics, characteristics, impact and how it is managed with great result, the do’s, don’ts, plans revisited, etc?

12)  Retirement

Every start has an end! Although there is a current debate which posits that it is time to retire retirement, at some time one would have to leave a job for good.

We look at the expectation, the reality and finding a middle ground for execution.

Target Audience

Due to the nature of this series, the target audience would be undergraduates, fresh graduates, Human Resource practitioners personnel management lecturers, human resource practitioners, Researchers, business owners, job seekers (young and old) and current employees in any organization wishing to retain and progress in their employment.

 “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, or the ears of the wise seek it out” (Proverbs 18:15)

“Are those who have knowledge and those who have no knowledge alike?  Only the men of understanding are mindful (Quran, 39:9)

“Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands” (Psalm 119:66)

“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge…” (Quran 20:114)

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