Passing out parade (POP) is finally here and your mandatory National Youth Service Corp days are just two days left.
You have worked under the rain and under the sun, served your motherland for a whole year and now you are ready to drop your khaki for good and move on with life. NYSC program is full of fun and life, you get to meet people from different background, people with varieties of self character, living in a different region and to sum it up get a monthly allowance and stipends from your place of primary assignment (PPA). I served my motherland in 2019-2020 and i can still remember every bit of my stay, i never wanted it to end but it has to and someone needs to move on with life, though, the monthly allowance wasn’t much (19800 naira) but the fun attached to it can make one go for second term (which there’s not). National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) program has created that exposure and connections you need to prosper, the enabling environment is there for grabs and all you need to do is to set your goal high and hit the sky with or without the help of anyone. On March 5th 2020, our passing out parade came knocking, and Batch A corp members were ready to leave the office where they took an oath as a prospective corp member (PCM) back in April, 2019. I was dressed in full khaki, wore my favorite hair dress, my crested vest was a sparkling white and my jacket was tied round my waste. My name was called and was handed my hard earned certificate. At first, i was so elated and pumped with so much joy, took pictures on different background, dancing haphazardly as the disc jockey present at the moment were giving us series of jams. Then, a big flash ran through my head immediately where i looked up to the sky and i asked myself this question: what is life after the NYSC program?? How should i cope with living? (I stayed with my friends in Abuja), how do i get a well-paid job? How can i survive this harsh reality in Nigeria as a graduate? The unemployment rate in Nigeria is nothing to write home about. Should i start online fraudulent act? Series of questions ran through my head and my POP celebrations were cut short. When we were much younger, we were told that you need to go to college, get a good distinction and job offers will drop on your desk uncountably but as it seems in the present era, things don’t go that way anymore. Without saying much on the story, i currently work as a self employed freelancer and earn massively on special gigs than an average civil servant. In this tiny piece, i’m going to see you through on how to be self-made, get a well-paid job and be a boss of yourself. The fight started when you gained admission in the higher academic institution as an undergraduate and you can’t stop fighting to see yourself a better person in the future. I have great 10 tips for you on what to do after your National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) mandatory program and always take notes because they are great and are useful for the future.
1. Go handy and learn a skill: Carpenter, Farmer, Mechanic, Barber/hair maker, cobbler, welder, fashion designer and to mention a few, are all professions you don’t need a school to become. An average Carpenter who makes cushion and wardrobes makes at least 100,000 naira in two weeks when a suitable and catchy offers and contract comes in. This is a skill people sees as a “job for the illiterates,” i have seen Carpenters who drives big cars, own big houses and employs tons of youth in their own built company which also helps reduce unemployment in the society. Where i come from, this is a popular saying: “you can’t go hungry when you have a handwork,” so anytime i hear people relying on the government to provide job for them i go bewildered. Learning a skill in 21st century is something one should be proud of and embrace. Handy skills has been in existence right from the stone age where many sculptures, artifacts, mud houses, farm tools were built by our forefathers with no equipment but with both hands. Barbing and hair making is a skill that requires the services of beautifying and cutting human hair. People learn how to make beautiful hairs and that alone do not put food on their table but also pay bills and controls all their needs. Fashion designing is a good skill too, being an apprentice in a local tailor shop is a good way to start and definitely not a bad idea at all. Welding too, there are lots of skills you can acquire and won’t wait on no one to give you a job.
2. Enroll for certification: you’d notice that during the camping days, companies were willing to train and offer certificate for their services. Jobs like Human Resource management, Project management, critical thinking, digital marketing requires certification for an added advantage in job hunting. Companies hires graduate with recognized certificate for those roles and notwithstanding, snubs people with just a degree to show up for. Human resource persons are those hired by a company or an organization where they help in their recruitment processes, they could be a contract workers or on permanent criteria and also Project managers manages project in an organizations. Most of our Universities/higher institutions in Nigeria never provide a learning space for that training but tends to tell you about it. I was serving when i had the privilege of being trained as a Human Resource person for just 10,000 naira for three months and a certificate but i missed the opportunity due to ignorance and never wanting to spend my money on unnecessary stuffs. After service, i learnt my lessons and enquired about the training but was told to pay 95,000 naira which i couldn’t provide; that was a great opportunity i threw in the dust. What I’m trying to insinuate is, all the opportunities you had during your service year shouldn’t be taken for granted.
3. Menial jobs might be helpful: Menial jobs are small scale jobs that pays “peanuts” and may be related to your field of study. Menial jobs are sales person, Point Of Service (POS) attendant, Bartender, Hotel receptionist and so on. As soon as i finished my service in March 2020, Nigeria was placed on a national lockdown due to COVID-19 global disturbance. Nobody to turn to and was simply feeding from hand to mouth. It was hectic and feels like hell all over the house. To be honest, i considered street begging at a time but started something tangible which is working as a sales person in a popular supermarket in my area. I have a BSc. in Geology and couldn’t imagine myself as a sales person but i had to in order to survive. Immediately after the Passing Out Parade (POP), i started procrastinating on what to do with my life, getting different thought here and there and wasn’t sure of what i wanted to do. In essence, don’t relax after collecting the certificate because your journey begins immediately.
4. Apply for Masters program abroad: To increase your chances of getting a good paying job, furthering your academics might be a good way to start your sole adventure. Schooling abroad is very expensive no doubts but it isn’t for those from a wealthy background. Lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon, your parent or guardian will be able to cover up your tuition fees. Not everyone is from a wealthy background and that’s where scholarships starts coming in. Scholarships like MasterCard and government-sponsored has been useful and easy to get for students yearning to school abroad. If you have made up your mind of studying abroad, just get an English Test results like TOEFL, IELTS ready (not all schools abroad required those). As it stands now, the competition has been tightened and needing less numbers of candidates from different countries in Africa makes it more harder for one to be selected. There are so many schools in Europe and America willing to accept a student from Nigeria and no stress is required when applying. The only requirements needed that needs attention in applying for admissions abroad is the motivation and reference letters. Don’t wait for me or your friend, surf the net and see so many schools accepting international students, kick the apply button and you are good to go.
5. Online job hunting: looking and searching for jobs online is the new trend. Technology rules and walking around with your CV is not advisable in this modern time. There are plenty online job hunting platforms like Jobberman, NigerianJobs, Intel Region and much more. I was once receiving job alerts from Intel Region WhatsApp group and i must confess, that is a good platform you don’t want to miss. These previously mentioned online job hunting platforms has a newsletter you will need to subscribe to and gets daily job alerts. Let’s discuss LinkedIn, LinkedIn is a social media job seeking platform where interactions, business ideas, recruitment are being carried out. Open a LinkedIn account, make friends relating to your discipline, discuss course experiences and make sure your profile is intact because someone who wants to hire might be watching your every moves.
6. Learn trading: Trading involves buying and selling or swapping goods. Viewing my female friends status on WhatsApp is a whole lot of cruise, you will notice a small dot covered everywhere (forming a circle). Those small dots includes goods they are trying to market online, making WhatsApp their business space, conversation with their contacts and so on. I got angry at stuffs like that and didn’t understand these girls go through hell for them to sell their product. Trading can be online or offline, creating your business sphere, social media marketing and engaging plenty users in order to make profit. So if you have a product you’d like to sell on social media, you are not disturbing anybody by posting it everywhere, embrace the products, show them good reviews you receive from people patronizing you and increase your trade rating to 5 star.
7. Opening a small business with less money: This is the same issue we discussed in number 6 but this involves one opening a shop or owning a business physical space and location. Nothing is to small to start up with, just start. I can remember vividly a young man who started his business (selling sugar) with 15,000 naira; I’m not trying to be a motivational speaker but been factual will help improve your deciphering faculty. The young man never owns a shop, he never pays a rent, he sells during marked market days. He doesn’t hawk but begs for space at the market interlocks where cars are parked. I’m not suggesting you to break the law by doing business at any location you sight (task force is always available to take the bull by the horn). The young man’s zeal sparks a lot of enthusiasm and encouragement and been given few years, will dominate the business world. He was consistent, self reliance and self-motivated and the basic things you want to hear about starting a small scale business is aforementioned already.
8. Get in touch with people who are already good in the industry: A quick reminder, we all had one place of primary assignment (PPA) during service and were opportune to work with the already-employed staffs. There, you get to understand what is having a great team work feels (except those who served in schools). Let’s say your PPA is an organization that does a lot of admin stuffs, there is a director, head of department, supervisors. During working hours, that great team work/play will get you closer to your superiors and learning vital things from them will really aid your journey in the industry. Knowing the right click, the best connection will improve your job search visibility because HR tends to employ workers with experiences more vital and delicate from the bosses.
9. Be active on social media and make your CV always ready: This is very self-explanatory, most job vacancies fly on social media like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp. Recently, My elder sister got a job on Facebook by sending a direct message to a verified account owned by a CEO of a certain company/organization. Nobody knew the CEO was searching for a personal assistant in his office but she made her shot (thinking it was uncalled for), was shockingly invited for an interview, and she’s currently working as the PA, earning 6 figures salary monthly. Social media has helped a lot of people get a job and my household testimony was what i just revealed to you. Making your Résumé ready is not a serious and dubious task at all, try to make a read- free résumé of at least 1 page, have it in doc. or Pdf. format and should be ready anytime in your handheld device.
10. Applying for internships: Some companies prefer their very own and never trust outsiders with little or no experience for jobs. They prefer training and preparing you by their self, giving you that much desired job after you’ve passed every phase of their company’s training exercise. During our time, my friends always hissed and squeezed their face as soon as they hear it is a “graduate trainee” job, but the truth be told, you hardly get a well-paid job without passing through the stage of intensive 3 or 6 months training. Some of you would say what is the need of school for four or five years if they know you will still have to spend another 6 month because of training, i totally understand and i have asked my self too. To be optimistic here, the industry is a competitive one and companies are not satisfied from what one has learned in the classroom, they tend to train the person and make him/her ever ready for their own gain.
Stop worrying on what to do, you have been through a lot but the word “quit” is not in our dictionary. The federal government has made it non-favourable for her citizens and many people are still making it big in the industry despite the poor and failed system. After your POP, get a life ASAP, don’t procrastinate and just do what you have always go passionate and crazy about. The start-up road is not always smooth and wide but rough and narrow that’s why the story of a successful man will always have ups and downs attached to it. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in 1994 and was once named the richest man on this planet (though, Elon Musk is the richest now). 1994 is 27 years ago and he is still pushing and going about his business till date, reaping what has been sowed and still sowing more for what will be reaped in the future.