Dear CoachFaith, I’m a fresh graduate, I majored in Business Education (Accounting Option) in one of Nigeria’s foremost University. I am someone who believes in making a difference and not just earning a pay. I’m quite startled with the way employers view my course as though it is irrelevant to the workplace. Hence, I think I need a defined career for myself.
Also, taking Accounting as a career is a no-no for now because I didn’t study pure Accounting and going for ICAN isn’t possible now due to paucity of funds (though, planning to further when I get a job).
Thanks in anticipation of your response! – DareDear Dare, Congrats Dare on your degree. I hope you made the best of your University experience. I have been asked this question with relative variation a couple of times. And my responds reminds the same but this time, I will be more detailed here because I feel we have similar background. I bagged a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Education from University of Nigeria Nsukka. As young undergraduates we had a misconception of the labour-market (which I doubt is any better now!)
No organisation is waiting for YOU! THE DOORS ARE CLOSED but mind you THEY ARE NOT LOCKED so it takes some efforts on your parts to break in and walk tall!
If that sounds like parables allow me break it down.
There are 7 basic ingredients in finding your career path!
- Your Skills – Teamwork, Problem Solving, Communication, Organizing, etc.
- Your Interest – Creativity, Social, Outdoor and Active, Scientific, etc.
- Your Values and Motivation – Helping others, Work-Life Balance, Security, Money, etc.
- Your Personality – Calm, Outgoing, Determined, Cautious, etc.
- Your Contact
- Your Qualification
- Your Location
If you take an honest evaluation of yourself on this parameters, you might be close to your ‘most suitable job-type’ but honestly, career path finding doesn’t start with you first job most time! Let me share an excerpt from my coming book Job Hunting: Old Game, New Rules that I think directly addresses this.
New Rule #7: Do Not Look For a Dream Job
The dream of every undergraduate is to get a very good and well-paid job the moment he/she is through with youth service, hence the ‘Dream-Job Syndrome’ where everyone just goes hunting for jobs once they have a certificate, not even considering if they have the potential to create one themselves.
It’s good you know that the Job Market in Nigeria, just like any other country, is very saturated. You and I also know that jobs in Nigeria are near gamble but, in any gambling game, someone must win. And here, you could be the winner too, however, victory is not guaranteed if you don’t adhere by the rules and follow the best practices.
One of the rules to play by however is ‘do not look for a dream job’. In fact, you are rarely qualified for your dream job. Don’t be tempted to ignore a fair offer because it does not ‘meet your expectation’. We have testimonies of great people who are on top of their professions today but their stories reveal they didn’t start there; in fact they had invested more years on other jobs you rarely knew about them.
Do one thing at a time and put your effort on the thing you do, you will see that at the end the outcome will be a positive one.
Important Workplace Skillsets
Your first job may not foot all your bills but it does lend credence to your Curriculum Vitae. It could afford you opportunity to learn some basic work-skills beforehand. Skills such as:
- C.T Skills
- Good communication with the boss or supervisor
- Getting on well as a team with other workers
- Being resourceful
- Sharing ideas
- Offering help/advice
- Being interesting and enthusiastic
- Following instructions
- Asking help/questions when necessary
- Good problem solving skills
- Working independently without constant supervision
- Good time management skills
These skillsets are the basic requirements HRs look out for at recruitment. These skills unfortunately are not learnt in the classroom but at the workplace. However, not all workplaces, especially those you tag ‘dream-jobs’, are patient enough to help you through this phase. Therefore, the best option is to start somewhere, if it is obvious the dream is farfetched, Jimi Tewe advised, ‘First do what you hand finds to do and eventually you’ll get what your heart wants to do’.
As much as I am not convincing that you settle for less, I am made bold to say the greater are better enjoyed by those who can handle the less – it could even take you to volunteer. I have realized that no opportunity is wasted if you will keep looking forward; there is always something you can learn and take away from it. “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Looking For a New Job While Holding One
In today’s workforce, it’s not uncommon to look for a new job while currently holding one. Such employees have the best of both worlds: They can test the job market waters in hopes of finding something better, while holding onto a job they may like.
Engaging in this practice however could backfire. Even if you’re universally accepted in your office, the revelation of your job search could cause feelings of resentment, damage your reputation and possibly lead to your dismissal. To ensure your search is both tactful and discreet, follow the steps below:
- Maintain a positive attitude.It’s natural that your enthusiasms for your current job may slip once you’ve decided to bolt, continue to excel in your current position and diligently complete your work on time.
- Don’t let your job search enter the office.Save your search time for your house.
- Stay quiet on social media.While you may not directly interact with your boss and colleagues on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, that doesn’t mean they aren’t viewing your profile. It’s even easier for them to see your activity if you fail to activate your privacy settings.
- Don’t list your present employer on your references list. Fill your roster of references with previous employers, university professors or understanding senior colleagues.
- Keep in line with the company dress code.Wearing a suit on your job interview day to an office that embraces business-casual attire will only ignite suspicions. If you usually dress informally, and one day you show up with a suit or tie, that’s going to raise some red flags.
- Schedule interviews during non-work hours.Try to secure interview times that don’t interfere with your time on the clock. If you’re faced with the dilemma of an employer who wants you to interview during regular work hours, consider taking a vacation or personal day.
- Confess if you’re caught.If a colleague or boss directly confronts you about your job search, it’s better to tell the truth. By lying, you may shatter your credibility and jeopardize the chance of your boss serving as a future reference.
There are opportunities around but you may feel tempted to ignore them because they don’t look like your dream job. However, in making this choice, let this be your rational: go for fair offers which can give you the necessary exposure, experience and contacts to your dream job. John Grogan said “Facing an opportunity without being ready is like preparing your shell at the battle line. By the time you are ready you are already wiped out.”
Excerpt from Job Hunting: Old Game, New Rule.