The employability of the Nigerian graduate

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The average Nigerian graduate is unemployable. They lack basic management skills and are not qualified to take on certain job roles. They lack basic soft skills needed to thrive in a workplace and are oftentimes unable to critically think, analyze and solve problems. Unemployment is a major obstacle to the development of our nation and this cuts across all ages, educational and ethnic backgrounds due to many different reasons, one of which is that the average Nigerian graduate does not possess skills that make them employable. 

Most Nigerian graduates only have head knowledge in their chosen disciplines but cannot use such knowledge to solve real-life problems because they do not possess the required soft skills. Many graduates go around with just theoretical knowledge of their disciplines due to lack of hands-on experience while in school. The lack of basic communication skills is also prominent. Communication is a key aspect of professional life and graduates must develop their communication skills to secure jobs.

Another reason for the high number of unemployable graduates is the fact that most job seekers do not prepare for their job interviews. They go into interview sessions without proper research of the company they want to work with. They often come in late and are not dressed appropriately. 

Becoming a more employable prospect brings a lot of benefits, and increases your self-worth. You never know when you may need to find a new job or sell yourself to your current employer for a promotion. Here are some ways you can make yourself more employable by taking action and learning some practical, useful skills:

  1. Update your CV/Resume: Whenever you complete a training course or take on more responsibilities at a current role, add them to your resume. It can feel overwhelming to write up your whole resume from scratch, and you may forget certain key details. Better to simply add to your resume as your career progresses. Be sure to use your most up to date email address and always submit a pdf version of your CV or resume as word documents can often be rearranged due to different versions of Microsoft Word. 
  2. Upgrade your IT skills: It is alarming how so-called graduates of respected institutions in the country cannot do basic things on a computer. Even if you don’t work in IT, having IT skills will always give you an advantage. You can’t be expected to know all the different types of systems that prospective companies may use, but being sharp with general IT skills is an absolute must. 
  3. Get busy on social media: You might hate to hear it but social media has a huge influence on employment in Nigeria. Linkedin, for example, is optimized to help you grow your network. Employers often visit the site to look for potential job seekers who seem to resonate with their offerings. LinkedIn now has over 30 million companies on LinkedIn with 20 million open job listings. So why are you not on LinkedIn trying to connect with them? If you are savvy on social media platforms and build a strong profile, you will greatly increase your chances of landing a job or moving up the ranks at your current organization. Having an up-to-date profile on a platform like LinkedIn will improve your employment prospects. Even if you are currently working, you will get notifications from recruitment agencies looking for prospective candidates that fit their criteria.
  4. Always be learning: 90% of Nigerian graduates do not feel the need to learn anything new after graduating from university, this shouldn’t be so. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Knowing a bit of everything will always give you an advantage over someone who knows just a few things. It’s really no magic trick. The more you know, the more interesting you are. Knowledge is attractive. Schedule some time each day to learn something new. If you don’t schedule the time, there is less chance of you keeping true to the commitment. Some people start by putting one hour aside in the morning or the evening. Look into a hobby or a pastime you enjoy and start studying.
  5. Be proactive: Those who are proactive and make things happen early get the jump on great opportunities. Don’t wait for employment opportunities to find you: look around and make inquiries. A proactive attitude can help promote a positive work ethic, and it shows employers that you are the kind of person that takes initiative.
  6. Network: This will forever be an important part of being employable. Your networking skills will take you places. If there is an industry or profession you are interested in, start networking. This is easily done online by joining forums or groups dedicated to the industry. Start offering help to others, asking and answering questions, and making contact with people. 

The most important aspect of getting employable is to build your confidence and the best way to do that would be by using these pointers. Landing a better job role will be easier once you take the time to apply these points. 

  • Mayowa Ogunrinde
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