Wednesday 26 May 2010
How to Get a Grad Job........
I have not actually blogged in a while so I thought I should give you some updates on what is going on in my life.
I FINALLY got myself a graduate job. Alhamdullilahi, all the Glory goes to God for giving me the strength to persist.
It is HARD right now to be a graduate and there have been so many times I have gotten fraustrated to the point of tears, but luckily I have had a great network of supporters and cheerleaders, number one being my parents. So many times I was like men fuck this, I am going back to Naij, but I really want to get some valuable work experience here so I did not give up.
When I was finishing university I knew getting a job would be difficult but I never ever dreamed that it would be so treacherous. Maybe because I had known so many stories of people that came straight out of uni to jobs in Goldman etc I thought how hard can it be? I have two good degrees from reputable universities its only a matter of time.
Omo no b small something. The transition from the consistency of uni life to job seeking is the most shocking dose of reality that has ever hit me.
Technically I left uni in October but I was only eligible to work after my graduation in January so it has taken me 5months to get a job I want. Contrary to what I first thought, this is the average time it takes to get a grad job. And I have stats to prove this. Lemme give you some good examples:
A friend of mine from work did an undergrad in Law from Manchester uni, did her LPC and is a qualified lawyer, but before she got the job where we work now, she worked in Morrisons(the supermarket) for 2 years. Yeap I said 2 years. Oh and did I mention that she is British, cause as a Nigerian we always think that this works to our disadvantage.
Another colleague of mine did an undergrad in I.T management and Bussiness from Birmingham university and worked in his dad's chip shop for over 2 years before he got this job.
This Ghanian guy has 2 masters in business related degrees and has been working here for over a year now still trying to get a management job.
There is a girl with an MBA that works in my office oh, doing basic Fraud investigations with the rest of us mere mortals. I dont even know what is wrong with that Barclays sef, they just like to pack overqualified graduates to do their mundane jobs that any A level student can be trained to do.
But unfortunately that is the job market that we find ourself in. Having a degree is nothing, being smart is not good enough, you have to be outstanding, cut throat, persistent but most importantly Lucky (or prayerful whatever you believe in).
I have to admit that sometimes people tend to settle and just manage their roles without keeping at it to get a better role. Its because applications are tedious, time consuming, repetitive and dull. But most of all, rejections are so goddamn Painful.
Damn, the amount of rejections I have gotten has definately knocked my confidence in myself and my abilities. When you get that email that reads:
"Thank you for applying to...... and thank you for your interest in our company.
UNFORTUNATELY......bla bla bla bla aka fuck off we dont want you.....
We wish you good luck in your search......bla bla bla aka carry your wahala go somewhere else....."
But as a Nigerian men, you just have to be like Aaliyah, and pick yourself up and try again. It might take a while though, because there have times that I was just like Arghhhhhhhh I am never doing another application in my life again, awon Oloshi kmt!
But when you calculate the amount of school fees etc that has been paid, it gives you that push to get your act together. And for me, when I see that new Audi CC 2010 convertable pass by, the ginger comes back mennn, cause that ride is my portion oh! Amen! LOL!
I am truly grateful because most of my friends are still searching and I have been lucky to work in 3 different multi-national companies this year. My friend says I am always jumping from job to job like an ashewo lol but in the words of Jay Z "on to the next one"! LOL
So here are my tips for first time job-seeking graduates like myself:
1)Apply Apply Apply! Dont stop, keep going , keep keeping on, whichever expression gets the message across. The law of averages works in your favour, so the more places you apply for, the greater your chances are. Always apply for graduate or entry level roles or lower. Never try any of those jobs requiring experience cause you will never get it. Use sites that are dedicated to graduate recruitment and not general job sites like Total Jobs or Monster. I will always recommend Milkround.com. At a point it was almost my homepage!
2)Be realistic. If you dont have certain qualities and certain grades, don't waste your time applying to certain types of jobs, especially the 35k-45k city jobs that everyone craves, You will just be wasting your time. Look at thier graduate profiles and ask yourself can you honestly compare yourself to them, if the answer is no, then on to the next one. For example I would love to work for the prestigious city law firms such as White and Case, Clifford Chance or Allen and Overy. But realistically, its not going to happen. Because they are the best, they get their pick of the best so it'll just be a frustrating and fruitless process. For e.g a friend of mine from undergrad got a job with Allen and Overy with some ridic starting salary but she had done a law undergrad from Canada, worked for a couple of years there and done a legal placement in Afghanistan. Plus she got a 1st class honours with some amazing grades. You have to recognise levels men....
3)Be Patient. Like I said it takes time and more importantly persistence. Always keep yourself busy but never take your eyes of the ball. For some people you have to start from the bottom and work yourself up. One of of my real good friends who has a Distinction in her masters and is a qualified barrister had to work for 6 months from when we graduated in October without any pay. It was a placement in a barristers chambers and she was not paid anything for doing all the work that a normal paralegal would do and get mad pay. But it looks great on the c.v and its paid off cause she has now got an amazing job offer from one of the biggest oil companies in the world. Like I said eyes on the prize......
4 Research companies. In my search for a job, I have come across so many companies that I had never heard of as I am not a business minded person, but who are massive and great employers, for example I had never heard of Reckitt Benckidser, Deutsche Bank, Sahara Oil, Whitbread and even Procter and Gamble. But you just have find out what's out there.
5 C.V and Covering Letter. Aka The document that summarises your whole life in one page hisssssss. Always try and get these looked over by the careers service in university. Then adapt this as you grow and to the company and role that you are applying for. Lemme not act like am one expert on this, but it always helps to get people look over it and give you some corrections as they will always spot something that you cannot.
6 Network. Or like we say in Naija, "connections". Even though as Nigerians here, our connections are limited but you never know. I got my placement in a Law firm last year through networking so its quite possible.
7 Pray. And Fast. And cast and bind. Overnight vigils, sacrifice a virgin or two. Babalawo even. LoL But yea I never underestimate the power of prayer. Always remember that God's time is the best. If you have hustled to get a job like so many of us have, you realise that its not beans and you are less likely to fuck up when you finally get it.
I am not exactly a careers advisor but I just thought I should share my experience with my loyal fans....;-))