5 Nigerian Graduates Share Their First Job Hunting Experience

July 28, 2020
Job hunting in Nigeria

Job hunting experience in Nigeria can be a lot. Many people will argue that there are simply not enough jobs for the teeming youth population, hence the high rate of unemployment.

For a lot of people, job hunting is marred with terrible experiences. But for others, it’s a walk in the park. We talked to a couple of recent graduates and got them to talk to us about how their first job search after university went.

Gbemisola 

My NYSC Place of Primary Assignment was a local government office. After three months, I became disillusioned with the place and figured that I would be doing myself a lot of good if I looked for a new job.

I started sending applications everywhere I could. At one interview, they said they would need to ‘train’ me before I was sent to Dubai where the job was. However, I had to pay ₦20000 for training. 

I almost missed out on my present job. They invited me to an interview but I declined when  I realised that the salary was going to be ₦15000. Fortunately, I was quick to give myself a reality check. I reached out to HR and managed to convince them to schedule a fresh interview for me. 

Towards the end of my service year, I tried to look for a new job. I applied to a law firm. After I’d scaled through three stages of the interviews, I found out that the job wasn’t right for me. The MD was always calling me at night and asking me if I was capable of keeping secrets because the job would require me to be discreet. This came off as weird to me, so I gave up on the job. 

The folks at my job retained me when my service ended. They bumped up my salary, and things started to look up. 

Dara

I was deployed to Edo state for NYSC. I looked around and saw that there was nothing for me there. Besides, I wanted to work in Lagos. After orientation camp, I relocated to Lagos. At the time, I hadn’t even gotten a job or had an idea where I wanted to work. 

I returned to Lagos and pitched myself to a couple of companies. Eventually, I got a job at a technology company. The next step was figuring out how to make them promote me to full staff.

I was hired for the role of a graphic designer, but I did a whole lot more. It helped that I had a set of skills that they needed. I took pictures and shot videos. 

Not too long after I started there, I overheard them talking about getting a UI/UX designer. I saw another opportunity there. I downloaded a course on Udemy and learned the basics in a month. After I pitched these new skills to them and they gave me a project to work on. They were very impressed with my output, and I guess that sealed it. It was smooth sailing from there, and they retained me to work as a full-staff.

Tosin

At NYSC camp in Cross River state, a Canadian non-profit came to recruit national volunteers. Prior to that time, I was hoping to work in the media. But when this opportunity came, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to go for it.  I researched them online and saw that they could be a good fit for me. 

I got the job and loved it, and I decided that it might be fun to pursue a career in the development sector. As my service year came to an end, I became intentional about finding another job, and I was military about it.

I was selected for a Venture in Management Program at Lagos Business School. It was a good thing that I got in because one of the sponsors rolled out an internship program for the participants. I got into the internship program too and worked my ass off. At the end of 10 interesting months, I was promoted to full staff. 

Ola

About a month after I turned in my final year project at university, I got a gig at a digital agency in Ibadan through a friend. I’m a photographer on the side too. After three weeks on the job, I travelled to Lagos to sell a camera to an advertising agency. 

My business was with the business director, but she wasn’t around. I met the creative director instead and struck a conversation with him. I mentioned that I’d just graduated from university and was interested in pursuing a career in advertising. Also, I showed him some copy I wrote when I was in university, and he asked a few questions. Nothing happened on that day. I was a little disappointed because they didn’t even buy the camera.

Two weeks later, I got a call from the creative director. It was an invitation to interview with the agency. I travelled back to Lagos and attended the interview. I was hired on the spot as a junior copywriter. 

Sheriffdeen

For the better part of my service year, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I have a business, so I focused all my energy on growing the brand. However, I knew that I wanted to do a 9-5. Two months before Passing Out Parade, I went home for some introspection. 

A few days before my POP, a friend who owned an NGO reached out to me and asked if I wanted to go with him to pay a courtesy visit to a State Commissioner. I heard about a Digital Marketing Bootcamp there, and I decided to give it a try.

The application deadline was that night, so nothing was guaranteed. My application scaled and I got into the program. There was a recruitment phase as the Bootcamp came to an end, and I was selected to intern with a fintech company.

I left the company after three months because I wanted to work with an agency. I had just started my job search when the pandemic hit. For a moment there, I wondered if quitting my former job was a bright idea. 

My chances of getting a job were bleak, yet I kept sending out applications. A few of them got back to me, but nothing happened. I understood that — it wasn’t the best time to hire anyone. 

Sometime later, I got a call out of the blues from a colleague who informed me that a company was looking for a digital marketer. I took the lifeline and sent in an application. After a series of interviews, I was eventually hired. 

Toheeb Lanlehin

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