Career Tips for Job Seekers in Nigeria | Orifunke Lawal
I decided to write some career advice for job-seekers in Nigeria, especially fresh graduates and fresh out-of-NYSC folks, let me give you a piece of advice that you might find useful:
See your job-seeking process as a business.
When you want to start a business, you don’t just jump into anything and expect to find customers. You must be as strategic as possible.
One of the things business consultants tell you is that before you start a business, you need to do a market survey. What do people want to buy? What are people spending their money on? What is selling in the market?
Then after finding that out, you can decide what you want to start selling. That way, you’re starting a business not based on how you feel or just what you’re passionate about but what actually sells in the market.
Back to your job search…
So, you studied, let’s say Zoology at school and you need a job now. The questions you should ask yourself realistically are:
1. Are there job opportunities in my field? There is no problem admitting that there are no/limited job opportunities in the field you studied. If there are no job opportunities in your field, and you still stick to it in the hopes of not giving up, you’re certainly not being realistic and you will keep searching for a job that either doesn’t exist or doesn’t exist readily to you.
2. What sells in the market?
You have to understand that certain skills are more searched for than others. Find some time and go to myjobmag or jobberman and see the different job vacancies so you can have an idea of what jobs companies mostly need. You can also google “jobs near me” and select a field in your area of interest or competence.
3. Your aim at this point is to do two things:
a. Research the most required fields i.e., fields that most recruiters or companies are looking at hiring.
b. Research the wages/salaries of these various fields.
The essence of b above is to ensure that you’re not just on the lookout for a skill that employers need but a skill that they can actually pay for. There are fields that are quite “popular” but don’t pay much. There are also skills that are not so popular but actually pay a whole lot.
4. After discovering what sells in the market, decide what you would like to launch a career in. If you really loved your Zoology course at school, you probably would find it hard. If you’re also religious, there is a high chance that you want to keep praying and hoping that a miraculous job in your field will find you soon. No, don’t do that to yourself.
Another challenge that you might have is you thinking you’re not interested in a particular field. Please, if the field sells, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I want to start learning how to code and don’t be surprised if I become a UI/UX designer in the next year. No, I don’t like to code. But like business, you don’t need to love what you sell before you actually sell it. You’re in business to sell. If that’s what the market wants, well, what are you doing for yourself?
5. After deciding the fields that you’d like to start to major in, the next step to take is to draw out a plan to start learning actively about it. There are four ways you can learn in this regard:
a. Online courses. There are tons of online courses that might be free or paid on Google and they mostly come with certificates too. Online courses allow you to grow knowledge in that particular field. Don’t take this for granted. Blogs and ebooks are also amazing but courses are more procedural than these so it’s easier for you to learn when you’re just starting out.
b. Find the top players in that field online and follow them. If you don’t know, you can ask on your timeline. Say something like, “Do you know someone who does SEO on your list? Please mention them.” People will mention those they know and then you can follow these people, turn on post notifications for their tweets or posts, send them a connection request on LinkedIn and sell yourself whenever the need arises.
c. Look out for opportunities to develop experience. You might be lucky to find a job that pays you without experience and you might not be that lucky. So look out for internship or volunteer opportunities in this field. If you can afford it, you can write to a company that specializes in that field and ask to do a free internship with them. This is not compulsory.
d. Start to build thought leadership around this field online. This would mean taking your different online platforms seriously and regularly talking about the particular field as you have learnt. Say you’re in SEO, you can start out by doing a post on SEO once a week. Over time, you’ll register in the minds of your followers as someone who can take up roles on SEO.
This might not be exhaustive but I really hope it helps someone out there.
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Orifunke Lawal is a young professional living in Nigeria. She is a writer, content creator, editor/proofreader, brand and communications professional and a budding SEO specialist. She is the author of The Art of Social Writing, an e-book which teaches how to write for social media and make people love you while at it. She is passionate about processes, ideas, tools, structures and systems that are put in place for the establishment and development of brands, businesses, communities and individuals online.
You can connect with her on LinkedIn: Orifunke Lawal
Let’s Talk: Is Age Just A Number?
I once fell in love with a guy who was younger than I was. Yes, you read that right. We didn’t work out for important reasons (the age was NOT one of them. lol). But I can say one or two things when somebody asks me, “Is age just a number?” Safe to say at this point in my life, I am not trying to think about if it’s possible to date a guy who’s younger than I. Rather, I should be considering if I want to date such a person or not.
But really, I’ve thought about this again and again. Would my relationship with this guy have worked out in the long run? I really don’t know. It might have worked out if he didn’t end up a childish person or if I didn’t turn out a bossy person. But I can’t say because it didn’t work out outside of the age reason. P.S: He was not childish, neither was I bossy.
I do not think there’s anything wrong with dating someone who is younger than you as a lady or dating someone older as a guy. But I really do not think, also, that that’s one situation I would ever like to be in. Not because I won’t respect him but because it would take a whole lot of persuasion for me to actually believe that he won’t ever see any actions on my part as being done because I’m older.
Somebody once told my ex that I was domineering simply because he saw me open a door without allowing my Ex open it while we were walking together. I will never be able to understand the correlation between opening a door myself while my boyfriend was there and being domineering. That’s not the point I am trying to drive at, anyway, but what I am saying is, if I could actually be seen as domineering because of something as irrelevant as that, what would have happened if I was older? He probably would have thought I was doing everything I was doing because he was younger. Too much headache abeg.
So, for me, I’d say it would take a whole lot of maturity on both sides to deal with a relationship that is against status quo. First, the guy mustn’t have insecurity issues. Else, he might wrongly infer that she’s doing everything she is doing because she is older. I mean, she won’t be able to voice out her displeasure, won’t be able to offer help or whatever simply because, “Is it because you’re older than I am?”
On the other hand, the woman must also be ready to “forget” her age in the relationship. Else, she’ll begin to wonder why she offered to date or marry someone who “acts his age” (you know what that means abi?)
At the end of the day, relationships are not defined by age but by how much we’re ready to accommodate the other person, deal with their strengths and faults and how much we’re ready to actually make the relationship work.
Can I date a guy who’s younger than I am? Yes, definitely, I can. Well, I guess I can.
As usual, I did a poll asking people if age was just a number and I got some responses. Big thanks to everyone who responded. Below are some of the responses I got. Enjoy them and don’t forget to drop your comments before leaving. Thank you! Just in case you want to connect with me on social media, you can follow me on any of these platforms. I’d love to hear from you anytime!
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Three Ways To Overcome Birthday Depression
Birthday depression is a big issue and it’s more severe because many people do not even know it exists. Or scratch that, it actually does exist but many people simply would not call it a form of depression. I didn’t think it was a form of depression till, of late, when an acquaintance narrated her experience and it occurred to me that it felt familiar.
Birthday Depression is that feeling of sadness that overwhelms you when it’s about time for your birthday or just after your birthday. I cannot say it happens to everyone because I haven’t conducted a poll on this before but I do can say it happens to quite a number of people.
Birthday depression usually comes as a result of having a terribly sad feeling of unachieved goals and dreams that have not come through. Many people have milestones they want to achieve at a certain age and strive to work towards it. So when the achievement doesn’t come through as planned for, it becomes hard to bear. There is, a lot of times, the feeling of failure that comes with remembering that you’re a year older but not a year bigger.
Asides the feeling of not being able to have achieved your set goals for a particular age, there is also the fear of not getting to where you aspire to get to. Some people want to have gotten to certain places in their lives or their careers at a particular age and as the birthdays pass, the fear and uncertainty of having those things come to pass begin to stare them in the face.
In a couple of months, I am going to be a year older. And while I would have been all excited a few years ago about a coming birthday, I am pretty much far from excited this time around. Oh, of course, I am going to be grateful about another year added in life and good health. But there are goals that I have, dreams that I have dreamed and staying on my present age affords me the superficial excitement that I still have on my side. With another birthday, I am reminded that I am older and time, even if it’s on my side, is running fast against me.
Well, how do I expect to overcome birthday depression?
By first realizing that birthdays are a gift to celebrate because life is worth celebrating. Only a living person can really bother about goals and responsibilities and achievements. I may not be where I would like to be or where I have planned to be but I am sure grateful for how far I have come and nonetheless optimistic about where I am going. You know, hope really never fails.
Secondly, you must also endeavour to focus on the other good things that you possess. As one grows older, it is easier to forget the things that God has done and focus on the things that we do not have yet. When we focus on things that have not happened yet, we let our sight off the big blessings that have already happened. “Count your blessings and you will see what the Lord has done” remains an ever-relatable hymn. You may want to take a notepad and jot down things that you are grateful for having. Or you may want to take some personal life to help you think deeply; whatever will make you think of the positive things.
Third, you must understand that your achievements don’t define you. You define your achievements. You give life to your goals. You decide whether or not the failure to achieve something gets to you and affects you. I am learning that whether or not I do well in a particular area of my life, I will do well as a whole, regardless. I define my goals. They don’t define me. And so when they don’t come to pass [yet], I can still deal with them.
I believe birthday depression can be overcome. I am trying to overcome it too and I know I’d have overcome it by my next birthday.
Please share this with your network. Someone might need it. Thanks!
I Think I Was Harassed… Or Maybe Not
Hi everybody! How are you doing today? (You can let me know in the comments). If this is your first time of visiting my blog, you have no idea how glad I am to have you. If this isn’t your first time, I wish I could give you a kiss right now. Lol. Thank you. Enjoy the post and don’t forget to comment afterwards.
So, I THINK I WAS HARASSED! Maybe I wasn’t but I strongly feel like I was. If you’re on my Facebook, you’ve probably seen a part of this gist. So this is the 100% gist:
On my way to work a couple of days ago, a guy drove past me and I noticed him stop his car a few steps from me. I had also noticed him checking me out as he drove past me and sort of guessed that he stopped because of me. I guessed rightly.
As I got to his car and made an attempt to continue walking, he called from his car and said, “Hello. Excuse me”. Now, somewhere in my head, I heard my mom warning me to be wary of strangers and I almost ignored him. But the part of me that claims to be cooler said “Funke, calm down. Maybe he just needs directions”. So I stopped and faced him.
He asked, “Where are you going? Let me drop you off.” Sorry man, you don’t drop a Yoruba girl who grew up in my society off anywhere, especially when it’s close to Christmas.
I politely replied and I smiled (I wonder why I did but…) and said, “No, thank you. My destination is just around the corner. I’ll be fine.” And I kept walking, forgetting the past behind me.
In another couple seconds, this guy had caught up with me and called out, “Okay, if I can’t drop you off, can I have your number?”
I politely replied again (I’m not sure I smiled this time around), “No, sorry.”. I probably should have added, I have a boyfriend… But no, I didn’t.
I walked on and the guy kept driving after me and stopping when he caught up with me. This happened about three times and I had already begun to feel extremely embarrassed and uncomfortable. So what did I! I flagged down a bike and told the bike guy where I was going. It wasn’t far but because I felt uncomfortable and pestered, I had to take a bike.
I heaved a sigh of relief and had calmed down when I heard a car horn behind me. I looked back and saw his car. I don’t even know what happened at this point but I instantly started panicking. I moved to feeling embarrassed to feeling pestered to panic real quick. I wanted to tell the bike man to increase his speed by telling him someone I didn’t know was coming after me but I thought against it.
I brought out my phone from my bag all shaky at this point and tried calling a male colleague who I felt would have been at the office at the time and could come rescue me but he wasn’t picking and on the third try, his phone was off.
Immediately I got down from the bike and paid the biker (I had change thankfully), I raced into my office building, banging on the door before I gained access. For the next couple of minutes, I sat half-expecting him to knock on my office door. Maybe I would have fainted if that had happened.
Now much later after I’d calmed down, I thought of the whole issue and I began to feel like I had been harassed. I termed it harassment because I had been extremely uncomfortable and continuously pestered against my wish. I tried to imagine that he was persistently following me without a car and against my wish.
I posted my experience on Facebook and I had varying reactions. Some were of the opinion that calling that harassment was way too far-fetched. After all, he was only indicating his interest in me. While others did agree that it was harassment.
I don’t know what you think (and I definitely would like to know) but I still do think that that guy harassed me! Even if he was being persistent or whatever, I had told him No twice and he still kept on. Maybe I overreacted by being panicky but I’ve never been one person to remain calm when I suspect someone following me.
What do I call it? An infringement on a lady’s right to free movement? Abi what sef?
Well, so that’s what happened. What do you think?
What Is So Wrong With Being A Housewife?
I grew up in a society where being a housewife was totally frowned at by the literates of the society. And that society is the same society where I still live. I have begun to really wonder why being a housewife seems like such a taboo for both men and women alike. Everybody seems to agree on the fact that no woman should consider being a housewife, especially if she’s educated. Why spend so many years going to school when you’re going to sit down for the rest of your marriage in your house doing “nothing”?
While I am not of the opinion that a woman should be stuck in the home after marriage, I still believe doing so is not a bad idea. I have always been an ambitious person and I have never much fancied not having a regular job. But then, I am beginning to have a re-think. While I don’t want to sit down at home absolutely doing nothing, I do not think I am mentally ready for the stress of going to work all day and then coming back to face the stress of the house. Lol, yes I am that lazy. I would prefer a job where I can sit down at home and keep getting the money and still be able to keep an eye on my children.
Okay, this post isn’t about me. What I’m saying is, there is really nothing wrong with being a full housewife. What if a lady thinks she wants to approach being a full-time housewife as a full-time job? Why disagree with her? “Funke, times have changed. We’re no longer in ‘those days'”, you want to protest. And I totally understand. But who says being a housewife isn’t a job anyway? No, it isn’t just a job, it is a life.
Imagine having to pay someone who will wholeheartedly take care of and look after your kids. Or someone who will cook your meals. Or watch after the house. And at the end of the day, function well in “za oda room”. Imagine having to pay for each of them. Well, unless you’re wealthy, paying for these may not be so easy.
What am I saying? There is nothing wrong with being a housewife. A woman should be able to make her own decisions and we should be able to respect that. If a woman decides that with all her degrees, she wants to stay at home and be a housewife, leave her be. It doesn’t make her irrelevant or less important than other “career women”.
So here’s for all the full housewives out there who are receiving little or no recognition for their jobs well done. You all are doing an amazing job and I celebrate you for it. For all I know, housewives are pretty much as relevant to our society as much as every other career woman. They shouldn’t be looked down on or seen as “unambitious” or weak.
Or, what do you think?
A List of Some of the Biggest Mistakes I’ve Ever Made
For a while now, I’ve been considering a lot of my plans, commitments, goals and ideas. And I must confess that, usually, I am awed by how gigantic my dreams are. Let me tell you something about me: I am one person who dreams a lot. I sit down or walk the road daily thinking about the big dreams I have. Trust me, I have massive ideas almost all the time. Only thing, though, is you’d rarely get to hear me talk about them. I personally prefer to do first before talking about it.
Sometimes, I talk to myself, consider the goals I have had and why they didn’t materialize. I do like to be open and sincere with myself even though it’s easier to shy away from the thoughts of pain that accompany every failed step I have taken.
Since I really am free to sharing my mistakes with you, I am writing this. Hopefully, you can read through and relate well and yes, also be inspired.
So here are some of the biggest mistakes I have ever made:
1. Being afraid of failing.
In the past, I did have a fear of failing. I basically had to always ask myself “What if it doesn’t come through as planned? What would people say? What would I look like?” and all other questions like that. Somehow, being in that comfort zone of not having to bother about failing feels good. Looking back now, I wish I had taken many steps I desired in the past without a fear of failing. I have come to realize that those who are scared of failing really do not go far in life. This is because being scared of failing means being scared of following your dreams and goals and ideas.
2. Not acting upon my ideas
Until much recently, I was more of a dreamer than a doer. I would sit and dream and plan and never really get around to doing. This would happen until I eventually forgot about the goal or till I got demotivated and had to move over to something else. However, I had to consciously make myself understand that if I had a plan or an idea, I had to actively work on it. In 2015, I had this idea of doing an improvement challenge for twenty-one days and involve other people as well. I sat and planned and at the point I discovered I was doing much planning than doing, I instantly set out to start. The project came out great and the number of people who joined in amazed me. The same thing happened a few months back when I had the idea of a ladies’ spiritual meeting back in the university. I have quite recovered from this mistake and still recovering too. Learn not to only dream but to also act on your dreams.
3. Waiting to have everything perfect and in place before starting out.
This has to be the biggest hindrance to me doing most of the things I really have wanted to do. I like things being all in place before launching out on anything. I’ve learnt, though, that to achieve results, you must drop that feeling of wanting to have everything in place and all perfect. Everything won’t be perfect at any point anyway so why not do what you want to do?
4. Thinking too much about what others would think or say or feel. Yes, I’m one of those people who care about opinions. And I do regret how much achievement this has caused me in the past. I have learnt that people really don’t care about what you achieve and if they do, you can do without their opinions. Too many people hold back on a big deal they should be doing or landing because they’re pretty much bothered about what other people will say. I guess this is due to the fear of disapproval. Well, I’ve learnt it’s my life and nobody’s opinion should rank better than mine.
I’m grateful for the mistakes I’ve made because they’ve taught me how better things could be done. And well, I really am still learning from a host of other mistakes. What are the biggest mistakes you have made? Can you share them with me?
4 Simple Ways To Engage With Friends On Your Personal Facebook List
Much recently, I began to get more interested in studying and tracking my Facebook posts on my personal account. Sometimes I have posts that get many reactions and other times, I get less reactions than expected. This may not be a widely-given rule. However, if you’re looking at creating content and selling your brand on your Facebook account, this would be helpful. So here’s it- how to engage better with your personal posts on Facebook.
1. Use well-edited pictures
People relate a lot more with well-edited and carefully-taken pictures. Imagine that feeling you have when you see a blurred image? Yes, other people have it too. You don’t necessarily need to be a spectacular photographer. It doesn’t always matter if you’re very beautiful or handsome. A picture with a good camera with just the right filter and an exposure to sufficient light would come out just fine. You should remember this when you’re thinking about the next image or picture to upload.
2. Use images in your post
People react to posts that include. images more than posts without that do not. If you ask me, I’ll say images help your posts stand out. It’s easier for one to scroll past a plain post that one which has an inviting picture. These days, I am adding pictures more to my personal posts and I am getting more reactions. I know this because I’ve studied that. However, as much as you can, ensure that whatever picture you’re adding to your post reflects the message. You don’t want to put up a picture that speaks a very different language from what you’re trying to pass across. Else, people will focus more on the picture and forget the message. You get?
3. Tell a story
People react to stories massively. Recently, I figured people love gists. People want to read stories. If it’s a story, people are definitely interested. It could be a funny story, a touching story or whatever kind of story. As long as it’s a story, it definitely sells. If you sell products or services, you must learn to tell stories effectively. I think you have a double advantage if the post is funny. So when next you want to upload that picture, ensure to engage people by telling a story. Don’t just “post and leave”. (Tip: People love being entertained)
4. Reply and react to necessary comments on your posts
Have you visited a blog that had awesome content, were moved to drop a comment only for you to notice that comments from other readers went unreplied? I have seen that times without number and it turns me off instantly. Unreplied comments communicate that you don’t appreciate them. And truth be told, it’s the same with Facebook comments. If someone drops a valuable comment on your post and doesn’t get a reply from you, such person might refrain from dropping a comment on your posts next time. Replying to comments on your post provides a good ground to engage with people who have same interests as you. Don’t forget to react to comments appropriately too. That surely goes a long way.
So, have you studied your Facebook audience personally before? What were your findings? Let’s talk in the comments box. Did this list help you? Do let me know. ☺️
Questions You Should Ask Before Starting Your Business.
Everyday, I observe business people and deeply appreciate the fact that people engage in a legitimate means of survival. I am usually fascinated by how far people can go to ensure they earn a living. At times, I come across people who sell stuff that I most likely would never have anything to do with. And I find myself wondering why exactly these people have chosen to sell these things. Is it that they just love the items they’re selling? Or is it that they don’t want to enter a competitive market by selling what everyone else is? Or is it that the desire to make money just exceeds the need to consider the market well? I just may never know.
I believe everybody who wants to start up a business or who is looking at providing services should ask themselves vital questions like:
-Who will buy what I want to sell? Business isn’t just about selling what you like to sell or selling what you think will sell. It is selling what people will buy. And I know you’ve heard that you shouldn’t go into business for the money but trust me, nobody wants to be in a business that’s gulping down all their costs and giving them close to nothing in return, unless it’s a charity organization.
-Where are the people who want to buy what I want to sell? If you’ve sat down and considered the above, then you should make the effort to know where your buyers are. Are they on a street? Are they in a big market? Oh, are they online? Find these out. This would help you in getting to know how to get your market to your consumers. It is also vital to know that something that sells well in Abuja may not sell in Lagos.
-How do I get my market to people who will buy it? Now that you know who will buy your products and where they can be found, how can I get it to them? If they’re online, you definitely would have to invest your resources into social media marketing. If they’re offline, you should develop a plan to either be located close to them or make arrangements to make it available to them if you can’t be physically close to them.
Of course, building and establishing a business definitely requires more than this on a larger scale but for starters, I believe this would help.
What other questions should every business person ask before launching out? Please comment below.