As I sat down this past weekend to watch the television, I got a call from a friend of a friend; let us call him Sunny. He needed a job and wanted to know if I could help. I asked him a few questions. “What can you do? What have you been doing? What qualification supported that? Where was he looking to work?”
I did not quite barrage him with all these questions at once but spaced it out.
To my first question, he said he could do anything. He also told me he was skilled in several disciplines and could function in any department. “Really, I said, so can you be a Pilot? He responded quickly “Not like that” I mean “Marketing, Sales, Logistics and Admin”. Hmm… I thought. I asked him what he wanted to do long term and he started to share his vision of being at the Head of Finance department in a big company. He had done CIMA and was currently writing CFA. He has also joined the Nigerian Institute of Marketing.
At this point, I asked, “What would you most like to be known for?” He went quiet before responding, “Well he said, I would like to be known for my financial acumen. The only challenge is that I have not had enough Finance work experience. This is why I am telling you I can do anything”. Apparently, he had spent most of his time doing Marketing type jobs and he wanted to do finance but he was not sure where to go and who would give him a chance!
Sunny’s story is like that of several million Nigerians. Even as it is clear that there are not enough jobs to go round, some companies have vacancies that have been open for months and they are unable to fill. The reasons they are unable to fill are usually many. However, making sure you stand chance, starts with having some work experience relevant to the role.
In some cases after months of search, companies settle for crossover career people (i.e.) people who display aptitude and appear willing to apply themselves but little or no experience relevant to the role. Then finally, at their wits’ end they settle for the wildcard. These people have been selected sometimes at random and they are being asked to stay in the role for now. If they perform well they get to keep it.
Now for many people, having the work experience supported with the right qualifications still does not get you the job! So what do you do? When you present yourself on your Resume/CV, (the first point of reference) what do you say? I have seen people who lost out on the chance of an interview because these CV’s were literally confusing. It did not state clearly what they had been doing. Others stated it but not in relation to the role they applied for. Just hearing someone who is an experienced HR professional talk to you about what you really should be doing to get a job makes a whole world of difference.
This is where the field of career coaching becomes important. Truth is, in this ultra-modern age, knowledge is not exclusive. The difference is in the relationships and partnerships you are building. When you have a proper conversation with that experienced professional it gives you some aid and helps you get to half of the problem. The rest is up to you to make a difference. Are you willing to apply yourself?
You may ask what do I stand to gain from all this? As a matter of fact the question is what have you got to lose in return.