Life after university: Helpful tips for recent graduates and job seekers


Recent graduates
Let me start by saying this. If you’re blessed to find a job right after your graduation, you’re incredibly lucky. If you get one before graduation, kindly remember to send your prayer format to management. Let’s prosper together!

Transitioning from being a student to a job seeker was less than exciting. I often tell my classmates that I wish I could go back in time and introduce a compulsory unit to our course work. I’d call it “Life after Uni: Successfully transitioning to a taxpayer.” I obviously can’t, so I thought I‘d use this platform to share the four things I wish I knew earlier.

1. Find your niche.


You may have studied finance, communication, IT, but how and where exactly do you intend to apply your skills? What additional skills do you have that will complement your technical skills? Find out what you want to do and where you want to be 10 years from, where you can fit in best and where you can create value before you go applying for every opportunity that comes round.

2. Aptitude test.


60% of the jobs you apply to require you to either complete a few aptitude tests or sit through an assessment center. These tests range from Form 4 math (do you remember loci, longitudes, and latitudes, etc) and general knowledge (what is the name of the Nigerian national football team, Ugandan rugby team, etc) to more complex tests that assess your numerical, mechanical, diagrammatic and verbal reasoning, speed and situational judgment.

Different companies use different test designers e.g SHL, Cubix, Saville, etc. Each has a different approach in asking questions which is what makes the practice so important. I’d advise you to familiarize yourself with the different tests as soon as possible. Practice makes perfect. Here are a few links to sites that offer free practice:

  • https://www.shldirect.com/en/practice-tests
  • https://www.practiceaptitudetests.com/
  • https://www.assessment-training.com/free-tests
  • https://practicetests.cubiks.com/ability-tests/advanced
  • https://www.numericalreasoningtest.org/
  • https://cpt.hitbullseye.com
  • https://www.gradtests.com.au/member/takeatest
  • https://greenturn.co.uk
  • https://portal.graduatesfirst.com

3. Interview preparation.


Keep in mind, your interviewers have heard it all before. Three key pointers you should have in mind are:

  • Always give an example - The interviewer wants to hear interesting stories. This is your opportunity to sell yourself. Tell them about that time you saved the day, that extra effort you put in and the results thereafter. Use the STAR format:

a) Set up the Situation

b) Define the Task

c) Explain your role and relevant Action taken

d) Show the Results

  • Know your selling point - Everyone has a degree, good communication skills and all the generic papers you acquired before you joined university (e.g ICDL). Do additional activities, participate in any related competitions, volunteer far and wide. Strive to be the better candidate. 
  • Don’t be generic - You’re not hard-working; you’re industrious or you have a drive for excellence. You’re not a good timekeeper; you prioritize accordingly or you complete your tasks within the required time frame. Expand your vocabulary.
  • Know the business - Study your employer and their business, all related news, trends, and competitors. Have your finger on the market’s pulse.


4. Networking ≠ Using connections


Using your network to seek out a job involves informing the people you know that you’re looking for a job. This is helpful because they can inform you of opportunities that they come across. It is not the same as using them to get the job irregularly i.e getting a job because of familial relations, looks, tribalism, etc. To efficiently use your network, I’d suggest telling them what job you’re looking for and what department/industry you’re looking to get into. Should they happen to know of a fitting opportunity, they could point you in the right direction. Use your resources as well. Visit your university’s career offices and faculties.

In short, the journey to becoming an income taxpayer is more difficult than expected, but hopefully, some of these pointers will help you avoid the common mistakes. All the very best in your job search and all the very best to the graduating classes of 2020 and beyond!
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