Employability is a suitable topic for discussion on a Monday, just because we have lots of Job seekers and many still do not know what mistakes cost the job. So today, we have an interaction with a young lady who inspires people with her wealth of experience as an HR consultant. Chidera is a content creator, a social media manager and an expert at writing a CV and cover letters for jobs. In this interview, she shares with us her journey to becoming what she is now and what she thinks we all need to know to guide us while seeking employment.
Hello Chidera, it so good to have here. We appreciate your accepting to share to share with us from your bank of knowledge and experience. Can you please tell us everything you need us to know about you?
Let us start with your graduation, when did you graduate? Did you have any fears? What were your fears and since you graduated, have you faced any of those fears you had?
Chidera: I graduated 2016 and yes I did have fears. Prior to graduation, I was certain I’ll be retained in my school as a graduate assistant because the rule was, all High performing first-class students would be retained and given automatic employment. And my CGPA was 4.92 so I was VERY sure I’d be retained. But close to the time of graduation, school management was changed, staff were fired and new staff were hired. There was a lot of chaos in the school then. And that was when my biggest fear came up:
If I don’t get retained, what next? What are other job asides lecturing? Would I have to start applying for jobs? What other skills do I have?
And Yes, I’ve faced these fears.
So after graduation is NYSC. Many young Nigerians are not really excited about NYSC, some believe it is a waste of time. What do you think about the program? Are there benefits accrued to it you think we should know?
I was excited to go for my service year because I love adventures and the idea of residing in a whole new environment was a thrill for me. As much as many people feel it’s a waste of time, I still think there are certain benefits to it, it depends on the individual and what he/she wants to achieve. Service year can be one of the most productive times of your life if you utilize it well.
I went for my service year with clear objectives of the things I wanted to achieve. It was during the service year that I took on media roles/opportunities, did a couple of volunteering, registered and sat for some exams, travelled to Calabar for tourism, read 50books at the end of the year and fine-tuned my writing skills.
So like I said, it depends on the individual.
Did you get a job immediately after? Applying and waiting for job interviews have been proved to be one of the most frustrating things fresh graduates experience, what was your experience like?
Hmm… This is the part that touches me personally lol. I had started applying for jobs before NYSC POP and continued after. But two months down the line I had received not one job offer! Not a single one! It was a very dark phase for me. In my head, I felt I was perfectly qualified, with my “first class” and skill set, who wouldn’t want me? It was a depressing season for me mostly because I hadn’t prepared for this time of my life. Not until one day when I decided to have a long look at my applications and make research did I find out what I was getting wrong and things I was missing. Turns out my CV was poor, organization and presentation were Zero and my Cover letters were a big joke. To spare you the details, after I effected the things I had found out, the job offers started coming in the following week. So it’s not necessarily about the class of degree, but how well you’re able to convince the employer that you’re the right fit for the job.
What are the mistakes fresh graduates make while applying for jobs? What qualities are the qualities of an employable person?
Chidera: Number one mistake has to be using one CV to apply for every job. Different jobs have their specifications, so using one CV all the time wouldn’t cut it, it’s better to have different types tweaked for different jobs. Another mistake is the failure to read the job description. When some graduates see a job opening, they check for the job title, location and salary but fail to read what the job would require. An understanding of the job description would even help suit your CV for the job.
- Qualities of an employable person: Ability to learn, the person has to be teachable.
- Ability to work with people i.e great people skill and teamwork.
- Ability to work with little or no supervision.
These should do.
One of the things we know about you is that you help to write CVs that can help increase the chances of a job applicant, can you please share with us hints on writing a job landing CV.
Chidera: Okay but I don’t just write CVs, I optimize them. In CV writing, the organization is key. It shouldn’t be hard for your employer to find key details about you. Also, bear in mind that an HR executive may have 3-5seconds to glance at your CV so you have to make it easy to navigate through. Also, try and use figures to highlight key achievements, it is more eye-catching e.g I increased sales by 20% in the first month I worked at XYZ company
The process doesn’t stop at writing CVs. What else should a person who wants to be seen as employable prepare? How should I prepare for an interview if I am to attend one?
Chidera: First things first, Be mentally ready. Some interviews are laid back others are not. You have to prepare before time and even rehearse answering a couple of questions, a good place to start is to rehearse answering the Tell me about yourself question. Next thing is to look the part. Dress smart! I cannot overemphasize this. I’ve seen candidates disqualified simply because they didn’t dress smartly. I didn’t say expensive but smart, it doesn’t cost much to look prim and proper.
This one is crucial. We are in a digital age and social media is a trend, a lot of us put up so much on social media, how does this increase or decrease our chances of employment?
Chidera: Many employers these days check your social media profiles to know more about you. Apart from that, social media is a great way to tell your story. It is a powerful tool when used correctly. A friend of mine would say: Be careful of your digital footprints
Before you post think about how that piece of information would be representing you.
If you were in a conference right now, what advice will you offer to 7,000 young people who are your audience to help improve the quality of their lives?
Chidera: Have and build quality relationships. Beyond the Education and Information you have, people are very important. Remember the cliche saying: your network determines your net worth? It may sound outdated now, but it still holds some truth.
Always be a person that offers value and find ways to build relevant quality relationships. Referrals and a good reputation go a long way.
I hope you have had a great time reading this interview, you can interact with our friend Chidera via her social links if you have any further questions you would love to ask and you can also visit her website request for her services.
Facebook: Chidera Gift Peters
Finally, I am pretty sure your friends will be glad if you share this interview with them. Go ahead and make their day!