Dear student, “how equipped are you for the present day Nigeria?” The current day Nigeria isn’t
graduate friendly and contributing in no small measure to it is the poor quality of Education at
most of the nation’s higher institution of learning which is not enough to equip graduates with
requisite skill to become irresistibly employable.
Government and employers of labour continued to lament that Nigerian graduates are half-
baked or even quarter-baked, then you wonder, “who is responsible for this? In which society
were they quarterly-baked?” That is a story for another day.
This write up seek to address one of the problems that fresh graduates out of school often
face. It is not uncommon to find job openings requiring 3-5 years of cognate experience. Some
graduates often ask themselves “how am I supposed to get experience as a fresh graduate
when every firm is trashing my application for lack of experience?”
The answer to that is you can get the experience required for that “dream” job even before
leaving college. Experience they say is the best teacher and like Paulo Coelho opines, “people
never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves”.
Below are 5 (five) ways to gain job experience while still in school, that can make your employer
place you side-by-side with an employee who has been in the firm for the past 2 or 3 years.
The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today -Elbert
“What readily comes to mind whenever you hear the word volunteer?”
Work for nothing? No, it goes beyond that. When you volunteer to do something, you offer
help for free. In other words, you are not just working for nothing, you are solving a particular
problem. Often times, people mistake volunteering as simply helping an individual person, while
that is part of it, it encompasses more.
Approach that firm in your area during holidays and offer to work for them FREE. If you are
turned down, try again. Paulina Brandy failed the California bar exams 13 times before finally
making it at the 14th attempt, so don’t give up. As a student of engineering, follow professionals
to field to gain on site knowledge that cannot be realized from the classroom. Employers
requires you to have experience for the job, but remember you need job to get the experience
and one way is to volunteer.
You can offer to teach the younger age group for free and prepare them for final exams. The
idea is identify your career path and offer help in that field.
Volunteering however, is not a Nigeria concept, hence no one will look for you to volunteer, you
have to take the bull by the horn yourself
2. INTERNSHIP/INDUSTRIAL TRAINING
“You cannot create experience, you must undergo it” –Albert Camus
Another way to gain practical experience in your filed is Internships and Industrial training. As an
undergraduate, several internship programmes are available to help tailor you for your career.
Internships are not only meant for undergraduates, nowadays, it is considered an entry level for
fresh graduates into the job market.
Industrial training provides student opportunity to bridge theory with practice. It is often
coordinated by the SIWES or ITCC department of your institution. IT as it is often called
exposes student to real work situations and offers a good start to begin your career. So take
your Industrial training programme serious and use it to gain the necessary skills while still at
For example, during my 3 months IT programme, I learnt how to carry out tasks which have
never been mentioned in the classroom within a short period of time. With time, I was able
to handle clients on my own with little or no supervision. While I was leaving, the manager
wished I stay longer. I did not only learn new skill, I also created an opportunity for future job
consideration through my attitude to work.
3. GET COLLEGE EXPERIENCE
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely” -Auguste Rodin
One of the most popular advice parents give to their Children is “go to school, study hard,
make a good grade and get a good job”. So most students with the determination –and the
fear – not to disappoint parents, passes through school without allowing school to pass through
them. Most however, realized that getting good grade alone does not position them for a comfy
future after all. As you go through school, get Campus experience, take part in extra-curricular
activities such as joining student organization on campus, the Man O’ War, the red cross society
amidst others, you can also write for your campus press organization.
Be involved in a team that undertake particular projects in your department, faculty or College.
Channel time wasted on frivolous activities into productive venture by setting goals and seeing
them accomplished. This does not only enhance your CV, it positions you as an all round and
4. TAKE UP LEADERSHIP ROLE
As well as good academic records I look for people who've climbed mountains or been
captain of the tiddlywinks team at university. People who other people will follow.” -
John Banham, British business executive
Taking leadership role while in College is one of the ways to learn valuable skills that will be
useful after your school years. You do not have to contest the position of the Students’ Union
president before you take up leadership role. Fortunately, there are no shortage of leadership
opportunities in the college.
Representing your floor in the hostel or hall of residence helps you learn the rudimentary of
legislative proceedings. Running for a position in the Students’ Union, faculty or department
gives you an idea of leadership in action, it affords you opportunity to see the good, the bad and
the worse. Stand out by maximizing any leadership opportunity to help you build your skill.
5. ORGANIZE OR BE PART OF COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT
“The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to
help others”. -Albert Schweitzer
Your academic year might be time consuming that you hardly have time during the session, that
does not mean holiday periods are just to be used for sleeping. Identify a particular problem
in your community, during summer break, organize or be part of a peer group that solves the
problem. Always remember that you don’t need a million to make a difference, all that is needed
is a willing heart ready to make the difference. Between the little you will not do and the mighty
you can’t do, you end up doing nothing.
In my 3 years of being actively involved in the activities of a student organization in my
community, it has taught me how to work with a team, how to plan, organize and execute tasks
In conclusion, College days lost can never be regained; I know some wished they had read this
some years ago, others will say I’m glad I’m reading it now. Either ways, it is never too late to do
It is imperative for every student to take advantages that University, Polytechnic and College
education offers to be a better formed graduate.