5 easy steps to land your dream job

Photo credit: Temple Maduoma

My Internship Experience

Two things are in the mouth of almost every Nigerian, one is getting a job and the other is travelling abroad. Why? Because the economic situation of the country is one in which words cannot express. Even so, to remedy the situation, Nigeria more than ever needs to invest quality years of nation-building. That is if things don’t get worse as time goes on. Time? Time is something again that is rather not on our side. In fact, time is tirelessly working against us. It’s as if that “the speed of time” has forever doubled, from now till the next moment is heisting with great unimaginable speed. learn from my internship experience.

However, while you consider getting a job or travelling abroad. Consider also what it will look like when all the over 200 million people that occupy Nigeria want to do the same thing.

Hey! I know what you are thinking, ‘how is that even possible?’ Well, you’re correct, and it’s in fact, nearly impossible for everyone to want to do the same thing. In essence, here’s what I am saying. Whether you are considering getting a job or travelling, keep in mind that millions of people are thinking the same thing. considering the current economic situation like ours, neither travelling nor getting employed is an easy task. In fact, those can be the most tedious thing anyone can endeavour.

Come to think of it, if it’s that hard or nearly impossible, what’s the point then? Well again, as I’m rightly aware, you are here because you want to gain employment pretty soon, a job capable of changing your life or career path for good. Or, you probably want to travel and you want to do all this in the most comforting ways or better still, in few simple steps.  Mind you, you might also be here because you love good stories, LOL.

Temple Maduoma | The Experience

I can vividly remember everything that happened during my internship search. My internship experience wasn’t an easy one. I searched, searched, and searched. At that time, I went from sending emails to office-to-office applications to phone calls and everything in between.

During those days in my University, I identified with groups of determined students who want to make a significant difference and consequently cause brilliant change across the world through innovation and sustainable businesses. So, if you are probably in college, I advise you to join one.

Then, we used to have a session where students share their internship experiences, and during one of those sessions, you will hear students lament how hard and frustrating it is to gain an internship placement. Some even admitted that they wouldn’t have found a placement if not for connection. We used to call it IM or Conne. what this means is that they only get the opportunity to intern because they in a way know someone that works or probably has a say in the organisation and they influence the recruitment process. You can imagine according to them, an organisation that may have probably told them that they were not accepting interns called them to begin internship just because of who they know.

That is hilarious, isn’t it? Well, it is, it was, at least for someone like me who doesn’t know anyone; chances are that my parents don’t either. But then, I’m the kind of person that would always see possibilities in every situation. My dad would always tell me, “A poor man doesn’t pay school fees more than once.” Those words have found a way to motivate me to do more and to go the extra mile.

“A poor man doesn’t pay school fees more than once.”

Immediately after my 300 level 2nd semester examinations. I hurried home, it was the month of December and while everyone was preparing for Xmas and everything it comes with, I was busy studying, my chances of gaining an internship depends on it. Before the vacation, I collected materials from my senior colleagues, past questions, and all I could place my hand on. I asked a lot of questions. I major in Chemical Engineering and so I had a list of companies where I wanted to intern; Shell, Chevron, Saipem, Total, etc.  

However, these companies examine their prospective interns and they choose only but a few, at least, now you know why I had to study. After the exams, some of my senior colleagues will always register their disappointment, they would say, “O boy the exam no be here, nothing come out.” What this meant was that perhaps there wasn’t any light for them at the end of that tunnel. I know those exams can be challenging but the number of candidates that usually turn up for the exams makes matters worse to the extent where you are tempted to doubt your capabilities.

To cut the story short. After the Christmas break, we all came back to school which was my 4th-year first semester, the semester before the 6 months internship. I applied to a few companies on my list and shortly afterwards, I received an examination invitation from Saipem contracting Nigeria. Surprisingly, I saw most of my college mates at the examination venue. As you can imagine, the number of candidates was alarming. “it was the number for me lol.” I noticed we had a morning and an afternoon list for Port Harcourt-based where I wrote the exam, and I had no idea what happened in Lagos.

The examination was not very tough aside from the section I found a bit challenging because we were not allowed to use a calculator. Some of the candidates boasted that they had people in the company which constantly sent horror through my nerves. I did my best and that was what matters. The examination happened in January 2020 and we weren’t told when to expect feedback. I heard from no one throughout February 2020, and so I thought maybe that was it. One of my colleagues even told me students have started interning in Saipem already. I was pained but then, Saipem was just one of the many baskets I had my eggs in.

Later afterwards, ASUU went on a warning strike which was later extended to an indefinite strike. I took that break to submit applications to chemical-related companies in Aba and Owerri. It was on that ‘sunful’ day while I was going from one company to another that a call came in.

“Hello Good day,” I said.

The caller replied, ” Hello, is this Temple Maduoma?”

I said “yes Ma’am.”

She interrupted, “I am calling you from Saipem Nigeria, you have been selected for our internship programme.” When are you ready to begin your internship?” she concluded.

Yes! You got it right, the happiness was inexpressible. I told her that our academic calendar said I would be available by the 1st of June 2020, and she said that was fine and that I should call that number when I’m set.

It is rare COVID-19 doesn’t feature in any 2020 story. It’s, however, still making headlines. So, remember to get vaccinated and follow the covid-19 protocol in your respective location. Stay safe.

Temple Maduoma | The Fall

Meanwhile, the pandemic has come and we locked down. Fast-forward to 2021, we managed to rush things and finished our exams. I called Sapiem and they gave me the 2021 cliché that made me think the world was against me. “I’m sorry Temple, we are unable to accept interns due to the pandemic, we will get back to you as soon as we can”. This was the Genesis of my experience with a “there is no job in Nigeria.” I began to understand what my colleagues were saying lately. My location made things worse as all the little opportunities left were now in Lagos of which I could not travel at that time.

Gate-men can be demonic if you are a job seeker, some of them are so rude, and behave as though the company were theirs.

I went from sending emails to submitting applications physically at various companies and when it didn’t work, I prospected some companies’ HR manager’s numbers and called them. It was either they were not accepting interns because they were not in full operation or for some other reasons that had to do with the effect of the pandemic on the economy.

It was an experience I enjoy sharing because it made me understand the economic atmosphere of where I call my home and gave a mixed tease of what life could be after graduation. I ended up volunteering with a table water company around my location.

Nonetheless, there are many things job seekers can take home from my internship experience that can spin their experience in an exciting new direction.

  1. Intention

I was very intentional. In the beginning, I knew what I wanted and I worked towards it. It yielded success even though Covid intercepted it, it was worthwhile after all.

Most of the time job seekers don’t know what they want. When you ask, you will hear things like “anything at all, I can work anywhere”.

No! You can’t work anywhere. In fact, there is no such thing as “anywhere,” it’s either you want to work for Airtel Nigeria, Flutterwave or you want to work as a public relations officer, data analyst, or front-end developer. You must be intentional if you want to get a job easily.

2. Preparation

As you noticed I had to move out of my comfort zone and prepare for what was ahead. The truth is that you aren’t going to be soft out there and so, you have to be tough if you want to survive that storm. It works on a principle, “in the Jungle only the brave and strong can survive.” I’m sorry our world is the survival of the fittest. Whether you believe it or not, that is what it is and so, preparation is to success as what breath is to life.

In the jungle, only the brave survive

3. Be Aggressive

One good aspect of my story is that it’s in two phases. Even though there was no significant success in the second part, there are things we could learn from it too.

If you noticed, I searched through every corner and surprisingly I  made CEO and HR friends too. Common, you are searching for a job and your life probably depends on it. If you are fortunately the first child, then, your family’s life, mama, papa, siblings, and everyone depends on it too. Don’t leave any stone unturned.

If they are not replying to your email, stock them via Linkedin, tag them in your tweets, take your files to their office, call them on the phone and tell a friend to help you tell a friend. Meanwhile, I will write an article on how I got the hiring manager’s phone number and emails.

So, even when someone greets, reply with “I am looking for a job.” You are not embarrassing yourself. What happens is that, when they see an opportunity, you will rank top in their mind. So, leverage that mind ranking technique. Attend conferences and Network. It worked for me and will most likely work for you. The next step is;

4. Execution

You see, most people usually don’t consider this point but without doubt, this is the most important point, although every point here is important.

If I had been intentional, prepared myself, or probably didn’t apply or perhaps wasn’t present at the exam, there is certainly no way you would have read this in the first place. So, execution is very important.

“Hundred days of preparation without execution is as good as waste”

Hundreds of days of preparation without execution is as good as waste – work done equals Zero

In conclusion, there is nowhere in the world searching for a job is easy. If not, we would all go there, but it is harder when you live in a country like Nigeria with constant distractions and traumatising events that are capable of driving one nut.

All in all, it’s a matter of doing what works for you, even so, how do you tell what works for you? By trying, yes!

There are countless things you can do to ease your job hunting experience such as drinking plenty of water and getting enough rest before the interview but, we will draw the curtain here and I encourage you to check out our regular job posting. All the best. Celebrate yourself if you read to this point.

The End!

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