Every year, Nigeria produces about 600,000 graduates. However, most of them join the long list of unemployed youths in the country. As of 2020, an estimated 2.9 million graduates were unemployed.
With unemployment increasing every year, finding the right job is a hard bargain for most Nigerian and African youths. However, for most graduates, especially those in Nigeria, finding just any job is no longer enough. Many now crave the luxury of working overseas.
Almost 50% of Nigerian adults have indicated willingness to leave the country in the next five years, according to a survey by the Pew Research Centre.
However, less than 5% of youths that try are successful. In a chat with Technext, Kyle Elliott, a Silicon Valley-based career coach, shares secrets on how young African graduates can land job opportunities overseas.
Leverage on job boards
The global COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed hiring. Industries such as technology, logistics, and supply chain have seen massive job growth over the last year as a result of the pandemic.
Kyle foresees a continuous increase in hiring in these industries over the next several years as people continue to work from home and shift to the future of work after COVID-19.
Speaking on how youth can leverage the massive hiring opportunities across the world, the career coach explained that job seekers should leverage on job boards to see what positions companies are hiring for right now.
He added that once they get a good grasp of the experiences and skills companies are looking for, they should tailor their career documents to speak the language of those companies.
“Avoid the mistake of requiring recruiters and hiring managers to read between the lines of your experience. Make it easy for employers to understand how your experience is a perfect fit for the role they are hiring for.”Kyle Elliott, Silicon Valley career coach
Hiring is on the rise but the job market remains saturated and competitive
While hiring is on the rise, Kyle explained that the job market remains saturated and competition is fierce. According to him, this is one of the reasons why most African applicants don’t get selected.
He advised that job seekers that are searching for employment sponsorship should be prepared to explain what sets them apart from other candidates.
“Clearly articulate your unique value in your cover letter and resume, on your LinkedIn profile, and throughout the interview process if you want to stand out from the crowd.”Kyle Elliott, Silicon Valley career coach
Dedicate ample space in your resume to your degree
Kyle’s analysis echoes the feedback a Canadian CEO gave on a recent role he filled in his company. According to him, the company received over 2,000 applications for just one role in less than a week.
Asked for tips on how job seekers can write standout applications, Kyle advised that they should avoid the mistake of only devoting one or two lines of their resume to their degree.
“You just spent 4, 5, or 6-plus years on your degree. Dedicate ample space on your resume to your degree. Beyond sharing your university name and degree awarded, highlight notable coursework, relevant class projects, internships, and extracurricular activities.”Kyle Elliott, Silicon Valley career coach
He added that job seekers should highlight how their degree is an added value to future employers.
Secondly, the career coach advised applicants to request a testimonial or two from professors and classmates via LinkedIn. They should then weave those testimonials into their cover letter and resume.
“Testimonials provide an opportunity to speak to your soft skills, which can be difficult to communicate on your own,” Kyle added.
Your alumni network is a powerful gateway to getting ‘in’ at your target company
Aside from submitting the perfect application, Kyle highlighted networking as a powerful tool in landing one’s dream job.
“You can use the Alumni tab on a company’s LinkedIn page to find alumni who currently or previously worked at your target company,” he advised.
“Reach out to fellow alumni and request a 15 to 20-minute informational interview to learn more about the company and culture.”Kyle Elliott, Silicon Valley career coach
He added that job seekers can also leverage their professors. “They likely have connections in your industry. Visit your professors during their office hours and request introductions to people at your target companies. Ensure you are specified with the types of roles you are looking for so they can connect you with the best decision-makers possible.”
The Silicon Valley career coach also tipped that those searching for employment sponsorship should begin by targeting companies that offer H-1B Visa sponsorship.
Here‘s a platform you can use to review what companies are offering sponsorship for employment.
Getting through interviews
After scaling through the application process, the interview process follows. However, like most new ways of working, the interview has also gone virtual.
Asked for tips on how to perform well in virtual interviews, Kyle revealed that the secret was preparation. He explained that job seekers can leverage the power of LinkedIn to connect with people at their target companies and request for a brief informational interview.
LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool because you are only a click away from hundreds of millions of people.Kyle Elliott, Silicon Valley career coach
This would help them better prepare for any questions that may be asked during the interview. He also added that applicants should not be afraid to pick up the phone and call decision-makers.
“While many people stay behind the comfort of email and LinkedIn messages, do not be afraid to pick up the phone and call decision-makers. You can really stand out from the crowd with a phone call.”
Take time to learn about the company
After getting the job, figuring out what to do next can be a hassle. Kyle says it doesn’t have to be. He explained that the new employee needs to take time to learn about the company they will be joining.
“Read up on the company culture via investor reports, social media, GlassDoor, and Team Blind. If you have not already done so, take time to reach out and begin conversations with your colleagues on LinkedIn.”
He added that they should also begin mapping out a 30-60-90 day plan for onboarding. “While this plan will change as you acclimate to your new role and company, it is helpful to have an idea of where you will focus your efforts and how you will secure quick wins during your first 90 days,” Kyle added.
Kyle advised young graduates to be open to opportunities. He explained that the next job doesn’t have to be the final job, so it’s ok to land a stepping stone job before ending up at your target company.
“While many of the career coaching clients I work with ultimately land jobs at top companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, recognize that it is OK to land a stepping stone job before ending up at your target company.”
The coach concluded by saying that it takes time to find a job and that it is OK to ask for help from a mentor or career coach if you are not hearing back from recruiters and securing interviews.
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