My brother once told me that the search for a job in Nigeria is a job on its own. I never fully understood what he meant by that until I completed my NYSC programme and embarked on the job-hunting journey.
I can vividly recall how worried I was towards the end of my service year; I was concerned about what the future holds for me in terms of finding a suitable job and being on a good career path. I remember asking myself several questions regarding the path I wanted to toll. I remember reaching out to a couple of people who I believed may be of help to me in terms of finding a good job, I was desperately willing to try out any sector, I didn’t mind if it was different from my field of study- I studied Mass communication, I’ve always loved the broadcast media, but with the constant complaints from most Nigerians about how difficult it is to get a decent job in Nigeria, especially finding one in line with your field of study, it fueled my desperation to make do with any job that comes my way.
Reaching out to these people who I believed would help make the job hunting easier, it made me realise that in life, you must understand that you’ve got YOU. I realized that some people were not willing to help, some others, especially some male folks made some unpleasant offers to me that I had to blatantly turn down. Surprisingly, all these acted as a push. Rather than being deterred, I was pushed to believing that I can do it on my own without any external help.
As soon as I received my NYSC certificate, I started putting out my CV out there and applying for different job opportunities that I could find online that had requirements that matched my skills and qualifications- Secretary, Customer care representative, Front desk executive, Internship in different organisations and so on. I honestly didn’t want to languish at home doing nothing.
On the 23rd of December 2021, while I was on my way back to Lagos from Abia state where I served, a friend of mine sent me the Heirs Holdings Graduate Trainee programme flyer and asked me to apply for it. At first I was skeptical about it because I felt the recruitment process would not be credible and it may not be based on merit, I also most probably had an iota of doubt in myself. Thinking about it now, I am really very glad I took the bold step to apply.
On the 25th of December, being Christmas day, while others were enjoying the festive season, I was busy applying for the Heirs Holdings Graduate Trainee Programme, it was quite a lengthy application process. The application ended on the 29th of December and about a week later, I wrote my first aptitude test for the graduate trainee programme. The test was in four parts: logical reasoning, quantitative aptitude, English proficiency, and analytical thinking. Luckily, I scaled through and I was more than happy when I got the congratulatory mail from the team informing me that I have progressed to the next stage scheduled for January 12, 2022 to January 22, 2022. The second stage comprised of a Competency Based interview (CBI), Case study analysis and presentation, and a Group Exercise. A PowerPoint slide for the case study analysis was to be prepared and forwarded to the recruitment team before the scheduled date for the presentation. Unfortunately for me, when the case study for analysis was sent to me via email, it dropped in my spam folder and I wasn’t able to see it in time until after the deadline. I felt really sad, I remember locking myself up in my room and crying myself to sleep. I couldn’t come to the terms with the fact that I had to drop out of the process because of that. I sent series of mails to the HR team explaining what happened. The HR team was nice enough to do a rescheduling for me. I was more than happy. I later did my second stage assessment on the 21st of January, 2022. It was more like a miracle for me.
After the assessments came the endless waiting, the fear of not knowing if you passed the second stage or not. I got a couple of job offers in the process of waiting, but I turned them down because they weren’t what I wanted.
A few weeks after the second stage assessment, I got a mail from the recruitment team to click on a link and upload some of my documents on the site. For me, that was a silver lining, it was a glimmer of hope and my heart was instantly filled with immeasurable joy. Three weeks after that, I was sent a congratulatory mail by the team that I’ve been selected as one of the those who would participate in the Graduate Trainee Programme. That day, my joy was unfathomable, I literally called my friends and family to share the good news with them.
Following that, we had to undergo series of medical examinations, including the COVID19 test to be able to get on the programme.
The programme officially kicked off on the 9th of March, 2022. So far, we have had a number of CEOs, the Group CEO, Directors and so on from the group and its subsidiaries come deliver insightful, informative and educative lectures/presentations to us the graduate trainees and it has been nothing short of an amazing experience. It has been all I imagined and more and I’m privileged to be here.
It is the first week of the five months job rotations and I’m happy to have my first rotation with the philanthropic arm of the group, the Tony Elumelu Foundation. I’m certain it would be a wonderful experience and I look forward to doing my best, growing and ensuring that the growth is evident.
~ Author: Chinenye Akandu