When we were younger, we couldn't wait to grow up, so we could stay up late and buy whatever we want because we would have the money. That was my generation and the last of its kind. Nowadays, kids know it sucks to be a grown up. We can say that their generation is 'wiser'. What an irony! It's funny because this generation has been told you can be anything you want to be. In our generation, you were either a doctor, lawyer, engineer or banker. If you were anything else, then you were a nobody.
But if there's anything I don't appreciate about our generation, it is the fact that they didn't tell us the truth while they were trying to make our lives what they want. They didn't give us the white and black of what it was to be a grown up. The good ones only told us 'life is hard'. But then again you can't blame them. they didn't know it was going to be this hard.
So I'll help us out, give you the gist of what it's like to work for the man, because there's so much gist about what it's like to be an entrepreneur but not everyone is going to be their own boss, at least, not right now. So, let's be real. We will look at the things that they always say and why they are important. We will also look at the things they don't say, what they mean and what we should do about them.
1. You need experience
Yes, you do! Don't be upset about it. The truth is, there's so much you don't know! If there's anything I've learnt in my one year of working, it's that we need to be humble and realistic. Just because you know how to use Ms word, power point or excel and you've taken a truckload of courses online doesn't mean you have hands on experience on the job.
The purpose of experience is to allow you bring expertise to the company you're looking to work for and to become an expert you must have done something consistently for a period of time, been in different situations concerning that subject, learnt and unlearnt and created ways to handle situations involving and surrounding that subject. That, among other things such as attitude, confidence, qualification, is what makes you qualified for a job.
2. There is an unknown hierarchy that becomes known
So, I'm sure you hear things like manager, officer, supervisor, associate, assistant and you think they are all just names or titles. Well, they aren't. They actually mean things, they identify what level that role is on the hierarchy of the work structure. You cannot just have finished NYSC and be applying for the position of a manager. You are wasting the poor recruiter’s time. Stop it. From my understanding, this is the hierarchy of a white collar job.
MD - 4-10years.
Manager, Head of Sales, marketing accounting admin etc 3-7 years.
Associate, Assistant, Officer 2-5 years.
Analyst 1-7 years.
Graduate trainee, Entry level 0-2 years.
This isn't a certified list. It's just what I've come to learn in my short experience and it differs for industries and organizations. So, this isn't the holy grail but I can't emphasize the importance of understanding this, and you may not understand it until you start to work but I think the trick is being completely honest with yourself. Internships hardly count, so sit down, be humble, patient and pay your dues.
3. Don't settle for just anything
The jobs you do build how you look in the eyes of companies. It's like dressing up. If you have red shoes on, purplish orange trousers or a skirt, a green shirt with a white tie or scarf and a golden hat when I said I was looking for someone dressed in silver, I will definitely not let you into my house or building. That’s what your CV looks like when you've been a front desk officer, sales rep, teacher, engineer, facility manager, store manager and hotel manager all in one CV. When you graduated in 2016 and in 2017 you were already a director, you're both overqualified and underqualified for the position of an HR assistant.
If you’re choosing to wear green, great! You can wear the same shade of green from head to toe or be smart and wear different shades of green. You can be smarter and wear lots of shades of green but have some nice shades of orange or yellow or white or black that match your shades of green. Notice I said 'or' not 'and'. All this means you can decide to choose HR and be a recruiter and climb from junior recruiter to associate recruiter to team lead to head recruiter/ head of recruitment or you can be an HR intern to junior recruiter to HR Assistant, to talent manager or HR generalist to HR business partner and then you can do this and add a little admin or accounting to the side.
But you can't wear different shades of green when I said I wanted someone in yellow. That's what it looks like when you see an HR job and you have customer service experience. Customer service is not admin, or HR, executive assistance and vice-versa.
The important thing to note here is, consider the types of jobs you apply for and take. They will most likely affect the next job you will get after.