Looking for a job?

I met this brilliant guy last year. Well paid, working at Schlumberger. He was tired of engineering and wanted to move to management consulting. To get into Bain & Co., he had to study for about 150 hours just to ace the rigorous selection process. This is a privileged person who already had multiple options oh. So when I see job seekers with limited alternatives lackadaisically making only 1 or 2 job applications, I just smile knowing they are not ready.

I stand to be challenged, but I have met very few people who applied for jobs as aggressively as I did during my youth service. That was the only year I religiously bought newspapers every week because of Monday Punch and Tuesday Guardian – days that job vacancies were published. Armed with my palasa BlackBerry and multiple cover letters for different industries, where didn’t I apply for? Which job vacancy didn’t I know about? Which job site wasn’t I following? I was probably one of the first people that used Jobberman’s premium CV review service – N5,000 or so. In hindsight, it would have probably been more productive to have spent more time studying for fewer job tests, than trying to apply for every graduate trainee vacancy available. But I digress.
Mind you, I graduated with good grades. But after 3 months of service, I quickly concluded that this company had no plans of retaining me, beyond offering a contract job which I wasn’t interested in. So I started plotting my exit. It took about 8 months of sending multiple application emails everyday before I left. I have an estimate of how many jobs I applied for but it sounds too ridiculous to even type out.
When I started the job full time, someone I knew who made less than 10% of the effort I put in, made a snide remark: he said I got the job because I graduated with so so and so grade. I smiled again, knowing he wasn’t ready. Brute force my people! Brute force effort. That’s the approach that worked for me and the one I’d recommend as far as job searches go. As I said, it might be better to allocate more time to preparing for the assessment of the few jobs you want. But you see that time? You may have to invest it. I say “may” because some of my colleagues applied for just one job, wrote the test and that was it. But some of us applied to almost everywhere – except for banks which I didn’t want to work for.
How many places have you applied for? How many emails have you sent? How prepared are you for the job tests? I know job opportunities are limited, but ask yourself sincerely: have you really really done your best? 
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Babatunde Akin-Moses

I am currently CEO and co-founder of Sycamore, a peer to peer lending platform that connects lenders to borrowers using technology. I love to write about business, economy, policy, startups, inspiration and entertainment. I am also deeply passionate about making Nigeria and Africa as a whole, a much better place to thrive and prosper for all.

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