There is an indescribable joy that is experienced by a Nigerian who has just graduated from an institution of higher education – what a delightful feeling!

No more paying of exorbitant school fees. No more buying of handouts from lecturers under duress. No more dodging from sleazy lecturers. No more coping with below-par study situations. Surely, things can only get better from then onward.

However, when the time comes to seek out and secure gainful employment, the graduate would soon realize that she has jumped from the fabled frying pan into the fire of reality. If one was disillusioned by the undergraduate experience, a greater disillusionment awaits such an individual when faced with the task of finding a job which matches their actual field of study.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 7.5% from 6.4% in the first three months of 2015. There are therefore too few jobs for too many graduates, and so graduates often have to grab any job they are able to get with both hands.

A lot of my contemporaries who work in the Nigerian banking sector, for instance, did not study anything remotely related to banking or finance in their various tertiary institutions. They studied courses like Microbiology and Applied Chemistry; they took banking jobs because those were the jobs available, not necessarily because they had a deep love for finance.

So, what do you do if you find yourself in such a situation?

Here are 3 ways to make the most out of it.

Adapt your learned knowledge to your current job

For instance, if you are a Political Science graduate who has, after a long job search, gotten a job in a Bank as a Marketing Executive. You should try to think about the aspects of studying Political Science which you could adapt to your current situation. These would include things like

  • Being able to undertake thorough research (in this situation, research on your target market).
  • Being apt at writing reports.
  • The ability to analyze situations from different points of view.

When you approach the situation in this manner, you would perform well at your job, and you may even start to see it as a long-term career, rather than a temporary situation.

There is an added bonus if it turns out that your personality happens to match your job; so if it just so happens that you’re very charming and persuasive, your job as a marketer would be more tolerable for you.

Sell yourself

For this step to work very well for you, you must first ensure that you put in your best in any job situation in which you find yourself for the duration of time you are there. Then, if you decide that you want to move on from the job, you have to pitch yourself as an expert in your current job, who just happens to also be an expert in your academic field of study.

If I was the hiring manager of an organization, I would be very intrigued by a candidate who is a trained microbiologist who currently works as a marketer at a bank.  It is now up to you, as a job applicant, to really demonstrate how those experiences would make you a very desirable candidate for the advertised role.

So, you must always ensure that you are excellent at your job, even if it isn’t where you thought you would end up; that excellence would most likely be your stepping stone to future success.

Don’t give up

It is very easy to get disillusioned when, after months or years of searching for a job, you end up with a job that is unrelated to your field of study.

Some graduates end up seeing the job they have gotten as one which they are okay with doing on a long-term basis. If this is not the case for you, please do not fret or get discouraged. Keep applying for the job which you desire, while making sure that your skills in your field of study are up to date. Take online courses if possible.

Read up on new trends in that area of expertise. Try to get a mentor to guide you on your journey. If it is possible, try to volunteer in some way to keep your knowledge in that area up to date. Whatever you do, try not to be sad about the situation.

While you do all this, you must strive to maintain optimal professionalism at your current job. Having a job which doesn’t have anything to do with your field of study might be source of irritation, but not having a job at all is an even worse situation.

Have you experienced such a situation on your quest to become a #MotherlandMogul? Kindly share your experiences in the comments section below.

Don’t give up!

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