A lot of young people are being haunted by the fact that they graduated from university with very poor grades. As a result, some of them stop daring, dreaming and believing. Most venture into the labour market with their tails between their legs, hoping that one employer would just do them a favour.
So, for every young person out there who is wondering if there is any hope in the labour market, the answer is an emphatic YES. Perhaps you know someone battling with low self-esteem and rejection as a result of graduating with a poor grade, let him or her know that there is hope, opportunity and there is grace for them. As a matter of fact I know a handful of persons that have good jobs (not business) without a degree. The truth is that, it isn’t going to be an easy ride, but I can guarantee that you will find it interesting and adventurous.
You have to understand that failure is the best backdrop upon which success is painted. No one should make you feel you have not gotten a job because of your ‘poor’ grade in school. No. there are still quite a number of first class and 2.1 students roaming the streets searching for jobs. Many factors contribute to this unemployment rate. Topmost of them all is the fact that the jobs are scarce to an extent; secondly, a high percentage of our graduates have learnt absolutely nothing.
The essence of the 2.1 benchmark recruiters or employers place on job adverts is just to reduce traffic and make their job a bit easier.
Nobody is blown away by your grade during the interview; most times, it is not even up for discussion. That is why at the end of the day, the best candidate is taken from amongst them and everyone else goes home. Below are five things that can help you decide your fate if you had a poor grade.
Take a decision and move on
I understand there are numerous justifiable and funny reasons why you couldn’t make first class or second class upper. You probably lost interest in your course of study and did not give it your best shot. It could also be that you gave it your best shot, but your efforts were frustrated by your ‘wicked lecturers’ or by some ancestral or village deity. For some others you were just clueless and careless in your first year in school; by the time you sat up in subsequent years, the damage had been done already and you really wished you could turn the hands of time. But, whatever your story is, just put that behind you and take a decision.
Decide on the kind of job you want, and go for it. Life has never been fair. Life does not give people what they deserve but what they demand for. Decide on the kind of job you want because every other thing you will do is dependent on that decision. I log out, whenever I hear a job seeker say he wants any kind of job. How does one prepare for any kind of job?
Start developing capacity
What can you do? You must be able to answer this million dollar question. Your answer to this question in the face of opportunity could be the game changer for you. You already know you graduated with poor grades, so you just don’t have something to prove…you have EVERYTHING to prove.
Acquire a skill that is relevant in your job choice. Get a professional certification (forget about Masters for now). Focus more on acquiring a professional skill that can be handy in the corporate world. Work on your communication skills and professional poise, work on your personal branding.
Image and perception is everything. Exude the confidence and aura of a Harvard MBA grad. You must be able to hold your own when opportunity comes knocking on your door.
“What can you do?” and “what did you study?” are two different questions. So, if you are seriously looking for a job, you must be ready to answer the former question.
Create your own opportunities
Don’t wait for a vacancy to be advertised before you apply for a job; it limits your chances. As a matter of fact some of the adverts have already placed a 2.1 benchmark on the qualification. So what do you do? Even when there is no benchmark, the recruiting firm or HR has a lot of first class and 2.1 CVs to contend with. So yours won’t get anybody’s attention. You don’t have to apply for advertised jobs. God gave us the ability to create. Where there is no vacancy, you can create one. How? See no. 4
Learn to write convincing proposals and resumes
Improve your business writing skills. Learn how to write proposals because that is what you will be needing, not just CVs. Start selling yourself and the value you can bring to the system. The private sector is result-oriented and productivity-driven. Write a persuasive proposal to the company, stating how you can contribute to improving either their market share, accountability, security, maintenance and operations, image, communication and market expansion. This is what consultants do and most of them don’t do anything special. Do a good proposal and attach your CV to it.
Build strategic relationships
Start building a strong network. No matter the grade you graduated with, a strong network can help you land your job. One good contact is worth more than a hundred CVs submitted at random. Seek to meet with business owners; bypass recruitment agencies and HR.
Build relationships with people with decision making abilities. They are in your churches. You can meet them in professional organizations. Just focus on building strategic relationship with industry executives. Do things for people without being paid. Volunteer to serve on different platforms where your ingenuity will be felt. Don’t be in a hurry to brandish your CV or inundate people with calls because you are looking for a job. Employers are interested in what you can do and what you have the potential of achieving. By pass the long queue and seek for employer’s attention.
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