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Work Mode with Brown Uzoukwu: So You Graduated with Poor Grades… What Does That Mean for You in Today’s Labour Market?



FreeA 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.
Good luck!

Photo Credit:

Brown Uzoukwu Educates and Inspires Young Professionals to Pursue their Dream Careers and Thrive in a Challenging and Positive Work Environment. He Provides Training and Coaching solutions for Schools, Small and Medium Organizations, Youth Forums and Individual Professionals. E-mail: [email protected] Phone: +234 (0)813 3514 781



    June 6, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Poor grades is different from efficiency at labour mkt. Most people with poor grade do very well when employed.


    June 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    it means a lot

  3. Pet

    June 6, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    It means absolutely nothing,go and check from statistics

  4. Employer

    June 6, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Realistically speaking, it means your application is pushed to the bottom of the pile during recruitment.

  5. Nakoms

    June 6, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    It means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. take it from someone who has been there. I scream it again in Robert deniro’s voice in the “untouchables” “NOTHING……NOTHING.”

    Forgive my manners, my rockers go off on topics like this! Bloda, currently I have four businesses running with employees all over the country. I worked for a couple of years with a firm but cut out to run my thing. It has not been easy, don’t get me wrong, but with the total lack of everything in the country this is the time to dig in and do your thing.

    Forget all the success tips from the business experts, the one tip I can give is in naija of now o, start very very very shikili small and then ITERATE!………… in whatever you do. I repeat identify a need and start very very small, then ITERATE. Leave the bankers to keep fooling themselves, when you start small you learn the tricks of any trade money from your customers will keep you afloat before the bankers will come begging for you to come open account with them. Yes I do have a score to settle with bankers because they were never there for me. Now the bank managers send those fine girls to come look for deposits.

    You can do it.

  6. Ethio

    June 6, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    nakoms your head dey di, confirmento!

  7. Mimi JP

    June 7, 2016 at 10:03 am

    very wonderful insight. You nailed it broh. #LifeOutlookTips…cheers

  8. Agree

    June 7, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I totally agree with the writer, everyone cant be an entrepreneur…I came out with a third class and I am currently excelling in my field., although I agree it wasn’t an easy road. What I did? I didn’t let my qualification speak for me rather I focused on getting a professional qualification, improved my skills and moved up from there. so the best is to focus and develop your skills and know what line of field you are really good at. Also dont focus on the big companies for now, start with smaller firms and you move up from there. All in all be prayerful, with God you can reach anywhere.

  9. DNWrites

    June 12, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I love all the point outlined here. They’re powerful and encouraging.


  10. DNWrites

    June 12, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I learn’t a whole is this MASTERPIECE and I must commend the columnist who I have be following for sometimes now. Sir. Brown.

    Great PEN.


  11. Distinguished

    June 18, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks Brown for this! I agree with all the points you raised especially the point on building capacity. It’s what one can do/offer that can either make or mar the chances of getting a suitable employment irrespective of grade obtained from school.

  12. bree

    June 29, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    God bless you.

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