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Aunty Bella: Miss. Confused About Career Path



dreamstime_m_72010859Aunty Bella is our  agony aunt column on BellaNaija. We launched this column in the early days of BN and periodically feature issues sent in by BN readers.We hope the BN family can offer insightful advice.
Dear Aunty Bella,
I have followed your write-ups on BellaNaija and I have to say u do a great job. I would like the help of your readers while pleading anonymity.
I would like to seek your opinion on a career path to follow. I studied Archaeology and Tourism at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and graduated with second class honors, upper division. I am currently a corps member, would be passing out by March.
Having studied what is termed not a “professional course” in Nigeria, I’d like to know my future prospects outside working for government agencies as I’m currently serving at one (council for arts and culture). It makes me realise that I’m not cut out for a job that makes you sit at a table not doing anything, new ideas are not welcome. I’ve been unable to put my degree to use, with the level of red tapes to cross and refusal to evolve, as they are set in their ways.

I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur, as I don’t have the passion for it. I would love to get a masters degree but that plan does not look feasible by next year due to financial constraints.

I would like your opinion on which career path would be great – any tips on getting a job without connections in Nigeria? I was thinking of getting professional certifications either in Project management, Customer Relationship Management or Human Resource Management, which would be most relevant in today’s labor market as I can only afford one. I’m also thinking of engaging in the NYSC SAED training on baking to keep myself busy. I’m about to start an internship at an NGO to to gain work experience. Any tips on any particular industry to focus my job hunting on.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your time.

Photo Credit: Andrii Kobryn |


  1. Superlioness

    October 18, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Super Lioness, congratulations on surviving the den.

    The 1st thing to do is to start applying for jobs, all the entry level jobs you can find. With each application, you can study about the job it offers and its requirements and decide if it is for you. Hopefully, you get employed as a management trainee in a multi-national, you’ll have a year to figure out what you want to do but if not get a job first, listen and open your eyes, in the process, you’ll find what you want.

    I started out as a management in marketing communications, now I’m an assistant marketing manager ( fingers crossed, I might just be a marketing manager in a few months, I have an interview) . Once I hit marketing manager I’m leaving for a dual degree (MBA + Masters in Disruptive innovation) cos I want to make the move to strategy/innovation. These are all related.

    I studied MCB in UNN too and what I regret is the money I spent on my HSE 11 and 111/ NISP membership.

    Now I take at least one marketing course in a business school II can afford yearly ( LBS, LSBF, London college of communications).

    Career paths are not usually linear anymore, they are an exciting jig saw puzzle, few people have it figured out from the get go.

  2. mr x

    October 18, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Yeah typical issue in Nigeria. My advice for you is work-hard you’ve got to prove yourself. Lots of youth today don’t want to put in sweat. You have to understand how to deal with “old” people in workforce once you do. You will raise like a phoenix . People/skills if very important. You complained about working in art and culture. Usually those are the agencies that employ people with your skillset. Why the heck will you study a program you don’t want to profit with. There are many possibilities you could start by discovering some ancient historical and archaeologically sites in Nigeria. Blog about it. Link up with other professionals in your domain. Give tedx talk about preserving cultural heritage. There is a lot opportunities in the hospitality industry as Nigeria evolves.

    the certification route won’t help much. It give you knowledge about the domain you want to certified in but no practical experience.

    I think you need do a swot analysis on yourself. Out of all the ideas you have . Pick one and go 200% for it. You’ll never know what you’d find

    • Onyx

      October 18, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Sensible sound advice…

    • Cec

      October 18, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Hi,please will u contact me?

  3. Teeee

    October 18, 2016 at 11:17 am

    “I was thinking of getting professional certifications either in Project management, Customer Relationship Management or Human Resource Management, which would be most relevant in today’s labor market as I can only afford one. I’m also thinking of engaging in the NYSC SAED training on baking to keep myself busy. I’m about to start an internship at an NGO to to gain work experience” <— You are already taking good steps.
    (i'd advise PMP & CRM )
    My only advise for you, which I wish someone had enforced on me earlier is learn a skill that you would enjoy doing and would fetch you some money. You may even continue it on the side while you are working cos trust me waiting for pay day sucks!!!!!!!

  4. hey

    October 18, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Work as a manger for Resorts or hotels? travel agencies like wakanow, etc? management of conservation centres? start up your own Nigerian tourism agency/blog to encourage people to travel and explore within Nigeria, etc

    I also like the idea of Mr X above

  5. confused

    October 18, 2016 at 11:35 am

    This is similar to what i am going through
    I have worked in the HR field for 7 years, I have a masters degree and an associate member of CIPD. I love HR so much but i feel like with this career i cant make lasting difference, i don’t feel fulfilled.
    I want to change to teaching career but I don’t know how to go about.

    • Also confused

      October 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      I studied communication but during my service yr, I did a professional course in HRM plus I’m concluding membership exams with CIPM. I should be done with nysc in a 3wks but I’m still worried about what next.

    • zeezee

      October 28, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Hi its not as hard as you think. I am a lawyer but I have a passion for teaching. and jobs abound. First find someone in that field -a lecturer, a teacher and ask questions, two start teaching (in church, private lessons, lecture houses etc) . with these 2 approaches, you will learn about teh career and what you need to do to progress into it. You might even find that it is not really your thing. I found that as much as I love teaching and my students give me positive feedback about my work, I dont like talking for too long. so now I tailor my classes accordingly.

  6. Koffie

    October 18, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Accounting firms like KPMG, PwC, E&Y, Deloitte (and the indigenous ones) take non-accounting graduates so long as you had a second class upper and are willing to take ICAN or ACCA. You don’t even have to be debiting and crediting if you choose to explore that option, they have various departments including consulting (where the new ideas are welcome), advisory, tax etc. They’ll teach you all you need so go as a clean slate (with a 2:1) and you stand a chance. KPMG recruits year-round, PwC recruits once a year, I don’t know about EY and Deloitte.
    You can also check out the likes of Accenture, McKinsey, Bain & Co (they have a Lag office). They’re into different forms of consulting and welcome diversity of knowledge and input. But you have to shine for you to enter i.e. they don’t want average people. They want exceptional but it’s doable.
    If those do not appeal to you, you can apply to banks like Access Bank, GTB, Diamond, Standard Chartered (SC is currently recruiting for IGP). If you get in to SC for instance, they’ll pay for whatever professional certifications are relevant to your stream and your take-home will still be hot.
    There are so many options and you’re just starting out; just be armed with information and you’ll be fine. Start taking shl, gmat-format tests early on just so you’re prepared. When you see a job advert, it’ll state whether any degree is good enough. I truly wish you all the best.

    Not to take attention away from her story:

    BN folks, I’m searching for a job urgently. I have a degree in accounting and almost done with my professional exams. I also have about 2 years experience in management consulting.
    I got laid off at work and I don’t want to be out of a job and have gaps on my CV.
    I’m interested in financial management or business performance monitoring roles. Something purely finance.
    I really can’t put too much about myself up here but if you’d like to discuss opportunities at your organization with me, I can leave an email address.
    I really hope people get to see this. I’m devastated at this time…
    I can be reached at [email protected]

  7. mia

    October 18, 2016 at 11:55 am

    where are the commenters always complaining that BN only writes about men/relationship/marriage issues, una no go come comment on career issues now o. This thing has been posted for more than 2 hours and i can only see 5 comments.

    we’re watching out for you!

  8. Todds

    October 18, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Hello Poster.

    Please be aware regardless of any course you studied in your bachelors, you can get virtually any graduate jobs with just a few exceptions. Usually, when you have no experience and you’re starting out, you have to cast your net very widely. Apply to so many companies.

    Internship with Oracle Nigeria, Andela or Google are very common. I’ve seen young people with interest in Tech get in lately. Accenture, KPMG, PwC, McKinsey, EY always recruit graduate yearly in various fields and you don’t necessarily have to be an accountant or studied anything related to numbers. Sahara Energy, Nigeria Breweries, Nestle, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Maersk, Etisalat, MTN & a host of companies recruit graduates from time to time, maybe with Sales/Marketing or Admin roles. And not to forget the banks and insurance companies.

    By being smart & creative with your course, you can brand a unique product with an art exhibition suitable for tourism and think of ‘Sales Strategy’ to propose to Hospitality Industry in Nigeria. Start with Lagos. Visit top brand hotels and show them exhibition that visitors would like to see when they come to Nigeria or art they would like to keep themselves to enrich cultures. You can start photographing. Very rich arts, hotels would love to have them.

    Don’t sit back to read jobs online or Guardian newspaper alone, go out and fight for it.

    Finally, to establish a career path, you have to start somewhere. It may not necessarily be the sort of jobs you want but always aim to get rewarding experience you can leverage on in the near future. Although you said you’re not passionate about entrepreneurship, be flexible to give it a try. If you want to make it, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

    Hope you find it helpful. Best wishes.

  9. Mahka

    October 18, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    It ‘ll be great for anyone with insiders information about recruitment in these top companies to pass some links and direct aid…I too am searching for better employment.
    Bsc Ind Chem graduate,with a small marketing firm, really want to be in a more creative environment.
    [email protected].
    All the best to you poster, 9ja no be am.

  10. nneoyibo

    October 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    I passed my PMP at first sitting after NYSC in 2011, but could not get any job as employers were interested in job experience, after waiting several years, i dabbled into business. I wish you luck, whatever happens stay positive.

  11. tee

    October 18, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Nne, I think you should forget about certificates cos even employers know that certificates without experience and skills is nothing. I will advice that you work on gathering skills that will help you at the work place or for yourself. Foreign degrees and certificates have turned to pure water now in Nigeria. So I doubt it will really do much. Some people have 2 masters and plenty professional certificates,no job still and don’t even have the skills to help them perform at the work place. Volunteering helps….

  12. Flawless

    October 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I’m also in this dilemma. I rounded up service last two weeks and I’ve been applying for jobs since then but nothing yet. I took a course in HRM just to boost my CV since I got a 2.2 but people say I don’t have enough work experience which is true because I truly haven’t worked before till I went for youth service. I need advice please, I don’t know what to do and I don’t want to sit at home and do nothing.

    • zeezee

      October 28, 2016 at 11:16 am

      please go and get experience. even if you have to work for free.

  13. Arin

    October 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    A new trend I’ve noticed lately is that a lot of our youths are reaching out to companies like Deloitte Nigeria, Oando, Tiyannah Stylizing and co via Twitter to ask them how many Retweets’s they need in order to score internships. It seems to be working. I’ve seen people score internships that way. I implore anyone who is looking for job and never worked before to give it shot. That way employers will have no other choice but to give your CV a second glance.

  14. Tolu baby!!!

    October 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Lmao!!! That is Dr. Sive-bukola’s picture!!!! Beautiful lady!! Just had to comment.

  15. Pipi

    October 18, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Students please please! Use your holiday thoughtfully, approach small businesses in your field and offer to work for free (what would you lose). Put your best foot forward. When you graduate u would have enough life experience to look for a job and be sure u know what you want.

    • LEM

      October 19, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Yup, please take @Pipi’s advice. Times are changing, the economy is very hard and any experience will count for you. Also try to learn something that can fetch you an income in case you cannot get a blue collar job immediately. To the poster, you are going for a voluntary job which is good. As for the professional exam, I am not really familiar with either so cannot advice which to take but I will advice you sit and think carefully about the path you want to follow. Do not just do a professional exam or Master’s degree just to add to your CV. Also, you could start a blog about tourist attractions in Nigeria, research and write informed articles about them. With the way things are more people are beginning to take holidays in the Country and this could be beneficial for you in the long run.

  16. LeryQuess

    October 19, 2016 at 5:17 am

    Tourism and Archeology?? That sounds awesome my dear. So lets start, I personally don’t think that the course you studied will make you fixed in an office. The mentality of our nation will not cause you to progress I know but It all starts from the mind. I think you should go to some tourists centres in Nigeria to give them advice on how to improve their attractions and you get paid, Or you could start a blog on Tourism. Read other blogs related to tourism so that you can have the right skills to start up. Or you could visit some attractions and vlog it!. You never know who is desperate to come here. There are a lot of things that can be done. I hope these few tips help. I definitely won’t advice you to go out of the country because ours is suffering and we need people like you to help revive it. Trust me it requires a lot of hardwork but nothing good comes easy. Pls don’t give up on this. Thanks.

  17. poster

    October 19, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Thank u everyone for taking out time to respond to my post, bellanaija thanks for putting it up, great advice every one, wish me luck in the future, u all are amazing!!!
    p.s how can I get in touch with the commenter named cec?

  18. Tosin

    October 23, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Try another job. Just as you learned something from the current job (that you can’t live with the boredom of a do-nothing job) , you’ll learn something from the next couple of jobs, and you’ll start getting closer to the answers.
    I take personality tests quite a bit lol, so you can try some online – MBTI and co.
    The other day it occurred to me to count, and I discovered I’ve had about 20 jobs to date. Body count wayy up 🙂 #Experiment. Keep being truthful. Everything will be sooo goood.

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