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Aunty Bella: Miss. Stuck in Unemployment



Aunty 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.

Help! Sometimes I feel all the odds are against me.

This is my story.

I am a young girl of 22 years and unemployment is frustrating my life. Since I finished youth service, there’s been no job and I am tired already. What have I not done? I’ve prayed, fasted, mid nights, cast and bound, uprooted and destroyed, believed…yet it seems nothing is working in my favour.

My aunty took me to a woman of God one time like that. The woman said I needed deliverance; till now the deliverance hasn’t happened.

I mean, I try. I have gone for countless aptitude test in banks, NGOs, auditing firms you name it, but I get kicked out in the middle of the recruitment process. Even one where I had top marks, I wasn’t chosen – (because I look fragile).

I run around like a fool, shuffling between Abuja and Lagos in the past 6 months…yet no job.

My parents are tired of using the little money they have as transport fare for me.

A graduate like me cannot boast of 5k in her account. I cannot support my parents and younger ones. I’m tired BN.

Yes, I know you will say learn a skill. I seriously love fashion, but I don’t even have the money to pay a road side tailor to learn, not to talk of a fashion school.
If only i can see tomorrow and know when this suffering will end.

I think of doing runs, but the good girl in me will always be singing (karma is a bitch) in my ears. I know I am no saint but I prefer doing it the right way.

BN, I am depressed I have never had it this difficult in my life before. I mean I got into university at the age of 15 graduated 20 (5-year course) Now, I’m 22 and I feel I am stagnant.

Do you think God is testing me?

Photo Credit: Laurin Rinder |


  1. Anonie

    April 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    The only problem I have with Nigerian graduates is that they’re mostly unemployable. I have sat in on so many interviews to see graduates list out skills they don’t have in their resume, with courses they cannot defend. One looked me square in the face and told me it wasn’t the course he wanted to read so he never took school seriously. They look for jobs but when they get it, they complain and never get the work done well.
    Well what did you read? where do you stay? How do we reach you?

    • Sharrrap

      April 13, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Even if all graduates are employable, are there enough jobs for them. It’s your type that demoralize people. Got my first job as a management trainee with a major organization and both the Nigerian and foreign trained ones did well.

    • MurderSheWrote

      April 13, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Abegi carry ur elist shitty mindset to the birds. I hate when so called employers or hr people say this rubbish. Of course there are the not so perfectly employable ones. But don’t behave like a market women’s leader and tell us that is the problem you have with Nigerian graduates. Where are the jobs? Where are the platforms for graduates of sociology or microbiology or history to practice what they have been taught? Where is the transport money to go from interview to interview, assessment day to assessment day? The internship you need to get their so called “experience” nko? Where will they find it when their father doesn’t have connections. Please simmer it down and learn to know all sides of the cube before you cast it down. That’s all.

    • Chizaram Mbachu

      April 13, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Thank u ma
      I studied project management. I reside in lagos and can be reached on [email protected]

    • Zara

      April 13, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Thank you ma
      I studied project management technology.
      I reside in lagos and can be reached on [email protected]

    • ND babe

      April 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      If you went to school at 15, you are probably middle class. That means you are not going to die of hunger. THat UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY rules out damaging your reproductive system from sleeping with diseased men on the lose for money. Even if you were dirt poor, I would recommend marrying someone who is better off, not SLEEPING with them in exchange for cash. What you should ask yourself is how can you plug into solving social problems around you? These are the kinds of issues you can work on without capital until you start attracting attention. You can use your phone to speak and post information about social issues. But please, dont do hair and makeup or I will jump off a cliff. go out an interview traders or women who have to drop their kids in childcare or any other types of groups for information on how their lives can improve. Yes, you need data money but you can be the next linda from trying to solve social issues. NEVER SELL YOUR BODY. THEY ALL DIE IN THEIR PRIME FROM TERRIBLE DISEASES.

  2. I've been there

    April 13, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    My darling, when I graduated, I was filled with fear. People were celebrating during their POP while I was afraid. I had gotten my NISP certification hoping that my uncle will put me in Shell, for where. Everyone around me was loafing and I had dreams inside me. I started selling OK bags but the money was little coupled with the hell my parents were giving me st home.

    I woke up one morning with a voice in my head saying ‘ask me for the blessing’. Nne, I fasted for 31 days with the last 3 days being dry fast no food or water. My job came oh, from the internet, no connections, nothing. May 1 will make it 6 years of working for me and if you see me slay in my SUV and my tush speaking, you’ll think it’s intelligence.

    The story above is to advice you to go to God as a father and ask him to lead you into the place he has set for you. The Bible says, you will hear a voice telling you this is the way to go. You don’t have to fast like I did but ask him for direction.

    That said, stay joyful and look for a small job. Since you like fashion, try one of these boutiques that big girls visit. You’ll learn a lot so that if you eventually go the fashion route, you’ll have experience plus money you save up can be used for training.

    You can also consider interning for free or working as a front desk officer. May God himself lead you into purpose

  3. Pipi

    April 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Are you miss umemployment or miss I don’t have my dream job!…. What are you doing with ur time when looking for your idea job! Have you considered others jobs like teaching, looking for internship opportunities. Getting a job is more than what you studied in school. can u show a potential employer that you can deliver! Business want to make money QED how can u add to the company’s bottom line, no body like over head that doesn’t equate profit. Oh! I have employed a school cert holder over a graduate and paid more because she had the potential to bring more value to my business.

  4. Connie

    April 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    You might need to start small and work your way up. Look for a sales girl job, working in a boutique, or a cashier. Save a percentage of the money you get paid, put yourself on a budget. Only buy essential things for survival. Use your saved money to learn something you have interest in like the fashion you mentioned. Maybe from there you can learn how to use Ankara to make bags, shoes, jewelry etc. Try doing that, while praying until you it hit big in your career. @ 22 you have your whole life ahead of you. Patience, and hardwork pays. Don’t go the prostitution route it will only lead to much more suffering.

  5. Tailor

    April 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    I have been in your shoes but with a little bit different experience. I graduated 2007 first degree then worked as a call center agent, customer service officer, account officer (with a bank) saw myself through a part time course with university of Abuja (Economics, got married had 2kids and still graduated with a 2.2. I resigned to care for my kids better (ages 7/5). I wanted to earn a salary again, love fe became too tough. I got picked by someone who wanted to power women, saw me through a 7weeks tailoring school and got us sewing machine after that. I stopped love oking for a white collar job. I registered for the Buhari Npower scheme to teach in a govt school. Now I got more time to take care of my kids, still work to earn something and I have time to continue learning my skill.
    Bottom line is get busy and learn or perfect that skill, get a teaching job. This holiday period teachers migrate to other schools thereby creating space for new in take go and apply. Check online this government is still working to employ graduates

  6. MissTiny

    April 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    My 2 cents: while you wait for your dream job, you can try tutoring, teaching Primary, Secondary or A-levels students. I am sure you have family and friends who have kids, you can teach.
    I pray you get a break soon. It sucks to be unemployed. keep your chin up and keep trying.

  7. Anne

    April 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    What did you study? What kind of job are you looking for? You also need to package yourself for that job. Faith and works is the key. I am happy your aunty recognized the God factor in our affairs as human beings; promotion, Blessings with no sorrow comes from the Lord, you also need to be sensitive to the direction of the Holy Spirit within you so that He can order your steps and reveal your hidden riches in secret places. Secondly, let’s talk about works. How do your dress to interviews; I know a rich man today who told me that he had to buy ‘tokunbo’ clothes wash and iron them because he wanted to look good but had no means. You don’t need to show skin or wear tight apparels to interview but you must look clean, decent and classy, the employer feels you can ‘ represent’ the company properly and that makes them feel good. How do you communicate, that is one aspect of being successful you can’t joke with, do you speak good English and communicate effectively. To be blatantly honest with you. That was Obama’s strength. Without that, he may never smell the white house because he is not the only tall man with an Ivy league degree and a good family but something about his use of words drew people towards him. Have you tried asking someone who interviewed you but did not give you the job to tell you why you didn’t get the job. Ask for a honest answer because you want to improve on yourself. That thing may just be specific to you and once you know it you can be set free. You can also pray about it. Ask God for wisdom. When someone sent me a nanny and I told her she had body odour, she did not believe at first but now she is grateful. That could mar chances, you know body odor can chase a potential employer away. Not saying that is your case . We all need to ask ourselves both spiritual and physical questions in life. Eg Why am I not getting this? Good choice about not doing runs girl. It is absolutely not necessary. Keep yourself safe, sexual diseases are not joking these days. You also cannot be committing sin inside the body the Holy Spirit inhabits and expect God’s Blessings with no sorrow added. You can be great and wealthy without an affair. Yes, you don’t look like it right now but look up and know there is a way for you. You will go far in life. Don’t be discouraged or get drowned in the situation. Many rich people today are surprised. Keep praying, keep listening to the Holy Spirit and keep working hard.

  8. ThatIgboGirlAbeokuta

    April 13, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    My dear bellanaija readers are selective readers so don’t expect much comment or advise in this case.I put up my plea for a job here for some time with my number and later stopped. I had to think hard and decided to do something for my self, first of all you are young so stop complain and relax (I am 27).Apply to teach in primary and secondary schools close to you,engage in extra lessons in the school or teach pupils at home.Read up online on how to make soap,bake,snacks or anything thing you can make and sale in your street or area.Don’t for get to read up on how to improve your CV and interview tips.Inform family and friends about your search for a job,please don’t forget God.I beg you relax and take it one step at a time no need to rush I know you need a job but rushing for interviews in every part of Nigeria won’t get you that job.
    Me I moved from Jos to abeokuta from Abeokuta I attend interviews in Lagos,I got a teaching job here in Abeokuta before getting something better in Lagos and finally moved to Lagos.Yes I am still looking for a higher paying job but I am relaxed now.
    Please even if it is not a teaching job but any job around you that may not pay well but will keep you busy is a starting point.Hope this helps you.

  9. jinkelele

    April 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I’m pretty sure you can use books and data to learn fashion. Besides fashion industry isnt all about sewing.
    Occupy your time, life is in seasons, this is your slow season use it wisely and stop acting as if you are on a timeclock. You got into Uni at 15 years much younger than you should. Fortunately life is a leveler learn to work with your season and in your own lane.
    Next thing you’ll be complaining I’m 25 and I’m not married.

    Work for free. Volunteer. Blog. Learn a new skill. Read. Find those whose careers you like.
    Life isn’t always fast sometimes it’s slow enjoy the journey.

  10. Engoz

    April 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Don’t give up. Getting a job after university doesn’t happen in a twinkle of an eye for most people. Graduating from a university is not enough. Universities rarely prepare you for what’s in the outside world. It seems you know what your career choice is, which means most of your problems are solved. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my degree. I got an internship for 6 months after school. Still, I was unemployed for 2 years after that internship. I decided to further my education and NETWORK like crazy. From then on my perspective on what I can use my degree to do improved. So continue working on your skills, come out of your comfort zone, get a little job by the side, volunteer and network. Let nobody lie to you, it’s not easy out there. Don’t compare yourselves to your friends

    • Zara

      April 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Thank you

  11. xoxo

    April 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Ms Frustrated,

    Aside from graduating university at 20, what makes you employable?
    What transferable skills do you have that make you someone worth hiring? Most employers aren’t looking for people who can brag about what age they finished university, they want people with SKILLS. What did you spend your summer and Christmas vacations doing? If your answer is nothing, then it explains why all your interviews aren’t yielding anything. I would advice you to also revamp your CV and write personalised cover letters for every company you apply to. I’ve seen so many people submit generic cover letters that don’t even pertain to the position they are applying for. I would also advice you to research all companies you apply to thoroughly! Be prepared for interviews, and stop applying for any and everything for the sake of it.

    When I got my very first job, during the summer after my first year of university, the manager told me that out of all the applicants, I was the only one without any past work history/ experience. Usually, they wouldn’t have even bothered calling someone like that for an interview, yet they did – because of my cover letter. In it, I listed all the extra curricular activities I had done in secondary school/ university, and it showed transferable skills. From time management to being a leader and team player etc. Pick up some volunteer opportunities instead of sitting at home all day. You would surprised what you’ll learn from it.

    All the best!

    • Zara

      April 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Thank you so much

  12. kalm

    April 13, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    So this is just me. Except that I will be 30 in the next 3months, can’t boost of 1naira in my account,been atending interviews since 2014 I completed nysc, no luck [email protected] people say I look fragile like its a course to be slim, no I’m not short,I’m about 5f6.8, I’m neither fat nor thin..I would have loved to start a retail business but help is yet to come!

  13. Akara Pancake

    April 13, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    You are young, and you have a whole life of success and opportunities ahead of you. On the road to success, you are exposed to resentments and rejection, but strive on. Everybody wants to eat these days, but they also need to do the dishes. Never give up. I will add to what has been excellently put by the commentators above me:

    – What industry have you been applying to – energy, banking, telecoms, legal, entertainment and the arts? I ask as this makes a difference in your approach to seeking employment in it. The legal profession for example as always been connection based. To secure a position at a top law firm in England back in the day, you needed a recommendation from someone who knows the law firm partners (probably your university dean or a family friend). These days in Nigeria and in most countries (I can speak for Yankee), the top law firms still place precedence over a recommendation from a colleague or partner than over a wild card application by a candidate. It also helps if you attended the same University or Law school as the law firm partners. Being a graduate of OAU, I have had easier passes to interviews because of the alumni privileges. Use your school network to the best of your ability. Certain universities have a “stronghold” in certain industries or companies.
    – Some industries require experience before you can break in. No amount of application will fix that, unless the company agrees to invest in you by training you on the job. But even then you have to have a base. Roles in IT require you to pay dues, by gaining expertise in that role and doing certifications before you can land the big one paying six or seven figures. Or 8 figures in Nigeria (adjusted for inflation). Do you have experience? If none, then you may need to start first with an internship or part-time role.

    – Networking skills. Attend job conferences. Shove your resume in HR managers hands. Learn how to make small conversations. Build your interview skills. How is your demeanour during interviews? Do you bunch up and shake your hands nervously? Do break into a sweat, like an EFCC guest being quizzed about forex found in your apartment? Or do you go off on a tangent when asked simple interview questions? Tell me about yourself – and then you mouth giving the interviewer BN gist sef. What is your internet health or reputation like? Employers check for those. Do you have a profile photo on Facebook which shows you in a half-naked state able to break the internet? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Is it consistent with your resume, or does it contain phantom information like Certified Office Messenger? Or Professional Officer Seeker?

    – Software skills. Can you use Excel or create formulas on it? Can you prepare a simple power point presentation without presenting yourself as the duchess of pointlessness? You have some spare time on your hands? What about learning SAP or Oracle? Go on YouTube and learn how to use some of the key applications in your industry. Are you able to draft a simple email or cover letter without murdering English or getting your paragraphing in a twist?

    – Attitude. Yes you want a job (who doesn’t?) (well except for Boko Haram militants and run girls but thats a different story) Do you have a sense of entitlement? Do you have a can-do attitude, or are you in it for basically salary, or just to have somewhere to visit between the hours of 9-5. Interviewers can sense this from a mile away like rotten crayfish. I was once tardy at an interview, leaving a half drunk plastic bottle of water on the table after the interview ended. The interviewer picked it up and trashed it in front of me. I didn’t get the job.

    – Be willing to start from the bottom. You are young, and you have greatness ahead of you. Go to companies in your area armed with your resume and in the smartest suit you have. Introduce yourself and present them with your resume. I once got a job that way. It is a numbers game. I drove to all the law firms in the Lekki, VI and Ikoyi area, introducing myself and dropping off my resume. I must have visited close to 20-25 law firms. I got called by 2, and interviewed by 1, and I got the job. My first salary, I bought a new shoe to replace my worn-out one which had chopped and made me slant to the left when I wore it.

    All the best, and keep your head up. Oh, and runs-girlism is the oldest profession in the world, but it doesnt come with health benefits or 401k or pension o. Take that to mean how you want it.

    • Lina

      April 18, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Hi Akara Pancake! *lemme act like a bimbo*
      Your comment on Nkem Ndem’s article got me starstruck

  14. Aj

    April 13, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    My dear everybody’s journey in this life is not the same. There are people that even before they graduate, they get a job. They can sustain that job for a few years and then lose it. And you who waited probably 5 yrs to get a job, gets an amazing one and is able to sustain that job until you choose to retire. Everybody’s journey is not the same. I remember a story of a young guy who was about to graduate with his doctorate and then died in a swimming pool accident. Meanwhile someone else may feel that he was young and getting a PHd, I’m older and I don’t even have a first degree, but you are alive. You never know where God wants to take you, you never know the plans that He has for your life. God may want to take you through some certain things so you can learn some life’s vital lessons. The journey can be hard, but you just have to trust Him. The devil doesn’t have the power to tie your destiny somewhere except you give it to him. So I don’t believe you need deliverance. What you need is to focus on your relationship with God, trust that He is your provider, in the meantime occupy yourself, just as a lot of people have advised. You are still very young, you still have a lot to learn in this life. Quick and easy money gained through prostitution will also be very easy to lose. And that will come with a whole lot of baggage. And to what end? So my own advise is for you to focus on God, trust Him, and He will tell you what to do. And keep yourself occupied. There are a lot of people out there that need help and will appreciate your help. And at the end of the day it is God who gives all these things. All the jobs that I’ve gotten, I didn’t have to sweat for them, they just fell on my lap. So once you are doing your own part focusing on God, God will take care of you.

  15. Nne Umu Boys!

    April 13, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Hang in there hun, this too shall pass. That is exactly what a friend told me when I was in your shoes about 10 years ago. It is a very frustrating situation but let me tell you something else another friend said, he said ” enjoy this free time you have well well because once the job comes you will be looking for it”, how apt that is! Keep going darling and trust God even when you don’t feel like it, trust Him anyways. Cry if you must but when you are done, dry your tears and keep going, trusting God while at it. May His favour go before you!

  16. Didi

    April 13, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Story of my life! I am a doctor and unemployed (yes doctors too look for jobs). I finished Nysc 2015, and I have been job hunting since then, and before anyone will say I am selective,I have submitted CVS to different hospitals (private, government) applied online, NGOs, yet no show, it’s just unbelievable, may be because I am a female, and married?, I don’t just know what to think again. I do covers so i dont get rusty. Still hoping on something by God’s grace. It is well.

    • Uzo

      April 18, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      Would you consider relocating? Canada is looking for doctors. You can check out the province of Saskatchewan which is were i’m based they have many programs you can come in through. You can give it a shot and you don’t have to use any agent. All the information you need is on the Saskatchewan immigration nomination program with internet you can send an application. Thank me later, all the best.

  17. BlackandProud

    April 13, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I’m a South African and want to live and work in Lagos. I’ve been to the country before and love the people, culture and, I could go on… which is the best company I can volunteer and possibly work my way up? Being unemployed is just weighing me down. Seriously. Don’t want to live in SA – please don’t come at me with the xenophobic comments.. I don’t support it at all!

    • kay

      April 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Media firms maybe? Film production companies, advertising agencies, radio stations etc. Just my thoughts

  18. Fille

    April 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Do you have LinkedIn ? If you don’t, please create an account and network with people in your field. You could be lucky. Also have you tried volunteering in companies ? Instead of staying at home day in day out, why not volunteer at companies, banks around you. They could even give you a stipend or even employ you officially. And you also get to build your CV.

  19. diana

    April 14, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Am in thesame shoe as her and in my case , am almost 28yrs and there is no hope of a getting a job anytime soon , And been a Rivers lady and seeing alot of Runs girl making alot of money from selling their bodies , it gets me thinking in a negative way but i am hopeful that i will surley get a job by God’s grace .Poster don’t loose hope , God will it for you.

  20. Tosin

    April 18, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    iz nor a jokin sturv. It is well. Sometimes you’re just too cool. I’m just keeping it real with you.

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