Thursday, August 7, 2008

Getting a Job in Nigeria

Question: How do I get a good-paying job in Nigeria?
Reply: The unemployment situation in Nigeria can be scary. A single vacancy announcement can attract thousands of applicants. Just reading some of the comments below job posts on CareersNigeria will give you a taste of the desperate situation that our citizens are facing. However in response to the criticism that they receive, employers say that most applicants are not employable. Not because they aren’t bright or educated but because they lack employable skills. Obviously this is a touchy subject. Read more here.

But contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a grandaddy in the system before you get a good job in Nigeria. What is probably more true (and this is true anywhere in the world) is that networking will more likely get you an interview than just submitting an application cold.

The way I like to think about it is this: If a manager has to choose between several top notch candidates with similar qualifications, most likely, she will hire the applicant who came referred by an acquaintance. So like the career experts tell us—networking is very important. All but one of the job interviews I’ve ever been on (both in the States and Nigeria) came through my personal contacts—professors, old friends, even an HR manager who once interviewed me for a job I didn’t get. She had moved to another company and when I bumped into her again, she remembered me and eventually scheduled me for an interview in her new company—this time I got the job.

Most job ads (print or online) in naija ask seekers to put in applications online or email CVs (aka resumes) to the relevant department, but I think it's a good idea to find out if any of your family, friend or acquaintainces have contacts within the company you're eyeing.

If you are a well experienced expatriate, you can hope to be wooed by one of the Nigerian financial institutions, who will be willing to compensate you nicely. Check out Jobs in Nigeria Exhibition (JINE), it's a career fair for professionals living in North America who want to find jobs in Nigeria. The big spenders will be there. It has started already and will run until August 31 in different cities. Perhaps this is a good starting point if you want to get on a headhunter's list? Heh heh, sorry I couldn't resist that one.

See me spillng out advice like I have one ghen ghen job right? Well, I'll have you all know that my situation is by choice and not by condition. Don't mind the corper boots and N9, 000 ($76) monthly stipend. It's all a facade--my blogger alter-ego. I really earn N1 million a month as a...

Yes! that reminds me of the gist I wanted to give you people. I didn't know that there are actually folks in Nigeria who make N1million a month--paid employment. Ehn ehn? In this same Nigeria, where people corner me in the church parking lot to ask for N100 to go home!

But you know, I shouldn't be shocked. That's about 9,000 dollars a month and doctors and engineers in the west earn that easy-peasy. I guess it's the "million" that makes it sound very big...but N1 million paid employment is still shocking. In my mind, that kind of monthly salary is for the CEOs. But come to think of it, if I were working for one these longer throat banks as a marketer and bringing in 3 billion Naira a month as my target, they had better be paying me in millions! What do I look like, a mu mu?

So in answer to this question of getting fabulous jobs in Nigeria, I think it is very possible to secure a nice well-paying job in Nigeria (without connections). is a good site with links to Nigerian-based jobs. If you are in the country this summer and scoping out the job market, buy The Guardian on Tuesdays and Thursdays--that's when they runs job ads. If you're considering a career change or an entrepreneurial opportunity, I recommend reading ""What Color is Your Parachute?" by Richard Bolles. It was one of the 7 books that I acquired at the NuMetro Media Stores. It has really helped me put things into perspective as I make decisions.