When it comes to answering questions during job interview sessions, it can be very challenging, trying to explain your work history, especially when you are on your first interview and you have no single experience to share with the panelist. Most job hunters seekers would be wondering what to do and eventually find themselves helpless and confused as they claim to have no previous employment records.
There is however a way out as we may get to discover. An employer is actually looking for a very good, reliable and trustworthy hand who can be an asset in the value chain system of the company and convincing them you are actually fitted for that position based on the value you bring rather than on the absence of a previous employment records may swing the pendulum in your favor. It is not that difficult to do. It is just technical. Besides, no man on earth is actually fully unemployed because most times when we consider ourselves as unemployed, we say it in terms of our lack of involvement in activities that generate bulk income on a steady basis to cater for ourselves and family basic needs.
However, they forget that all services provided by a person are classified as labor or work whether you were paid in cash or kind. We do have services that are paid for while others are offered free of charge. Now let’s talk about how you could handle the main challenge about working experience or history. There are several ways to come around this challenge without hurting your chances of been hired by your prospective employer?
There is often little involvement a first time job seeker has had, but these though may seem insignificant, may eventually prove to be absolutely important in a recruitment process. For example, you could say or write about your internship. At this point in time, it may sound unimportant, but the first chance a student has to contribute to the nation economy is via an internship program. These programs usually last between 6 months to one year depending on the program you are running.
What to do
-In Nigeria, we have the Industrial training students who gain valuable work experience by working in a firm that is related to the field of department they are affiliated to in school. Schools usually issue students industrial training papers that have been duly stamped by the IT department and this helps a long way to secure them a place in most companies. The first time job seeker could therefore choose to write the name of the company where he or she did the IT program. This no doubt can stand as a job experience even though most companies don’t pay IT student, while very few give them stipends monthly.
-Ensure you include the time duration spent in the company and the various department you worked in, while there. The nature of work you did will also be very useful to potential recruiters. Just mention as many thing as you can remember to add value to your CV.
-Another vital area not to be overlooked is the working student aspect. Most students either in the University or other tertiary institutions usually engage themselves in one form of job or the other when they encounter some form of financial difficulties, and this engagement has dual purposes. First you get paid for doing something valuable and secondly, you gain a lot of work experiences. This to me becomes a useful tool when writing your work history/ resume. I have personally had to go through this route when I just rounded up my Diploma program in the polytechnic. Did some work in a rubber factory before venturing further to work in a furniture making factory. These were very valuable experiences.
A recruiter would rather employ a first time job seeker who has had a part time job experience, than employing one with little or no work experience at all. The recruiter’s decision will be hinged on the fact that including or writing part time job experience in your work history or CV will not only present you as experienced, it will also portray you as a responsible, hard working and productive asset to any prospective employer.
-The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has provided a veritable platform for first time job seekers with a valuable working experience option as well. They do this via the posting of Corps members to various companies and schools and offices in the 36 states of the 36 states of the country including the Federal Capital territory. Time spent in your primary place of assignment can prove very useful in this regards. Training programs attended whether in private or government establishment that involved one form of activities or the other can come in as work experience. There have been cases where Corps members were retained in their primary place of assignment based on their impressive performance at work. There is no firm in the country that would discard the immense contribution of the NYSC program as par work experience.
To crown it all, it is very vital to include activities you were involved in during the period of unemployment, say from the period of graduation to the week of your interview. This period can portray you as a person who is laid back if you remained idle or it can give you the cutting edge or competitive advantage, by projecting you before your future employer as hard working person, who is eager to succeed.
Above all, you must understand that an employer is not looking for faults in a potential recruit, but the perfect employee. So, if you can convince them of how an asset you can be if recruited, you may well be on your way to your first ever job. Wishing every prospective job seeker the best of luck in their job hunting.