“Do you have any other skills you learned in school? Like marketing, blogging, entrepreneurship? Like that” The interviewer asked again expectantly, I still remember the exact words.
This time I had gathered enough strength for a better response. “What do you mean entrepreneurship or blogging? I am applying as an English teacher.”
“I know” she replied.
By this time, the air condition in the room had suddenly disappeared, I was sweating profusely. I did not know why she would ask me about marketing or entrepreneurship.
“I know you are applying as an English teacher, but we need people who are versatile, people who can multitask, people who did not only go to the university to study, people who did other things with it, like opening a blog, learning new skills, attending conferences. So, thank you so much, Madam, that is the end of your interview” She said while shooting me a dirty look.
“But I can multitask, it’s there in my CV” I pressed further.
“How are you going to prove that to me? You spent four years in school doing only one thing” she said.
Well, that was my story, and I don’t want you to end up like me, so if no one ever told you that time really does fly, I am here to tell you. You see, in my case, no one told me, I had to learn the hard way.
Some years back, I was an excited teenager dancing around the room, cause a university in Nigeria has seen me worthy enough to make me one of their students. “oh, happy day huh!” Okay, now let us forward time a little bit. I am now a university student, I was not even a triangle student like every other boring student on campus, I was a straight line student. “Class-home, home-class,” that was my life.
I believed a university certificate was all I needed to survive in the Nigerian job market. So, I focused only on getting a certificate. My friends who were running side businesses then were the people I thought of as poor, in my head I thought it’s just four years, I will start cashing out after four years. I lived like that. Now, when reality hit, it was in my third job interview when I was asked what I did in school apart from earning a certificate. “pardon” was the first word I could say.
The interviewer was right, I did only one thing for four years, it just occurred to me at that time that just studying in school was not enough, that I needed to do other things. I lost the strength to argue, I just stood up, said thank you and left. That was how I lost a job with a huge pay.
You see dear reader, if you are a student, the older folks will tell you to focus on your studies and exceed expectations, and yes, they are right, but things have changed a little. The job market is quite different from what it was back then and the same goes for a university certificate. It is just not enough anymore.
To stand out now, please take up short courses alongside your B. Sc, write books, present papers at conferences, submit your essays for competitions, start up a business, because you see at the end of the day, every student will graduate with a certificate, but for you to earn a place in the job market, you need to graduate with more than a university certificate.