The Guide to Succeeding in a Terrible Job Market

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Written by Seun Oyediran

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Did you know that Nigeria only creates one job opening for every ten graduates leaving the University? That means, for every 600,000 graduates from tertiary institutions, only 60,000 can get jobs. That means every five years, 2.7 million graduates join the 30 million+ unemployed graduates. If you further compound this statistic over time, the Nigerian economy will only get weaker. And job opportunities? Almost non-existent.

These staggering statistics point to the fact that the Nigerian job market (and many developing markets worldwide) is terrible. Although job hunting is pretty tough right now, so many candidates are able to juggle multiple offers, so why can’t you. To succeed in such a terrible job market, you’ll need some expert information that 95% of other graduates don’t have. Overall, the key to finding a job and keeping that job is to take strategic action – This would be our focus for the rest of the article. 

Can Your Current Job Search Strategy Work in this Terrible Job Market?

Before I go into the details of how you can land the job you want in any market – no matter the economic situation – I have something to tell you. And that’s that you need to have a clear understanding of why your current job search strategy of looking for jobs online cannot work in this modern age. Here are some of the reasons why you may have to rethink searching for jobs online. 

  1. Technology has made it easy for everyone and anyone to submit a job application; hence, you’re competing with thousands of qualified and unqualified candidates. 
  2. Everyone is job hunting, including those that have jobs. It’s funny but true. Not everyone is satisfied with their current job. 
  3. The average time employees stay in one job is two years, so a growing number of candidates bid for a single job opening. 
  4. ATS is running the hiring game – recruiters are having a hard time perusing CVs; hence, they use software to help them find quality candidates. You can learn how to outsmart the ATS here. (Link to the ATS article here).
  5. 70% of all jobs are not posted online. You have to build the necessary network to learn about job openings.
  6. Most people don’t sell themselves during the application process. 
  7. You could be inadvertently sending the wrong impression.
  8. Applying for highly competitive roles without industry connections/referrals could be a waste of your precious time. Referrals are getting more important in the selection process than ever before.

Now that you’ve seen how difficult it is to stand out amidst a sea of applicants vying for the same or similar positions, you’ll agree with me that most job search and application methods are largely ineffective. Only a handful of applicants get jobs through conventional search methods. 

The Complete Short Guide You Need to Help You Land your Dream Job

There’s a different way to go about online job applications. If you want to beat the competition and get the job you’ve always wanted, here are some tips to significantly increase your chances of landing the job. 

  1. Submit A Tailored CV

One of the first things to tweak is your CV. You have to stop the lazy habit of sending out generalized or roughly prepared CVs. If you want to land a job among the sea of applicants, your CV must speak well of you. By merely scanning through a CV, hiring managers can know if you worked hard and smart on it. Therefore, hack #1 is to create and submit a tailored, made application.

Now, bear in mind that your CV must include optimized keywords specific to the job you’re applying for. Including optimized keywords will help your CV pass the ATS screening and get to the recruiter’s table. Without optimized keywords, you can as well kiss the job goodbye. 

  1. Find Out Who the Hiring Manager Is

Don’t just blindly apply for a job online without knowing who the hiring manager is. Do your possible best to find out who the job poster or hiring manager is. From there, try to get their email address or LinkedIn InMail and send them a personal note. You can get this information by connecting with the company’s employees on LinkedIn or finding someone in your network who can refer you.

This is amongst the many reasons why I advocate for having a career plan. Connecting with the hiring manager this way requires some work, and it’s not sustainable if you’re applying to 50 companies. So, know what you want and go after it as if your life depends on it! 

  1. Visit the Hiring Manager at the Office 

If you don’t get a response after sending the email or message, you can opt to visit the hiring manager at the office. Although this sounds creepy but trust me, I’ve done this before, and it worked! It’s a bold move you should be willing to take if you’re desperate about landing the job. All you need to say is, “I’m here for an interview for the position of _____ with _____.” 

The confused hiring manager would have no choice but to come to see who it is that is waiting to see them. And when you meet, you can pitch yourself! That said, you must have an already prepared pitch and memorized it so much that it flows out of your mouth naturally. 

  1. Find Mutual Connections on Facebook

Sometimes, the odds might be so stacked against you that nothing has worked till now. So, if the above methods don’t work, don’t give up just yet. Get on the internet and begins some crazy search. It’s a small world we live in – a world made “smaller” through the internet’s connecting power. 

Log in to Facebook and search for a mutual connection on Facebook. Facebook is the social media app of choice because most people have real friends and family connections on Facebook and not LinkedIn. It’s possible that you may know someone that has direct contact with the hiring manager and would be able to put in a nice word on your behalf.

  1. Never Forget that Resilience Pays Off

Never forget that resilience pays off! Keep trying and looking for a way – you’ll surely find one. Be resilient at whatever you do – connecting with people, following up on job applications, and the likes. Remain positive and realistic while going after the job of your dreams!

Final Thoughts

You can succeed in a terrible job market. Never allow negative thoughts to dwell in your mind. Follow this guide and keep working on yourself. You can never be too good not to need development! Peace!

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