What are your teens and
young adults doing this long holiday? Of course after a gruelling academic year,
there is a need to unwind, rest and rejuvenate, but they don't need to spend
close to 3 months and more holidaying. The long holidays should be more than
just a vacation; it is a career opportunity.
Grades do matter but…
From a very young age, students are trained and
expected to get the best grades possible. However, the truth is that having
good grades doesn’t necessarily translate into a job or make you a great
employee. Employers don’t consider academic grades as the be all and end all
for candidates anymore.
Of course your ‘A’ grades will win you accolades (particularly
from Nigerian parents), but employers look for work experience in addition to
exam or coursework grades and an array
of extracurricular activities and interests in their search for top
candidates. An internship often gives students an edge.
Theory and Practice
It is on the job that you can truly hone some professional
skills and gain hands on real world experience outside the classroom focused largely
on the theoretical. Theory is important but it comes alive when you are given
an opportunity to put that knowledge into practice. This prepares you to go
back to school equipped with greater understanding and fresh perspectives on
the subject matter reinforcing classroom concepts.
opportunities for you to work closely with others in a team. This throws up
many aspects of character, leadership, collaboration, technical skills,
managing deadlines, responsibility etc. It is from this that a sound work ethic
can be built.
Get a foot in the door
An internship can
lead to a full-time job at your host company. If you've left a great impression
that you are hardworking, committed, intelligent and capable, you are certainly
in a more competitive position to be considered than even those with far superior
grades since your bosses are already familiar with your work ethic.
Internships have been described as an “audition in disguise,”
way for both employer and intern to test the waters for a short time before
committing to it fully. If you’ve impressed them,
you’ll probably make the final list.
this the right path for you?
So many young
people embark on a path only to find after considerable time and expense, that
they do not wish to pursue that direction. It’s best to know as early as
usually lasts for about 3 – 6 months. This is a great opportunity to test out a job or career path with enough time
to learn whether or not it is a good fit without a long-term commitment. If you have not yet decided which direction to go,
try various sectors during each vacation; different careers demand varying
skill sets. This way, you get a wide range of experience under your belt and
can begin to narrow down your choices as it highlights your strengths and where
you tend to struggle.
Apart from the
formal roles, there are numerous other opportunities to consider; from
volunteering and community service, helping at a summer camp, waiting tables in
a restaurant, sales clerk at a local store. This is also an ideal time to
consider setting up and running your own business, which impresses employers no
Relevant work experience
Ideally an internship
you are choosing should be related to the field that you wish to pursue. If you
already have an idea of the path that you wish to pursue, select a firm in that
field which will help equip you to prepare for future interviews and direction
by gaining invaluable industry knowledge.
to choose candidates that have some experience that is relevant to the position
they are actually hiring for; this puts you up on the learning curve and helps
you settle into a new role with ease.
Your network is your net worth
connections are among the most valuable networks that you can have in your life.
Even if you are not retained for a full-time position, the networks that you
build from the stint can be invaluable whether for providing mentoring and
support as you grow, or for career advice, references or recommendations for
your next job.
Find and latch on to a mentor, but remember that a
senior colleague will take an interest in an interested, committed, hardworking
intern and not someone that it always late, unresponsive, and adds little or no
Should money be a factor?
students might have to turn down an excellent but unpaid internship opportunity;
this significantly limits available opportunities. As far as possible, try not
to let money be the deciding factor when you are thinking of interning. Gaining
useful experience should be your goal for the value it will bring to your
resume and your personal life.
One of the
greatest benefits of interning is earning and learning to manage your own
money. Money that you have earned from your own sweat tends to have more
meaning than with “free” pocket money or allowances. Hard work builds
frugality; when the money comes out of your own pocket, you are more selective
about purchases and are less likely to spend it frivolously.
Time is a fundamental ingredient of successful investing as funds set
aside have time to appreciate in value. This presents a wonderful opportunity
to set aside at least part of your income and begin the journey to financial
funds are ideal for small savers with entry as low as N5,000; the key is to be
consistent and to think long term.
And a word for
Going out to work
every day is usually the first step to financial responsibility. It is not the
amount of money your child earns, but the lessons learned that counts. The
sense of independence and accomplishment provides a child with a solid
foundation for their development and when they leave home, you can be confident
that they can step out into the world and fend for themselves.