After rigorous final-year processes, every Nigerian graduate is put through one year of ‘service to humanity’ under the NYSC, a scheme designed to nurture the entrepreneurial mindset and mitigate inter-ethnic disunity among the youth.
From undergoing bone-grilling training sessions under the supervision of irate soldiers at orientation camp, and several weeks of community development service, thereafter to long-haul work hours in PPAs, one year – which had initially seemed a long time – could elapse quicker than envisaged.
A concern that has repeatedly pricked the minds of prospective corps members is how they’d take off on the right foot to avoid the confusion of ‘what next?’ after their service year.
Here’s a list of things you must do to make the best out of your service year and avoid amassing a hoard of regrettable memories thereafter.
Build your network
Corps members have earned a reputation in many Nigerian communities and respective places of primary assignment (PPA). You might want to leverage on this and ensure you build a network strong enough to land you the opportunities.
Ensure you socialize and build productive relationships. Consolidate your online profile and build professional contacts by interacting with constructive forums and attending seminars. You never can tell what would eventually yield the desired outcome.
Acquire some skills
The NYSC is affiliated with trainers for vocational skills of various sorts through its Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) program, which trains interested corps members at a relatively subsidised rate.
The NYSC service year affords you the opportunity to acquire a vocational skill so you don’t have to depend solely on certificates to make ends meet. Participating in this program would also get you a mentor and help you find your place.
Take professional courses
Getting a job after your service year might take up all the time you need to learn anything new. You might want to expend a cut of your fortune on professional courses with educational institutes like CIPM, NIM, PM, and ICAN.
Prepare your CV
If you don’t already have it, then your service year gives you ample time to craft a solid CV for yourself. Writing a resume or cover letter is also something you must ensure you get accustomed to.
There’d be lots of jobs for which you might need to craft these documents. You definitely don’t want to wait until they’re demanded of you before you have them ready.
Read wide, stay relevant
To carve a niche for yourself, there is a need to ensure that you’re abreast of lots of knowledge, even those unrelated to your field. Plus, some ideas and advice you need are hidden away in some book.
Reading newspapers and magazines (both local and international), personal development books, fictions, biographies, and many other genres would expand your horizon and get you acquainted with the world around you.
Support Your PPA
Supporting your place of primary assignment could eventually prove to be beneficial and could mean you might not need to go on the job hunt after having expended your service year.
You really might want to fully dedicate your talent to whatever task is required of you and, of course, you don’t want to amass queries and bad records for yourself or ruin your chances of building a network that could eventually land you the dream job.
Have a plan
Come to think of it. You don’t want to get carried away by all the fuss. During the course of your service year, you should spend quality time on reflecting; figuring out your values; and developing a precise career plan that spans up to ten years ahead for yourself.
You might want to find out what fascinates you; what you want to be remembered for and align your career path with these, ensuring that you set precise timelines and deadlines within which to act on them.