1. Get Trained and Be Proficient in Basic Computing Skills
As the world is completely computerized and overwhelmingly digital, some basic skills are needed to keep up with the technological trend. If you have no prior experience with computer and its operation, you should start by training for and gaining proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Your aim should be intermediate or advanced level. However, you will need more than these three to cope in the coming days.
2. Have a Functional CV
After three to seven years in active academic works, you must have a functional CV. The CV should be at least a page and a half long. It mustn’t contain only the details of your academic sojourn. Every form of volunteer activities you’re involved in alongside other positive projects should be detailed. This includes everything from your pre-NYSC days. This would pass you off as a leader who is interested in not just money but also contributing to society. Many people have the same degree and even graduated from better schools. Something other than degree must stand you out.
3. Keep an Active LinkedIn Account
Before rounding off your service year, ensure you have a LinkedIn account with an updated profile. LinkedIn is different from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that is a place for all forms o social activities but strictly for professionals. Your profile must be enticing to employers or future partners. If your profile displays that you don’t have some set of skills, you are losing out already. Getting one or two persons to write recommendations on your profile is a good way to get visible on search in LinkedIn. Getting references shouldn’t be difficult if you have a positive attitude.
4. Develop a Strong Network
This is an essential part of personal and professional development. Attend conferences, workshops, seminars etc on some of the things that interest you. The good relationship you create and then maintained would help you in the future either on your professional or personal journey. Make sure the relationship you keep is those that are essential to your goals in life. The strength of your network would determine your success or failure personally and professionally. In this generation, network is key and works best if it’s explored for the furtherance of your goals.
5. Hone Your Presentation, Communication and Project Management Skills
No matter what you studied, you should be good in at least two of these three areas. Paper qualifications are not enough in this generation if perhaps they are the only things you could boast of. As I have said, many people have the same degree as you. Organizations look for what makes you different from the crowd. If you don’t stand out from the rest of the people, you would not get some of the things you want either personally or professionally.
In conclusion, the journey is long. Consider getting a mentor. A mentor would help add clarity to your journey. Above all, gather as many skills as you can now. They would come in handy when you have a thousand others to compete with.
Written by Segun Ogunlade, an online editor at HowNg.