How to Get Noticed for Job Opportunities by Foreign Companies

Landing a good gig with an indigenous company is tough enough that some will not even consider the possibility of getting an opportunity to work in a foreign organisation operating in the country. Decades back you could actually count on your fingers the number of foreign firms pitching their tent in Nigeria. Today however many foreign organisations across several sectors (including information technology, oil and gas, financial services, manufacturing etc) are coming to the full realisation of the goldmine that is Nigeria in terms of commercial opportunities.

Maybe it is partially due to the economic recession and dwindling of market share in their home continents and countries (in Europe and the US) many companies are expanding the boundaries of their operation into Africa and Nigeria is certainly always one of the first countries considered due to its commercial value.

Companies like Google, Microsoft, GE have become more active in the local scene of recent.

What then are the possibilities for an ambitious career individual like yourself to get noticed and offered a position in any of these foreign firms?

The major positive here is that they certainly need local experts and professionals and they do really recruit Nigerians for many positions even if some of the reserve the very top management positions for expatriates.

Wilfred Tchasse, co-founder of Nigeria’s largest mobile social marketplace Mobofree, gives some tips and helpful advice on how to get good job offers in foreign and multinational companies;

Ngcareers: In terms of positioning one’s self for a possible job with a foreign company as a Nigerian what are the minimum academic requirements?

Wilfred: Well, European companies really valuate job experience. So if a candidate has some related experience – he can be even 2-3nd year student in high school and your studies results are not so important. It’s quite a usual situation that European students start working from 2nd -3rd course and when getting diploma, they already have quite solid work experience. That’s why foreign companies expect the same when seeking for candidates in African countries.

Anyway – high school diploma or being a student in high school is a must.

Ngcareers: Is there any different approach you’d suggest a potential candidate uses in reaching out to these organizations?

Wilfred: When speaking about process of application – it’s totally the same. Candidate should find interesting job ads of foreign companies and apply by sending resume and cover letter.

Ngcareers: What Advice will you give to a Nigerian seeking to land a job with a company outside Nigeria?

Wilfred: From my personal experience when seeking employees from Nigeria I know – competition is quite tough. Usually foreign company will get hundreds of resumes. So the main target – stand out from the crowd.

1. Be proactive and use networking. For example you can find profile of representative of your target company on (make sure you approach appropriate person) and introduce yourself through Linkedin. This way you will be noticed and most of employers will have positive attitude to such initiative.

2. Do your homework. Collect as many as possible info about the company you apply to. It’s more than expected that during interview you will get question “Why you decided to apply to our company?” And for the company it’s very important to hear that you’ve applied not just due to big salary, or just because you need a job. Candidate should show initiative by knowing the product of that specific company well, the competitive landscape and the industry space.

3. Never be late a single minute when dealing with foreign company. If you promised to send additional info – send it as soon as possible, if you have job interview – be exactly on time. Even if you are in 5 minutes late – it will have huge negative impact. Timekeeping is very important for foreign companies.

4. If you are student – use your university resources to gain some international experience. Perhaps there is an student exchange or foreign apprenticeships programs going on. Participation in such program would be big bonus for any future foreign recruiter.

5. Do not think that foreign employers are stupid. They might lack deep knowledge of local market, culture, etc. but you can be sure – once they decided to hire Nigerian employee – they made some research about level of salaries in Nigeria. And if you ask a salary which is 20 times above market level, you will be refused without going to any deeper discussion. Western companies will simply not treat such behavior as trial to negotiate. Most probably such request will be treated as insolence and demonstration that you think they are…stupid.

Good news are that most western companies usually tend to suggest salaries slightly above market level in order to get the best candidates and keep them motivated. It’s even possible, that you will be suggested higher salary than you requested during interview.

Wilfred’s Mobofree is a free mobile site where over 1 million Nigerians share, sell or buy stuff and make meaningful connections with other peeps.

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