How to Plan for a Successful Career During Your NYSC Year

Why Waiting till end of your service is a great mistake

Just like in their undergraduate days many graduates undergoing the National Youth service see their service year as not a timeto plan for their career future. Instead they wallow in the fun of the moment as youth corpers and believe tomorrow thinks for itself.

The truth is the moment you take off that khaki the federal government doesn’t care a hoot about you. You simply join the hundreds of thousands of others who have passed out before you and are now looking for jobs to keep body and soul together.

When I was serving the fatherland I recall that on the day we officially ceased being youth corpers a couple of my corpers friends were afraid to leave their rented rooms in Abeokuta back to the Southeast. It dawned on them that they were not certain of what the world out there holds for them. One of them did not actually know what next to do; he was only sure of one thing – that he never wanted to go back to live with his parents in Enugu. As i packed my bag to leave Abeokuta I asked if he wasn’t planning on leaving that day. He shook his head and said since his rent still ran for up to a month that h would likely spend some more time alone weighing his options and planning his next line of action.

As for me I already had stuff going on that I was eager to leave Abeokuta and face squarely. However I still felt pity for those guys; it was clear they had realised they came to the crossroads.

So you see the one year you spend as a youth corp member is supposed to be a year of rigorous planning and identifying the opportunities and directions you want to pursue.

Here are some tips on how to plan for a successful career during your 1 year service of the fatherland;

Start Planning on What Exactly You Want to Pursue after Service

While you may be doing whatever job you are assigned to do at your Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) you must never lose sight of the fact that you should plan on exactly what you want to do after your service. Do you wish to work for yourself or get a job in a certain blue chip company? Define what it is you want to do and move to the next step

Acquire needed professional skills

Narrowing down on what you desire to pursue as a career after service will obviously help you decide what skills and knowledge you lack currently and that are needed for success in the path you have chosen.

As soon as you are clear on the analysis of what you need the service year is a good time to embark on aggressive skills acquisition and self improvement. Most likely you will have plenty of time on your hands that you shouldn’t waste. Join professional organisations, get online and start bringin yourself up to date in your area of interest.

Start your job hunting months ahead of schedule

If you have identified clearly the sort of jobs and career you are interested in it is advisable to commence your active job search a few months before you pass out from service. Many graduates have landed jobs this way as it helps you make mistakes, send your profile to as many targets as possible when the pressure to sustain yourself isn’t yet fully on you. Create a professional career profile for yourself and join career platforms like Ngcareers.

Start identifying internship opportunities

One of the best ways to get your foot in the door in your dream career is to seek internship opportunities where you will be trained and given the chance to prove your worth. Internship opportunities are not that rampant so you woud have to know where to search.

You can search for internship and trainee opportunities on Ngcareers and any other decent job site. You can also check out Opportunitydesk; it’s a good place to find all sorts of graduate opportunities and internships.

Look for the right business opportunities (if that’s where your inclination lies)

If you are like some of us and interested in hustling on your own then your service year is a fantastic time to plan and prepare for this.

Your service year can be used to prepare in the following ways;

– Identify your passion area and entrepreneurship ideas you want to pursue
– Save some amount of money to help you as take off capital (to do this you will have to work on several jobs like take up teaching in one or two schools, do any job around that will fetch you some extra thousands of naira per month)
– If you are interested and passionate about it and have the tools you can take up online business and start something in an area of interest. If you go at it in the 10 months or so you may end up having a sustainable online business you can focus on after your service. You can check this blog if you are interested in exploiting work from home and online business models.

Join thousands of other serious minded career individuals on Ngcareers today and create a professional profile that will become visible to employers and companies who search for candidates on Ngcareers.

About Paul

Paul Eze is the Co-founder and CEO at NGCareers. He is an avid writer. Connect with Paul on Twitter

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