With about 1.8 million Nigerians (Okonjo-Iweala, 2014) entering the labour market every year, do you have what it takes to stand out in a job Interview? Do you have a selling point to get you your desired job offer? 

Almost every working class adult has the CV of one graduate or the other in their mail, on their phone or even a printed copy they carry around given to them in search of job.

looking for a job

These graduates are looking for just a ‘job’. If you ask them what kind of job, they will say – any job sir. If you ask them what course they studied in school, they will tell you the course and then say – but I can work anywhere sir.

If you ask further that what exactly can they do or offer a company, they will say – it depends on what the company want me to do – as if they can do everything.

At this point, the conversation gets so interesting because you sort of get an answer to every question you ask them as if it’s even an interview.

When you ask them if they can do a particular job or perform a particular task (such as leading a sales team, designing a sales letter for a new product, copywriting, presenting, and so on), then their voices will start to shake and they will eventually realise that they are not fit for just any job. In most cases, they are not fit for the best of the offers out there.

I always find myself in this type of conversation with many graduates and it always end up becoming a coaching session on how to get a job in Nigeria.

At the end of the day, one will come to a logical conclusion that the issue may not even be a case of unemployment for the majority of them, but a case of unemployability.

You see, as an employer of labour myself, no company is looking for just about any graduate as a staff any longer;

Companies are now looking for employees that have the skills and capabilities to help increase their productivity, profit and ultimately help them reach their goals and achieve their corporate vision. If that is not you, forget about it.

There are some young graduates around who also have job problems. But their own job problems are those of taking decision when faced with the confusion of multiple job offers.

In some rare cases, some of them do have up to 3 companies that offer them job opportunities and they are confused on which one to go for.

You see how life is! A graduate is having plenty where many others are lacking. This happens everyday. You all have examples of graduates that fall in the different categories of job seekers I have mentioned above. The question now is – what makes the difference?

What makes the difference between those who get job offers easily and those who don’t?

The answer can be found in their ‘Selling Point’.

What is Your Selling Point?

Your selling point is what differentiates you from the others. Your selling point is what you have/possess in skills and capabilities that your other colleagues do not have/possess or that they have but not up to yours even if you read the same course or graduated with the same grade in school.

Let me explain this concept to you. Every time you sit for a job interview, the company interviewing you already have an idea of exactly who they want to hire and you can’t be the only one that has the kind of academic grades they are looking for. So, in the midst of hundreds of other graduates and job seekers that are carrying same grade as you or even better, what is going to differentiate you? What will give you an edge?

Earlier this year, I was invited to train some serving corp members and fresh graduates on how to develop employability skills by an organisation and I carried out an exercise to test their employability rating. They saw right there and then how about 90% of them are not employable. Funny enough, all these 90% have got good grades out of school. So!!!

[bctt tweet=”As a graduate seeking for a good job, your selling point can’t be your certificate because everyone has that.” username=”planbbiz”]

There is no grade you want to have that no one has had before and that many people do not currently have. So, how will that differentiate you from the crowd? How do you develop employability skills that will give you an edge in the market place?

Aside getting yourself to be in good standing academically, the skills you should focus on if you want to get a job are leadership skills, problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, analytical skills, language and effective communication skills, digital skills, team work, networking skills and so on.


Aside your academics, the above skills and many more are what employers look for these days because those skill are what help to sustain businesses in the long run.

[bctt tweet=”The era of getting a job with a good grade only is long gone and will never come back. The current economy worldwide runs on innovation and creativity and not on reproduction of what’s being taught.” username=”planbbiz”]

Academic excellence, in this part of the world, is an indication of your ability to reproduce what you have been taught and not an indication of actually how creative or innovative you are. That is why most times, the academic geniuses find it hard to perform well in some endeavours that run purely on creativity. You can read Robert Kiyosaki’s book on Why ‘A’ Students Work for ‘C’ Students and ‘B’ Students Work for the Government.

Do not get me wrong, this is not meant, in anyway, to ridicule academic excellence. It is just a wake up call  that good certificate is not enough if your goal is to get a good job in Nigeria.

You need to up your game and make your selling point attractive enough that employers will find you valuable and want you on their team.

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How do you get a unique selling point that will help you get your desired job faster?

The answer is simple; equip yourself with what the employers are looking for in today’s economy. Acquire extra skills such as those I mentioned earlier and add them to your CV. You can as well use the following strategies to acquire those skills;

  • Join leadership-based organisations where you can learn about leadership even for free. You will not only learn about leadership, you will also be able to actually perform in some leadership roles and that’s a good place for you to start. There are a lot of such organisations (such as JCI, AISIEC, LEO and so on) out there and in all higher institutions in Nigeria. Go online to search for trainings on leadership and apply for them. You can get certified along the line. With this alone, you are already a step ahead of your peers. You can make use of websites that offer free and cheap online certificate courses such as, and so on in this regard.
  • To improve on your communication skills, join an organisation like Toastmasters. They are everywhere and you can start as an observer. If you like what they offer, join them and get trained to become a professional communicator and speaker. There is no company that does not like to employ someone that can effectively present their offer convincingly to a customer. With this skill, you are several steps ahead of your peers.
  • To improve on your digital skills, you can learn a lot online. You can learn graphics designing, website designing and desktop publishing online for free. Whenever you need to pay to get certified, do not hesitate to do so and don’t forget to add them all to your CV. It tells your employer how much you value your self development and capacity building and they will appreciate it by giving you a good offer.

You can repeat the above strategies for all other skills too. Do not be afraid to learn a new language if you need to. A lot of people get employed now because they can speak an extra language while others can’t. Your employer will see it as an added advantage. 

Another great stagey to gift yourself a good selling point is Volunteering. If you have a desired job or post in mind, why don’t you volunteer to do it for free somewhere first? Say for 3 or 6 months.

I know the economy is harsh and you need money but you wont die doing this. Instead of sitting at home waiting for a job offer, volunteer and add the experience to your CV.

The advantage of volunteering is that when a job opportunity comes, you have an edge over others – an experience. That might be your own selling point to get employed. 

In conclusion, with what I have shared with you above, you will realise that the strategies and opportunities to equip yourself with great selling points to distinguish yourself in the labour market are endless and it’s then up to you to make it happen. I really hope you have been a bit enlightened and fired-up with this write-up. 

Now, it’s your turn to talk to me, what has been your experience in searching for your desired job? Tell me by using the comment box below and let’s have a conversation on how you can improve on your own unique selling point too.

Do not forget to share these posts with others that will benefit from it as well.

I remain your friend in your journey to greatness.

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Ibraheem Tiamiyu (Plan B) is a parallel entrepreneur, the founder of Plan B Group, a YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) Fellow and a highly sought-after speaker and trainer on business, investment, leadership, youth and organisational development.

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