For many others, they are yet to get IT placements and for some, they may have started at a roadside shop while waiting for "God to pick their call"... Or better still, while waiting for an offer from the many major companies they've applied to online or physically.
I've interacted with many of them and yeah... They'll be quick to say that they don't know anybody in those companies and are only hoping on God for a miracle.
Unfortunately, the sad reality in Nigeria is that to even get an internship placement in a major company, you have a know a senior staff there.
A company like Total E&P (they actually conduct a very fair screening process but they are very selective) would require you get your application endorsed by a senior staff before you're even considered to be invited for the screening test.
So then... What's the solution?
What should someone do if he doesn't know anyone working in any company?
The answer lies in a platform many of us are well aware of... LinkedIn
Top 6 Reasons to be on LinkedIn
1. Remains #1 place to get hired
2. Is a branding tool for you
3. Helps stay up to date with industry trends
4. Builds a network of professionals
5. Scouters will contact you via LinkedIn
6. Recommendations build trust among recruiters
Unfortunately, many don't know how to use it to achieve their goals...
Unfortunately, I've seen people just go to LinkedIn, go to the comment section of someone's post or maybe to their own wall and write something like...
Hey, I'm XYZ, an undergraduate EEE student of FUTO and I'm currently looking for an IT placement in any engineering firm Please, help me and I will be grateful. I have a lot of problems with this method and while it may work for someone, it actually pisses many persons off. But that will be the topic for another day.
1. Identify the companies you would like to intern with
One of the first things you should do as a 400L student still looking for IT placement... You need to identify companies you'd want to work with.
You can enquire from your friends in higher levels or graduates to know where they did theirs and get ideas on places you can look out for.
You may want to focus on a particular industry or just be general... That's your choice.
2. Tush up your LinkedIn profile
Just in case you don't have a LinkedIn profile, you can create one easily.
Draft a very concise and catchy summary. That's the first step to selling yourself on LinkedIn
It's unfortunate when people use something like
Student at FUTO
as their profile summary...
Next, include tasks or positions you've held as your experience.
This will help you present yourself as someone with good leadership qualities. Add your educational history... You can include your current class of degree if it's good.
I've also seen people include some major courses they've done there.
You can add awards you've previously got, certificates and certifications you've obtained, online courses you've taken, etc. Just add anything you feel can help to sell you better.
3. Search for your school Alumni working in those companies you've listed out.
It's very easy... In linkedIn search bar, just type the name of the company and it will bring out people who works there.
LinkedIn uses a smart algorithm that arranges the list such that people you may already be connected with, those that attended the same school as you or are working in the same place as you come up first.
4. View their profile and note those that have well updated profiles.
I guess you wouldn't want to connect with someone who hasn't logged into his LinkedIn account for about a year or more.
You can identify about 3 of your Alumni in each of those companies you've previously identified.
You may not restrict yourself to just your alumni though... But it's normal that someone will consider you better when he finds out he's somehow connected to you... Maybe you're from his Alma mater.
5. Go ahead and create a relationship and make your request
Once the person has accepted your request, don't just rush and ask him for an IT placement... Unless maybe, he's the CEO of the company.
You can ask him if and how his company accept interns and how you can apply.
You can then, based on his response, go ahead and ask if he can recommend you or maybe, if you can submit your application through him.
Make your write-ups clear, avoid use of short hand, write like someone who's actually an undergraduate.
6. Don't just send a connection request... Always also add a brief note
I currently have over 100 LinkedIn connection request I've not responded to.
And while I may later just accept everyone, many of these staff are very selective when accepting requests.
On the other hand, you can add a note like this to your connection request????????
Note that sometimes, you have to use a laptop to send the connection request so as to see the option to add note.
These notes will be sent as messages to the recipients.
"Good morning Sir, I am XYZ
I went through your profile and I was actually amazed at what you've so far achieved. I usually feel motivated when I see FUTO alumni members excelling and making waves in their various fields Sir and I always try to connect with them so I can follow and learn from them.
Sir, I'll really be grateful and feel honoured if you accept my connection request."
If the person is active on LinkedIn, he will see this message, go straight to check your profile and if he feels impressed (which is why you need to have a good profile), he will surely accept your connection request.
I've had top people reply my message and even thanking me.
Some even went further to chat me up self.
One CEO of an Abuja based IT company went through my profile and next thing he asked for was my CV which I sent.
The following day, he called me and was ready to offer me a job then (unfortunately, I was actually engaged at that time which I politely told him)... He's now a close friend and mentor.
When Ndubuisi Ekekwe accepted my connection request on LinkedIn 2 years ago, we chatted for a while and he promised to do a Skype call with me later on (it didn't later hold though, my fault).
I have a friend who's currently in 400L and got invited to write Schlumberger internship exam... I don't know if the results are out.
He met a staff on LinkedIn who linked him up with someone in HR and he followed the person up and got invited for the exam.
After we graduated, I have a friend who connected with the Co-Founder of a Lagos-based tech firm on LinkedIn and through him, the person got a pre-nysc internship in the company.
There are many other stories where people got internships in companies they didn't previously know anyone simply by going out to know someone in those companies who later helped them.
You don't just stay at home crying that you, your father or family don't have any connection or maybe, settling down for that IT place you aren't proud of.
In my 400L, I went through another route though and I'll quickly share it here.
I went to Google and checked for IT companies based in PH.
I checked their websites and took note of some that caught my interest.
Next, I viewed their management page (most corporate website include a page where they list their management team and contact info).
Next, I sent a direct mail to the CEO of 4 tech companies.
I've forgotten how many replied but one specifically redirected me to apply through their corporate careers page and when I did, I got an invitation to interview. The invitation ended with ("We look forward to working with you in the subsequent months")????
Well, I never attended the interview, as I got another IT placement before I was able to travel to PH.
You can still copy down people's email from LinkedIn and send them a direct mail. Many people will respond quicker actually...
When I send mail to people, I'm never straightforward to ask them what I need...
I'll instead ask something like... I am currently applying for a 6 months internship and would be grateful if you can direct me how I can apply in your company.
The next you'd see is... Please, forward me your CV.
If the person then refers me to the normal application process of the company, I would then go further and be like... "Sir please, can I include you as a referee?" or "Sir please, I will be grateful if you help me follow up with the applications"
I'm always shy to make direct requests to people... I'm always scared of getting negative replies from them.Yeah... These may be quite long... And I may seem idle for having the time to type all these...
But as Ekene Otugeme (Convener of Employability and Job Readiness Masterclass) would always say... The process of looking for a job internship is actually a job on its own.
If you don't have the time or strength to pursue your dream internship, them maybe, you don't really deserve it.
Do you also have problems finding an IT placement? Leave a comment below.
We also appreciate your helpful tips in the comment section below.