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Out-of-the-Box thinking: Job Hunting Skills with Chika Uwazie

Sometimes I ponder, and try to articulate how I got to this point in my life. I guess I really never thought about it till I sat down to write these words. On May 8th 2010 I graduated from a small historically black institution called Bethune Cookman University. I had the opportunity to go to a more known school but I opted out because I received a full scholarship to attend BCU.

I took all the steps in the right directions to secure a great job after I graduated. I joined one of the best sororities in the world Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. I was in the honors program, and president of the honor society for my major. I even was the only one granted at my school an internship at Target for their executive leadership program, and despite all these great things it was not enough.

Once you get in the real world thousands will be just as competitive as you are. They will have all the right accolades with good grades, internships, and members of great associations. In this tough economy you must rise above the occasion to do something that will make you stand out, that will make a person say wow I must hire that person.

After graduation I was applying to countless jobs. A lot of times they will email me back, “great resume” or “come in for an interview”, but it seem nothing could stick. So I took a chance and took a summer internship with a small company called Partnership I did not get paid, but the experience was tremendous. Not only did I acquire the skills to write proposals, but I also learned more about the emerging markets and the global world around me. After a summer internship I felt that I was prepared to move on to a paid position. This is how I arrived at my current job, The Whitaker Group. The Whitaker group is a premiere business advisory firm, consulting US companies who want to expand to Africa. I knew this place would be my dream job, but I also knew that same dream would hold true for many others as well. I thought to myself how can I get my application to outshine others, and finally I came up with the idea. I did my research on the company and wrote a cover letter that reflected that. After I put together the cover letter, and resume I bought a beautiful coffee mug and a pretty pink bag for it to go in. I folded up my resume and cover letter and placed it in the cup and then took the present to the office. I dropped off the present in person and told the secretary this present is for the CEO and just let her know it was from me.

After a few hours I got a call from The Whitaker group, and they told me they wanted to interview me right away. I had an interview with the human resource manager in my, and then I was told the CEO wanted to see me. As I sat down in her office she looked at me and said, “I normally do not meet the people being interviewed, but I just had to meet the girl who was creative enough to send me her resume in a form of a gift” Then she proceeded to say. “I wish you all the best and maybe I will see you soon”. A week later I was told I got the job, and now we fast forward to February, and I am still here doing very well. I am not saying this technique may work for everyone, but sometimes extreme measures have to be taken in times such as these. I leave you with a few pointers to take away with you as you are venturing out for employment.

• Always do your research on the companies you are applying for. It is good to research these companies because if you are granted an interview with a manager, they will be impressed when you have an extensive knowledge of who they are and what services they provide.

• Always include a cover letter with your resume. A cover letter can showcase some areas the employer may have not been able to see in your resume.

• Think of out of the box ways to get employers attention. Even if you do not go my route of obtaining a job leave them with a catchy phrase at the end of your cover letter or even personally deliver your resume and cover letter to the company in which you are applying for.

• It is okay to take an unpaid internship for a short period in order to gain experience. If your situation allows it take a few months to do an unpaid internship. Sometimes these internships give you the most experience and it can lead you to a paid position.

• After an interview send a thank you letter. Most people do not send a thank you letter after an interview, and this can be another way to stand out from other applicants. Tell them thank you for interviewing with me and then highlight something that was discussed in the interview.

• Lastly never give up. With the economy changing and the workforce getting more competitive, getting a job will be tougher. If you attack your job search with the right attitude sooner or later the RIGHT job will be yours!!!

Chika Uwazie is a May 2010 graduate from Bethune Cookman University with a BS (Hons) in Industrial Organizational Psychology and a minor in International Relations. At her university, she graduated with the honors of magna cum laude and received an award for outstanding psychology scholar. Chika is the editor and chief to The Nigerian Eagle (www.thenigerianeagle.com). The Nigerian eagle is a social media platform that promotes progress, unity and better development for Nigeria. Prior to joining the Whitaker Group, Ms. Uwazie was the only student selected by her University to take part in a 2009 Target Executive Leadership internship. She has worked in Lagos, Nigeria at Netsolutions Ltd. as well as interned for Partnership International Inc.

Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell