After completing your tertiary education as a Nigerian, every graduate then faces a one-year mandatory national service to the nation known as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). From its hectic three-week camping programme to mark the commencement of the youth service year, many youth corp members often wonder what their one year will be like and the best way to fully maximize it.
Your one-year youth service might seem like a long time, but you will soon realise that time passes as fast as a speed train. It is imperative to maximise your time while carrying out your youth service duties. So, if you are preparing for your service year or currently a youth corp member, here are five things you can do to make the most of your NYSC days:
1.Start preparing your cover letter and CV.
Getting a professionally written CV and cover letter from experts for yourself is one step you can take during your service year because it helps you get ready for life after youth service. Your service year gives you enough time to properly craft a CV that highlights your skills and makes you stand out in the labour market. Ensure that you do not just prepare a CV and cover letter, but you also send them to recruiting firms and organisations for graduate entry or internship positions. Crafting your CV before the end of your service year makes you proactive and not reactive to job applications you will be making after your service year.
2.Get familiar with LinkedIn during youth service.
LinkedIn is a great place to build your network, connect and interact with firms and professionals in your area of interest or career line. While serving, create and update your LinkedIn account with information about you. You can always network and make valuable connections with people who can spur you to grow in your career or partner with you in your area of interest. Also, through the knowledge shared on the platform by experts, you gain access to relevant information and even job opportunities. Stay active on the platform, sell your skills and look out for opportunities during or even after youth service.
3.Subscribe to job newsletters and alerts during service year.
Information, they say, is power. There are several opportunities available to young people, but it takes having the right information before you can fully partake of such opportunities. Many of these opportunities are regularly posted on job boards, websites and newsletters, and so subscribing to these sites will help you stay abreast of opportunities when they come. When you have the right information, you can leverage them to make good choices for your career and plans. Since you know that the monthly NYSC stipend will not last forever, you have to ensure that you are always looking out for opportunities you can take advantage of, both during and even after your youth service.
4.Take a professional course and get certified!
The importance of professional courses can never be overemphasised. Most disciplines have professional courses associated with them, e.g. ACCA and ICAN for accountants, CIPM for Personnel Managers, HSE, ISPON and OSHA for safety-related occupations etc. Find out the professional courses relevant to your field and use your youth service year to complete the course and get certified/chartered. Corp members are often given discounts on most of the training and certifications, which is why you need one if you have not yet signed up for one. Asides from the fact that getting certified in a professional course is an added advantage to your CV and gives a higher chance of bagging a job, it also helps you improve your knowledge and skills in your area of expertise.
5. Look out for Job or scholarship opportunities.
“What next?” This question is quite popular amongst youth corp members when they draw the curtain to mark the end of their service year. The answer to the “what next?” question is mainly gotten from how well you have utilised the information and opportunities available to you during your service year. Always be on the lookout for job or scholarship opportunities that are in line with your plans. Since NYSC seems like a free year, it is easy for you to get lost in activities that hold no value for you. However, always ensure that you stay focused on your goals and plans. You can subscribe to emails from top scholarship websites and familiarise yourself with application requirements, ensuring that you meet them before the end of your scholarship year. Some of such conditions include; IELTS, TOFEL, SAT, University transcript or degree, a valid form of identification, etc.
In conclusion, ensure that you stay proactive and invest in your skills and network during your service year to enjoy its effect after your service year entirely. Maximise your service year!