People keep asking how they are expected to gain 3 years work experience by 25 years of age. First of all, if you waited till you graduated before getting work experience, you put yourself at a disadvantage as by graduation you should have had several years of experience.

Graduates please stop looking down at menial jobs as they are a good source of work experience. Let me give you a list of jobs I did before I was 21:

  1. Silver Service: These are the people who clear and arrange tables of guests in restaurants of big hotels. I was 18 then. A friend introduced me and 2 other friends to the job. I did it for 3 months before I started university.
  2. Chamber Maid: These are the people who clean rooms and make beds in hotels. Start time was 5am. I did a trial day with one of the maids cleaning over 20 rooms. The next day I could not get up in the morning, that was the end of that option, physical work has never been my thing, lol.
  3. Pickers and Packers: These are the people who arrange the contents of packages in factories. We pick from the factory line and pack into a box. I did this for 1 month.
  4. Examiner: The people who mark exam scripts. I marked O level exam scripts. I did it for 6 weeks during the long holidays in my 3rd year of University.
  5. Market Researcher: The people who conduct market research over the phone on behalf of companies. I did it in my 2nd year for 6 weeks during the long holidays.
  6. Telesales: The people who try to sell or book appointments with their sales team over the phone. I did this during term time in the evenings 6pm to 9pm.
  7. Receptionist: I did this for the university part time 4pm to 6pm when a staff went on holiday. The job was advertised on the notice board. Most people ignored it as the pay was minimal. I took it and spent my time there reading.
  8. MSc Project: I developed an online Help System for a government funded firm. I did this for 3 months.

By the time I was 21, I had several years work experience and several transferable skills, namely; Communication, Teamwork, Analytical, Sales, Customer Service, Numeracy Skills etc.

Ps: All work experience counts including hawking, helping your mum sell in her shop, selling recharge cards. Whatever it is, include it in your CV, it counts!

Never look down on menial jobs. The money was minimum wage then but there is dignity in labour. And those thinking it will bring down your social status, trust me you are not more ‘aje butter’ than me. Please share your own example of work experience.

©Adora Ikwuemesi