Tough times never last but tough people do. A young university graduate, Afred Ajani, demonstrated amazing resilience to get a job when he stood in the busy Waterloo Station in London, with a placard advertising himself as an applicant in want of job.
Ajani, whose surname suggests possible Nigerian parentage, stood at the entrance of the railway station on Monday, August 19, during the rush hour, holding up a sign stating: ‘Marketing graduate (BA Hons 2:1 Coventry Uni). Ask for CV.’
This is happening at a time when most Nigerian young graduates struggle for visa to the United Kingdom in search of greener pastures. Others, too numerous to mention, brave death en-route Europe as they journey through the desert in search of employment opportunities. Not minding the fact that almost half of fresh graduates in western countries are now in ‘non-graduate’ or ‘stepping stone’ roles, such as bar-tending, and other menial jobs, young Nigerians still dash for UK visa like a ticket to heaven.
Ajani, who lives in South London graduated in Second Class Upper division from Coventry University, yet, his nice grade couldn’t secure him a job. After applying for 300 positions without success, he took an unusual step by holding up a sign in his hands during the rush hour, advertising himself as a jobless graduate of Marketing to thousands of commuters buzzing around the train station.
His new approach became the charm that caught the attention of many company directors, who walked up to him to discuss potential positions and gladly picked up his CV. His radical step unlocked gates of opportunities, with prospective employers inundating him with calls and e-mails within hours. At the last count, he has been interviewed for a ‘dream’ sports marketing job in Spain, as well as other choice offers.
His unusual way of looking for a job has worked! Aside being inundated with emails and calls, Ajani had an interview with sports hospitality firm THG Sports. He said: “The response has been incredible. I’ve even had to have my family and friends help me go through all the emails and phone messages I’ve received. I’ve spoken to THG about a sales position in Barcelona, which would be a brilliant as it is in the area I want to go into and studied.Living abroad would be a great experience too, so it’s something I’m really excited about.”
Ajani said his mum, Lola, was proud of him for thinking out of the box to get the desired attention. ‘My mum, Lola, is really proud of me. She gave me a big hug when she saw the response I had got. And she had me up at 5.30am this morning following up some of the offers I have received.’
Speaking about his job prospects, he said: “One woman worked in advertising and took a CV and another guy ran back from his train and said he’d walked past but had started thinking and might have something for me. I’ve already had some phone calls and have got an interview booked for later today. The support was great, one man even bought me a cup of tea and told me ‘good luck’.
He added: “My mum is proud of me. She came down to the station and was hugging me and saying she hoped I could help support our family.”
Rather than feel ashamed of his rare act, Ajani said he had received scores of messages of support from fellow graduates and classmates. He said his expectations remain high to secure a full-time position in no distant time.
On the pressures on graduates to find a job in the current market, he said: “If everyone is saying we don’t have experience, then I do not understand how we are supposed to get that experience.”
Speaking about what motivated him to take this unusual approach to job hunting, Ajani says he was frustrated that he hadn’t found a job since May, and that the opportunities he had found weren’t areas he was interested in. He is interested in strictly marketing/advertising jobs.
“I realised that there are thousands of students out there using the same old methods of applying for jobs online and through recruitment agencies and so I thought I’d try something different.
I got up early and went to the station. At first people just looked at me but after about 10 minutes people were stopping and talking to me. They said they’d never seen anything like it before and were really impressed,” he says.
A photo of Ajani giving his CV to people at the train station made its way to Twitter, prompting many people on the social media platform to commend his efforts, and offering to assist him.
His courageous act also won the heart of the Editor of Marketing Week, Ruth Mortimer, who wrote him a letter, hailing marketers for their sense of creativity, pro-activity and thinking. She said Ajani has since received a better response rate than most people using latest email campaign.
Mortimer also urged friends to help Ajani get a job. “Alfred, get in touch with our own marketing team (just email firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll hook you up with our friends in the recruitment team, make sure you keep up to date every week with a Marketing Week subscription and throw in a ticket to the Festival of Marketing.”
THIS BLOG IS OPERATED BY A GROUP OF NIGERIANS RESIDENT OUTSIDE NIGERIA SHARING A BALANCED, OBJECTIVE AND NON-PARTISAN POINT OF VIEW OF THINGS HAPPENING IN THE COUNTRY. THE MAIN OBJECTIVE IS TO SCOUT OUT THINGS AND OPINIONS OF OTHERS AROUND THE WORLD ON NIGERIA AND HER PEOPLE. IMPORTANT ARTICLES MAY BE TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH COMPLETELY OR SUMMARIZED
*Articles are translated into English and links to the original message should be provided. *Very long articles may be summarized and link to the original provided . *Video clips should have dates and other indications to the source