Photo: Jeremiah Buabeng (CEO, Buabeng Communications)

Are there really no jobs in Ghana? I think not. Why has Ama [not her real name successfully changed jobs from KPMG to Zenith Bank to FBN Bank all in 5 years? How has our very own Petra Aba Asamoah changed jobs from Delta Airlines to Media General and changed roles twice in the same organization? Kwame Gyan has moved around a couple of companies quite a bit in the past few years hasn’t he? So has Nhyira Addo. Whilst we all know someone who is unemployed, we all also know someone who has changed jobs a couple of times. All my entrepreneur friends have announced available vacancies in their companies at least once in the past 1 year. So have I. Is it true there are no jobs? No, it’s not.

There are jobs. But there are not enough to go around for everyone. In Economics when demand exceeds supply, it creates a situation called COMPETITION. This means job seekers should be prepared to compete for jobs. This is where the problem arises. I will break it down into the following points:

1. Entitlement Mentality: many graduates feel getting a job is reward they deserve for finishing school. So they never really make serious effort to compete for the available jobs. Somehow they expect the jobs to walk up to them. Sitting in your house and doing nothing will not get you a job. If you don’t have a job, your full time job is to get a job. Regularly, on interview panels I encounter graduates who carry themselves as if they deserve to get the job or a certain salary because of their degree.

2. Unprepared Competitors: As is the custom in every competition, there are rules, expectations and standards. If you are going to win in the race for jobs, then you must know these rules and master them. Majority of graduates don’t know how to write CVs that can open doors for them. Mind you, merely scribbling your name and the schools you have attended on a paper does not make a CV that will make a prospective employer invite you for an interview. If your CV is poorly written, it doesn’t matter how many companies you send it to, you won’t get a job. It’s not about how many CVs you have circulated. It’s about the quality. And then again, most people who even get interviews make such a base case for themselves that they never hear from the employer again.

3. Unemployable Unemployed: some people are unemployable. The only thing they have is their diploma or degree. That’s all. Sometimes, they are top students who even got First Class or Upper but besides that they are clueless. They have no idea what’s going on the world. They have no understanding of corporate Ghana. They have no skills or experience. They just went to school and passed examinations. A person can decide to beat this by ensuring that whilst in school they participate in activities that help them acquire exposure and skills. If you serve as General Secretary of the SRC or the Christian Fellowship, you will learn some useful skills such as letter and proposal writing, public speaking, persuasion and organizing. Employers value this more than the grade A on your transcript.

4. Lack of Street Smarts: when Rita applied for a job with my company, I gave her a date to show up for interview. She didn’t show up. I reached her and asked why and she replied that she could’t raise the money for transportation. I responded that she should have called to reschedule. She apologized and I expected that she would take the opportunity to ask for another opportunity. She did not. And I also did not offer it because if you are applying for a marketing role, I want to see signs that you have got your wits about you, that you can play the game. If you can’t negotiate for your own interview, how can you make money for my company? On the other hand, Philip “smuggled” himself into my company as an unpaid intern and worked so hard that after his internship, I had no choice than to offer him a job. It’s called street smarts.

Getting a job is a competition. If you are going to win, you must master the game.

By Jeremiah Buabeng

The author is one of the leading motivational speakers in Ghana. He is a multi-skilled professional who operates as an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, preacher, author, corporate trainer, consultant and publisher. His core competencies lie in marketing, communications, concept and content development, motivation and human capital development. In 2015, he was voted by his peers as Ghana’s No.1 Young Speaker under the auspices of Speakers Bureau Ghana. He has also been voted twice in the 50 Most Influential Young Ghanaian rankings. Jeremiah has travelled the length and breadth of Ghana’s speaking circuit and has delivered over 800 presentations across at least 9 of Ghana’s 10 regions.

He has shared conference stages with illustrious figures such as Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, Prof. Stephen Adei, Rev. Albert Ocran, Emmanuel Dei-Tumi, Menson Torkonoo, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Kafui Dey, Bernard Avle, Conrad Kakraba and many more and has featured on over 150 radio and television interviews. He has addressed, trained and/or consulted for companies and institutions in various industries including agribusiness, financial services, health, automobile, fashion and still counting.

He is the author of several books including Take Off, Constructing the Future, Game Changer, The Power of Mentorship, Wisdom Farm and others. Jeremiah is the founder and CEO of Buabeng Communications, a mass communications company which operates services in publishing, web & graphic design, corporate branding, event management and strategic communications, and the Lead Consultant of Corporate Toolbox, the corporate training and consulting division of Buabeng Communications.