GET A FOOT IN THE DOOR
What are your teens or adult children doing during the long holidays? Of course after a grueling academic year, it is important to enjoy some precious family time at home or on vacation and for them to get some rest and to unwind so they are refueled before the new academic year, but do they need to be on holiday for some three months? Take advantage of the long holiday; make it more than a vacation; it can add huge value to their future. How to take advantage of this holiday… Read on
From a very young age, students are expected to get the best grades possible. This puts so much pressure on our young people. Grades do matter, but remember that they are not everything; having good grades doesn’t necessarily translate into a good job, make you a great employee. There is so much more to life than grades.
Of course, as Nigerian parents we desire and can be blinded by those A grades, but work experience, an array of extracurricular activities and interests have become as important as exam or coursework grades in the search for top candidates. A well-chosen internship opportunity would offer your child/ward an edge.
Hands-on practical experience
It is on the job that you can truly hone some professional skills and gain hands-on, real-world experience outside the classroom.
This opportunity prepares your child to go back to school equipped with greater understanding and fresh perspectives on the subject matter reinforcing classroom concepts.
Interning provides an opportunity to work in a team, one of the most essential ingredients for success. This throws up many aspects of character, leadership, collaboration, technical skills, managing deadlines, responsibility etc. It is from this that a sound work ethic can be built.
“An audition in disguise”
An internship can lead to a full-time job at the host company subsequently. If they’ve left a great impression that they are hardworking, committed, intelligent and capable, they are certainly in a more competitive position to be considered than even those with far superior grades since the bosses are already familiar with their work ethic.
Internships gives a foot in the door; this is an ideal way for both employer and intern to test the waters for a period before committing fully. If they’ve impressed them, they’ll probably make the final list even ahead of candidates more accomplished and with stronger credentials than they are.
Test the waters
So many young people embark on a path only to find after considerable time and expense, that they wish to change direction. Ideally it would be nice to know as early as possible where their strengths are and where they will find fulfillment. An internship usually lasts for about 3 – 6 months. This is a great opportunity to test out a job or career path with enough time to learn whether or not it is a good fit without a long-term commitment.
You might also encourage them to try out various sectors during each vacation; different careers demand varying skill sets. This way, they get a wide range of experience under their belt and can begin to narrow down choices as they identify their strengths as well as areas in which they feel challenged.
Apart from the formal roles, there are numerous other opportunities to consider; from volunteering and community service, helping at a holiday camp, waiting tables in a restaurant, sales clerk at a local store.
Setting up a business?
What are your talents and skills that make your child stand out? Have you ever considered the possibility of teaching monetizing them? The long vacation is a great time to explore the possibility of collaborating with others to set up a business. This impresses employers no end. Encourage your ward/child in the entrepreneurial path, a lot of experience is garnered from that.
The family business
If you have some hope of your children eventually joining the family business, the holidays are a good time to have them spend some time learning from you from the bottom of the ladder. Over years, they will become familiar with the ethos and vision of the family business. The mistake many families make is to impose their adult children as Executive Directors with little to no interest or knowledge about the family firm. Far too many family businesses do not survive much beyond the life of the founder.
Relevant work experience
If you already have an idea of the path that they wish to pursue, select a firm in that field which will help equip them to prepare for future interviews and direction by gaining invaluable industry knowledge. Employers tend to choose candidates that have some experience that is relevant to the position they are actually hiring for; this puts them up on the learning curve and helps them settle into a new role with ease.
But encourage them to keep an open mind; it is useful to expand your horizon; they may just find an area that they might never have considered, that suits perfectly. Also with the level of unemployment out there, they may well need to just grab a job if they are offered one.
Professional connections are among the most valuable networks that you can have in your life. As a parent you definitely have some first-hand experience of the impact of networks. Even if you are not retained for a full-time position, the networks that you build from even a short stint can be invaluable whether for providing mentoring and support as you grow, or for career advice, references or recommendations for your next job.
Encourage your child to find a mentor, but remember that a senior colleague is more likely to take interest in an interested, committed, hardworking intern and not someone that is always late, unresponsive, doesn’t meet deadlines, and adds little or no value.
Should money be a factor?
As far as possible, teach your child/ward that money is not the overarching deciding factor when you are thinking of interning. Gaining useful experience should be your goal for the value it will bring to your resume and your personal life. Of course for most, it is impossible to accept a role for any length of time, without pay. However, it is a pity to have to turn down an excellent but unpaid internship opportunity, as this significantly limits available opportunities.
One of the greatest benefits of interning is earning and learning to manage your own money. Money that they have earned from their own sweat tends to have more meaning than allowances and gifts from parents. Hard work builds discipline and frugality; when they work hard to earn, they are more selective in their spending choices.
Time is a fundamental ingredient of successful investing as funds set aside have time to appreciate in value. This presents a wonderful opportunity to set aside at least part of their income and begin the journey to financial independence. Mutual funds are ideal for small savers with entry as low as N5,000; the key is to be consistent and to think long term.
A word for parents…encourage your children to earn. Leaving home to go out to work every day is an important step to financial responsibility. It is not the amount of money your child earns, but the lessons learned that counts. The sense of independence and accomplishment provides a child with a solid foundation for their development and when they leave home, you will have that knowledge that they are capable, independent and can take care of themselves and their loved ones.
Make sure you take advantage of every holiday, it eventually counts.
Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.
For more personal finance tips, contact Nimi:
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