What qualifies as a work experience?

work experience

One of the major grievances of young Nigerians against employers/recruiters is the ease with which they ask job seekers for years of relevant experience which many do not have. The regular shutdown of tertiary institutions across the country has also made it difficult for a lot of students to graduate early and gain the necessary work experience on time. One of the common sayings in the legal profession is that, “Law in practice is different from Law in theory.” The same thing applies in many other professions, especially in a country like Nigeria, where the syllabus used for many courses are outdated.

Examples of work experience

1. Internship

Internship generally refers to a placement or opportunities offered by several organizations for students and fresh graduates to learn the practical aspect of what they have been taught in class. It also affords the intern an opportunity to understand how the industry he/she intends to work operates.

The challenge is that a lot of companies don’t pay interns and the one that pay only offer meagre sum, but the hands-on experience you will get from them is second to none. More so, if you are diligent during the period of internship, you might have a job waiting for you before graduating from the university. Another benefit of internship is that you can utilize it to switch to another field apart from what you are studying. This is even more important in a country where you a high number of students are studying courses they never knew existed until they got their admission letters.

If you are already a graduate, it’s not yet over. A lot of companies also accept graduate interns. Capitalize on it to build your CV while you wait for the dream job.


2. Teaching practice

This often applies to students in the Faculty of Education across different higher institutions. The aim of the program is to expose them to practical classroom experience on how to teach and relate with their students. Since they are trained to become teachers, the exposure helps them to appreciate what it takes to be a teacher and to also prepare effectively for it. This is one of the best ways to build work experience as an individual in the teaching profession, since it is part of the course work.

3. Chambers’ attachment

This strictly applies to law students. It refers to working in a law firm in a bid to gain practical experience and exposure of what the legal profession looks like in practice, beyond the knowledge given in the classroom. While some Universities do not make it mandatory for students to go through the training, others do. The Nigerian Law School having understood the need for this experience, has made it a vital part of the one-year training for her students.

4. SIWES / Industrial training (IT)

The Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), is a program designed with the goal of exposing and preparing students in tertiary institutions (universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, colleges of technology etc) across the country to the nature of work they are likely to do after graduation. The goal is to ensure that you get the practical experience of what you will do later.

This is also a great avenue for students to build an impressive CV by trying to get a good placement in corporate organizations that are related to their field and whose name also carry weight. It’s sad that a lot of people only sit at home all through the period and filled their logbooks themselves. If you are one of the few who paid the price of commitment to this program, do well to add it in your CV.

5. National Youth Service Corps Scheme

Despite the agitations for its scrapping, the National Youth Service Corps’ still remains one of the best initiatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria so far. It gives a platform for graduates to work in an environment without high expectations from employers in terms of work experience, where you can also learn a lot on the job.

But I was posted to a remote part of the Country.

The situation is not hopeless. Why not look for an organization doing something in your area to partner with or take a side job. Also, don’t forget that we are in the digital age, you can always apply for virtual internships or learn a skill that will boost your CV.

My PPA is a School, what can I learn there?

I won’t dispute the fact many Corp’s members, apart from those in the medical and legal profession, end up being posted to a secondary school, in some cases, primary schools. However, even if you are in a school, you can still use the period to volunteer in another organization doing something related to your field.


If all the avenues listed above are properly explored, it will ensure that you understand the practical aspect of your profession, even before you graduate. They will also add to the wealth of knowledge your potential employers are desperately looking for. If you are a graduate and you’ve engaged in any of these, please feel free to add it to your CV. It is a valid work experience!!!




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