There are talks on the need for people to develop technical and soft skills in other to be competitive and productive in today’s dynamic labour market. This conversation is even more common amongst the young generation, who are either still studying for a degree, or are just out of school and are waiting to land their first job. This group have the odds against them and need to develop in-demand soft and technical skills to stand a chance in the labour market.

Beyond these skills, your character can do wonders.

Character in this context is referring to fairness, honesty, respect, hard work, patience, transparency, and integrity.

A short story.

Emmanuel, who holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science finished his youth service and has been job-hunting all the while to find that dream job. As usual, he had put in many applications to no avail.

Finally, Emmanuel receives a mail from a company he just applied to. The mail read “we are pleased to invite you for an interview. Kindly find the address below”. Although it was just an interview invitation, this was a big win for Emmanuel because he had never received any interview invite before this, despite losing count on the number of jobs he has applied for.

The day of the interview came and Emmanuel left his house feeling not so excited and nervous because he wasn’t sure of getting the job since he had no prior work experience. The interview was scheduled for 10am. Emmanuel and nine other candidates who arrived the venue were received at the gate by the gateman who told them they would have to sit at his security post and wait to be called in one after the other for the interview.

At 10am, all invited candidates were quietly sited waiting to be called in. 30 minutes after, there were no words from the recruiters. As the wait continued, frustration started filling the air. Some of the candidates started grumbling, and soon after, a spontaneous discussion birthed out of anger erupted amongst the candidates in the security room. Some of the candidates started abusing the organisation. Some of them said “we don’t blame these people. We are being treated like this because we need a job”. After 40 minutes three candidates left angrily, while others kept abusing. Emmanuel was also frustrated by the delay but didn’t join the abuse. Emmanuel advised other candidates to be patient and wait to hear what caused it.

After an hour of wait, one of the panellists walked in and apologised to the remaining candidates for the delay, and explained it was as a result of an emergency. Finally, the interview started proper. All seven candidates including Emmanuel were interviewed.

4 days after, Emmanuel received a call. Congratulations Emmanuel, you have been selected for the role of a public relations officer, the caller said. Emmanuel, full of joy and confusion, wondering how this has happened.

Emmanuel reported to work the following week for induction. Just as the induction was to start, Emmanuel noticed a well-dressed man in a suit, looking like he was chairing the induction session. Behold, it was the gateman.

Apparently, the man who disguised as the gateman was the general manager. He congratulated Emmanuel for his new role as public relations officer and told Emmanuel that other candidates had better work experience and qualifications, but Emmanuel came out best during the unprecedented test whilst they all waited at the security post. The general manager said, patience and a humble character is what we need for this role, so we priorities these over your work experience.

As you work hard to develop your skills, ensure you develop a good character as well.

Your skill can get you to the table, your character is what keeps you on the table.

We hope you enjoyed reading.