By Habib Sani Galadima
I was one of the persons that took social media (SM) as a joke. I used to think that SM was only for chatting with family and friends. I thought that one could not build a career or improve oneself there except if they belong to a small group of people who obtained certificates and special skills abroad.
I was scrolling down my Facebook timeline on a particular Friday night in 2019 when I got a post by Ibrahyim Elcaleel. He was jokingly talking about LinkedIn. I did not know anything about the platform, so I hurriedly went to check it on Google. I read the information about it until I was convinced to create an account with them.
Honestly, I didn’t take the platform seriously, for I didn’t even put a profile picture, let alone my academic details there. Coincidentally, in the first quarter of 2020, I read three articles, in a row, of late Prof. Ali Muhammad Garba, Mal. Muhsin Ibrahim and Dr Adamu Tilde advising youths to learn skills. One of these articles attempted to convince people to add the skills to their SM profiles.
Before then, I thought that only people who go to the highest level in many aspects of life beautify their profiles. So, doing that by an average translator like me is an exaggeration. In my experience, the only things I know that I could beat my chest to reference are two translation projects from Amnesty International and Al-Qalam University, Katsina State, and a few more from some national companies that need not be mentioned.
Still, I know that I have some writing skills, mainly translation, but I do have not many certificates to create a pretty CV to be read like a journal. Nevertheless, the late Prof. Ali Muhammad Garba said something that rehabilitated my conscience to move forward, thus: “There is the difference – between knowledge and skill. The former says you are aware of it, while the latter says you can do it. Which one do employers seek or value? The former is evidenced by a certificate (of attendance. The latter is evidenced by ability (buried in the anecdotal stories and case examples). Both are valuable, but one (skill) even more so. One addresses the question of “What?”, the other addresses the question of “How?”
Reading those articles by the people mentioned above pushed me to go back to my LinkedIn profile to edit it —adding academic details and some skills that I didn’t think were worthy of review.
Surprisingly, in one year, from the time I edited the profile, I did three projects, two from Northern Nigeria and the other from the southern part of the country. And my profile was reviewed by Writers.Gig, which is a part of success as a friend who works with them said. They review few people among many.
The mighty problem is how we consider ourselves “local”. We learn a skill, but we keep it unpublicised, assuming our friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms know it since they know us. Many people keep their heads low in terms of humility, while it is a lack of confidence. Understanding the difference between humility and lack of confidence will help a lot. People have the latter, thinking it is the former. You can humbly show your skills to the world.
Dr Marzuq Abubakar Ungogo says, “As demand for skills increases worldwide, one easy way to lose opportunities is to show that you have no skills. But you actually have so many skills than you think of, mainly coming from your education, unpaid labour, charity or voluntary work. What skills need is packaging and honing. You can start by having a deep reflection on possible skills you have, then present them in the most marketable way possible. There are specific terminologies that you should also use. Once you do that, you also start working on getting better at them. This is not meant to stop. Constantly update!”
Habib Sani Galadima writes from Kano. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.