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Banking and Finance

How to Survive Your First Banking Job in Nigeria

Last Updated on August 15, 2023

Starting a career in the Nigerian banking industry can be both exciting and challenging. Landing your first banking job in Nigeria is crucial as it sets the tone for your career path and long-term prospects. The Nigerian banking industry is one of the largest and most influential in Africa, and securing a job in this sector brings with it multiple benefits.

Firstly, the industry provides job security, career growth opportunities, and a competitive salary package. Secondly, it offers a challenging work environment that fosters personal and professional growth. However, starting a career in banking in Nigeria also comes with its own set of challenges and expectations.

For instance, you may find it hard to balance work and personal life due to the industry’s demanding nature. The Nigerian banking industry requires employees to possess excellent interpersonal skills, time management, and problem-solving abilities.

Additionally, there is the challenge of navigating the corporate culture of Nigerian banks, which can prove tough for newcomers. All in all, the banking industry in Nigeria is a fast-paced and dynamic sector that requires you to be adaptive, focused, and resilient. In the upcoming sections, we will offer valuable insights and practical tips on how to survive and thrive in your first banking job in Nigeria.

Read: Top Banking and Finance Certifications in Nigeria

Research and Networking

Surviving your first banking job in Nigeria requires a lot more than just showing up at work. As a new employee, you need to put in the effort to conduct research and build a professional network to better understand your bank, department, and the chain of command. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Conducting Research on the Bank and Department

  • Get familiar with the bank’s vision, mission statement, and values. This will help you understand what the organization stands for.

  • Read up on the bank’s history, past achievements and major milestones. This will give you a good sense of the organization’s trajectory.

  • Research your department’s core functions and objectives. This will give you an understanding of what is expected of you as a member of the team.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your colleagues and supervisors will appreciate your curiosity and willingness to learn.

Building a Professional Network

  • Attend company-sponsored events and get-togethers. This will give you a chance to meet and interact with your colleagues in a relaxed setting.

  • Join professional associations and groups in your industry. This will allow you to connect with other professionals in your field and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

  • Take part in mentorship programs offered by your organization. This will enable you to learn from more experienced colleagues and get feedback on your work.

  • Use social media platforms like LinkedIn to network with professionals in your industry.

Understanding the Chain of Command

  • Learn who your direct supervisors are and make sure you know how they prefer to communicate.

  • Understand the different levels of management within your bank and their responsibilities.

  • Know who to go to for specific issues or concerns. This will save you time and prevent unnecessary conflicts.

  • Pay close attention to how decisions are made and the channels through which they are communicated. This will help you navigate the organization smoothly.

Conducting research, building a professional network, and understanding the chain of command are critical steps for survival in your first banking job in Nigeria. By following these tips, you will be well on your way to a successful career in the banking industry.

Read: From Intern to CEO: Career Growth in Nigerian Banks

Professional Development

Starting your first banking job in Nigeria can be both exciting and daunting. On one hand, you’re finally getting your foot in the door of a highly competitive industry. On the other hand, you’re stepping into a completely new environment with its own set of rules and challenges. In this section, we will be discussing the importance of professional development in surviving your first banking job in Nigeria.

Acquiring the Relevant Skills and Competencies

  • As a newbie in the banking industry, it’s important to take proactive steps in acquiring the relevant skills and competencies that will help you excel on the job.

  • Ask your supervisor or HR manager about the specific skills that you need to develop to excel in your role. You can also do your research by reading books, attending seminars, and taking online courses.

  • Don’t limit yourself to just technical skills. Developing interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork, and leadership are also essential in a banking career.

Taking Advantage of Training and Development Opportunities

  • Many banks offer training and development opportunities to help their employees grow on the job. It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge.

  • Attend industry conferences, take online courses, and pursue professional certifications that can add value to your job performance.

  • Be proactive in seeking out training opportunities. Don’t wait for your supervisor to assign you to a training program.

Learning from the More Experienced Employees

  • One of the most valuable sources of learning in your first banking job will be the more experienced employees in your department. They have been in the industry longer and have a wealth of knowledge to share.

  • Take the initiative to seek out mentorship opportunities with these employees. Ask for their advice and learn from their experiences.

  • Observe how they work and interact with colleagues and customers. Take note of their work habits, communication styles, and leadership strategies.

In essence, surviving your first banking job in Nigeria requires a commitment to professional development. Acquiring the relevant skills and competencies, taking advantage of training and development opportunities, and learning from the more experienced employees are examples of ways to develop yourself and succeed in the industry.

Setting Realistic Goals

Starting a banking job in Nigeria can be daunting, but setting realistic goals can help you navigate through the challenges that come with it. Here are three tips to help you set realistic goals:

Identifying long and short-term career goals

  • Identify your career goals: what do you want to achieve in your banking career?

  • Break down your goals into short-term (1-3 years) and long-term (5-10 years) objectives.

  • Ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Communicating goals with supervisors and colleagues

  • Communicate your goals with your supervisors and colleagues in a clear and concise manner.

  • Solicit feedback and advice from your colleagues and supervisors on how to achieve your goals.

  • Cultivate relationships with colleagues who can act as mentors and advocates for your career advancement.

Tracking progress and making adjustments when necessary

  • Track your progress towards achieving your goals by setting metrics and benchmarks.

  • Regularly review your progress to determine what is working and what needs to be adjusted.

  • Be flexible and willing to adjust your goals when necessary as the market and industry conditions change.

Setting realistic and achievable career goals is critical to your success in a banking job in Nigeria. With clear objectives, effective communication, and regular progress tracking, you can stay on track and achieve your goals. Happy goal setting!

Read: Essential Networking Tips for Nigerian Bankers

Time Management

Time management is a crucial skill for any job, and it’s especially important in the banking industry. Whether you’re a teller, customer service representative, or loan officer, effective time management can help you to be more productive and achieve better results. Here are some tips for planning and prioritizing tasks, meeting deadlines efficiently, and avoiding distractions and procrastination:

Planning and Prioritizing Tasks

  • Create a to-do list at the beginning of each day or week, prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency.

  • Break large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

  • Set specific goals for each task, along with a deadline for completion.

  • Consider the amount of time each task will take and schedule accordingly.

  • Leave some buffer time in your schedule in case unexpected tasks or emergencies arise.

  • Re-evaluate priorities and adjust your to-do list as needed throughout the day or week.

Meeting Deadlines Efficiently

  • Be realistic when setting deadlines for yourself and others, taking into account any potential roadblocks or delays.

  • Break down large projects into smaller milestones with individual deadlines to keep progress on track.

  • Stay organized and focused on your tasks, avoiding distractions that can cause you to miss deadlines.

  • Communicate regularly with team members and managers to stay on top of project timelines and ensure everyone is on the same page.

  • Use tools such as calendars and reminders to help you stay on top of upcoming deadlines.

Avoiding Distractions and Procrastination

  • Minimize distractions by turning off notifications on your phone or computer and staying focused on the task at hand.

  • Break up your day by taking short breaks to recharge your energy and avoid burnout.

  • Identify and eliminate procrastination triggers, such as social media or other time-wasting activities.

  • Use the Pomodoro technique or other time-management strategies to stay focused and motivated.

  • Ask for help or delegate tasks when necessary to avoid feeling overwhelmed and falling behind on deadlines.

Managing your time effectively can help you achieve better results and feel more in control of your workday. By planning and prioritizing tasks, meeting deadlines efficiently, and avoiding distractions and procrastination, you’ll be well on your way to surviving your first banking job in Nigeria.

How to Survive Your First Banking Job in Nigeria

Building Relationships

Starting your first job in the banking industry can be overwhelming, but building relationships with your colleagues and superiors can help ease the transition. Here are some tips to help you develop positive relationships:

Developing Positive Relationships

  • Be respectful and courteous to everyone you meet, regardless of their position in the company.

  • Show interest in your colleagues’ work and ask them questions about their job responsibilities.

  • Listen actively to what your colleagues have to say and try to understand their perspectives.

  • Be open to feedback and constructive criticism.

  • Always be willing to lend a helping hand and collaborate with your colleagues.

Navigating Office Politics and Cultural Nuances

Office politics and cultural nuances can be tricky to navigate, especially in a new environment. Here are some tips to help you navigate these issues:

  • Observe the office dynamics and try to understand the informal power structures in your workplace.

  • Be aware of your own cultural biases and try to be inclusive and respectful of other cultures.

  • Avoid gossip, negative rumors, and other behaviors that can contribute to a toxic work environment.

  • Be mindful of your tone and body language when communicating with colleagues and superiors, especially when discussing sensitive topics.

  • Be patient and give yourself time to adjust to the workplace culture.

Supporting and Collaborating with Team Members

Supporting and collaborating with your team members can help you build positive relationships and achieve success in your job. Here are some tips to help you collaborate effectively:

  • Communicate clearly and consistently with your team members.

  • Be open to feedback and ideas from your colleagues.

  • Assign tasks and responsibilities based on each team member’s strengths and expertise.

  • Encourage collaboration and brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas and solve problems together.

  • Celebrate team achievements and acknowledge individual contributions to the team’s success.

Building positive relationships with your colleagues, navigating office politics and cultural nuances, and collaborating effectively with your team members can help you succeed in your first banking job in Nigeria. Remember to be respectful, open-minded, and willing to learn from your colleagues, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Good luck!

Read: Unveiling the Microfinance Industry in Nigeria

Addressing Challenges

Starting your first banking job in Nigeria can be both exciting and challenging. In the previous sections, we have covered the basics, such as preparing for your job interview, understanding the banking industry, and developing the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in your new role.

In this section, we will focus on some of the most common challenges you are likely to face and provide you with strategies to overcome them.

Coping with stress and pressure

  • Build a support network: Surround yourself with positive and supportive colleagues, friends, and family members who can offer encouragement and advice when you need it.

  • Set realistic goals: Break down your tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and tackle them one at a time. Celebrate small victories along the way.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Get enough rest, exercise regularly, and eat a well-balanced diet to help you manage stress and stay focused.

  • Practice relaxation techniques: Take regular breaks throughout the day to stretch, meditate, or practice deep breathing exercises.

Handling difficult tasks and clients

  • Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues or supervisor for clarification or guidance. They can provide valuable insights and advice that can help you navigate difficult situations.

  • Develop your communication skills: Learn how to communicate effectively and professionally with clients, colleagues, and supervisors. Active listening, empathy, and clear communication can go a long way in building trust and resolving conflicts.

  • Stay organized: Keep detailed records of your tasks and projects to help you stay on top of deadlines and ensure that you have all the necessary information at your fingertips when dealing with clients or colleagues.

  • Be proactive: Anticipate potential problems or challenges and develop contingency plans to deal with them. This can help you stay calm and focused when faced with unexpected situations.

Seeking help and support when needed

  • Know when to ask for help: Don’t hesitate to reach out to your colleagues or supervisor for assistance when you need it. They are there to support you and help you succeed.

  • Take advantage of training opportunities: Many banks offer on-the-job training programs, workshops, or seminars to help employees develop their skills and knowledge. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn and grow in your role.

  • Join professional organizations: Joining a professional organization or networking group can help you connect with other professionals in your field and gain valuable insights and advice.

  • Develop a mentor relationship: Find a mentor who can provide guidance and support as you navigate your new job. A mentor can offer advice, help you set goals, and provide valuable feedback to help you grow in your role.

Starting your first banking job in Nigeria can be challenging, but with the right mindset, skills, and support, you can overcome these challenges and succeed in your role. Remember to stay focused, stay positive, and seek help when you need it. By following these strategies, you can develop the skills and knowledge to not only survive, but thrive in your new job.

Read: Nigeria’s Finance Sector: The Success Stories


Now that we have discussed the important tips for surviving your first banking job in Nigeria, it is crucial to emphasize the need for maintaining a positive attitude, dedication, and hard work. Remember, the banking industry in Nigeria can be highly competitive, but with determination and perseverance, you can excel.

Here are our top tips to help you survive your first banking job in Nigeria:

  • Be punctual to work every day to develop a good work ethic and earn your colleagues’ respect.

  • Always dress professionally and maintain a neat appearance to create a good impression.

  • Be willing to learn and take on new challenges to improve your skillset.

  • Develop good communication skills to interact effectively with colleagues and clients.

  • Understand the banking procedures and regulatory requirements to avoid costly mistakes.

  • Be proactive and ask for feedback from your superiors to improve your performance.

  • Build good relationships with your colleagues and clients to create a positive work environment.

  • Stay focused on your goals and strive for excellence to progress within the banking industry.

Finally, keep in mind that it takes time to excel in a banking job in Nigeria. It is important to be patient and persistent and focus on your long-term career goals. Maintain a positive attitude, dedication, and hard work, and success will follow.

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