Where do you start?

Is this the first time that you’re looking for a job? Perhaps you’ve just finished school or tertiary education? Or did you finish an internship or resign from a job at the end of last year? It can be a real challenge to get a job so let’s look at where you start and how you go about making the most of any application that you decide to send!

Before you even start applying for jobs, you need to do a few things first.

• Have a good look at your social media profiles such as Facebook and Instagram. Do they show the kind of person an employer would be interested in? Make sure that whatever is posted there reflects the person that you want to be seen as. It’s well-known that employers stalk prospective employees’ profiles!

If necessary, update your privacy settings on Facebook so that only the people you want to can look at your profile. If you want to see what the public sees of your profile go to the “Timeline and Tagging” page and then, in the “Review” section, click “Review what other people see on your timeline.”

Check Your Instagram Account. As long as your Instagram account is work-appropriate, you don’t have to keep it private.

Find more information on What does your digital footprint look like

• Create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a social media site that specialises in linking people in the business world. See tips on how to do this here: https://live.fundza.mobi/home/library/fiction-blogs/work-wise/getting-linked-in/
If you already have a LinkedIn profile, perhaps now is the time to update it and add recommendations from past employers or lecturers.
Once you are ready to start applying for jobs, optimise your search by using search engines that work well in South Africa.

Here are a few popular search engines that you could use:

Youthvillage.co.za – go to the jobs or internship pages
Gumtree.co.za – go to the jobs category

Some websites have advanced search options which you can use to refine the job search to geographical areas, types of work that you’re interested in etc.

If you follow this link: https://www.gov.za/issues/government-and-opportunities-youth you will find useful information from the South African Government on employment, internship and bursary information for youth.

Remember to apply to more than one job at a time. Even if you get an interview, don’t stop applying until you actually get the job. It can take many applications before you even get an interview. Don’t be put off by this, though. South Africa is going through a tough economic time and it’s not easy for anyone to get a job.

Do be careful about job scammers out there. Because people are desperate to find work, there are always people who will try and take advantage by trying to scam them. Here is a useful article on how to detect a job application that might be a scam.

Once you have found appropriate jobs to apply for, you will need to make sure that the application you send is professional in every way. Your presentation online needs to be as polished as if you were meeting the employer for an interview.
Here are some tips on what is needed for your application process to run smoothly:

• A well-written email in response to the advert which includes attachments of your CV and your covering letter.

A sample email

To xyz123@mmm.co.za
Subject Application for Logistics Internship at Castor Group
Attachments (this might be the paperclip icon at the bottom of your screen on Gmail) Letter of Application: Babalwa Njini CV: Babalwa Njini
(ensure that your name is clear on the documents that you attach)

Dear Sir/Madam (or name if one is given)

I would like to apply for the Logistics Internship at the Castor Group as advertised on the Career24 portal.

I have attached my letter of application and CV for you to look at.

Please contact me on either this email address or 062 555 555 if there is anything else that you need.


Babalwa Njini

• Your first attachment is your covering letter. This needs to be perfectly written and unique for every job to which you apply. Because each job that you apply for is different, you will need to write slightly different things for each letter to make sure that it matches the job description. For much more information on the covering letter read Writing a winning cover letter.

• The next attachment is the most important document that you will use to help you get a job. It is your Curriculum Vitae or CV as it is better known. Your CV needs to be well written, to the point and well laid-out. Make sure that you update it if you have extra information that you need to add. Read Getting professional with your CV for more information on how to write an excellent CV.

It’s really important to answer your phone and respond to any emails immediately or as soon as you can should you be contacted about a job. Don’t change your phone number and do look at your emails at least once a day to see if you have been contacted! I was recently involved in a recruitment process and I had to leave loads of voice messages – many of which were never responded to!! It seemed clear that these people were not that interested in the position that I was recruiting for and I wondered why they had applied in the first place.

Once you have sent off your applications, carry on sending out more applications! You can also follow up with the person you contacted originally if you don’t hear back from them in a reasonable amount of time. But don’t nag them though – give them a few days to contact you.

Should you be invited for an interview, make sure that you prepare, prepare and prepare! This is the secret to all good interviews: Know where you are going, what time you need to be there (never be late) and know as much as you can about the organisation you are applying for. Be professional in the interview and prepare for the questions that are coming your way! Here is another useful blog to help you.

All there is now for me to do is to wish you the best of luck in your job hunting. I hope that 2020 goes well for you!


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