How difficult are jobs to come by at the moment? If you’ve been looking for a job, you’ll know that they are like hen’s teeth! (BTW: hens don’t have teeth!) It has become incredibly hard to find one, especially after the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown effectively shutting down our economy for months.

So where does that leave you?

If you are still looking for a formal job, then you will need to hunt through several online sites in order to find something appropriate. Sometimes, it feels overwhelming to look for jobs online and it can be difficult to know where to start.

My suggestions for your starting point are:

• Identify what field of work is relevant to any study, work or internship you have been involved in in the past.

If you have been involved in helping out as a receptionist at a local school, even if it was on a voluntary basis, you will definitely have learnt something in that field. Look for job categories that are linked to that experience such as Administration or Clerical jobs.

• Decide what areas are suitable for you to travel to.

There’s no point in taking a job that costs so much to get to that you spend all your income on travel expenses.

You may think that it is worthwhile to move your living accommodation closer to the job so keep this in mind when searching online.

• Identify what skills you have to offer.

Write a list of the skills you have acquired over time. Perhaps you enjoy working with people and you’ve had some experience working in an office. Your skills are:

– Greeting clients in a friendly and helpful way
– Managing a filing system
– Answering phones in a professional way
– Maintaining office equipment such as printers and photocopiers
– Assisting others with administrative tasks
– Updating paperwork

By having this list of skills you will be able to identify online jobs that are suitable for you quickly. In this type of job market, with many people looking for jobs, it’s important to match your skills with the job description. It’s virtually impossible to get a job without any of the necessary skills or training.

• Look for internships, learnerships or first-time working opportunities if you haven’t had any experience.

When looking at internships or learnerships, look for these positions in fields that are of interest to you. Perhaps you’ve had an uncle/neighbour who works on cars and you have watched him, or perhaps even got involved on occasion and enjoyed it, so look for something in this area of work.

Looking for first-time work experience is especially tough but search for jobs that are more likely to look for people who have little experience. These could be jobs at a call centre or a junior clerk. Keep in mind, though, that it is easier to get a job with some experience so volunteer to help out in your community in any way possible. Perhaps you have a relative who works in a hair salon. Ask if you can help out and, whatever you find yourself doing, you will be growing your skills base.

• Grow your skills

If you find that you really haven’t got much to offer in the way of skills, then this is the opportunity to develop them online. Various organisations offer young people skills development opportunities and, in a way, this has become easier with the coronavirus pandemic. Many of these organisations are able to reach more young people than in the past as they now offer these courses online. The courses are available for free so there’s no need to avoid them any longer if you need them!

Look at our Workwise blog on Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator to find out more:

Once you have decided what work experience you have, where you want to work and what skills you have to offer, you will need to look for job opportunities online.

There are a number of online sites available and you may have to go through many of them to find something worthwhile. Remember that you are trying to match your skills and experience with the job description and the skills that are required for the job.

Read the job description together with the job requirements carefully. Mentally tick off the skills you do have and notice the ones that you don’t have. When you write the job application emphasis the areas that are your strengths but don’t ignore the areas that you don’t have skills in.

If the job requires someone to help others with administrative tasks, mention that you are always willing to help others when required. Even though you might not know much about administrative tasks, at least you’ve shown that you understand the requirement and that you will do what is needed.

Here are some useful sites to try out:

Once you are in a site, use the search function to find a suitable category and location to narrow down the job search.

For example, the location may be a province: Western Cape or it may be a popular location: Cape Town. The job category could be: Admin jobs / Customer service jobs etc.

This helps you become more effective in your online job hunting. Otherwise you can spend hours looking through all the adverts!!

Job hunting is often a soulless task. It feels so difficult and hopelessness might creep in. Try to keep your spirits up and join an organisation such as Harambee so that you don’t feel so alone on this journey.

Communicating with a mentor can make all the difference. And if finding a job doesn’t work out, there’s no need to do nothing. There’s always the side hustle. More about that next time…


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