Finding a job is not easy and if you do not have any work experience, the task is even more difficult. While some employers may look for new job seekers with no experience, the usual trend is that these job opportunities are low paying. If you are looking at starting your career with no work experience, then you have to be innovative to make up for the lack of references.
Most South African schools will provide testimonials to students and ex-pupils and this should be your first source for a personal reference when you apply for a job. If your school is unenthusiastic about providing a testimonial, you can always consider other options. Ask your pastor or even your family doctor for a character reference. These individuals are usually respected within your community and in most cases, they have a long history with you and your family. Employers may take note of the effort you have made in seeking a personal reference even though you lack work experience and while this reference will not guarantee you a job, it may sway things in your favour to some extent.
For a personal reference with a little more credibility, try doing volunteer work at a reputable charitable organisation in your area. Volunteer work shows your employer that you care about people and are not entirely driven by money. This is advantageous if you are applying for a job where customer interaction is a focal point. Alternatively try to work for a local business for no pay. Even a few weeks of free work will give you the opportunity of getting a job reference and any business will be keen on free labour during the busy periods.
Your Credit Report
Your credit worthiness is an indication of your personality and if you do not have any references, including a recent credit report in your CV may give you an upper hand in your job application. Many prospective employers do run credit checks as well as criminal background traces on short-listed candidates but including a credit report in your CV at the outset can be a plus. Avoid a credit report if you have a bad credit history or any judgements on your name. Even if you try to explain to your prospective employer that it is a misunderstanding, they will still be houbtful about your reliability.
Your Health Report
If you are applying for a job where physical stamina is required, then visiting your local doctor and getting a health report can be favourable in your job application. Employers want to know that new workers are fit and healthy and will not be taking repeated sick days off due to their pre-existing ailments. You may not be able to get a health assessment report from a public clinic so you will have to visit a private doctor. It may cost you a little in terms of the consultation fee but every private doctor in South Africa can provide a basic health report when it is requested.
Your Criminal Record
You can also include a report from the South African Police Services (SAPS) on your clear record by making an application at your local SAPS office. This is a requisite for overseas job applications and even though it is not usually necessary when applying for a job in South Africa, it can work in your favour. The high crime rate in South Africa is a concern for both private citizens and businesses, so a clear police report is always appreciated.
While none of the measures above can replace suitable work experience, the fact that you have shown initiative in your job application does make you stand out among other job applicants. Employers are keen on fresh new talent who are innovative and the only way they can assess this is by your CV and the job interview.