Difficulty securing employment is not only an issue in South Africa. Employment problems are an issue the world over and more significant in countries with poor economic growth. South Africa has not been enjoying the same economic growth as many of its counterparts in Asia but still has a robust economy. The bigger issue with finding a job in South Africa is the lack of skills. Jobs for professionals in most sectors of industry are fairly easily available although many candidates decline offers due to salary packages that may not meet their demands or having to relocate to other cities. However, it is largely the unskilled and semi-skilled workers that may find difficulty with getting a job easily.
Skills are necessary
You are only as employable as your skills and experience. For newcomers to the job market, this means getting hired first in order to acquire the necessary experience. Unfortunately this is easier said than done. If you have the skills by the way of a verifiable academic qualification through an accredited institution then many employers will be keen to hire you even without any experience.
At times your first job experience is through a low paying internship well before you finish your academic qualification. However, even skilled workers need to be realistic about starting at the ‘bottom of the ladder’. A few years of experience in these positions will contribute greatly to your career advancements thereafter.
Skills are not only about education although this is the most sure way for newcomers to the job market to get recognised. You may have acquired your skills through practical experience over years and have the verifiable job references to back this up. It is important to ensure that recruiters and prospective employers know this mainly in the way of a well constructed curriculum vitae.
Looking in the right places
Job candidates often give up hope after a few rejections and never take the time time to learn more about tapping into the market. It is not as simple as answering a few classified ads or submitting your CV to the odd recruiter. If you are serious about finding a job you have to get proactive. Sign up with job websites like Career Junction and PNet. Ask around about specialist job websites that only focus on certain careers and sectors of industry. Most recruiters and some employers find new candidates through these websites.
It never hurts to ask and there is no harm in ‘cold calling’. Stop off at businesses and companies and leave your CV. It is best if you can get through to the HR manager but if the reception desk is as far as you can get than that is fine. Remember that your CV is only a few pages long at most so do not hesitate to spend the money in making a lot of copies and dishing it out as needed. You can also send your CV via email to many of the bigger names in the industry or the contacts and associates of your previous employer.
The Right CV
A poorly constructed CV is another major contributing factor to not landing that job or even being considered for an interview. Imagine that you are the employer, recruiter or HR manager? What would you think of your CV if it is the first form of communication from a prospective job candidate? An abbreviated CV is often the best way to go when you are cold calling. It is simply a list of your academic achievements and work experience along with your contact details. Some candidates offer to lay it out in a ‘short story’ which may be a good idea if your linguistic and literary skills are being judged for the position.
Ideally your comprehensive curriculum vitae should be handed in when asked or during the job interview. Its all about the professionalism so cut out the fancy borders and unnecessary details about sporting activities in high school unless it is relevant to the the position. Ensure that your CV portrays you in the light that you want to be seen and it may be worth considering a professional CV writer and designer. Work references are crucial so make sure that you have only verifiable references on your CV.