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This is what you must do to land that job

The unemployment rate in South Africa was 31.9% in the third quarter of 2023, bringing the total number of unemployed people to 7.8 million. Many dispute this number and reckon it could be much higher. The youth unemployment rate, which measures job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, reached 58%. 

So many South Africans are looking for a job, but even getting an interview these days is difficult.  Knowing which steps to follow when job searching can simplify the process and improve your chances of landing an interview.

Here are some tips which could help you land a job

1. Use your network

These days, many positions are being filled using referrals in addition to the vacancy being advertised. Often, a referral is more likely to get the position simply because their skills and experience are already being advocated for within the company. Don’t focus only on the old ways of looking for a job – get out, get to know people, and treat every interaction as a potential opportunity.

2. Clean up your act on social media

These days, companies will often Google search a candidate before hiring, including viewing their social media activity. So, before starting your job hunt, it’s wise to “clean up” all your social media profiles and review your privacy settings.

3. Sharpen up your CV

Most positions that become available today use online applications, so the look of your CV matters far less than the content. It should be attractive and easy to read, but colour and artistic flair are not necessary.

4. Focus on your accomplishments

If, for example, you are applying for a position as a sales manager, sending in a CV with a generic list of sales responsibilities isn’t make you stand out. What differentiates you from the other 200 sales managers applying for the position? The answer is simple: accomplishments.

5. It’s not personal

One of the most critical aspects of job-hunting is to keep a positive mindset and try not to get discouraged. You may go on many interviews, send out hundreds of CV’s, and still be waiting for that call. Remember it’s not you for every rejection – it’s probably not the right fit

To have a greater chance of success, here are the sections and details  you should include in your CV

  • Name and contact details – Add these to the top of your CV to ensure recruiters can contact you if they want to invite you to an interview.
  • CV profile – An introductory paragraph designed to grab readers’ attention and encourage them to read more – This section should be tailored to the specific roles you’re applying for; and should highlight why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.
  • Work experience – List your previous roles, responsibilities, and achievements. Use bullet points and metrics to make this section easy to read and demonstrate your impact in each role.
  • Education – Your education and qualifications section should list your academic achievements and any relevant certifications. This helps recruiters understand your level of education and any specialist skills you may have.
  • Additional info – This section is optional, but if you have anything relevant, and which could give you an advantage to get the job –  add it at the bottom, including hobbies, interests and languages.
  • Simple font – Don’t be tempted to go for an elaborate font – stick with something clear and crisp at a size that makes your text a breeze to read. Some applicant tracking systems used by recruiting agencies don’t read serif fonts, so your CV might not reach a person just because your font isn’t one the computer recognises.
  • List your roles, starting with the most recent role. Employers are primarily interested in your recent work to assess your current capabilities, so start your CV with your most recent role to ensure it receives immediate attention.
  • Do your research – Another element that will impact how likely your CV will get past the applicant tracking system is your use of keywords. If the ad states you need experience with x, y and z, then be sure that x, y and z are on your CV if you have that experience.
  • Avoid generic clichés – Avoid using terms like: hard-working / team player/ enthusiastic/out–of–the–box thinker. These phrases may appear impressive at first glance, but they don’t actually tell recruiters anything factual about you. If you want to show employers that you are a hard-working team player, don’t simply state the facts; instead, use examples of the results you have achieved within team settings to prove it.
  • Explain gaps in your employment – If you have taken time out to travel, study, complete a personal project, or even due to illness; be transparent and include it on your CV. An unexplained gap will make recruiters suspicious, and trying to cover gaps by falsely extending other roles may land you in trouble regarding reference checks.
  • Tailor your CV to every job you apply for – This is one of the most important and most impactful things you can do when applying for a job. Assess each job advert before applying and make sure that your CV highlights the most critical requirements for each one. Tailoring your CV to a specific job might take more time and effort, but it could be what tips the scale in your favour.

We wish you every success with your job hunting.

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