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Career Advice From Top HR Professionals In South Africa

Updated on Oct 07, 2021 1294 views
Career Advice From Top HR Professionals In South Africa

 

Introduction

Otto von Bismarck who was once a Prime Minister of Prussia once said; “Fools say that they learn by experience. I prefer to profit from others' experience.” When we chose to learn from the experience of others (especially those that have gone ahead of us) and in this case; in our pursuit of a new job or a successful career, we will fast-track our progress and reach our goals quicker.

In Collaboration with fourteen (14) Human Resource Professionals in South Africa, MyJobMag South Africa, publisher of the top jobs in South Africa has been able to put together a collection of fourteen career advice, all in one article. The aim of this is simply to help you as a job-seeker or a career-person, to draw practical insights about the art of job-searching, and to also know the practical attributes that are necessary and able to grant you speedy success in the pursuit of your career. These individuals have a wealth of experience and a level of competence that has ranked them amongst the top professionals in their field which makes their insights and advice priceless.

For conciseness sake and uniformity, the HR professionals shared their insights about these two (2) questions. And they are as follows below;

“What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, anytime?”

"What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?”

In no particular order, the responses gotten from each of these HR Professionals are thus presented below. Each piece of advice also carries the name, job position, company, LinkedIn Profile, and the image of the HR professional. They are as thus as follow;

 

 

1. Jordan Sher

Talent Acquisition 

Superside

LinkedIn Profile

Jordan Sher career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Use the STAR technique to answer interview questions. 

S: Outline the SITUATION

T: What was your TASK?

A: Outline what ACTION you took

R: What was the RESULT?

Far too often, I see people waffle and babble their ways through unstructured interview responses. It becomes really difficult to assess competencies and it shows a lack of focus and clarity of thought. Rather stick to the STAR technique to create focused, structured and concise interview responses. Feel free to take a moment to structure your thoughts before answering by saying, "Thanks for your question, I'm just going to take a moment to gather my thoughts." Write down some notes, and then respond. Also, don't be shy to say afterward, "does this answer your question or would you like another example?"

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

You have to start somewhere. Even if the role isn't paying well or the company is not ideal, if the job is aligned with your career goals, take the job to build experience. After 3 years, you have the bargaining power to either ask for more money or move to a different company.

 

2. Andrew McDonald

Chief Talent Officer (CHRO)

Voys Telecom South Africa

LinkedIn Profile

Andrew McDonald career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Be conscientious.

It still amazes me how many job applicants are not conscientious when completing their online applications. I have no doubt that there are many potentially suitable candidates who just don't spend the time to check their grammar and punctuation and follow the application instructions. This makes an incredible difference to first impressions by the recruiter or hiring manager. 

Recently I joined Voys SA, a growing VOIP provider, as their Chief Talent Officer (CHRO) and one of my primary focus areas are supporting the continued growth of the company; consequently, recruitment efforts form a significant part of my workday at present. I am both astounded and saddened by the number of applicants that cannot be considered for the aforementioned reasons. If an applicant is not taking the time to check these foundational considerations in the job search, it makes one wonder how focused they may be in the role.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. After you have proofread your CV, ask a friend or colleague to proofread it as well. Preferably, someone who is suitably fluent in the language of the application.

When completing pre-screening questions, try and do the same as the above point; your answers to these questions are of equal importance. The company did not just pose these questions to frustrate you and delay your ability to just hit "apply." 

Provide an appropriate, authentic, and research-based motivation. Generic responses are easily discerned and discarded by a savvy recruiter. 

Lastly, capitalize 'I' when typing in the first person. This error is the first sign of a lack of conscientiousness.  

When recruiters and talent specialists are inundated with applications, ensuring that you apply the above advice should elevate your application and make a more positive impression. Failing to do so enables a quick regret from the sea of applications.

 

3. Brownwen Lamb

Talent Development Coordinator

Capitec Bank

LinkedIn Profile

Bronwen Lamb career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Stay positive. Be persistent in what you want. Any feedback is welcome... Good or bad.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

Clear and concise response to any person that has shown interest in your application.

 

4. Keneilwe Dibakwane

Human Resources Operation Specialist

Publicis Goupe

LinkeIn Profile

Keneilwe Dibakwane career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Number one advice for job seekers today: organizations today are interested in your CV as they are to your internet activities, while in the job market and beyond it’s important to make sure your online footprint projects the image you would like future employers to see. If you don’t have experience don’t over exaggerate and lie, experience can always be taught. Having a growth mindset is always key.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

You have to take the time to define success for yourself. You will never find career success chasing a dream or plan that someone else outlined for you. You won’t find it trying to align yourself with societal standards that you never even created. In today’s world, it’s also important to go for a passionate.

 

5. Geraldine Beukes

Sourcing Administrator

Vantegic Solution

LinkedIn Profile

Geraldine Beukes career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Add relevant details! When creating your resume or LinkedIn profile make sure to add important details (project details, duties & responsibilities, reasons for leaving, skills, etc.). Don't ever lose hope when searching, the opportunity that you are seeking might be just a few applications away.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

Never stop learning!

 

6. Surayya Ebrahim

Sourcer

Join Talent

LinkedIn Profile

Surayya Ebrahim career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Put some effort into your resume, give a view of what YOU have done.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

Continue to upskill, with so many free courses available, there is no excuse.

 

7. Matthew Neethling

Global Talent Acquisition Lead

Expleo Group

LinkedIn Profile

Matthew Neethling career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Setting yourself goals. Be precise on what your goals and aspirations are, visualize them, and work towards them. Start with identifying what your personal, career goals are and start planning on how to achieve them. Set yourself long-term goals for where you see your career in a few years and small weekly goals as mini wins.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

Being determined to succeed. This can come from several ways, for me, it was growing in confidence and becoming a specialist in my field and that came from hard work and late nights. I gave myself homework and would research things I didn’t know so that I could grow in confidence when talking about the subject. Never be afraid to ask people what you don’t know.

 

8. Brenda Berries

Human Capital Business Partner

Auditor General SA

LinkedIn Profile

brenda Berries career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Every opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s linked to your qualification or not, take it, it’s a building block to your growth. You will definitely learn something you will use in your future.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

Continuous performance feedback is essential, whether it's positive or negative. Use it to improve your skill.

 

9. Palesa Kibe

Human Resources Assistant

Shoprite Group

LinkedIn Profile

Palesa Kibe career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Keep applying to those positions, never be discouraged by regret, respond and make sure you apply to one post every day.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

Use every opportunity you get no matter how small it is and even if it doesn't relate to what you studied for it will count someday somehow.

 

10. Leigh Botha

L&S People Solution

Fusion CPA

LinkedIn Profile

Leigh Botha career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Never underestimate the power of a professionally crafted CV and LinkedIn profile! I am the Director of L&S People Solutions and work in the recruitment space every day. I have first-hand experience in going through hundreds of CVs/resumes a day (same with LinkedIn profiles) and if yours doesn't capture the recruiter's eye, you will be overlooked. Ensure that your employment dates and experience are 100% accurate too!

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

A never say die attitude! Be relentless in your efforts to pursue the career of your dreams.

 

11. Bernice Martin

Human Resources Manager

Haldan Consulting

LinkedIn Profile

Bernice Martins career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

I believe that many job seekers need to improve their chances of finding a job in an already competitive market by spending more time on their applications. I know it can be frustrating however your CV represents you and should capture your achievements and what you can offer clearly, concisely, and attract the recruiters / future employers’ attention. Therefore, spend more time on designing and really capturing your expertise and/or potential in your CV. It is worth your time.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

 I believe success is relative and the definition of it depends on the person. Personally, however, I would say that you should follow your passion but also remember that there are jobs that can assist you in reaching your goals even though it may not be exactly what you want. There is a skill that can be learned in every job. Therefore, take on challenges, build strong relationships and learn from people that have had the experience, and carry that with you in the pursuit of your dream career. Always be a learner in every position you are in.

 

12. Pearleen Alison Pillay

Human Resources Manager

PepsiCo

LinkedIn Profile

Pearleen Alison Pillay career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

The number one advice I would give to any job seeker any day, any time would be- Research the organization well! So often HR professionals come across applications where the job seeker is merely sending a generic application. In our economy, the unemployment rate is really high, thus leading to HR professionals being inundated with job applications. To be successful at getting one’s application to stand out, researching the company a job seeker is applying to and showing knowledge of the company values, the industry, and the possible projects the company is working on will get your application to stand out. Using cover letters to share your personal attributions that will align with the former will make a huge difference and possibly get you that job.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

The greatest factor for success in pursuit of one’s career is- Be ready to practice perseverance! Career development is not always a straight line for many. One may start in a particular field and be exposed to other aspects of that field or be exposed to different fields altogether and find out what they like and dislike, thus adjusting their career goals to their passion. Things do not always go as planned, whether it is opportunities for one's studies or gaining critical work experience, but persevering will aid in pushing through the times that the plan takes a detour. You can do whatever you set your mind to do, don’t give up, just persevere, you will succeed.

 

13. Remi Lawrence

Staffing Specialist

HEINIT Staffing Solutions

LinkedIn Profile

Remi Lawrence career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

Value your reliability, integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness just as much as you value your skill-set in your field and it'll open more doors for you than someone with more skills than you.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

In my experience, the greatest factor is how many times you try again when you fail. Persistence. Perseverance. Patience.

 

 

14. Nelene Sokay

Strategic HR Senior Manager Infrastructure

KPMG South Africa

LinkedIn Profile

Nelene Sokay career advice

1. What is the number one advice you would give to a Job-Seeker any day, any time?

My advice is simple: Ensure that you have more than one contact detail on your CV. I have had candidates market their CVs that I did not have immediate roles for but kept on record for the future. When trying to contact them in the future, their only contact details i.e. their cell number are no longer available.

2. What would you say is the greatest factor for success in the pursuit of one’s career?

As you grow your career, the biggest factor in your success is the brand/reputation that you have with your clients and colleagues. Do you need to aim to have the reputation of being a safe pair of hands? This translates to being the person that can safely be given responsibilities/projects that you will deliver on time with excellent quality as well as being able to communicate any potential issues timeously. Make that your foundation of growing your career and everything else will follow.

 

Conclusion
The truth is, all of the insights shared above will amount to nothing if you do not take the appropriate action that is required. As John Dewey once said, “We do not learn from experience….we learn from reflecting on it”, and reflection will prompt you to action that will get you to your desired destination. So being impressed with all that is said above does not guarantee results, busyness with them is what does.
Which of the advice above intrigues you the more? Do well to share your thoughts in the comment section below. Do well to share this post with every Job-seeker or career person you know out there!

 

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