Are you worried about getting your first job?
Don’t know which type of job you even want?
You needn’t worry.
In this session, I am going to be answering all your questions on snagging your first job.
Searching for a job for the first time can be challenging, especially if you don’t know the right techniques to use.
Before you start looking for a job, you need to know things like the best time to start looking for a job, how to put together a CV, what recruiters look for in a candidate, and how to answer questions in an interview.
Knowing these things is important because they not only set you aside from the other candidates, but they also ensure that you are able to get the job, without disappointments.
Below, I have selected the key areas you need to focus on when looking for a job for the first time and broken them in bits so that it will be easy for you to understand.
When is the Best Time to Start Looking for a Job?
The best proven time to start looking for a job is at the beginning of the year preferably, January and February. It is the best time for you to be hired by most industries. Why?
January usually starts slowly, but picks up around second week. Around this time, hiring happens in waves and the first rounds of interviews begin to hire people to help the company get on its feet.
April and March are also great times to look for jobs because things are still slow and companies need more people to move the company along.
Just like January and February, September and October are also good times to look for jobs because hiring increase as summer vacation just ended and employers need people to speed the company progress up.
Now that we have answered the question of “when is the best time to start looking for a job?” let’s move on to talk about simple job search tips that will help you find your first job.
Tips on How to Find A Job in South Africa
Many freshers end up not getting the job or selected for interview, because they go about their application the wrong way. They make a lot of mistakes during application and overlook a lot of relevant details.
If YOU want to excel at searching for jobs and be chosen by a company, here a few job search tips you should know about:
- Know what type of job you want- Apply only for jobs that you are sure you want. Don’t just apply to any job you see out of desperation or you may end up doing a job that you don’t like.
- Identify your career path and follow it- Visualize the type of career you want to be in, in the future and stay on that path. Example: if you want a career in Engineering, then start doing jobs related to it.
- Have a Linkedin profile- As a professional, not being on Linkedin in this present age is considered as a cardinal sin, because that is where all the companies and their CEOs are. If you want to find a job, have a Linkedin profile so that you can be connected to them.
- Note down your strengths and skills- Your strengths and skills are what makes you stand out from other candidates. Write down those things that make you exceptional, things that you are good at and work towards developing them.
- Identify job boards- Know the job sites in your country and get to frequenting them. It is there you will find job openings that you can apply for. An example of a job board is My Job Mag.
- Know more about the company you want to apply and how you will contribute in growing the company- do a proper homework on the company you want to work in. Find out areas that need improvement and how you can help.
- Be open to communicating and networking with others in your field- Have a network, it is important. Meet and connect with other people in your field, exchange tips with them. That’s where your next job or referral might come from.
What is a CV ?
Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a brief account of basic information of a potential job seeker which includes his/her education, contact information, work history and achievements.
Why it is Important to Get Your CV in Order?
Your CV is the first impression the recruiter has about you even before you get a chance to prove yourself at the interview. It’s from the CV you attached to the application letter that they will know the kind of person you are, if you are qualified, meet their requirements and if you are worth inviting over. It is important that you get your CV in order so that you can pass across the right information to the recruiter.
It should have:
- Your Name
- Number and Email
- Field of specialization (What do you do? Example: Content Writer)
- Experience (Places you have worked before, if any)
- Educational Background
- Skills ( Computer, interpersonal skills, etc)
- Extra Curricular Activities (Volunteer works, assistance)
The 3 Different Types of CVs You Should know
There are four main types of CVs. I have listed and explain each of them below.
- Chronological CV: It outlines your work and education history and qualifications. It is the most common type of CV
- Functional CV: It delineates the skills and achievements that you have gained throughout your whole working career irrespective of where and when you acquired them.
- Combined CV or Chrono-functional CV: it follows both the chronological and functional format which makes the CV slightly longer than normal
How to Write a Good CV
Your CV makes up at least 40 % of whether or not you are going to be invited for an interview. So it is important that you write it to not just be good, but it should be exceptional. Follow the tips below to write one:
- Understand the Job Description-know what you are required to do in the job, what it is about and the responsibilities attached to it.
- Always tailor your CV to suit the job you want- Let your CV be in line with jobs that you want. If you are searching for a teaching job, then the contents of your CV should have skills and requirements relevant to the job.
- Use relevant action verbs and keywords as requested in the job description-Your CV should be a mirror image of the job description. If they say they want a hardworking professional who is also good at data entry and customer service, then the skills on your CV should read. “Hard working, customer service, data entry,etc.
- Always use assertive positive language especially under the work history and experience section- Be outspoken and clear about your work history and experience. No negative speeches or remarks.
- Choose your referees carefully- Many people have lost jobs because a referee spoke badly about them to a recruiter. Put down people who know you well, have worked with you closely for a long period of time and more importantly, people who mean you well.
- Proofread the CV at the end- go through the CV to check for grammatical and typographical errors, also check for false or omitted details.
What Are Recruiters Employers are Looking for in a CV?
Every recruiter has expectations and requirements their ideal candidate must meet. It’s the first thing they look for once your CV comes through their desk. To meet their requirements, your Cv should have these qualities listed out in it:
- Growth mindset
- Curiosity and motivation
- Data driven and goal oriented
- Extracurricular activity
Top Interview Preparatory Tips:
An interview is your one chance to make a lasting first impression on the Hiring Manager. So it is important that you impress.
Here is a list of things you should prepare for before going for an interview.
- Conduct research on the industry company and the job opportunity- Find out things about the company and the job opportunity you are applying for.
- Prepare for common interview questions and answers- Master frequently asked interview questions and how to answer them.
- Look for intelligent questions to ask at the end of the interview- Interviews love it when you ask them questions. It shows that you are interested and paying attention.
- Get all the necessary documents ready ahead of time- Print your CV out before going to the interview and take along writing materials if necessary.
- Plan the interview attire ahead of time- To avoid any wardrobe malfunctions or looking unkempt, pick out your clothes the day before.
- Recruit a friend to practice answering questions- Have a friend quiz you on interview questions so that you can master the answers and correct wrong ones.
- Plan your schedule to arrive on time- Have a clutter-free schedule that helps you get to the venue on time.
LinkedIn Tips to Help You Get Your Dream Jobs in South Africa
Another important tip to consider for your first job search is never to underestimate the power of Linkedin when looking for a job. Many job seekers have gotten employment from a contact they made on Linkedin. You can also check out this guide we created to help you use LinkedIn to get a job.
And here is how you can do that:
- Write a good summary of your profile: Linkedin recruiters consider the summary the most important section of your profile. So be sure to talk about you, your achievements, and professional goals.
- Upload A Good Picture: Profiles that have an image are 21 times more likely to be viewed than ones that don’t have a picture. Also, when uploading a picture it should be clear and professional, not blurry, badly cropped, of you with another person or with a pet.
- Add Your Location: Location is important because, it helps Linkedin connect you with more jobs in your area and it also helps potential recruiters in your location approach you for jobs.
- Include Your Educational Background: Including your educational background shows recruiters your academic qualifications.
Tips on Succeeding in your First Job
Getting a job is fine but you need to also be prepared for succeeding in your job role……. And you need to put in the same effort used to get the job, to excel in it.
Here is how to succeed at your first job.
- Know your manager- Find out your manager’s likes, dislikes, and policies so that you can be able to work for them better.
- Know your team member- Network around the office, get to know your co-workers and pick interest in them. This can make you endearing in the office.
- Know your product and services- Be conversant with what your company does. Anything you don’t know, ask questions.
- Know people in the company- Try to have a relationship with everyone at your workplace, even if they are not in your department.
- Setting smart goals- Set SMART goals in the sense that, your goals should be: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
- Use the Promodoro technique to achieve more- This is a time saving method that helps you complete tasks by powering through distractions, focusing and taking short breaks.
True, searching for a job for the first time is challenging and sometimes frustrating. But as long as you follow these tips and keep practicing, you will definitely land that job. Keep reading more articles on dominating the job market so that you will find more ways to better yourself.