Tips to ramp up your job search
2020 saw many South Africans losing their jobs. If you’re one of them, here’s your guide to essentials for ramping up your 2021 job search and standing out in the crowd.
Job search tip #1: Do your research
“In our tough economic times, there is more competition in the market,” says Judy Hofer, a career coach and associate recruiter at Dynexity, a recruitment agency. Whether you’re browsing vacancies online or have been invited to an interview, never stop researching during your job search. This will help you keep on top of developments within your industry so you convey an image of confidence and knowledge in your applications and the interview process. Besides this, a thorough knowledge of the company and its culture allows the interviewer to assess whether you’d be a good fit for it. Your formal education can only get you so far when you’re in a race for a sought-after role.
A job interview is as much about your potential employer getting to know you as it is about you sussing them out. This means doing your homework so you enter the room with your own understanding of the interviewing company, and can pose any questions you may have.
Job search tip #2: Sharpen your online profile
It could’ve been a while since you were last in the market for a job. Anita Hoole, managing director of Dynexity, suggests ramping up your search by starting with a professional, respectable online presence. “One of your job-search must-haves is a professional image on social media, as companies do check out candidates on Facebook and LinkedIn,” she says. Hofer adds: “Make sure your CV brands and sells you. Include tangible achievements and results measured in monetary and percentage terms.”
Job search tip #3: Network & upskill
Don’t underestimate the value of positive connections you’ve built with former colleagues and managers, or other people in the professional space you’ve partnered with. “Networking is important, as it could assist with getting good references or recommendations from industry players,” says Hoole. She adds, “Being part of a professional network will also show that you are truly invested in your profession.”
It can be daunting, but don’t shy away from sharing your current situation and that you’re open to opportunities. After all, in the competitive job market, every lead is valuable. You could be at drinks with friends or at a family dinner, and by hearing about your current situation, someone at the table may just be able to introduce you to a potential employer.
“Any courses a candidate could add to their portfolio will make them a candidate of choice,” says Hoole. “Courses in leadership, sales, additional IT skills, toastmasters and so on will be of great benefit, and an interviewer will gravitate towards candidates that show the willingness to upskill themselves and continue learning.”
Use your free Personal Assistant to help you source quotes for courses to upskill and get you ready for your next role.
Job search tip #4: Avoid these mistakes…
It’s now commonplace to have job interviews on Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype. Hofer says one of the biggest mistakes candidates make during the hiring process is not being prepared for virtual interviews. “They often don’t have a good internet connection, or come across nervous on camera, as they have not prepared properly,” she explains. Technology aside, Hoole also cautions against certain conduct that can be interpreted as unprofessional at an interview. Here are her major don’ts:
• Don’t talk badly about your previous employers;
• Don’t play the ‘victim’ for being overlooked for promotions;
• Don’t make unrealistic salary and working hours/flexitime demands before even securing the position.
To add, Hofer notes a trend in employers being wary of offering permanent employment, so it’s time to be more open to contract roles. “Remember to stay realistic in your aspirations, be willing to accept annual contracts (if you really want the job) and prepare, prepare and prepare,” she says.
Job search tips #5: Role-play your interview
Hoole notes that as years have passed, the interview process has lengthened, so you can expect several rounds of interviews. “We often see panel interviews taking place, and entire teams are meeting the new prospect to give their input before an offer is extended,” she explains. This speaks largely to the importance of a good culture fit in addition to a candidate ticking the skills boxes.
Multiple interviews with entire teams added to the complexity of virtual interviews means the need to impress more people and troubleshoot more technical hiccups. So, your special weapon is to prepare. Hofer suggests some pointers for putting your best virtual foot forward:
• Ensure the environment you interview in is suitable, with an uncluttered background and no interferences.
• Practise with friends or family for how you come across on camera. First impressions still count.
• Ensure you can easily access the platform you’ll be interviewed on (for example, Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams) and have a stable, fast internet connection.
Are you in between jobs? Speak to a financial planner about the impact this could have on your finances, and how to protect your wealth until you’re back on your feet. Book a meeting now.
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