File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

These tips could help you land that dream job

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Sep 1, 2021

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South Africa’s current unemployment rate stands at a record high of 34.4%. This means that approximately 7.8 million people are unemployed or looking for work.

This is according to Statistics SA, which released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter last week. This is the highest unemployment rate recorded since the survey started in 2008.

Many South Africans know that the job search is extremely difficult, and it becomes a lot harder given the current economic times and the Covid-19 pandemic. There are also factors such as economic decline, global competition and national demographics that all contribute to employment prospects.

We compiled a list of what you can do before applying, what to do before that important interview and what will help during the interview. While these tips will not guarantee you a job, they will definitely help.

Before the application

Research the company

Before you apply for the job, it is important to thoroughly research the company to understand who they are and what they do.

It also helps to study the job description so you can align your skills with what the company is looking for as well as highlight relevant skills on your CV.

Put your social media stalking hat on and find out who is in charge of hiring or heads a department so you can address them by name when asking about the position or any other questions you might have about the company.

Your knowledge of the company will not only give you an advantage, but you can also show how you can improve business or fill a need.

Revamp and tailor your CV

Research shows that a recruiter spends seven seconds or less on your application before they trash it or pursue it.

“If your resume reads like everyone else’s and fails to catch their attention quickly, it’s going to be rejected even before they get to know you,” said hiring manager Ann Howell in a Harvard Business Review report.

With this in mind, take a hard look at your CV and see where you can improve. Is it lacking detail? Does it provide enough information on your skills? Make sure to outline not only your duties but how you performed them in ways that others might not have.

Make use of job-related keywords and action verbs such as "created" or "designated" throughout your CV.

Tailor your CV for the role and company you’re applying for, so it should highlight your career progression, skills and keywords that are in the job description, and showcase achievements that are listed as “must-haves” for the position.

Write a compelling cover letter

While your CV plays a huge role in your application, your cover letter is your chance to shine and show why you are the right person for the job.

Feel free to use multiple keywords and phrases from the job description to demonstrate that you know what the role's responsibilities are and how you will meet its expectations.

It also helps to try to anticipate what questions the hiring manager may ask and answer them in your cover letter.

Build a personal website

A personal website might sound time-consuming, but that extra bit of effort might go a long way. A personal website is a great way to present a portfolio of work and provide evidence of your abilities.

Include a photograph of your face and provide contact links to make it easy for people to get hold of you.

On the site, build pages that highlight your passion for the industry and highlight the skills you have acquired along the way.

Leading up to the interview

Rehearse the interview

While you are researching, take note of what kind of interviews the company conducts. Ask around or consult our friend Google to find out what other candidates have experienced in similar interviews. Once you have equipped yourself with this knowledge, rehearse your answers with a friend or colleague.

During the interview

Focus on the position and less about your hobbies

During an interview, you will most likely be asked that dreaded “Tell me about yourself.”

It is fine to talk about hobbies and interests, but keep your focus on the position and tailor your answers to fit the job description.

Tell a compelling story that illustrates how you solved a particular problem, improved a situation or how you overcame an obstacle at work.

Mind your (body) language

Whether it is a Zoom interview or a face-to-face interview, take note of your body language. During the interview, present yourself in a way that conveys openness and shows that you are willing to learn and grow.

Make eye contact with the interviewer, and do not forget to smile. Keep calm and carry on by keeping your body language relaxed, arms uncrossed and speak slower. This will not only help you relax but also give you some time to think of a great answer.

Ask tough questions

There will be a time during the interview where they will ask you if you have any questions. Instead of the usual questions, ask probing questions that will give answers that could give a better understanding of what you’ll be getting yourself into.

– What does the boss expect from this role in the first six months?

– How does the role fit into the hierarchy and influence decisions?

– Who are the main people this role will be working with?

Stay open to new opportunities

Be open to new opportunities even if you’re not 100% sure about each one. It also helps to get a little bit creative with your search. Type in keywords that relate to your skills or areas of interest. In doing so, you may find openings in industries you haven’t considered that are a good fit.

“Compare your experience and knowledge to the skills required, and apply to the job if you meet 75% of those requirements. Remember, you don’t need to know it all. Managers want people who are excited and willing to learn,” said Howell.


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