For Youth Month 2023, YES and partners Youth Capital, Harambee and Global Citizen hosted a jam-packed webinar focused on helping you(th) get job ready. Searching for employment can be an overwhelming journey, but with the right strategies and mindset, you can enhance your chances of success.
In this round-up blog, we summarise three fundamental pillars to guide you in your quest for a fulfilling career: networking, preparing for work, and preparing for an interview. Additionally, we delve into the importance of personal growth, seeking feedback, and maintaining good mental fitness to support your career path. Dive in and discover how these pillars can elevate your job search efforts.
Host: Mokebe Thulo,
head of strategic brand and client marketing, YES
Pillar 1: Networking
Unlocking opportunities through connections
Networking is a powerful tool when it comes to finding employment opportunities. Your network can consist of various individuals, such as church members, family, friends, and community leaders. By actively engaging with these connections, you increase your chances of discovering potential job openings that may not be publicly advertised. Networking allows you to tap into the hidden job market, where word-of-mouth recommendations and personal referrals play a significant role.
In addition to offline networking, leveraging online platforms like LinkedIn can expand your professional network exponentially. Creating a LinkedIn profile and connecting with professionals in your field can lead to valuable opportunities and endorsements.
Encourage others to support young job seekers by offering assistance, “Maybe you know how to create a LinkedIn account, create it for your friend,” says Kristal Duncan-Williams. You could also provide online reviews for their businesses or side-hustles. By growing your circle and helping others, you foster an inclusive environment where professional support and opportunities are accessible to all.
Pillar 2: Preparing for work
Crafting an effective CV
A well prepared CV is a powerful tool that represents you even when you’re not present. When creating your CV, keep it concise, straightforward, and error-free. Use appropriate grammar and ensure your document highlights your key strengths and skills.
If you lack formal work experience, emphasise transferable skills gained from volunteer work or extracurricular activities. “Work experience can replace formal qualifications,” recommends Aditi Lachman.
Including contactable references is essential, but remember to choose individuals who can provide positive recommendations. Inform them beforehand about your decision to add them as references to ensure their willingness to vouch for your abilities.
To stay relevant in the job market, update your CV every three months. Be honest and authentic in your presentation and consider maintaining a list of all the places you have worked or volunteered. This demonstrates your proactive approach and personal urgency, reflecting your dedication to finding suitable employment.
Pillar 3: Preparing for an interview
Proactive steps for success
Preparing for an interview goes beyond just showing up. Attention to detail and thoughtful planning can make a significant difference in your performance. Start by mastering telephone etiquette, ensuring you answer calls promptly and professionally.
“Get enough rest before your interview,” suggests Thulisile Ndlovu to be well-prepared mentally and physically. Dress appropriately, favouring dark colours for a professional appearance. Plan your travel route in advance to avoid being late. Be sure to wake up early to make sure that you are on time, and to allow time for a positive mindset. Remember: maintaining eye contact, a warm smile, and good posture during the interview can make a lasting impression on potential employers.
Organisations like SA Youth can provide valuable resources and assistance in interview preparation. Avail yourself of such opportunities to fine-tune your interview skills and gain confidence in your abilities.
Personal growth and continuous improvement
In addition to the core pillars discussed above, personal growth and continuous improvement are crucial aspects of building a successful career in the workplace. “Seek feedback, not just from your interviewer but from family, friends and people around you,” advises Darnelle Fortune. Actively listen and reflect on constructive criticism to enhance your skills and refine your approach.
Be assertive, while respecting boundaries. Confidently express your ideas. Take action by showing up fully prepared and demonstrating your reliability and dedication as a professional. Engaging in professional events and networking can significantly aid in navigating your career path. These events provide opportunities to learn from industry experts, gain insights into emerging trends, and expand your professional network.
Investing in your personal growth involves various aspects. Consider creating your CV using platforms like Canva, which offer visually appealing templates that can make your CV stand out. Utilize tools like Grammarly to ensure your grammar and spelling are error-free. Look for free online courses or resources to upskill yourself in areas relevant to your desired career path. Remember, acquiring new knowledge and skills not only enhances your employability but also demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning.
Taking on extra work, even if it's unpaid, can be an excellent way to showcase your abilities and gain practical experience. Consider volunteering or pursuing side hustles that align with your skills and interests. These opportunities not only allow you to demonstrate your capabilities but also provide valuable networking connections and potential referrals.
It's important to prioritise your mental fitness as well. Maintaining good mental well-being contributes to your overall career success, particularly as a new employee. Practice self-care and relaxation, engage in activities that bring you joy, and seek support when needed. Building resilience and maintaining a positive mindset will help you navigate the challenges that may arise in your job search journey.
SAYouth is a free and zero-rated national platform that connects talented and engaged work-seekers to various opportunities including – YES, full-time jobs, part-time jobs, learnerships, volunteering and learning opportunities. It offers the connection between youth and prospective employers, interview resources, and specialised work readiness training opportunities to enhance your marketability. Users stay informed about learning and earning opportunities on the website. SAYouth.mobi empowers youth to pursue meaningful employment and career success.
#SayYES to a successful job search journey.