Let’s be honest, searching for a new job is difficult. Even if you have a few years of experience on your side. But if you are only entering the job market for the first time, it is so much harder. It is a bitter pill to swallow for the youth, but most companies would rather hire a candidate with both formal education and practical, industry-relevant experience. The evidence of this is clear when we look at the high youth unemployment rates in South Africa.
There is no easy way to say this, but with the spread of the COVID-19 virus and governments’ Lockdown response. The future for experienced job seekers is going to be extremely challenging, and if you are just entering the job market it is going to feel almost impossible. So should you just give up and not even try? Of course not! I have put together 5 tips for entry-level job seekers that might help you during the COVID-19 Lockdown in South Africa.
Tips for entry-level job seekers. How to succeed in the toughest job market ever.
As I mentioned, your job search is not going to be easy. I highly recommend you also have a look at these fantastic motivational job search quotes to keep yourself inspired. Maintaining a positive attitude will be half the battle.
1) Start Networking using Virtual Resources.
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? This is true to a certain extent and it is highly recommended that you build your network at every opportunity.
Obviously with the current situation attending physical networking workshops is impossible. But you can still make use of various virtual meetups. For example, Eventbrite South Africa has numerous online opportunities to make new connections.
You may even find that networking virtually is slightly easier then actual meetups would be. It is far less intimidating to join an online chat then to introduce yourself to strangers at a physical meetup.
2) Make use of LinkedIn
Although LinkedIn is also a fantastic networking platform you should be using it as an extension of your networking activities, not a replacement.
Make sure your profile is completely set up with a professional profile picture and a well-written bio. When your profile is looking great you should make an effort to find groups that you can relate to. Try to join conversations that you can offer some value to or learn from.
The algorithm works in a way that if you engage with other users and content you will show up in more searches and ultimately reach more people. This is the best way to get noticed.
Another great way to add to your profile is to upskill yourself with a professional course from LinkedIn learning. These courses are automatically added to your profile and are a great way to show that you have more to your name than just a university degree.
3) Highlight the experience you do have.
Sure you might be lacking work experience, but does this mean that you can not list other experiences you have gained? No, of course not! And, in fact, it is recommended that you do list any achievements or clubs you are a member of on your CV and LinkedIn profile. Provided these are relevant to the industry you would like to work in.
Eventually, you will be able to replace this information with the achievements and experience that you have gained in the workplace.
You might also want to consider asking a lecturer or instructor for a reference letter. Even if this is just a character reference for now. Once again, as you gain experience in the workplace you will be able to replace these with reference letters from your managers.
Have a look at these CV writing tips to make sure your CV gets noticed by the right people.
4) Start with reasonable expectations
It is fine to know exactly want job you want. It is even fine to know exactly what company you would like to work for. But remember that at the start of your career, and especially given the current circumstances you need to manage your expectations.
Accept from the start you that will have to apply for jobs that might not be your dream job. If you are offered a job that is not what you initially had planned for your career path, you should probably consider taking the job. Think of it as a stepping stone.
Do your best, gain whatever experience you can, and make sure your references are impeccable when you are ready to move on.
5) Hang in there.
This is the best advice I can give you. Hang in there, hang in there, hang in there!
Everyone is feeling the strain of our current situation. The governments’ Lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is going to result in millions of people losing their jobs in the coming months. Even if the Lockdown ends tomorrow things will not be the same, and we are going to be living in a different word for years to come.
That being said, if you are able to maintain a positive attitude and the motivation to push forward you will have a major advantage over other candidates out there.
Remember failing is absolutely fine, in fact, failing is normal! And no matter how often you fail, you will only ever be a failure if you give up! Please feel free to leave a comment below if you are feeling overwhelmed. If I can assist in any way I will be happy to do so.
Your job search is not going to be easy, especially as someone new to the job market. Try to follow these 5 tips for entry-level job seekers to give yourself an advantage over the competition out there.
You might also want to have a look at these productive activities for job seekers during the Lockdown.
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