Seven steps to landing your first job as a matriculant or graduate

On Friday 17 November 2017, Lulaway, in partnership with Boston City Campus embarked on an ambitious undertaking to facilitate the employment of over 200 Boston learners at a speed interviewing event.

Whilst speed interviewing is becoming increasingly popular in developed countries, the model has not yet been applied in South Africa where rampant unemployment threatens the nation’s social and economic future.

Lulaway CEO Jake Willis says speed interviewing has the potential to remove one of the most unsolvable and crippling socioeconomic barriers facing South African work-seekers.

“Youth unemployment continues to rise despite billions of Rands being spent on job creation initiatives. The only way we will increase youth employment rates is by thinking out of the box. We are constantly looking for practical high-impact solutions which are relevant to the market. Speed interviewing offers a simple way to eliminate obstacles as it brings all the candidates and employers to one place.”

Inflated transport costs compound the ‘spatial mismatch’ for work-seekers. With transport and other work-seeking costs at an average of R560 per month, many unemployed people cannot afford to actively seek employment. Much of the unemployed youth, who are not actively seeking work, say this is because their locations constrain them from looking for work. “

Willis says speed interviewing has the potential to create much-needed efficiencies in the entry-level labour market on both the supply and demand side. “Normally, we face huge challenges to get these learners to one interview. They cannot afford to go to four interviews. We send them to various employers at a high cost, while trying to balance the scheduling requirements of employers and work-seekers.

“The drop-off rates are enormous. Learners get lost or do not show up. On the employer side, the administrative efforts required to interview 250 people in one day would be overwhelming. The scheduling alone would take many hours.

“Speed interviewing normally involves one employer with multiple work-seekers. We have taken it a step further and invited several employers in the same industry to the same event. This is to limit the travel costs for the work-seeker to the bare minimum,” continues Willis.
Employers have responded enthusiastically to the event.

Employers present were Green Connect, Landau Attorneys and iTalk. Altogether, these employers have expressed interest in hiring 120 of the candidates.

7 Steps To Landing Your First Job

So, you’ve just graduated — congratulations!

You are probably excited, but also terrified, about finding that dream job, earning an income and putting your education to good use.

While landing your first job may feel overwhelming, don’t despair. Jake Willis, CEO of entry-level recruitment company Lulaway, provides some proven strategies on how to tackle the various challenges and succeed.

1.Create a winning CV

Don’t underestimate the importance of a great CV. Your CV is a representation of you and your achievements and presents an ideal opportunity to make a lasting impression.

It is the first — and possibly last — encounter a potential employer has with you, so you need to make it count. Spend time on your CV to make it an excellent summary of who you are, highlighting your strengths and talents and what you are able to offer the employer.

Your CV should be concise and not more than two pages long. While you may not have tons of work experience, be sure to showcase your successes. Promote your achievements in different contexts such as study, work or leisure, as well as any volunteer work or community projects you were involved in.

Ask an experienced friend or relative to help you and make sure that your spelling and grammar are absolutely pitch-perfect. If you are planning to hand-deliver your CV, print several copies, bind them and place them in a plastic folder. Also remember to save an electronic version, ready to email as and when opportunities arise.

2. Ace that interview

If you are invited to attend a job interview, you need to ensure that you take it seriously. You are competing with dozens of other candidates, and this is your one chance to make a lasting impact, emphasising your suitability for the role, your talents and potential.

By arriving on time, you will demonstrate that you are reliable and committed. Dress professionally and remember to make — and keep — eye contact. It is advisable that you conduct in-depth research on the company to really stand out, especially when you ask intelligent, informed questions about the job at hand.

Breaking into the job market in South Africa is challenging, especially given its high rate of youth unemployment, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

3.Research, research, research

The internet is your best friend. There are dozens of websites devoted to helping graduates like you find a job. Try some of the popular online job portals and classifieds sites

Also consider recruiters like Lulaway who specialise in entry-level positions. Keep a lookout for graduate programmes, learnership programmes and internships that are on offer.

Register your CV and create an employment profile on every available website — it costs nothing and gives you maximum exposure. Sign up for alerts and updates and ensure you check the web every few days, as new opportunities arise all the time.

4.Spread the word

Many people say that their jobs — especially first jobs — were found using personal connections. Now is not the time to be shy. Reach out to everyone and anyone you know who can connect you to employment opportunities.

This includes your friends, relatives, parents’ friends, classmates, church members and youth groups. If you have a connection, use it. Does your mom shop regularly at the store where you’d like to work? If so, have her mention that you’d be open to working there.

A great place to start is in your own community. Local stores and businesses often prefer to hire from within the community. Also keep in touch with your school or tertiary institution, as they are sometimes contacted by recruiters, training companies and employers looking for candidates with specific qualifications.

5.Have realistic expectations

Breaking into the job market in South Africa is challenging, especially given its high rate of youth unemployment, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

While you may have studied for a specific career, it may be hard to find a job that is perfectly aligned with your training. Market demands are often different from what many young people are qualified to do, so look around, but don’t be too selective about your first job.

Your first job may not be your dream job or your dream pay scale, but try to keep in mind that any job is better than no job.

It is ill-advised to reject a job offer because you feel it is “beneath your qualification”. All job seekers started at the bottom — as packers or crew members — and progressed in the company when they showed how capable they were.

Your way up is by getting your foot in the door — so take that job, especially if there is room for growth.

Don’t give up if you can’t find a job immediately. Searching for a job takes persistence and patience.

6.You can’t put a price on experience

Employers place tremendous value on experience; sometimes even more than formal training. Experienced employees require less training, take less time to get used to a working environment and quickly become efficient and productive employees.

Experience can show an employer that you are willing to work hard and that you have the aptitude to get the job done. Even if the role turns out not be what you want in the long term, we recommend sticking it out at least six months or even a year.

Get a great reference from your manager, and you will come out much more employable, with valuable skills –– and one step closer to finding your dream job.

7.Keep trying

It can be frustrating to feel as though you are doing all the right things, and yet still be unable to secure a job. Don’t give up if you can’t find a job immediately. Searching for a job takes persistence and patience.

It’s important to keep trying, because a potential employer will notice if you have the determination and drive to find a job. It can take several months to find a suitable job — economic times are tough –– but if you persevere, your efforts will be rewarded.

In the meantime, look at ways you can make yourself more employable through volunteer or temporary work, or by learning new skills.