How to look for your first job in South Africa

Looking for a job can feel like a job itself. Every day thousands of people enter the job force. Some are finishing schooling programs, and some had been on a hiatus and want to jump back into the corporate world, the circumstances are different but a number of people are definitely actively looking for employment.

South Africa has a booming economy which means that it also attracts a good number of people from other countries to settle and also look for meaningful employment. The government also has an immigration program which they have been running especially since around 2009 and every couple of years, it is redefined and a list of “critical skills”, that is professions or skills that are lacking in South Africa. In these sectors, though they are critical skills, it might be a challenge to gain employment. It might not be as easy as it seems

Detailed CV Tutorial

pssst.. Check out this Detailed Tutorial on how to write a CV that converts to interviews.

The jobs that are in demand

Every year the Ministry of Labour in South Africa does produce a list of the sectors which are hiring. As an executive recruiter I can say that the list well…. when a company has a vacancy, it has a vacancy. So do not be discouraged by these lists. However, if you are in the Business Development Finance, Information Technology

IT JOBS:  (Business analysts, Programmers) you have a better chance of getting a good-paying job quicker. The STEM jobs are definitely in abundance. In fact, this sector is more candidate-driven (You the job seeker); meaning you are the one in demand so you will get more interviews and more offers to negotiate; however it all depends on how you interview and the assessment as most companies now assess skills and personality before hiring.

Business Development Jobs: These have different names ranging from sales, key accounts, solutions, and business development. It all means one and the same thing. Basically, the main purpose of this role is to bring in clients/businesses into the company. It can take the form of telesales (phone-based), more consultative notes (business development manager key account manager, solutions) or just simply client-facing. Keeping clients satisfied and farming clients already signed up by the company for more revenue. It all goes down to whether you are focusing on new business or managing existing business and if you are office-bound or you travel out to see clients as you “win deals”

Finance Jobs: Well, finance is the backbone of the economy. With this sector, because money is involved and the bigger companies that are hiring, education is key. People with Saica registrations and Chattered accountants are more in demand. If you are from a foreign country, you might need to check with the registration boards if you need to convert or write some board exams for you to be able to your work accurately. (auditing, taxation ad sign-offs)

Cost of looking for a job

There is no definite cost that can be listed it is all subjective. However, a few items need to be considered before one embarks on the job search journey. As we know, most things are done online these days. This means that one has to budget for data or be somewhere with WIFI access.

If you are a first-time job seeker and have limited funds, I would suggest using resources such as mall WIFIs (my local mall in Midrand gives 3 hours of free internet use) or your local McDonald’s or KFC. You do not need to purchase anything at any of these places to use the internet. Alternatively, You could purchase 100MB which can last you a day or two of you just scoring job boards and checking emails. The only catch is, that you do need a smartphone or a laptop.

Lastly, interview stage costs. Most companies do want you to physically attend the interview. Even if it is introductory. If you have funds to search for a job, you should not be limited in terms of location. However, If your funds are limited, please bear in mind transport costs to and from interviews as most companies do two interviews before they extend offers. Plus… you will need transport money to take you from home to where ever you will be gainfully employed.

Where to look for a job

I will not dismiss that having connections surely does help when one is job seeking. However, the majority of people do not have these “connections” so one has to hunt solo for these opportunities. I will go forth and list the places that I have seen success in job hunting in South Africa and sites that I have used to look for potential candidates

Linkedin: Keep your profile professional and open. The picture has to be clear and be as honest as you can. However, You can score the LinkedIn job section and just apply with your cv without sending your profile. (Which is what I prefer. There is a debate among professionals that LinkedIn can be harmful to job searching as it opens you up for discrimination right off the bat because of the pictures etc.

Pnet: Pnet is the biggest platform in South Africa. Companies and agencies pay thousands of rands to have access to your profile. Please take your time to accurately complete your profile here and again, be as truthful as you can because the site users take it very seriously. Especially if you know that your skill is in demand.. you can get a new job within a month of your posting on Pnet

Indeed: Indeed is a huge international site which is quite good and legit as well. It is free for companies and agencies to use. So be careful of what information you put on your CV. The site has been requiring prospective employers to send proof of a registered business’ to avoid scammers.

Careers24: This site is good. Works similar to pnet but I found that a lot more of IT professionals made use of this site.

Interview process

Each company has its own interview process. Some companies decide within one session of meeting you. Some take numerous interviews (I have once done 5 and was never offered). Some companies do assessments and personality tests as well as background checks. Please note that if you are job searching via agencies/ recruiters, they will definitively do a background and a reference check. If the role is in finance or any money handling position, most companies do conduct a credit check. Please be wary of credit checks if your role does not have anything to do with handling money, a budget… you get the gist. (It’s a little preview of how the company is managed)

Scams to look out for

South Africa is a place where a lot of people will do anything for money. Especially if you are job searching in the big cities. I can not finish the scams because that is a post for another day. All I will say is, DO NOT pay anyone for a job. DO NOT send anyone money, it is 2020, you do not need to fax anything. If it looks dodgy or your heart is wary, rather leave the “opportunity” and keep searching. Lastly, IT IS FOR FREE TO REGISTER WITH A JOB BOARD AND AGENCIES).

As mentioned at the beginning, it is a job itself to look for a job. Take it seriously, and apply daily. When you do get an interview, please attend. If you are running late, communicate. They do know that life happens. Lastly, keep your CV/RESUME on your phone under documents. You never know who might just ask for your cv!

Best of luck

Similar Posts