11 Tips For Getting Your First Job

18 Jun, 2024

Getting Your First Job: Essential Tips for Youth Entering the Workforce

Entering the job market is exciting, but mostly daunting. As a rookie job seeker, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by applying, the employer’s expectations, the competition and the interview process, or you might not have any idea where to start. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here are some essential tips to help you land your first job and kickstart your career.    
  1. Build a Strong CV: Your Curriculum Vitae is your first impression. Make sure it’s well-organized, spell checked, and lists your education, skills, and any experience. If you don’t have formal work experience, include internships, volunteer work, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities.
  2. Detail your Course of Life: The words Curriculum Vitae means “Course of Life” and this is what recruiters and employers in SA want to see. We want to know what you did, when you did it, and for how long you did it. Add details like duties, projects, things you’ve learnt and you have made your first impression.
  3. Add an introduction: This gives us a glimpse of who you are beyond the list of facts that follows on your CV. Keep it short (5 sentences) , personalised and let a bit of your personality shine.
  4. Tailor Your Application: Customize your CV for each job application. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Do not omit anything, but focus on placing a pertinent focus on the relevant skills by listing them at the top and mentioning it in your introduction.
  5. Leverage Your Network: Networking is very important in the job search process, especially when you are just starting out. Reach out to family, friends, professors, and alumni. Let them know you’re looking for a job and ask if they know of any opportunities or can provide introductions. Attend industry events, job fairs, and join professional groups on LinkedIn.
  6. Gain Experience Through Internships and Volunteering: If you’re struggling to find a paid job, consider internships or volunteer positions. These roles can provide valuable experience, help you build a professional network, and sometimes lead to full-time job offers. Working at your alma mater, joining internships and even working on a stipend basis will achieve the goal, which is to get exposure and experience to have someone that will be able to bear a reference for you for your next position.
  7. Improve Your Online Presence: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and professional. Use a clear, head and shoulders photo, and include a summary that highlights your skills and career goals. Follow companies you’re interested in and engage with their content to stay informed and visible.
  8. Email: Please take note of your email address and create an address that is professional. It looks extremely unprofessional when your email address is something to the likes of youngplaya@gmail.com or whitelightening@yahoo.com.
  9. Practice Your Interview Skills: Prepare for interviews by researching common interview questions and practicing your answers. Conduct mock interviews with friends or mentors to build your confidence. Have a look at our blog post on interview prep here.
  10. Stay Positive and Persistent: The job search process can be challenging and will take time. Stay positive, keep applying, and don’t get discouraged by rejections. Use each experience as a learning opportunity to improve your application and interview skills. If rejected, you are completely at liberty to respond and ask for detailed feedback as to your CV or the interview in order to take that as constructive criticism.
  11. Consider Further Education or Certifications: If you’re finding it hard to get a job in your desired field, consider further education or certifications that can make you more competitive. Online courses, workshops, and professional certifications are available in paid and free versions. We will be posting a blog post soon that lists all the fantastic free online courses out there, so keep an eye out for that.
Starting your career is a journey that requires effort, patience, and resilience. By following these tips and staying proactive, you’ll be well on your way to landing your first job and building a successful career. Have a look at all our vacancies or upload your CV and we'll be in touch to kick off this journey with you: https://pillango.co.za/vacancy/ Good luck! Go get that job!

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