Making yourself more attractive to the job market

Making yourself more attractive to the job market

The nature of work has changed as the fourth industrial revolution gains traction within the South African work market.

South Africa’s youth unemployment rate stands at a whopping 55.2% according to the latest statistics released by Statistics South Africa. An even more shocking statistic is that graduate unemployment stands at 31%, this shows that a mere degree is no longer enough to get a job in this economic climate.

The nature of work has changed as the fourth industrial revolution gains traction within the South African work market. Over and above the need for experience when entering the job market graduates need to make themselves more employable by attaining soft skills.

“Experience goes deeper than pure work experience, and it is in the way you package it on your CV that will set you apart,” said Phillipa Geard, of the 2017 NSBC National Woman in Business Champion Award, winner of the Job Creator of the Year Award in the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and founder of Recruit A Graduate and Recruit My Mom.


She gives the following tips graduates can use to get invaluable soft skills:

Become a university leader, or simply participate
Student leaders or student body members have the unique opportunity to learn and lead during their tertiary education years.
Geard says the experience gained can easily be replicated after graduation. Student leaders gain confidence, communication skills, networking skills, people management skills, problem-solving skills and entrench responsibility. Leadership work often leads to awards, just to add another distinction to your CV.

Perfect the basic
Geard reiterates that nowadays, job seekers are lucky to have the internet readily available to study and perfect critical first impression tools such as interviewing skills and CV writing. You can even canvass the work culture, values and tone of the employer, and whether it would be a good fit.
“But remember, employers are doing the same. Your social media and internet footprint tells them all they need to know long before you even get invited for an interview. So be strategic, but authentic in how you present yourself online,” she warned.

South Africa’s youth unemployment rate stands at a whopping 55.2% according to the latest statistics released by Statistics South Africa. An even more shocking statistic is that graduate unemployment stands at 31%, this shows that a mere degree is no longer enough to get a job in this economic climate.

The nature of work has changed as the fourth industrial revolution gains traction within the South African work market. Over and above the need for experience when entering the job market graduates need to make themselves more employable by attaining soft skills.

“Experience goes deeper than pure work experience, and it is in the way you package it on your CV that will set you apart,” said Phillipa Geard, of the 2017 NSBC National Woman in Business Champion Award, winner of the Job Creator of the Year Award in the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and founder of Recruit A Graduate and Recruit My Mom.

Take a gap year
A gap year is a period of experiential learning, typically taken after high school or tertiary studies to deepen one’s practical, professional and personal awareness prior to starting your career or further studies.
Studies on gap-year trends in the USA recorded an overwhelming majority of gap-year takers saying that their time abroad taught them skills that helped them become successful in their work and find their purpose in life.
“No, I’m not saying throw away your degree and live on a beach for a year, but it is true that your future employer will be gaining a much more rounded person, with foreign work experience,” said Geard.

Be technology’s boss
There are several digital career capacity building programmes hosted and funded by technology corporates and NGOs, which present a great opportunity to upskill in those technology and digital skills demanded by employers.
“Programmes in basic computer literacy, coding and software program courses introduce job seekers to the Microsoft and/or Google suite and how to use it effectively in the workplace, to grow their small business or market themselves to future employers,” she explained.

Continuous learning
Geard says that the internet is full of listings of programmes geared to providing extra training for graduates and workplace entrants to upskill themselves and gain the skills needed in the workplace today.
These programmes can be online or otherwise, and they can include modules dealing with work-readiness skills and attributes they would typically need and come across in the workplace, such as e-entrepreneurship, project management, small business management, sales and digital marketing, event management, accounting and customer service and administration.

“The fact that you are continuing your studies makes you look deliberate and motivated on your CV and will definitely catch the eye of employers,” concluded Geard.

While the situation in South Africa currently looks bleak, there are ways you can make yourself more attractive to the job market.


Original article published on Sowetu Urban. Click here to view it.

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