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Getting a job after years of school or study initially seems like a pretty easy task: Find an advertisement, write a letter with your CV attached, include a large number of testimonials from lecturers, pastors and friends, and the job is yours!

Unfortunately, this is not so easy. Bear in mind that in South Arica, only about 20% of matriculants find jobs after school – leading to an extremely high unemployment statistic for young people. Even young people with post matric qualifications struggle to find jobs.

Entering the real world of real work is as much a marketing job as it is to sell a new product. A lot of preparation and thought need to go into the planning and execution of the job hunting process. Let us look at the general pitfalls that cause many applicants to not get the call for a first interview:

1         Failure to distinguish yourself from the next candidate

Unless you are extraordinarily lucky, the person who makes the decision about whether to invite you for an interview does not know you from a bar of soap. This means that you have to impress the decision maker within a very short time so that he/she reads your CV in detail. Reports indicate that this decision is made within the first 8 seconds of the person picking up your CV.

You have no choice but to put very careful thought into the first impressions that a potential employer forms of your correspondence. There must be something about your application that is different from all the other hundreds of applications!

2         Supplying too many facts, but too little real information

The employer seldom wants to know how many siblings you have, whether you were class leader in grade 6, or your achievements in badminton. What counts is whether you are reliable and able to do the job without requiring supervision all the time.

In a casual letter, such information may serve as an appropriate introduction. However, the potential employer has to read your CV and covering letter as part of a day that is stacked and packed with reading material from more important sources: Bank statements, customer replies, tender documents, supply contracts – therefore, if your application does not immediately grab the attention of the reader, your chances of landing an interview are very slim.

3         Failing to prove that you meet all the requirements of the position

Bear in mind that the potential employer is simply interested in finding someone who can do the job without too much supervision. He is very seldom interested in your skills on the sport field (unless the position is directly related to sport); if you were an athlete in your school or varsity days, list these in a brief paragraph at the end.

All advertisements list the basic requirements in terms of qualifications and skills; prove in your cover letter that you have these skills.

Yet, there is still more to prove: Carefully screen the job outputs listed – these may not relate directly to qualifications and skills, but will from the substance of the results eh is expecting from a successful candidate. Make sure that you understand these outputs, and show on paper that you are in fact in a position to deliver these results.

4         How to excel

Garden Route Business Services provides guidance and assistance in preparing for the job hunt.  For a small fee, they will compile your CV professionally, assist you in drafting a covering letter in response to an advertisement of job vacancy, and provide basic guidelines for tat first interview.

Contact the specialists at 082-854-6960 (Johan) or 083-321-7120 (Francois) for further information and assistance.

Get that inside lane to a job!

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