Current jobseekers are faced with some tough times ahead, according to the November 2012 CareerJunction Index. Employment is waning in South Africa, with some industries taking a harder knock than others. The study revealed that the pool of South African job seekers had grown by more than 15% at the time of the study, but there was a mere 2% increase in available jobs. According to estimates, only four out of every ten job-seeking matriculants will find employment in 2013.

It’s easy to adopt a pessimistic outlook when faced with these statistics. However, if you find yourself looking for work, the best approach is to look for ways to differentiate yourself from the substantial number of applicants competing for the same positions.

Adopt skills for the 21st century world of work

When you examine the current marketplace, it’s evident that working environments and skills in demand have changed considerably over the last few decades. The workplace is now categorised by a multi-skilled, multi-generational workforce. The environment itself has changed too with the rising rate of internet penetration. Some companies are now looking to employ individuals to work remotely, thereby saving money on resources and office space. Many employers now expect employees to possess broad skills in any of the following categories:

  • Office computing
  • Web researching and writing
  • Communication
  • Design and planning.

It’s important to view this information in the context of an evolving job market. The roles of blogger, social media marketer, graphic designer and user experience analyst weren’t recognised just a few decades ago. As such, it’s important to adopt the attitude of a lifelong learner by taking courses to expand on your CV and add to your current skill set.

Land the job you want:

The process of sifting through reams of job listings can be very daunting. You need to approach the job hunt with a plan of action:

  • Join a recruitment agency: These agencies list some of their positions on websites like CareerJunction and Bizcommunity, but some positions are never listed online because the agency in question already has someone on their books who is suitable for the role. It’s a little known fact that just over 84% of companies still use recruitment agencies, so best practice would be to cover all your bases.

  • Stay informed: Keep up to date with in-demand skills in you industry. The requirements of jobs change as the years go by. A few years ago, traditional photographers couldn’t have imagined the transition to digital and what it would entail. As you progress in your career, it’s good to keep your skill set as up-to-date as possible.

  • Customise your CV: Nothing speaks of laziness quite like a stock-standard CV. If you want to demonstrate that you are truly interested in a position, you should customise your CV and cover letter for the job that you are applying for. Highlight the skills that are relevant to the role in question. For instance, if you are applying for a job as a receptionist, don’t highlight your sales skills, rather penchant for typing and correspondence. Get creative in order to stand out – why not move your entire CV to an online personal-branded website.

If you would like to be more informed about the current job market or learn more about the ways that you can broaden your career prospects, download the GetSmarter 2013 Career Guide or view the GetSmarter short course portfolio.

By Amy Johnson




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