You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. How do you get your foot on the ladder? Whether you're fresh out of education or looking to follow a new career path, feeling like you don't have the experience to land that first job can be frustrating. So, here are some of the ways you can achieve the (seemingly) impossible and get a job with no experience!
Address the issue
If you lack experience, don't try to brush over the fact. A cover letter is the perfect place to address any gaps in your CV, so use the opportunity to address any concerns the employer might have. Then.
Focus on what you DO have
Experience is important, but so is your attitude to work, your personality, your understanding of the company and its activity, motivation, resilience, ideas for the future – the list is endless, so don't get too hung up on any one thing.
Find experience you didn't know you had
Before you decide you don't have the experience, make absolutely sure this is true. Think back over your past jobs and try to draw links between the experience you need and the experience you have. Remember: it needn't be exactly the same; the key word to keep in mind is relevant. If you've organised a meeting or answered the phones, that's admin experience. If you've set up a Facebook page or created a flier, that's marketing. Think outside the box!
Create some experience
Do some voluntary work, work experience, or an internship.
Don't be afraid to start from scratch. Getting your foot in the door is crucial, and you never know what might come next.
But (as above) make sure the experience you're getting is relevant. If you're still taking your first steps, don't waste time with unrelated work, especially if it's unpaid!
Demonstrate your intent
If you really want to get into a particular industry, make sure that people know about it. Get involved in relevant industry discussions on LinkedIn, join relevant groups, attend networking and careers events, and make sure you make your enthusiasm public.
If you don't have the desired level of experience, you need to be trustworthy. Network, and get your contacts to recommend you. Employers are more likely to overlook the gap in your experience if you come with a recommendation from someone they can trust. Find out more about effectiveness networking.
If you only apply for advertised jobs, you're going to be assessed against set criteria. Apply speculatively to companies that interest you, demonstrate you've done your research, and ask if there's any opportunities for you as you're looking to break into the industry. If the answer is no, ask if you can apply again in 6 months, and find out what you can do in the meantime to improve your chances.
Get an interview
If nothing else, just focus on getting an interview. This is easily the best situation in which to address your lack of experience and the best place to sell your other strengths. Remember: whether you can do the job is just one factor the interviewer is considering, alongside your motivation, and your fit with the company culture. Ace both of these and who knows. 2 out of 3 might be enough!
Looking for work can be pretty tough. Learn about ways you can get skills and experience to make finding work easier.
This can help if:
- you’re looking for work
- you can’t find a job
- you want tips for getting work.
What do employers look for?
The specific things an employer is looking for will vary depending on the job, but there are some general qualities that you should try to demonstrate. You could include these things in your CV, or talk about them in an interview:
- Experience: Even if you’ve never had a job, talk about ways you’ve helped out around the house or extracurricular things you’ve done at school.
- Professionalism: This doesn’t mean wearing a suit and using big words. It means being considerate, staying focused and demonstrating a good work ethic.
- Skills: Make sure you list the skills you have separately from any previous jobs or experience.
- Ability to be a team player: Most jobs will require you to work with other people. Show your employer that you can do this.
- Communication skills: Be clear, concise and consistent with your communication. Always proofread anything you put in writing, to pick up spelling and grammatical errors.
- Enthusiasm and willingness to learn: Be a keen bean!
Tips for getting prepared for work
There are heaps of things you can do to make yourself a more appealing job candidate. Some of these will build experience and skills, and others will just be good for communication skills and teamwork.
Get your CV up to scratch: Do some research on what makes a good CV and make sure yours is up to date. It’s a great idea to get someone you trust to proofread your CV before you submit it.
Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to get on-the-job experience and may help you decide on the field where you want to work. Some of the benefits are:
- new skills
- additional references
- experience in the workplace.
Check out some of the volunteer positions available around Australia.
Stay motivated: The longer you spend looking for work, the harder it is to stay positive. Try to remember that your skills are valuable. If possible, think of the job hunt as a challenge, and as an opportunity to find out what you’re interested in.
Talk to someone: If you’re not sure about your preferred career or the field you want to work in, get some advice. Schools and higher-ed places such as TAFE and uni usually have career advice services.
Search far and wide
- internet job sites
- higher-education employment services
As well as applying for jobs that are advertised, you could approach organisations or people you’re interested in working with. It’s not uncommon for places to have positions that haven’t yet been advertised. Approaching the organisation also lets people know you’re enthusiastic.
What can I do now?
- Get tips on how to ace a job interview.
- Tailor your cover letters to the organisation or business you’re applying to.
- Learn about building confidence.
Explore other topics
It’s not always easy to find the right place to start. Our ‘What’s on your mind?’ tool can help you explore what’s right for you.
The average number of times people are changing their jobs nowadays is between 10 to 15 times during their professional career.
Yes, the days of sticking it out with the same company for decades appear to be over. It seems that even those of us who love our careers still switch things up every few years.
So, with all this transitioning from job to job, and with millions of new graduates entering the labor force each year, the question “How do I find a job?” is on a lot of minds.
Of course, the process of finding a job is different for each one of us. And a lot depends on the industry as well. Our team did some research by asking companies and recruiters for their insights on the best strategies to help people get hired faster.
It’s clear that digital technology is playing a huge part in shaping trends in recruitment, which is leading job searchers online. More and more companies want to automate the process by using a variety of media to find and screen qualified people.
This means that strategies like finding jobs through Social Media platforms are increasing in popularity. Of course, old-fashioned in-person networking remains a valuable strategy to job searchers as well.
Let’s go through the top 5 strategies for getting a new job in 2021, as indicated by our network of recruitment experts.
1. Online Job Searching Platforms & Career Websites
No surprise here. Most people start looking for a job by typing keywords into an online search engine. And when you search something like “marketing analyst job London” you’ll instantly be pushed in the right direction.
Google itself has its own job search platform so that when you enter terms like the one above, you’ll see postings from organizations hiring for positions with similar keywords.
Online search will also lead you to platforms like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor, which are job-specific content aggregators. These sites pull together relevant job ads from across web based on your search terms.
In some cases you can apply directly for these jobs through the platform. Or you’ll be directed to the hiring organization’s website. Either way, before you start applying, make sure that your resume and cover letter are up-to-date.
2. Networking & Referrals
Online search won’t help you tap into the “hidden job market”. This refers to the job opportunities that can be accessed only by networking and knowing the right people at the right time.
The reality is that many job opportunities aren’t posted on a company website. Sometimes a company will ask staff to refer people if there is an urgent need to fill a role. And many companies recruit on a rolling basis whenever they find talented people who want to work for them.
The only way you can be considered for such roles is if you find a way to connect with someone in the company. Perhaps you’ll know them directly or you’ll connect through mutual contacts.
Remember that each network (family, neighbors, close friends, acquaintances, colleagues and co-workers) is part of another network. Therefore your outreach is higher than you think.
Make a list of all the people you know that might have knowledge or contacts in the industry or the company you want to apply with. Then reach out to them first. They can easily refer you or recommend to a key stakeholder in that company.
Before you start reaching out and activate your network, keep in mind that it is really important to know exactly what you want. You can ask whether they know of any current opportunities or to have an informational interview, which is meant for you to discover more about the organization.
3. Job Fairs
Job fairs are especially popular for companies looking to recruit new graduates. To get the most of a job fair and get hired after, consider the following advice:
- Most job fairs will advertise the companies that are participating ahead of time, so do your research ahead of time on companies you want to talk to and have a customized resume and cover letter to give them.
- Create your own business card that includes your name, email, phone number and optionally your website, blog or LinkedIn account. If you work in a creative industry, bring work samples from your portfolio that you can show off.
- Have a power outfit for the job fair. Make sure you choose the right clothing style, which should be professional and comfortable.
- Make a list of questions for the recruiters. This will show that you are prepared and passionate about the job and will increase the chances of them remembering you.
- Practice your personal pitch to make a strong first impression. It is important that you show great communication skills through your introduction and by maintaining eye contact.
- Follow up with the recruiters from the companies you wish to work for. If you have their contacts, send them a thank you email or connect with them on LinkedIn.
4. Company’s Website
Some people have a set of ideal companies in mind for which they would like to work. Targeting specific companies is actually a very popular job search strategy. And it can be effective if you approach it the right way.
Obviously, if you’ve created a list of preferred companies, you’ll want to visit their websites to see if they have advertised jobs. If they do not have openings at the moment, find a human resources contact and reach out them. Politely ask for more information about possible future vacancies.
Keep in mind that you can also use the company’s website as a research tool for identifying contacts outside of human resources who can make hiring decisions. For instance, try connecting with someone in the specific area or department where you’d like to work as part of your networking effort.
5. Social Media Channels
LinkedIn is THE social media channel for professionals. You can use it to identify and connect with people around the world working for companies or in industries where you would also like to work. Many organizations also post jobs on LinkedIn, and it’s quite common for experienced people to receive recruitment messages on the platform.
Companies will also post opportunities on Twitter and Facebook, so if you have specific companies in mind, you will want to “follow” them on social media so that you get notified of these openings.
If you are using social media channels to find a job, you’ll want to make sure your profiles are consistent, updated and reinforce a positive professional image. Here are some tips to follow:
- Use your real name on your profiles.
- Only use professional images and keep them consistent across platforms.
- Make an audit of your accounts and remove the posts or images that are inappropriate or unprofessional.
- Delete the profiles on the websites that you are not using anymore regularly.
- “Brand” yourself consistently across all the platforms. You want people to know
- who you are, what you do and what are your career plans.
In our modern and dynamic job market, finding your dream job might require a combination of the above methods. Being flexible in your approach and trying new techniques will help you cast a wide net and increase your chances of getting hired.
When you’re looking to get on the career ladder, applying for a job with no experience can appear daunting – but with a bit of tenacity and determination, you can still uncover the right opportunities
If you haven’t worked during your time at university, you may be finding yourself in the classic catch-22 situation where you need experience to get a job, and a job to get experience.
While this can feel disheartening, remember, you’re certainly not alone. Many other final-year students and graduates will be in the same place, having spent the past few years focusing on their studies as well.
It’s true that finding work straight after university with no experience to put on your CV can seem like an impossible task – however, there are plenty of ways to give your CV a boost, gain the skills that potential employers are after and get your foot in the door.
Sign up to get personalised job alerts and shortlist your favourites
Look for internships and apprenticeships
If you’re struggling to secure a long-term or permanent position, internships and apprenticeships are great ways to gain that much-needed experience. They make it possible to earn a wage while acquiring first-hand knowledge of a job or organisation, are useful for building a network of contacts and can sometimes lead to permanent employment.
An internship looks impressive on your CV and can make you stand out from the crowd. Some larger companies may run formal internship programmes, so check the websites of organisations you’re interested in to see what’s available. You may need to apply speculatively to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as their opportunities are rarely advertised.
Internships can last from a couple of weeks to a year, and they’re very popular – expect to face a competitive application process, especially at larger companies.
On an apprenticeship, you’ll be employed to do a real job while studying for a formal qualification. You’ll sign a contract with your employer, and then receive training in a specific profession.
Apprenticeships are a long-term agreement and can take from one to four years to complete. The majority of apprentices are guaranteed a job on completion of their programme.
Typically more easy to secure than an internship, volunteering positions are a sure-fire way to boost your employability, especially if you have no relevant experience. Although unpaid, you’ll profit from the skills and contacts you gain.
Volunteering experience shows commitment, initiative and a strong work ethic, which are all valuable, appealing traits to prospective employers.
You’ll also develop a range of sought-after, transferable skills, such as:
- time management
Try to gain volunteer work relevant to the area you’d like to work in – for example, aim to volunteer in schools or with youth organisations if you’d like to work with children.
If you can’t find anything relevant, don’t worry – any volunteering experience will boost your CV and give you real-life examples to mention at interview.
You can find opportunities in your area through organisations such:
Build your networks
When you’re starting out with no experience, who you know can be just as important as what you know. A recommendation to an employer from a personal contact can go a long way. But how do you build up a network of contacts if you’re struggling to enter the world of work?
If you’re at university, utilise the contacts available to you before you graduate. Make the most of careers fairs, recruitment networking events and employer talks or lectures. Visit your university careers service to see if they can put you in touch with employers in your area of interest.
Keep in touch with lecturers, the people you meet on work experience placements or internships and fellow volunteers – you never know when these contacts might come in useful.
Social media is also an effective way of building and maintaining your professional network. Being on sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and following and connecting with companies and individuals in your chosen field, can yield impressive results. It’s not unheard of for students and graduates to be offered a job off the back of their social media profiles.
This webinar featured in the Prospects Future You: Live event in November 2020.
Emphasise the skills you have
Work experience, internships and volunteering are essential for ensuring that your CV doesn’t look empty at the application stage.
When you’re writing your CV, focus on the skills you do have, rather than the ones you don’t. Analyse the job description and list all the skills and personal qualities that make you a good fit for the job.
Be sure to emphasise soft and transferable skills such as communication, leadership ability, team working and attention to detail. To help you, take a look at the essential skills employers are looking for.
However, as you’re likely to lack direct experience in your chosen field, don’t gloss over this fact. Instead use it to demonstrate your passion and motivation to learn. Highlight examples of your dedication and commitment to learning, gained through volunteering work, internships or work shadowing.
Also, don’t undervalue your commitment to any societies you’ve been part of while at university, or sports teams you’ve been involved with. This is because you’ll have developed skills in areas such as team working and leadership. Learn more about the importance of extracurricular activities.
Target realistic roles
There’s nothing wrong with aiming high, but if you’ve no previous experience, starting your job search by applying for senior roles is pointless. Be realistic and instead target entry-level or junior jobs and be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up.
Applying for opportunities in regional offices may be less competitive, or applying to SMEs can help you discover fantastic companies that may have been overlooked by others.
Being proactive by sending out speculative applications is also worthwhile. While the majority of advertised vacancies require some form of previous experience, who’s to say that you can’t create your own vacancy by highlighting what you could bring to the business?
Do your research and apply to companies that interest you. Tailor each application and ask if there are any entry-level positions available, as you’re looking to break into the industry.
The organisation might not have any suitable openings at this time, but you can still use the opportunity to your advantage by asking if you could do some work experience for the company or shadow one of its employees.
N ow that you’ve made decision to pursue a career in the State of North Carolina, you may be asking the simple question: How do I actually get a job? Here are a few tips and guidelines to keep in mind once you are ready to get started, including FAQs for Executive Order 158 (Fair Chance Hiring).
First things first, you must apply for a job with us. Applying for job openings has never been easier with our online job application system. Visit our site and create your online account profile. Once you have created your account you can quickly and easily apply for any position listed on our job board.
The job board is updated daily. Rather than spending all your time looking at the job openings every day, you can set up job alerts. Job alerts will automatically email you each time a position opens in the desired categories of your choice.
Complete the Application in its Entirety
In order to receive qualifying credit for all your work history and credentials, applicants must complete his/her entire work history and education on the application. Resumes are not accepted in lieu of an application and “See Resume” is not acceptable. Any information omitted from the actual application will not be considered for qualifying credit. It is OK to attach a resume, but make sure all pertinent information is listed on the application form.
Read the Minimum Education and Experience Requirements Section
Each job listing has a “Minimum Education and Experience Requirements” section. Pay careful attention to this section because if your application does not clearly document that you meet these minimum requirements, your application will not be considered for that job. Only the most qualified applications are referred to the hiring manager.
Fine Tune Your Application to Each Specific Job
Make sure you thoroughly read the entire job listing. It is always a good practice to make sure you clearly list and highlight the knowledge, skills and abilities/competencies that make you a strong fit for this specific open position.
A great way to get your application passed over by a hiring manager is to have numerous spelling and grammatical errors. Double check your application before submitting and even better, have someone else proofread it for errors.
Be assertive. You are competing against possibly hundreds of other applicants. The best way to sell yourself is to focus on the strengths you possess and minimize your weaknesses. Give the hiring manager a reason why he/she needs you and would be making a mistake if you are not selected for the job.
Do Not Falsify Any Information
Be truthful about your work experience, education, and other information. The State of North Carolina verifies application information and if any information is determined to be false, your job offer can be rescinded or if you are already employed, you can be dismissed.
Executive Order 158 – FAQs
Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 158 to implement fair chance policies at state agencies to increase employment opportunities for people with criminal records.
The National Careers Service can help you make career decisions throughout your life. From deciding your education route, planning a career change at any age or getting the job that is right for you.
Making career choices
Get the Jump: explore your education and training choices
Whether you know where you’re headed in the future or not, knowing the work and study choices available to you is a great place to start.
Options with an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan
Find the right learning or training option available to you with an EHC plan.
Job support if you’re disabled
Help and advice to find and stay in work if you’re disabled or have a health condition.
Advice on a gap year
Advice on taking time out of education before continuing your studies.
Redundancy and losing your job
Find useful advice and resources if you’ve been made redundant or become unemployed.
Postgraduate study options
Consider and all the post-graduate study options available to you.
How to bounce back in a tough jobs market
Learn resilience and how to deal with difficult experiences.
Armed forces careers
Look into job roles in the British Army, Royal Air Force or Royal Navy.
Getting a job
Find job vacancies
Find out where to look for vacancies from recruitment agencies to social media sites.
Make the most of virtual job fairs
Prepare for a virtual job fair, where you can network and find a job online.
Networking to find a job
Discover jobs through people you know.
How to write a CV
Check our CV advice on what to include and how to make it stand out.
How to write a cover letter
Learn more about cover letters, why they’re important and how to use them.
Filling in an application form
Get help to complete paper and online application forms.
Find out about the different types of interviews and how to do well in them.
Common interview questions: how to answer
Learn how to answer interview questions with confidence and make a good impression.
Phone interviews: how to do well
Follow our advice on how to prepare and succeed in phone interviews.
Video interviews: how to do well
Follow our advice on how to well in live or pre-recorded video interviews.
Explain gaps in work history
Get advice on how to tell employers about gaps in your employment history.
Create a LinkedIn profile
Develop your job search and network by creating an online LinkedIn profile.
Graduate schemes: getting a place
Develop your talent on a graduate scheme.
Psychometric tests: how to prepare
Learn how to be successful in psychometric tests.
How to find a virtual internship
Get remote work experience with companies in the UK or abroad.
Progressing your career
Develop your soft skills
Learn to develop your soft skills, like communication and leadership skills.
Advice on how to choose volunteering positions for your future career choices.
Getting the most out of mentoring
Consider a mentor that can support, advise and guide you in your career.
Identifying skills and upskilling
Identify the skills you have, how you can improve them and develop new ones.
Digital skills to help your career
Learn digital skills to improve your confidence for work, learning and daily life.
Getting the most out of online learning
Make online learning a fun and rewarding experience.
How work experience can help you
Understand why work experience is important and how it can help you develop.
Ways to get work experience
Look at the different ways to try out different careers to see whether they’re right for you.
All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated
How you look for work in New Zealand may be quite different from what you are used to. This guide will help you through the process of looking for work and applying for jobs.
What’s on this page?
Step 1: Find out about jobs in New Zealand
Will your job be the same in New Zealand?
Talk to someone who is doing the job you want to do. They may be able to help you:
- work out what type of job you could get in New Zealand with your skills and qualifications
- set up some interviews with people working in your area of interest, who can help you find more information about jobs
- learn more about the job in New Zealand, and put you in touch with potential employers.
What job opportunities are available?
Job opportunities vary by region. You’ll need to do some research to find out what jobs are available where. You could do this by looking at job vacancy listings, contacting recruitment agencies, or exploring our job profiles.
Where would you like to live?
Besides researching whether your job is available in a certain region, think about whether:
- you want to live in the country, a small town, or a city
- the activities you like to do are available in the areas where you are looking for work.
Step 2: Write or update your CV
A New Zealand-style CV should be two to three pages at most
Gather information for your CV
- Make a list of your skills.
- Give examples of how and when you used these skills.
- Make sure you have copies of any awards and certificates you have received.
Write your CV
- A CV should be short – two to three pages at most.
- Write about your work experience. This is often more valued than qualifications.
- Include contact details of former employers who can act as referees, or make sure you can supply these if asked.
- Get an English speaker to check your CV. They can check that the wording and style is right.
- Use our CV Builder tool to create your own New Zealand-style CV.
How to apply for a job in New Zealand
Step 3: Search and apply for suitable jobs
Searching for job vacancies
- Talk to family, friends and neighbours – you never know who may have a job lead.
- Sign up to job vacancy websites.
- Contact employers directly.
- Sign up with a recruitment company – there is no charge for this.
Applying for jobs
- Keep a list of jobs you have applied for.
- Always send out a cover letter, which explains why you would be a good person for the job, with your CV. Get an English speaker to check your cover letter for errors.
Step 4: Prepare and practise for job interviews
Think about what kind of questions an employer might ask you.
- Write down your answers to possible questions.
- Practise answering interview questions with friends.
Think about what questions you can ask employers.
- Look at the employer’s website to learn about their organisation. You can refer to this knowledge in your interview.
- Write down the questions to take to your interview.
How to prepare for an interview in New Zealand
Step 5: Attend job interviews
Be sure to dress neatly and arrive early for job interviews
You won’t be offered an interview for every job that you apply for, so don’t worry. If you are offered an interview, well done! Here are some tips to help you make a good impression.
- Arrive early for the interview.
- Have a notepad with your list of questions for the employer. You may also want to take notes in the interview.
- Have an idea about what salary you would like. Make sure this is realistic for the job.
- Dress neatly and in clothing that would be appropriate for the job.
Step 6: Get a job offer
It may take several months of job hunting before you get a job offer. When you are offered a job, your employer will usually make a verbal offer first. They will then send you an employment agreement, which will outline the details of your employment.
Before you sign your employment agreement, take time to look over the details, and get advice if you need it.
What kind of information will my employment agreement contain?
Your agreement will explain:
- your wage or salary
- work hours
- details of your leave allowance, including sick leave, annual (holiday) leave and parental leave
- performance reviews.
Before you sign:
- read through the agreement – get someone you trust to check it over
- ask your employer about anything in the agreement that you are unsure about
- ask to have the details explained in your first language if you have trouble understanding the agreement.
Step 7: Begin working
Well done! You have a job. Here are some tips to prepare you for your first day:
You’re sending out resume after resume for positions you think you’re perfectly qualified for. You’re even taking the time to tailor each one and craft memorable cover letters—but still, you’re hearing nothing back. Meanwhile, you see positions you applied for months ago drop off the job boards—and soon after, a smiling new member on the “Meet the Team” page who seems to have exactly the same type of background you do.
So what gives? Why are others getting great new gigs, while you’re stuck at your lackluster job?
In some cases, you may need to think about long-term strategies to boost your candidacy, like learning new skills or getting a specific type of experience. But many times, there’s plenty you can do to boost your hireability ASAP, such as:
1. Make Your LinkedIn Profile Easy for Recruiters to Find (and Love)
You’ve probably spent lots of time revising your resume, but if you haven’t given your LinkedIn profile a good update, now’s the time. This has a couple of benefits: One, if a hiring manager checks you out online, you have another opportunity to impress. But more importantly, an optimized profile makes it easy for recruiters to find you when they’re searching for people like you (say, “customer service manager in Seattle”).
Here are the basics: Do you have a summary that includes keywords from the job descriptions you’re looking at? A headline that’s not just your current job title? A photo that makes you seem both likable and professional? Yes? Next step is asking a few people for recommendations so you can show anyone who comes to your profile that you’d be fantastic to work with.
In addition, Muse Master Coach Jenny Foss recommends adding a line to the end of your summary that implies you’re open to new opportunities without making it overly obvious to your boss or co-workers. She suggests something to the effect of, “I’m fascinated by all things digital marketing and enjoy meeting like-minded people. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]”
2. Set Up a Personal Website
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Having a personal hub on the web is a great way to show employers what you’ve done before you even walk in the door. With just one URL, you can give hiring managers more information about you than what fits on your resume. And, if you’re changing careers or pivoting to a different role, you can even show off your passion for this new direction.
The good news is, you don’t need a technical or design background to build one. To get started, sign up for The Muse’s three-day email class, which will walk you through the process step by step. (Or start with something simpler, like an online resume.)
Then, put the URL on everything—your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, email signature, you name it. And don’t be afraid to refer to it in interviews! “During the initial phone screen interview, I was able to direct the recruiter to the site so they could see the experiences and work examples I had,” says Mark Scott, who credits his personal website with helping him land a corporate communications position. “That went a long way to making me stand out from other candidates who may not have had a handy website and may have been waiting for in-person opportunities to share their work.”
3. Do a Project for Your Dream Employer
This one’s going to take a bit more time, so you definitely don’t want to do it for every job you apply for. But when you see a dream company—one that makes you stop and say, “I have to work here!”—consider something totally out of the box, like creating a project that shows what you can do.
Business Insider contributor Raghav Haran describes this approach in detail in a recent piece and says it led him to “interviews at major tech companies like Quora, and it even led to Shutterstock creating a position specifically for me.” When applying for a business development role, he reached out to potential partners on the company’s behalf. For product positions, he ran his own user tests and pulled together design recommendations based on them.
What about for you? If you’re in sales, you could put together a sample client presentation. If you’re a marketer, you have all kinds of options, from recommending a strategy for a new social media platform to writing a content marketing piece. Writer Alexandra Franzen, after interviewing for a job she wasn’t quite qualified for, sent in a list of sample taglines—and had an offer in hand soon after.
Yes, this is most certainly a way-above-and-beyond approach. Which is why most people won’t do it—and you’ll really stand out if you do.
4. Enlist Your Network
Most people I know hate this step. And I get it: The job search is deeply personal, and it feels so awkward to reach out for help.
But, for most of us, it’s still the single most effective way to get a job. The truth is, when faced with multiple similarly qualified candidates, a hiring manager is much more likely to interview or hire the one he or she has a personal connection with.
So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to reach out to everyone you know who could be helpful in your search. I recommend starting with the people who already know and trust you, using an email template like this. If there are people who could be very helpful (think: know just about everyone in your field or work for your dream employer), take them to coffee or lunch and ask for their advice for sending in your application. (And then send a very nice thank you note and keep in touch about your progress.)
I promise: It will be worth it.
5. Work With a Coach
So, maybe you’ve been on the hunt for months. Maybe you’ve tried all of the above, and still, no dice.
It’s incredibly discouraging, but it happens. And if it’s happening to you, don’t keep trying the same old, same old—it’s only going to make you more frustrated. Instead, if you’re feeling really stalled, consider talking to a professional. A career coach who specializes in job search strategy can look at your materials, dissect your current strategy, and identify where you might need a different approach. Not to mention, working with someone who’s helped countless others in your shoes can remind you that you’re not alone and help you stay optimistic about the process.
Which is, in fact, pretty important. The job search is grueling, especially if it’s not moving as quickly as you’d like. Hiring managers know this. So if you can walk into the interview and show that you can stay upbeat and optimistic throughout the difficult hiring process, that’ll go a long way.
Adrian Granzella Larssen was The Muse’s first employee and editor-in-chief who built the content team from the ground up. Now, she’s the founder of Society, a creative content studio partnering with world-class brands to create content that enriches people’s lives. Her work and business advice has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Harper’s Bazaar, Real Simple, Entrepreneur, Money, and more. She’s also the author of Your Year Off, a digital guide to taking a sabbatical and traveling the world.
For every job available, you will always have to compete with other job-seekers. The information on these pages should help you to find a job, prepare you for the interview and for starting the job.
Government vacancies – This page provides links to vacancies in the South African Government.
The Department of Labour provides guidelines on applying for a job:
(MS Word )
- Job hunting: Your CV (MS Word )
- Job interview (MS Word )
Curriculum Vitae – Your CV gives an employer a sense of what you can do and what experience you have.
The interview – The job interview give you the chance to convince your potential new employer that are the right person for the job.
Starting your own business – Not finding a job may not be such a bad thing if you can start you own business.
In the workplace
The Department of Labour has information you need to know once your start working:
Basic Guide to Employment Contracts
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act requires that employers give workers certain details of their employment in writing.
Basic Guide to Pay Slips
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act stipulates that employers must give workers certain details each time they are paid.
Basic Guide to Deductions
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act allows for deductions from a worker’s pay only under certain conditions.
Basic Guide to Working Hours
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act regulates working hours and rest periods for workers.
Basic Guide to Overtime
The Basic Conditions of Employment regulates overtime working hours and pay for such hours.
Basic Guide to Working on Sundays
The Basic Conditions of Employment prescribes the wages for working on a Sunday.
Basic Guide to Annual Leave
Rules for annual leave as prescribed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act
Basic Guide to Sick Leave
Rules for sick leave as prescribed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
Basic Guide to Family Responsibility Leave
Under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, workers may take paid leave to attend to certain family situations
Basic Guide to Maternity Leave
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act gives pregnant workers the right to take maternity leave
Termination and retrenchment
Basic Guide to Termination
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act stipulates the procedures for termination of an employment contract.
Basic Guide to Retrenchment
Employers must follow certain procedures when retrenching workers.
Basic Guide to Severance Pay
Disputes regarding severance pay may be referred to the CCMA.
Worker’s Guide to UIF
All workers must contribute 1% of their pay to the UIF. To claim for benefits certain documents need to be completed and handed in at a labour centre.
Basic Guide to Health and Safety Duties of Workers
All workers must report all health and safety incidents to their employer and the necessarry health and safety parties.
More job opportunities
Are you looking for a job, but don’t know where to start?
Where can I look for a job? – Some ideas from the Department of Labour.
Employment Services for South Africa (ESSA) -If you are looking for a learning or work opportunity, register on the Department of Labour’s Public Employment services for South Africa.