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PROFESSION Articles

Posted By APSO, Thursday, 16 October 2014
Updated: Wednesday, 15 October 2014

These articles are intended to arm job seekers in their quest of finding employment.

To download these insightful articles, please click on the image blow or click here.

 


Tags:  apprenticeship  APSO  experience  get hired  job seeking  learnerships  PROfession  PROfusion  rights  volunteering 

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Finding a job is a job. 10 steps to success

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013


You’ve completed your schooling but aren’t able to enter tertiary education, either due to lack of suitable qualification or financial challenges. What do you do now?


For many South Africans who leave high school, the only option open to them is to go out and find a job. But, considering the very high unemployment statistics and the current recession, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Like most things in life, finding a job needs to be something that you take seriously, that you prepare for and work on diligently until you succeed.


Life doesn’t always work out perfectly but preparing yourself for the process of finding a job will definitely improve your chances of succeeding. Follow these 10 steps to success.


Step 1: Have the right attitude

Your attitude will play a big part in your quest to find a job. Remember that you need to stay focused and be positive. It’s said that positivity is the first step to success. You need to believe in yourself and ensure that you come across as motivated, positive and realistic when dealing with potential employers. We all have dreams and whilst we might all want to become the next Tokyo Sexwale, we need to remember that we have to start at the bottom and work our way up. We need to be realistic about our current abilities, skills and experience.


Don’t turn down a job because you don’t think it meets your ambitions. Some of the most successful people in the world started their careers in entry-level jobs. Richard Branson worked in a record store because he never finished his schooling but he never believed them when they said that "he’d never amount to anything”.


Don’t discount the value of volunteer work. Whilst you might not be earning any money, you will be earning experience and this will definitely assist you in securing a paying job later. I studied to be a journalist and because I didn’t go to a technikon, I was at a disadvantage when it came to working experience. I decided to approach Independent Newspapers for a job. They told me that they weren’t hiring but when I explained that I just wanted to work there and didn’t expect to be paid, they took me on straight away – which business wouldn’t want an extra pair of hands, especially if it doesn’t cost them anything? Within a few months I was able to apply for a position as a sub-editor at a magazine and I only got this paying job because of my experience at the newspaper.


Step 2: Prepare your CV


Your CV is your marketing tool and is often the only thing a potential employer will see before considering you for a job. It is very important that your CV is an accurate reflection of your qualification and experience and that it is free from errors. Your CV should include all important information about you including Personal Details, Qualification, Experience and a Reference. If you don’t have a work reference available, ask your Headmaster, Pastor or someone else of importance within your community. Remember that they need to be able to give a character reference and so need to know you well.


Your CV should always be typed. You may need to ask someone for assistance – visit your local Internet café or even your library where you will be able to make use of a computer. Things to consider when creating your CV:

  • Make sure that you’ve done a spell check and that there are no spelling mistakes
  • Make sure that the CV is neatly laid out and that all information is included in the correct place
  • Make sure that your contact numbers are very clear on the CV so that a potential employer can quickly get hold of you if they’re interested in calling you in for an interview
  • Try and keep the CV as short and sweet as possible – 2 pages maximum
  • Make sure that your CV is up-to-date. Correct info including contact details and add any work experience as you get it.
  • Because many companies require you to email your CV to them, as opposed to faxing it, you should set up an email address. There are many free email addresses to choose from – hotmail, Gmail and others.

Step 3: Get your CV in as many places as possible


Looking for a job is hard work and will require that you spend time researching vacancies and opportunities. I suggest that you get your CV on the many job portals that exist because this means that your CV will be accessible to many hundreds of recruitment companies and potential employers. These websites are free and you can simply upload your CV onto the sites – most of them have simple templates where you capture your information. Visit your local Internet café, Department of Labour Centre or library with Internet access. Go to any of the following job sites:

You should also keep an eye out for the job sections of your local newspaper where jobs will be advertised by recruitment agencies or potential employers. Remember that whilst you are trying to get your CV in as many places as possible, you should only apply for jobs for which you are suitably qualified or experienced.


Visit your local Department of Labour Centre where you can register as a work seeker. They will be able to keep you informed of any job opportunities, temporary or permanent, in your area. Some of the Labour Centre’s also offer job counseling and career guidance so make sure you register for these workshops if they’re available in your area.


Step 4: Dress for the job you want, not the one you have (or don’t have)


It is very important that you behave appropriately throughout your job search process. This means that you need to ensure that not only during interviews, but all the time, you act the way you would if you were around your potential boss. This doesn’t just mean the clothes that you wear but also how you engage with people on the phone.


Remember that when you’re looking for a job you should ensure that you always answer your phone professionally and not how you’d speak to your friends or family. Also make sure that you have voicemail facilities set up on your phone and that the message is professional. The message should clearly identify your name and surname so that a potential employer can be sure they’re dealing with you and can leave a message for you to contact them back. Remove any ringtones, voicemails or other cell functions that could be offensive or put off a potential employer from contacting you again.


First impressions last so be sure to give a good one at all times! If you are invited to attend an interview, make sure that you’re dressed appropriately. You must ensure that your clothes are suitable for the job you’re applying for. Rather opt for conservative clothing – trousers and a collared shirt for men and trousers/skirt and a nice blouse for women. Don’t wear anything that could be seen to be too revealing or in poor condition. You and your clothes should be clean and neat. Make sure that you fix any hems, buttons or other problems if there are any.


Shower, wash your hair, brush your teeth and put on deodorant before going to the interview. You need to look your best to impress. Looking good also helps you to feel more confident and this is always a plus when you go into an interview.


Step 5: Manage your time and always be punctual


Potential employers will be looking at everything about you during the recruitment process. They will specifically look to see if you’re reliable and able to manage your time efficiently. This means that you must ensure that you arrive for the interview on time. If you’re not sure where you’re going or how to get there rather be very early than late. If you arrive more than 15 minutes before your appointment time, rather go and get a cold drink, take a walk or wait somewhere else. Being too early can be just as bad as being late.


If the potential employer asks you to send them extra information or call them after the interview, be sure to do this before the agreed time. The potential employer will be checking to see if you’re trustworthy and able to follow instructions and meet deadlines.
Step 6: Preparing for the interview


You should always prepare for a job interview. It’s normal to feel nervous about the interview but you need to try and manage your nerves. You can feel more confident, and therefore less nervous, if you are prepared and know what to expect during the interview. Ask the potential employer or recruiter what format the interview will take, whether there will be any skills assessments and who you will be meeting.


If possible, try and find out more about the potential employer before the interview by looking out for articles about them in the newspaper, visiting their website or asking friends or family if they know about them.


Remember that you will be asked questions about your qualifications and experience. Always be truthful – you will be caught out if you lie and this will seriously jeopardise your chances of finding employment. Understand how you’d answer questions like:

  • What kind of job would you like to be doing?
  • Do you have any plans in terms of where you’d like your career to be in 3 or 5 years time?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?

Think about how you could use examples from your school life, sporting achievements and other aspects of your life to show that you’d make a good employee. Have you held leadership roles at school, in Church or on the sports field? Do you display discipline through your sports practice regimes?


Step 7: Interview "rules of engagement”


There is a definite set of rules that apply during a job interview. You should always behave professionally and with respect. Refer to people you engage with during the interview as "Mr” or "Mrs” so-and-so. Remember to be polite and always use "please” and "thank you”.


Don’t be afraid to ask an interviewer to repeat the question if you’re unsure what they’re asking. Never be afraid to admit that you don’t know the answer – tell them that you’re not sure but attempt to provide an answer as you understand the question. You should show interest in the job you’re applying for and ask questions of the interviewer. These questions could involve asking about career development opportunities, training opportunities etc but should never be about money, holiday and sick leave or other aspects that seem to show that you’re only interested in the job for "what’s in it for me”.


Step 8: Watch your body language


80% of communication is non-verbal and this means that the way that you’re dressed, your facial expressions and your body language all provide feedback to your interviewer. Be sure to consciously manage these non-verbal forms of communication during your interview. Whilst there are differences culturally when it comes to body language, you need to pay careful attention to the following during an interview:

  • Sit up straight in the chair – no slouching
  • Don’t fidget. If you’re nervous, fold your hands in your lap rather
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer – if you don’t look at them they’ll either think you’re too shy or trying to hide something
  • Shake hands firmly with the interviewer
  • Don’t cross your arms – this comes across as being a defensive gesture
  • Talk slowing and clearly


Step 9: Remember to smile


Smiling releases endorphins, the body’s natural antidote to stress, and these help to fight the nerves brought on by stress. Stand up straight, think positive thoughts and smile – you will feel and look much more confident! Remember to smile when you talk on the phone too, the person on the other side will be able to "hear” that you’re smiling and will immediately feel more positively about you.


Step 10: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again

It’s highly unlikely that you will get the first job you apply for. Remember that every time you attend an interview you are gaining experience that will hopefully assist you in better managing your nerves and improving your chances of getting the next job.
It’s easy to become despondent during the job search process but remember that potential employers are more likely to consider a candidate who is positive, upbeat and confident. Rather than get yourself down on what you’d consider "failed interviews” focus on the positive lessons you can learn from the experience.

Practice your interview skills and improve your presentation and you’ll be one step closer to getting your first job.

Tags:  attitude  body language  CV  dress code  honesty  interview  job portal  job search  practice  punctuality  recruiter  skills  volunteering 

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Finding your passion is the key to career success

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013

People who are successful and happy usually work at something they love. We rarely achieve great happiness and success doing something we dislike. For most people, if we love what we’re doing, we do it very well and in turn we love it more because we’re successful at it and people compliment us.

Sadly, many people accept jobs that they don’t really enjoy simply because they have no choice. But, whenever possible, we should choose to work in an environment and in a role that we are passionate about so that we can enjoy what we do and in turn enjoy success. This may even involve volunteering your time outside of your "day job” to get experience and exposure to an environment that ignites our passion and makes us feel alive and valued.

The circle of success

Following your passion can only lead to bigger and better things. The "circle of success” is driven by our passion and dedication to our interest as follows:

 

 

Being good at something enables high quality results to be produced. When we excel and work hard at something we inevitably become better at it. We begin to develop expertise and become innovative and creative driving constant improvements all the while making it even easier to enjoy and love what we do.       

Building a career or business around your personal passion

If you build your career or business around your personal passion, or an interest that you love, you tend to automatically harness several vital elements for success:

  1. You will work very hard and be determined and persistent
  2. You will constantly improve your skills and knowledge and this improves your performance
  3. You will have a smile on your face and your enthusiasm will be transferred to your colleagues, your managers and your customers
  4. You will quickly build a strong reputation especially for reliability and quality
  5. You will treat mistakes and failures as lessons and challenges to be overcome, rather than as obstacles and problems
  6. You will keep up to date with all the latest trends and will increase your business
  7. Your efficiency will mean that it’ll be easier to make money
  8. You will be so happy in work that you’ll more easily remain stress free and sustain success through life-balance 

Turn your passion into profit!

Making money doing something you love is the ultimate. Why not use the tool below to work out how your passion might make you money, either in the form of a salary (for a traditional job) or profit (from your own business)?

Follow this formula to get your creative juices flowing and to consider the possibilities open to you.

 

 

For the purposes of this exercise "passions” are the things you love & enjoy, and typically that you are naturally good at too.

"Strengths” are your working and thinking styles – for example whether you are good with people or not; whether you are good with numbers or mechanical things etc.

Experiences, knowledge, skills and attitude can feature in, and for many people contribute, to both passions and strengths, but for the purpose of this exercise these are best considered under strengths. For example: You might be stuck in a job you hate but you have a passion for cooking.

You enjoy gardening and find pleasure in creating delicious meals with the vegetables that grow in your garden. Why not consider using these passions to create a small business offering delicious home cooked meals with fresh ingredients, from your garden, to busy working moms who don’t have time to make food when they get home from work?

Using the template to turn your passion to profit

In order to understand where your passions lie and how these might be utilized in an income-generating environment, follow these steps.

 

 

"See it, to believe it”

Visualisation is a very powerful tool. All the best sportsmen will tell you that they visualize themselves scoring goals, throwing record-breaking javelins or winning gold medals. If you understand what you want and how you’re going to achieve it, getting there is easy. The planning tool above will assist you in keeping on track, visualizing the steps to success and ultimately achieving your goals.

  • Believe it and commit to making it happen.
  • Refine it constantly as it (and you) develops.
  • Give it time and space to grow.
  • Enjoy building your plan.
  • Start small – you have to learn to crawl before you walk and to walk before you run.
  • Start now!

Summary

Whether you want to start your own business, become self-employed, freelance or prefer to be employed in a new field, the principles of the above process still apply. Think of yourself as a company; whether you work for yourself or for someone else. Be your own boss – give yourself opportunities, aims, a vision and plan the steps to achieve what you want.

For many people, profit and making money are the natural results of working hard doing something they love. Go on, find your passion and turn it into profit!

Tags:  career  passion  planning  profit  volunteering 

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Kickstart your Career!

Posted By Natalie Singer, Thursday, 06 June 2013
Updated: Thursday, 06 June 2013

This article first appeared in the ACCA magazine in 2010 and whilst it was targeted at newly qualified accountants, the advice will apply equally to other new entrants to the job market

You’ve made the decision to follow your dream of entering the accounting field, have successfully navigated your way through your studies and now you face the next challenge: finding a job.

Searching for a new job is just like a project; you need to spend time identifying your target and determining the action items required to reach the desired outcome. Planning is a crucial part of the process and should not be underestimated if you want to utilize your time and resources wisely.

Creating your CV

Your CV is the document that needs to "sell” you in your absence. It should speak of your strengths, skills and experience but nothing beats actual examples of performance to shown an employer what you can deliver for them. Use real-life examples of accomplishments to increase your chances of getting an interview. If you don’t yet have any formal work experience, look at highlighting other accomplishments from your studies like outside activities (sport, community work) or your part-time jobs. Even if it doesn’t directly relate to your accounting career you should look to highlight your leadership ability and transferable skills and attributes like planning, reliability, dedication and commitment.

CVs should be concise and additional documentation like certificates, ID, driver’s license and reference letters should always be kept separate and only sent on request. Recruiters get very frustrated receiving an application that has multiple attachments or 10-page documents.

The format of a CV should be neat, logically structured and easy to read. Avoid adding pictures or unnecessary "frippery” – keep it clean and concise. Make use of standard fonts, bullet points and appropriate headings. There are many websites that provide CV templates if you need guidance.

Developing a "Plan of Attack”

As the saying goes "if you want to catch a fish, make sure you have many lines in the water” – the same goes for looking for a job. A job certainly won’t come looking for you so you need to determine a plan of attack and then take the necessary action to get yourself into the job market. Identify your target market – which employers are most suited to your skill and experience.

You should determine what qualities would appeal most to them and work out how to approach them successfully. You are far more likely to make a successful connection with a company if you highlight those skills of yours that match their needs so remember to customize your CV and application for each individual job.

Work out where to market yourself. Consider uploading your CV onto the various job portals. You can register online at no cost and by being on the portal you will be accessible to recruiters who are able to search the online database whenever they’ve got a vacancy. Most job portals also have an alert function that will let you know (via email) whenever a new job is posted that matches your skill set or predefined requirements.

Monitor the career pages in your local newspaper to see if any employers (or recruiters) are advertising positions that you qualify for. Remember that you should also frequently check the websites of your identified employers (companies you’d like to work for) to see if they’re advertising vacancies. Most of South Africa’s top companies have job sections on their website where they advertise vacancies, including graduate programmes.

You should also seriously consider registering with a few recruitment companies who specialise in financial placements. Whilst it is a good idea to be registered with a few, you should rather focus on developing relationships with one or two recruiters than with every recruiter in town.

Know your rights as a work seeker

Recruitment agencies have their own specific requirements when it comes to what they expect of the candidates who are interviewed by them. However it is important to note that you have rights as a candidate, and that you should choose to deal with an APSO-registered agency that practices recruitment in a legal and ethical manner. APSO registered agencies operate according to a strict Code of Ethical & Professional Practice and this refers specifically to the services that should be extended to candidates.

You can expect the following:

Respect & Confidentiality – APSO members are required to treat their candidates with respect and to ensure that their personal information is treated confidentially.

Professionalism – you are entitled to be interviewed by a consultant of appropriate seniority and training who fully understands the search assignment s/he is working on and who can take adequate notes during the course of the interview and who can then present you to the client in an accurate and professional manner.

Efficiency – APSO members are responsible for ensuring that they gather all appropriate information. If any doubt exists as to the authenticity of these documents, the member is required to undertake investigation to verify the relevance of this information.

Permission for submission – it is never acceptable for an agency to forward your CV or personal details to a company without first getting your express permission to be submitted for that particular job. The member is required to provide you with all relevant details including name of the company, job title, salary on offer, location and any other pertinent information.

Communication – members should provide candidates with ongoing feedback concerning the recruitment process. Candidates should always be informed of their success or failure in each vacancy.

Not all agencies are registered with APSO so we recommend that you make a point of dealing only with APSO registered agencies that pride themselves on providing a professional service with high ethical standards. Should you not receive this level of service you should make a point of expressing your concern with the recruitment consultant, agency management or with APSO directly. For more information on APSO, the ethics complaint process and a series of other articles aimed at educating work seekers, visit our website www.apso.co.za

Tags:  candidate rights  CV  dress code  employers want  job search  professionalism  skills  volunteering 

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