When you’re looking for work or jobs – man! – it can be tough and frustrating. Maybe you’re working, maybe not, maybe your job hunt strategy just isn’t working, maybe you don’t have one. On this page you’re going to get some critical ‘sparks’ – tricks and pitfalls – that’ll go far in helping ‘work’ the job market.
Many work seekers or job hunters, when looking for jobs, work or employment of any kind, actually end up canning it. Nothing’s working! So, yes, they, just accept whatever work comes up – forgetting any dreams they have of a happy career but rather settling for a career, job or work that does nothing to get them excited.
But here on this page are some enlightening (even shocking) ideas and facts regarding the world of work and the jobs market – ideas that will confirm some of what you already know about the work place and some that will send you in altogether new directions in your search for work or a job.
Work, Jobs, Employment: Where to Look?
First there are the obvious:
Newspapers – like The Star Workplace, Cape Argus Workplace, Cape Times Career Times, etc – but you know this already, right?
Just a couple of interesting facts though:
- Never make job / work ads your main strategy – why not? – you’ll have too many competitors, it’ll be hard to stand out, it’ll be a frustrating wait, you likely won’t get a response, and most importantly: these kind of work/jobs ads represent only a small percentage of the actual jobs/work ads out there. And when I say small, I mean, like 5%.
- When you apply to such work ads, do so immediately. Frequently work ads or job vacancies are advertised by multiple employment agencies – they’re fighting for the work! There may be a due date for the job – but pay no attention to that! Respond immediately. In my recruiting experience often jobs were filled by the time that data came around.
- Work hard to find work – seriously – it’s not just a case of sitting back after making a few work/job applications and hoping something’s going to come of it. You have to work hard at finding work. See below for alternative work or job finding ideas. Newspaper job ads are cool … but there’s a bit of a harsh reality there too: good results are rare.
Then there are the…
Online Find Work/Job Advert/Employment Websites
What a cool idea. A website with 15 000 jobs advertised on it. Just for you to trawl through and apply for work at the click of a button. In SA we have www.CareerJunction.co.za, www.PNet.co.za, jobs.IOL.co.za, and many more. When looking for work you dare not miss what these sites offer.
And in using them there are some great features in their workings.
- Job Alerts. You select the kind of work or job you’re looking for. And then they send you a ‘job alert’ via e-mail whenever a new job matching your criteria is listed. Nice. So then you can respond immediately.
- Job Listings. You may be interested in several different jobs or careers. So there you have the ability to search for whatever work you like and see what’s available.
- CV Storage/Listing. You can upload or write your CV and store it on their site – even as “private” so your boss doesn’t see you there! – available for employers or agencies to find when searching for candidates. So you’re job hunting even ‘when you sleep’. Nice … again.
- Inside Info. Job ad sites are also great for you to see what’s happening in the work place or job market. Who’s hiring – although you’ll likely also find it’s mostly recruiting agencies doing the advertising – what sectors/industries are busiest, what skills are in high demand (so you can go do a new course to ‘upskill’ yourself), what salaries are being paid – not always listed but still you’ll get some idea of what the market related level is for the career/work/job you’re in.
But there are some downfalls and some tricks.
- Will you find work via these sites? Good question. Certainly you can. But if you did a comparison of how many visitors/job searchers/work hunters these sites get VERSUS 1) how many jobs are listed, and 2) how many of workers find work that way – you’d probably find the success rate very, very low. In fact in the US where just such studies have been done – success rates are like, 1%.
- Are the jobs advertised all the jobs in the land? 15 000 jobs advertised sounds like a lot. But really it’s nothing! Many of those jobs are duplicated – ie several agencies advertising the same vacancy or work opportunity.But besides that – job sites make their revenue by companies subscribing to their services – paying a monthly fee to list their jobs and search for candidates. And actually very few – relatively – ever use the service. The number is just a few thousand. That’s very few considering how many companies exist out there – hundreds of thousands, millions maybe.
A tip for when you’re ‘working’ the work finding work engines!
- Use them to make contact! When you see a job advertised – try to, instead of applying online – make contact with the person behind the ad. Be careful though – you must be really good candidate for the job and you must have your act together.You want to make sure that you reach a real live person to make your presentation to asap. This way you cut out the sending of your CV out to a faceless, nameless blackhole kinda entity from which you seldom get a response. And frequently junior staff at agencies filter through applications (there are just so many of them!!) and they may miss your brilliant profile (because you’re just one of so, so many)!So, print the ad. Note the name of the agent/company. Find their number, give them a call and discuss the position. You’ll save yourself some work finding agony as a result.
Then there are job ads published in industry journals – like Mining Weekly or Engineering News etc.
- And with these – you’ll see such niche journals everywhere and on pretty much any topic from engineering, to call centres, to HR, to sales, to legal and more – similar principles apply to the job ads placed in newspapers. You have to respond fast. And you have to be good. And present your work history clearly and powerfully and concisely.
So again, great results will be rare. However there is one powerful way to use these journals:
- Use them to gather intelligence. Take the journal/s applicable to your job/career choice and read the articles, opinions, editorial content thoroughly. Pay special attention to areas that you know you have something to contribute – ie areas where you could be valuable, you could offer some valuable skill or knowledge, or special benefit. Take note of your observations. And importantly, take note of the people who are mentioned in the journal and their positions. Look for excuses to make contact with them. Send them a letter! Offer yourself.
“Hi, enjoyed your article in Call Centre Monthly! Can I pick your brains? Am currently scanning the call centre market for Call Centre Manager opportunities – I’ve spent 8 years honing my skills (at Autopage Cellular and Old Mutual) and I’m looking for a bigger challenge – after exceeding all performance targets at both companies. Who would you be talking to if you were me?“