Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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Basic Steps to Get a Job After Matric

Now what? You’ve finished matric and need to get a job, but you are not sure of what the basic steps to get a job after matric are. In brief, the basic steps to get a job after matric are:

Website set-up for R300

Website set-up for R300

looking for a job,
doing research on the business,
contacting the business or employer,
going to interviews,
responding to hearing that you got a job

Preparing to Get a Job After Matric

GET EDUCATED. Study to learn something new or to increase your knowledge, so that you know more than some of the other people do who are applying for the same jobs that you are. If you cannot afford to go to university or don’t qualify to attend university or a college, you can always do some short courses or short online courses to learn something new or to increase your knowledge. Browse through thousands of online courses (some short, some not so short, some quite cheaply priced, on all sorts of topics or subjects): Start learning on Udemy today!

Open a bank account if you don’t already have a bank account. Imagine you get a job, a month passes, and your employer wants to pay your salary into your bank account, and you don’t yet have a bank account. You’ve hardly started working and you have to try get some time off to go and open a bank account before you can receive your first month’s pay!

Or imagine that there are two people being interviewed for a job, and both have very similar CV’s. One of those people is you. The employer asks the two people if they already have a bank account. The other job applicant does, and you don’t. Hmm.

Spend time on creating a good CV, and practicing to write good CV cover letters and job application letters.

Looking for a Job After Matric

Keep your eyes and ears open
Speak to your friends who have just gotten jobs. Ask them if they know if the company is looking for more employees.

Listen carefully when people are speaking about their work. Ask if there are any job vacancies.

Look for jobs advertised on notice boards in shops or in shopping malls.

Open your mouth
While you go about your daily business, ask the places that you visit if there are any job vacancies.

Classified Job Ads
Look for jobs in newspapers, magazines, and on online classified ad sites.

Employment Agencies
Leave your CV and contact details with many employment agencies. Phone or email them, and enquire if they would prefer your CV emailed to them, posted to them, or dropped off at them.

Doing Research on the Business

Before contacting the business or employer, know exactly what type of work you are applying for. Know what the company does. If the company has a website, visit the website and learn more about the company.

What are the goals of the business? Ask yourself if you will be prepared to help the company achieve their goals, or uphold or improve their good reputation. Ask yourself how you could do this (through being dedicated to working hard, through having done well at school subjects related to what the company does, through your always giving attention to detail, through having an interest in hobbies that relate to what the comapny does?)

You might also notice something interesting about the business, or that they have recently won awards for something, or have been mentioned in a newspaper or magazine.

Take notes and prepare for communicating with the company – communication that may take place during a phonecall, in an email, or in person,

Which of the two answers below do you think would sound best to an employer?

Question from employer:
“So do you think you could fit in here, help us achieve our goals and help us uphold our reputation?”

Answer 1:
“Well, I’m not sure what it is that your company does, exactly…”

Answer 2:
“Well, I’m impressed that you won an award for …. Congratulations! And because I’m interested in …. and always give of my best related to …. it would give me satisfaction to one day know that I can tell my friends that I had a part in helping you win a few more awards. I would feel like a part of any award was mine too.”

Answer 2 is obviously the best one, but note that it needs to be honest; it needs to be the truth. If it’s not the truth, you shouldn’t be applying for this job in the first place. Especially if planning on working for a company for quite a while, you should enjoy your work.

Make a list of possible questions you may be asked when you approach a business, or of possible questions you may be asked during an interview, and practice your answers.

Contacting the Business or Employer

This relates to contacting the business or employer when you are responding to a job vacancy ad or employment offered ad.

Tell the person that you are interested in applying for the advertised job. Mention the job (the business may have more than one job advertisement placed.) If it was not clear in the job ad about what to provide at the same time as contacting the company (perhaps attach a CV to your email, for example) ask what it is that you should do next.

If contacting the business via email, watch your grammar and spelling. Be polite and professional, but be friendly at the same time, and allow a little of “you” to show through.

Perhaps a little too “cold’ and a little too professional:
“I do hereby apply for the …… employment vacancy.”

Perhaps a little too friendly:
“I’m really desperate for a job. Can you believe how few jobs there are available for matriculants in South Africa? I can’t!”

Closer to what may work best:
“I’m interested in the …. job advertisement you placed, because …., and I have attached my CV.”

Read through your email before sending it, checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Read it aloud, to hear if it flows and sounds good. If attaching a CV, don’t forget to attach it.

If phoning the company, have pencil and notepad handy, and be sure to note down the names of the people you speak to. Be polite. Before you phone, practice what you might say, as well as imagine what questions you may be asked, and have appropriate and practiced answers ready. Make sure there are no distractions when you phone, including no loud background noises.

Going to Job Interviews

Rather be 10 to 20 minutes early, than 1 minute late.

Dress neatly, but don’t wear something you would never wear again. Be yourself.

Be sure that your cellphone is switched off.

Be honest, no matter what. If you get the job, do you really want to have to keep remembering that you lied about something during the interview and have to constantly worry about slipping up and letting the cat out of the bag?

Do not slouch. Watch how you sit. Be well-mannered and polite.

Maintain eye contact with your interviewer, but don’t stare right through them or make them think that you’re going to turn into a vampire the moment they look away. Glance away from time to time. Smile.

Listen. Ask questions the moment you don’t understand something.

Be professional. If you are told that you will be contacted after the interview, do not say “Aw, gee, when? Can’t you give me an idea right now if maybe I stand a good chance of getting the job; I have so many other interviews to still go to and ….” If you really feel the need to say something more than “thank you” then rather say something like “Thank you for your time. I look forward to your call/email.”

Responding to hearing that you got a job

You didn’t win the lottery; you got a job. Do not screech or scream or swear or ask “Really?”

You can respond that you think it’s wonderful news that you got the job – wonderful news, and not woooonderful news, and you can thank them for calling you or emailing you, say that you look forward to working for them, and you can ask what you should do next.

Question: What if I can’t get a job?

What if I have tried all of the above but I’m still struggling to get a job 6 months or more down the line?

If you have your heart set on finding a job, the type of job where you work for a boss, then don’t give up looking for that perfect job, BUT, in the meantime, you may want to consider earning some extra income by:
selling something at flea markets or craft markets,
by writing online on a site like Bubblews.
Both of these extra income ideas can even be continued with in your spare time, even once you have found a job.

Related Post: How To Write a CV After Matric

© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2011, 2012, 2013

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