Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Landing your dream job – Part One

- Part of the Money Talks Series

It's all very well and good to have all the knowledge on where to bank and how to invest but in order to put these valuable principles into practice you need to have money. So, in today's edition of Money Talks we will be dealing with job hunting, how to get one, how to keep it and your rights and benefits.

As such, this post is divided into three parts:

  1. The ins and outs of how to get a job
  2. Making sure you keep it
  3. Keeping yourself empowered by knowing your rights and employment benefits

Here are the 6 steps involved in landing that dream job whether it be a part time student gig or a fulltime graduate position:

  1. Preparing your CV or resume
  2. The job search
  3. Approaching employers
  4. The application form
  5. The interview
  6. Getting the job
Step one: The CV or resume

This is a very important step and without a CV/resume you cannot apply for a job. Your CV/resume is the very first thing that your future employer sees. It is their introduction to you, so it is very important to make it a good one.

Always make sure that it:

  • has all the important info about you
  • is neatly typed and easy to read
  • has no grammar or spelling mistakes
  • is 100% truthful and accurate
Also make sure that you have all the necessary back up documents available at a moment's notice, this includes degrees, marks, reference letters or school certificates.

The set out and information included in a CV/resume varies from country to country so the information here will differ from what you know. In South Africa the basic structure should include information such as: name, address, telephone no, ID no, birthday, place of birth, condition of health, citizenship, marital status, dependants, drivers license details, tax number, current employment. The sections following should be: education – listing your highest qualification to your lowest, work experience – starting with your latest job; give dates; job description; name & address of employer; reference details, General – indicating any community work or extra details indicating the type of person you are, Special Achievements – sports awards, school certificates, were you a prefect on any school boards, Interest/Hobbies&Sports – these should be genuine and you should be open to discussion. Keep all information relevant.

Step two: The job search

This part of the process requires time and research. Your job is to identify the best places to find potential employers for the type pf job you would like to get. Here are a few suggestions of places to look:

  • Newspapers
  • Trade magazines
  • Employment agencies
  • Professional organisations
  • Employee organisations
  • Employer organisations
  • Community/Shop notice boards
  • Internet
Step three: Approaching employers

There are two ways of approaching potential employers:-

  1. replying to an advertisement
  2. cold-calling
In order to do either of these you need to write a job application letter.

Here are some basic rules and guidelines:

  • Keep it short and sweet – one page
  • Neat and tidy – type it up
  • Accuracy – check spelling and grammar
  • Specify – ask about the type of job you are seeking not just any job
  • Name – try your best to find out the name of the person you are writing to
  • Documentation – these include your CV, references and school/varsity records
  • Contact details – so they can reply to you
  • Individual letters – write each letter individually
  • Copy – keep one of each letter you send so you know what has and has not been said
If you are replying to an advertisement make sure you follow the specific instructions. Always keep it brief and to the point as well as professional and neat. If you are cold-calling be sure to find out the name of the individual you are writing to/contacting. Tell them who you are and your reason for contact. Do extra research and find out about the company and weave your info into your letter to show then you are interested in their company.

Step four: The application form

Most times you will be required to fill in a job application form. Make sure to read the entire form before filling it in to avoid mistakes. Write neatly and avoid spelling errors. If you can, photocopy the form or take an extra copy and do a trial run.

Step five: The interview

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be yourself
  • Dress smartly
  • Be on time or a little early
  • Answer questions in a clear and precise manner
  • Keep eye contact
  • Speak up and take a moment to formulate an answer
  • Have your portfolio present containing all previous correspondence and important documentation
  • Know the company before you get there, simple background knowledge
  • Questions – have any questions prepared before hand and think about what salary you would like
  • Find out about what happens next, know what the following contact will be after the interview
  • Have your diary and a notebook and pen to take down follow up dates or notes of anything necessary for later
  • End off by saying thank you regardless of the outcome
Step six: Getting the job

So you followed all the steps and you landed the job, always say thank you either in person or writing. Be sure to read your contract very thoroughly and take not of important information. If you do not receive a formal employment document it is advisable that you write down what you understand the terms and conditions of your employment to be and show it to your employer.

What are your tips for landing that dream job? Leave a comment!

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