I started searching for my very first job in 2003, I was 17 years old at the time and I absolutely didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do. My big cousin gave me all the ‘inside info’:
‘First, you need a CV’
‘Then you need to apply for jobs online’
‘You also need to go round and drop your CV in different places’
‘After that, people will start calling you for interviews’
I was very excited. I had the instructions and knew exactly what I needed to do. She also gave me advice on the kinds of roles to apply for:
– Sales assistant at clothing stores
– Cashier roles
– Shelf filler (i.e. replenishing shelves at large supermarkets)
Basically easy work that didn’t require any specialist skills. I was confident because I knew I could do the types of jobs she suggested so I created my very first CV.
I applied for jobs online and I also dropped hard copies of my CV in as many stores as my eyes could see, LOL.I would daydream about how I would get calls and e-mails inviting me for interviews. My mind-set was:
- Once they see my CV they will call me
- I can do the job
- I am smart
- I am honest
- I am hardworking
- I had good grades in my SSCE
- Employers will like me
I was already planning how I would spend my first salary, LOL. I must have submitted at least 50 applications within a few days.
Day 1 came and went – Nothing
Day 2 came and went – Still nothing
By day 7 or so, the silence had become very, very LOUD. I didn’t hear back from a single company.
I couldn’t believe it. My confidence was shattered.
I was very confused because I knew I could do the work, but for some reason, employers didn’t think so.
This was a real turning point for me. I sat down and really started to think about the ‘disconnect’. I had obviously failed to communicate the fact that I could do the job.
I became completely obsessed with trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. It took me years – years of research in the careers service office at my University, hundreds of applications, dozens of interviews, tweaks, tests and more – but I learnt the ‘secret sauce’ to a successful job hunt. I learnt that IT IS NOT ABOUT ME!
In my JJC mind, the process of getting a job looked like this:
When in reality, it looks more like this:
- Submit a compelling CV and/or Application form (I use the word ‘compelling’ because your CV is quite literally like a drop of water in an ocean, if it isn’t compelling enough, it will blend in and ‘flow’ with all the other ‘drops’ of water)
- Get shortlisted from the hundreds/thousands of other applicants
- Get invited for interview(s)
- Attend the interview(s) alongside your competition
- Market yourself as the ideal candidate – STAND OUT
- Receive a job offer
In my countless interactions with job seekers over the past few years, I discovered that a lot of people are stuck where I was back then – they exist in the ‘me’ mind space.
But employers don’t really care about you (harsh, but true). They receive hundreds (sometimes thousands) of applications to fill a few available positions. Their singular goal is to find candidates who will help them achieve their corporate goals and objectives. It is therefore your job to ensure your CV communicates the fact that you are the one they are looking for.
I had to change my mind-set completely and shift into ‘marketer mode’ and start to think like this – I am one of hundreds (possibly thousands) of candidates applying for this job. I need to:
- Develop a unique personal brand and somehow put that across in my CV
- Ensure my CV shows that I have the skills they are looking for
- Sell my skills in a way that will help me stand out
Your CV only has one job, and it is to get you invited for an interview.
If you are absolutely brilliant and qualified for a job but are unable to articulate that on your CV, you don’t stand a chance.
I will share my tips and tricks on how to make yourself attractive to employers, as well as how to determine whether or not your CV passes the famous ’30 second test’. We will also have a Q&A session where you can ask me your questions. Click here to submit your details if you are interested in attending.
The session will hold on WhatsApp because I’m trying to go with the least data-intensive option possible.
I hope to see you on the 2nd of April.