In the last few years, I have had young people coming to me saying they can’t find a job. Despite having the right qualifications for that particular role, having a university degree is just not enough. Most employers are looking for more than just certificates.
This is the advice I give to my mentees:
- You have to look the part. During or after your job interview, your potential employer will search for your online presence. The first thing that will show up online is your social media profile. What does your Facebook timeline say about you? What photos can be seen? What comments are made? What language are you using? What does your sense of dress say about you?
“Dress is a foolish thing, and yet it is a very foolish thing for a man not to be well dressed” (Lord Chesterfield, 1745). Your body is the best marketing tool you have. Without saying a word, someone has already made an assessment and decided how respond to you. I’m not saying you have to invest in designer clothing but make sure you dress appropriately for the occasion.
Be presentable in everything you do and say.
- What are your values? You have to value what the business values. Make sure your values are aligned with those you wish to work for. Be it a corporate position, or a job at the local supermarket. If you are comfortable with their values and ethics, you will have no problem fitting in.
- Talk the talk. How are your communication skills? Are you a good listener? When sitting opposite your potential employers, are you fidgeting and nodding to everything they are saying? What is your body language saying about you? Are you telling them the truth? If you don’t have work experience, don’t lie about it. Ask if they are willing to have you volunteer with them for a short time to gain that experience; show them your interest and commitment. That time working for free is better than being home. Get connected and ask for connections.
- Are you inspired from within? When hiring people to work on projects, managers want them to think for themselves. They want creative people and employees who can make the best decisions for the business. If you are making them money they will pay you well and they will keep you. There is nothing worse than having to motivate people. The job needs to be so attractive that it inspires you to get the best out of you. That’s, of course, the agreement between you and your employer.
- Can you handle being under pressure? How good are you with conflict resolution? If someone in the office did something wrong to you, would you be able to work alongside your colleague? When I worked at a medical practice, I had a girl disinfect the computer and chair after I used them, as she had no idea what type of germs I carried with me from Africa. Obviously, that’s unacceptable behavior and needs to be discussed with senior management. She did apologise, however, this issue did not stop me from doing my job. A few months later I applied for another job and found the most supportive team anyone could ask for.
After your potential employer has analysed you to see if you would fit their company, they will look into your qualifications. That’s when you get a call back for the second interview. If you fail to secure a second interview, always ask for feedback and keep working towards better presenting yourself