What makes you more employable as a young start-out?

It’s incredibly tough for young people to enter the job market. Whether you have just left school or graduated from an institution here’s how you can make yourself more employable when starting out.

Gain critical skills and experience

Preparing for finding a job starts with setting yourself on a self-skilling pathway. As a starting point, the PSET CLOUD will help you to research current trends in skills demand and work opportunities. Watch this video to see how the application will work.

Once you have a better understanding of industry demands, use this list of opportunities to gain critical skills for the work environment:

  1. Volunteering
    Gain essential soft skills while volunteering at NGOs, charities, foundations and fundraising hubs.

  1. Internships
    Improve your critical skills, build connections and get to know people in the industry you want to work in.

  1. Job shadowing
    Get a good understanding of what a job and professional conduct entail.

  1. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training
    Programmes such as these focus on professional skills, technical knowledge, as well as role-specific requirements.

The PSET CLOUD will enable you to identify programmes you may be interested in. Furthermore, you’ll be able to upload all your completed experience and get it verified by the relevant employers or programme managers. It will also match your skill set with relevant job opportunities.

Build your own brand

You need to build your own, personal “brand” and market yourself in order to get that initial opportunity.

There are two actionable steps you can take:

Step 1: Create a good CV

Your CV doesn’t necessarily have to include a long list of your experience, but it should demonstrate your character and willingness to work.

Free online templates can help you with your CV structure and layout, and use a word processor to check spelling and grammar. An electronic CV (PDF or Word document) is perfectly acceptable, and is a great way to instantly exchange contact information with someone you have just met.

Step 2: Build your professional network

One of the easiest ways to find out about job opportunities is through people you know.

Reconnect with people who can vouch for you (from previous internships, job shadowing, etc), and put the word out there that you are looking for an opportunity.

Building your professional network also extends to setting yourself up on sites such as LinkedIn, or sharing your CV and information with recruiters. The PSET CLOUD will allow you to upload your matric certification, experience and qualifications so employers and educational institutions can verify your credentials in a trusted, seamless process.

Upskill yourself

It’s important to adopt a learn-for-life mindset. Various e-learning platforms have made further studying and upskilling accessible and affordable, or even free. Use your spare time to further your skills through various learning platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, the Khan Academy, or Google.

You can also use video or streaming platforms such as Youtube to teach yourself skills or handcrafts (for example woodturning, sewing, masonry, barista skills or hair styling).

The PSET CLOUD solution is designed to help you understand what work opportunities are available, what the formal and non-formal learning requirements are for these work opportunities, and where these competencies can be acquired so you can make an informed decision on furthering your skills.

Dangers and pitfalls to look out for

Unfortunately, finding yourself unemployed can put you in a vulnerable position. Look out for signs of potential exploitation:

  • Opportunities that require a financial contribution
    A legitimate employer will never require you to pay upfront for anything.

  • Working without a contract
    No matter how informal or simple the agreement, there should be some form of a contract between an employer and an employee.

  • Unpaid internships that carry on for an extended period
    When you start any form of unpaid work, agree on the time period (the end date of the internship) to ensure that you are not being used for free labour.

  • Job offers asking for your personal information
    Never supply your personal or financial information to an unverified source. Use safe applications such as the PSET CLOUD that protects your information and privacy via self-sovereign identity, and ensure that whichever application or organisation you supply information to, is POPIA compliant.

  • Government job scams
    Local government offices are often used as a front for scammers. Government offices are often aware of specific scams, so confirm the opportunity with the relevant authority and look out for warnings on notice boards, websites and social media.

It’s a tough environment, but you can get on a self-skilling path, gaining priceless experience you can benefit from throughout the rest of your career. Good luck!

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