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First-time Jobseekers: How to Beat Employment Challenges Now

Welcome to the World of Work first-time jobseekers! There’s more to finding work than looking for a job. The first job is a milestone in one’s life. It is the first step to a career and it is also the first step towards financial independence. The first job can be a stepping stone to future success, but it can also be a stumbling block if not chosen wisely.

guide for school leavers, first time job seekers

Gaining Experience is Crucial for First-Time Jobseekers

Seeking your first job can be a daunting task, but one important aspect to keep in mind is the significance of gaining relevant experience. Employers often value practical skills and previous work experience when considering candidates. While it may seem challenging to secure that initial opportunity, different strategies can help first-time job seekers kickstart their careers and increase their chances of landing a desirable position.

First-time job seekers are one of the most vulnerable populations in society. <<<Sending love>>> You’re unsure about what you want to do and where you want to go. Look no further! Here’s guidance and support for your future. First-time job seekers are usually youth of any age who have never had a paid job before or are seeking their first job after leaving school or post-school education and training. Is this you? Then read on! 🙂

Experience Makes Job Seekers Confident and Competitive

Sure, experience means you know the ropes, lack of experience implies you’re pretty raw. So there are many challenges when looking for that first job. The lack of work experience leads to difficulty in finding employment. Inexperienced people can face lower salaries and fewer opportunities than those with more experience even if they have similar qualifications to them. The lack of work experience also makes it harder to find jobs with higher salaries, which may lead job seekers into poverty because of low-income levels.

career portfolio

What To Do About No Experience: Jobseekers Motivation

  1. Firstly, don’t put yourself down.
  2. Secondly, if you are a youth and fall into this group, you just need to focus on conveying a motivated attitude towards gaining work experience.
  3. Find organisations or leading community members you can do voluntary work for in order to gain some experience.
  4. All experience is relevant and it’s character building. When you make yourself available it lets people know you’re self-motivated and serious about your future.

Activate, don’t hesitate!

How To Turn Jobseeking Challenges into Opportunities

1. Be highly motivated to find that job: Jobseekers never get tired

The first-time job seeker faces a number of challenges. You need to be highly motivated to survive the job market. You need to overcome the lack of experience and the lack of a network to get in the door. New jobseekers also have to contend with their age, which might be a limiting factor for some employers. Show these employers that youth brings energy, vitality and digital innovation! 🙂

2. Position your strengths Jobseeker!

Youth are often more advanced on social media than some of their employers and they should take advantage of this. Read how to attract employment opportunities on social media.

Think about the challenges as opportunities to show strengths and prove yourself. Use all the disadvantages as an advantage and turn them into an opportunity to be unique and stand out among all other applicants.

3. You must persevere to find the right job

The first-time jobseeker’s journey is not easy. You have to go through a lot of obstacles and challenges to get your dream job. But, with the help of this guide, we can make the process easier.

Career Steps for Job Seekers

1. Maintain Updated Application Documents

The first thing jobseekers need to do is create an updated CV (resume) and cover letter. Be aware that these two documents are the best opportunity to impress the employer and make them want to hire you. It is important that you show your skills in these documents and make sure that they are well-formatted, detailed, and well-written. Each time you submit your cover letter you must change it to suit the specific organisation and position.

A cover letter isn’t only about you, it’s about how you connect to the organisation and potentially fit in.

2. Promote Your Job Search On Social Media

Do a makeover on your social media accounts. Turn them into your marketing profile to attract potential employers, casual work and short-term projects.

Start a LinkedIn account if you don’t already have one. Connect with recruiters and youth organisations. Find companies or organisations you can imagine working for and follow their human resources and/or their training & development managers.

career goals for your career portfolio

Read our post on requesting work via social media.

3. Understand How The Labour Market Works: Jobseekers and Jobsearchng

The labour market is a place where people go to find jobs. It is also a place where employers go to find employees. The labour market is the process of matching workers and jobs.

The labour market has changed over the years with new technologies and new ways of working. The internet has made it easier for people to work from home, which means that they don’t have to travel as much and can work in their own time. This has led to an increase in self-employed workers, freelancers and contractors who are not on the payroll of any company but instead work for themselves or for different companies on a contract basis.

Globalization has made the labour market more competitive because there are more workers from different countries competing with each other.

4. Know The Critical Skills: Where is the demand for Jobseekers?

Each year new jobs that never existed before are created. It’s real hard to keep up! When you’re career planning, you need to understand where there is a demand for skills. Each year local companies have to search for foreign talent as we don’t have enough skilled workers for certain jobs. The Department of Home Affairs publishes a critical skills list which determines which foreign talent can be allowed to work in South Africa.

Here’s the list of current critical skills to consider in your career planning.

Job seekers who lack the qualifications in the fields listed on the critical skills list and for the growing economic sectors listed in the post, should not be discouraged. Growing sectors and critical skill areas also need many other types of workers such as administrators, human resources, trainers, cleaners, gardeners and sales staff.

5. Unemployed Youth Can Apply For Job Training

Learnerships and apprenticeships offer unemployed and unqualified youth a great way into the labour market. Check out these occupational qualifications, research them and see if any fit into your career plan:

  • When you’re starting your career education journey: NQF L1-2 Occupational Certificates
  • If you completed some high school but don’t have Matric: NQF L3 Occupational Certificates
  • If you have Matric you will be awarded credits on NQF L4 Occupational Certificates
  • NQF L5 Occupational Certificates
  • For professionals: NQF L6 Occupational Certificates


Looking for work and jobs requires a lot of energy and creativity. You may find temporary work as opposed to a career job, take it for now. But have a plan for your life and where you want to progress to. Get your CV ready, and use our cover letter guides if you need inspiration.

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Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

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