What to expect when job hunting for the first time

Many people leave school or tertiary education believing that they’ll find a job soon. Even though friends and family who’ve been through it have warned them about job hunting, they think it will be different for them. Or, because job searching was easy for one person they know, they think it will be just as simple for them. But the hard truth of the matter is that looking for your first job is going to be difficult and tiring. It takes a lot of effort and work to, well, get work.

So, if you’re about to start job hunting for the first time, here are a few points to keep in mind so you have the right expectations.

Don’t expect a reply to every CV you send out

In the beginning, you might find the perfect job online, send your CV in and then hold your breath while waiting for a response. But, as you will soon realise, you’re not going to get a reply to every CV you send out, no matter how right you are for the job. The reality is that people with years of experience could end up sending out their CV multiple times before even receiving one response. Not many hiring managers out there have the time to reply to people who don’t make it to the “maybe” pile. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but that is the way the world works. In most cases, you will only receive a reply to your application if they would like to meet you for an interview. This, of course, brings us to the next point.

An interview may go really well, but that doesn’t guarantee you the job

If you have been through an interview and you feel it went very well, don’t assume you have the job. And definitely don’t stop applying for other City of Cape Town vacancies or turn down other interviews because you feel that one went well. You may have been amazing in the interview and the interviewer may very well have been impressed by you. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t someone else who was better for that specific job at the City of Cape Town. Often, there will be more than one good candidate for a job and, unfortunately, there is always a chance that you won’t be the one chosen. This, of course, says nothing about you, your qualifications or your work ethic. It simply means that someone else was chosen this time. Keep your head up, though, because next time it could be you.

You probably can’t afford to be picky about which jobs you apply for

In the beginning, you may only want to apply to work at the City of Cape Town in a certain position because that’s the direction you want your career to go in. However, you should not be picky when it comes to looking for your first job. As mentioned earlier, there will always be other candidates and those candidates may get the job instead of you. What you really need more than anything at this stage in your career is experience. And you can only gain experience from having a job. So, don’t be picky and only apply for jobs you believe you will enjoy. When you’re starting out, you need to apply for everything because you don’t need the perfect job right now, you need a job right now. Having a job, any job, will give you some kind of experience, which will help you when you’re searching for your next position.

The reality of job hunting is a harsh one and not many people are prepared for it when they start out. But if you’re already aware of what to expect, you’ll be in a better position than many other people out there who are trying to launch their careers. And, don’t forget Ayanda Mbanga is the perfect place to find that job you’re hunting for.


Jun 18, 2018 | Vuk’uzenzele

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