I applied for 1,200 jobs in six months – here's what I learned
- During her six months of unemployment, Thandi Mhlongo, from Katlehong in Johannesburg's East Rand, applied for over 1,200 jobs.
- The 24-year-old thought her job hunt would only last a month - but was in for a surprise.
- This is what she learnt on her way to finding a job.
- For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.
When Thandi Mhlongo was dismissed from her data administrator and online researcher job with immediate effect last July, her world fell apart.
As the breadwinner in her family, and with a younger sister in matric, the 24-year-old from Katlehong in Johannesburg's East Rand knew she had to find a new job – and soon.
"I thought it would take me about a month and then I would be fine and everything would be sorted," she told Business Insider South Africa.
But her job hunt lasted six months, and saw her apply for over 1,200 posts before she found work again.
"It seems like a lot, but if we do the maths that’s about 10 applications a day if you don’t include weekends," she said in a Twitter post on the "O jewa ke eng?" (what's bothering you?) Twitter thread.
"O jewa ke eng?", which has been shared over 19,000 times, has become a go-to place for South Africans who need to get things off their chests.
Mhlongo's post has been retweeted more than 3,000 times.
A THREAD on how to increase your chances of securing INTERVIEWS while job hunting. 6 months ago, I got dismissed from work with immediate effect which tarnished my name and made it almost impossible to get a job, but by the grace of God I signed my contract 2 days ago. https://t.co/55HBOFxWJt— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Mhlongo, who is also a skilled designer, put her skills to good use and tried different ways to "spice up" her CV.
She started working as a receptionist and procurement clerk in Alberton, South-east of Johannesburg, in January and took to Twitter in an attempt to help others make their CVs standout.
Read more: You can now go to jail for faking a degree on your CV – or claiming a qualification you don't have on LinkedIn or Twitter
Here's what Mhlongo learnt during her six month job hunt:
The way your CV looks is important.
This is how I managed to find a job:1. NB! The way your CV looks is high key crucial and important. I’ve come across many people who say that the look of your cv isn’t important it’s the content that matter.This is so not entirely true.— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
If possible, do away with Microsoft Word formats, and opt for a design CV.
Yes, the content is important but having a great looking CV gives you that an added edge. So, here’s some advice:* If possible, go away with the Microsoft Word formats and opt for a design CV, this increases the chances of your CV being seen greatly.— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
For those who already have designed CV’s, switch it up once in a while.
For those who already have designed CV’s, switch it up once in a while. In the 6 months I was unemployed I changed my CV 3 times, same content but all different layouts.I personally designed all my CVs.If you would like for me to assist you with this, I will gladly do so...— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Job portals are very useful.
...at a reasonable fee of R100 ??.2. Upload your CV to each and every job portal you can think of. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. Here are a few I really like/prefer over the others:* PNet* Indeed* CareerJunction* LinkedIn— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Apply for daily notifications from all of the portals.
3. Once your CV is uploaded and you’ve filled in all the necessary details, apply for daily notifications from all the portals. Yes, this means you’ll receive a mountain of emails on a daily basis but I managed to secure my current position from a notification sent from PNet.— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Always include a portrait picture of yourself.
4. Always attach a portrait picture of yourself to the portals. I know we all have our own opinions about this, but adding a friendly yet professional picture to your CV says a lot about you already…— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Set aside time each day, about an hour if possible, to focus on applying for jobs.
5. Set aside time each day, about an hour if possible, where you’re only focused on applying to vacancies via the portals you signed up for. I know most people are more keen on applying for a permanent position, but until you manage to secure one, don’t shy away from...— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Don't be afraid to apply for jobs posted by agencies.
...applying because of hear say and dodgy experiences, but there are plenty of honest, reliable agencies out there.When applying, take note of who is advertising the post, google them, get their contact details and do some cold calling.— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Don't forget your manners.
7. When you do some cold calling, be polite, fetch your manners from where you left them and be enthusiastic. You’re going to encounter a number of people who sound like their irritated that you called, but don’t let that throw you off. Stay focused.— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Trying your luck is worth it.
Mhlongo applied not only via the job portals she registered with, but doubled up by reaching out to agencies directly and submitting a second application directly to the agency.
So, what this does is, you’ve applied via the portal, but now you’ve also applied directly to the person in charge which is another added advantage.8. Lastly, this has nothing to do with this thread but has everything to do with this thread. I’m not trying to come off as if...— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Be honest, even if your job history puts you at a disadvantage.
...I know it all, or think I am better than the next person, I just wanted to share what helped me secure many interviews. For many, just securing one interview is enough, they could walk out there with the job, for me, not so much. My dismissal gave me a bad name, coming...— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
across a company who can look past that is rare, but there are out there.So, if you have the same story as I, don’t be discouraged. Be honest and pray God takes care of the rest. Grace and mercy, His undeserved favour is upon your life.— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Have the right attitude.
9. Going into this, you have to have the right type of attitude.Your faith needs to be on some other type of level! Be confident and always think positive.Remember, you’re going to encounter a lot of rejections, BUT eventually you’ll get that congratulations email.— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
Job applications are a full-time job.
Most importantly don’t give up. I applied to over 1200 posts over the 6-month period. It seems like a lot, but if we do the maths that’s about 10 applications a day if you don’t include weekends.— Thandi Mhlongo (@thandiimhlongo) January 22, 2020
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