I applied for 1,200 jobs in six months – here's what I learned

Business Insider SA
Thandi, Mhlongo, job-hunting, CV
24-year-old Thandi Mhlongo believes you need to be honest with your potential future employer.
  • 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.

Also read: Expert tips on how to get a job in SA this year - including creating your own experience

"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.

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.

If possible, do away with Microsoft Word formats, and opt for a design CV.

For those who already have designed CV’s, switch it up once in a while.

Job portals are very useful.

Apply for daily notifications from all of the portals.

Always include a portrait picture of yourself.

Set aside time each day, about an hour if possible, to focus on applying for jobs.

Don't be afraid to apply for jobs posted by agencies.

Don't forget your manners.

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.

Be honest, even if your job history puts you at a disadvantage.

Have the right attitude.

Job applications are a full-time job.

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