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Finding a job at every stage of your life

Job hunting can be a tricky process and unfortunately, there isn't a standard recipe for success that applies to everyone. Whether you have years of experience, or none at all, there are different tips and tricks you need to apply throughout your working life.
Finding a job at every stage of your life
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When you've just graduated...

You've just walked off-stage with your diploma in hand... and now it's time to face the real world. With less than 40% of graduates successfully entering the workplace within their first year, you can't afford to remain idle. Spend this time building your professional digital footprint. Create a LinkedIn profile, network on Twitter, start a blog or an Instagram feed showcasing your hobbies and crafts. If you can't find work, volunteer your time for free or apply for unpaid internships. Every bit of experience will help propel you forward.

When you've been retrenched...

Retrenchment, for whatever reason, can be devastating and unfortunately there can be a stigma attached to it. Do not let it get you down! Be sure to clarify the reasons for your retrenchment in your job applications, e.g. "Retrenched due to branch closure with no other vacancies at other branches". Highlight your years of experience and go into great detail about what your job entailed. Send your CV to firms in the same industry, and let suppliers and other role players that you may have a good relationship with know that you are looking. And be sure to obtain a good letter of reference from your employer before leaving.

When you want to change careers...

Perhaps you have lost interest in a specific field or merely discovered a new passion - career changes are becoming more frequent, but they aren't always easy. Before making any radical decisions, evaluate what you like and dislike about your job, and what you believe you will like about a new one. If you are burnt out because you dislike your boss, you may not need a career change - just a change of scenery. Find out how many of your skills are transferable to new fields. Leadership, communications, planning and a myriad of other skills are easily leveraged and amounts to a solid amount of experience for your new career.

When you've been retired...

A lot of early retirees feel the need to re-enter the job market after a few years and surprisingly, many companies would be eager to learn from your experience. However, very few companies would be willing to hire someone close to (or past) retirement age for a full-time position. At this stage, consider temp placements at various firms. If you are willing, contact the company that previously employed you and offer a few hours of your time every week. Most importantly, ensure that your skills are up to date. You may need to take a refresher course to meet new standards. Alternatively, volunteer as a mentor or a voluntary worker in a field that you love. It's a great way of doing what you are passionate about without committing to a rigorous work schedule.

When you've been at home raising your kids...

If you've spent a few years at home with your children and want to re-enter the job market, you may need to take similar steps to someone who has retired. Do not refer to yourself as a housewife (the term is very dated) - you were a family caretaker/household management. Although "mom" is not a good job description, you can mention the duties you've performed that are applicable to the one you are applying for, e.g. "I was often responsible for transporting passengers/the household budget and taxes" or "I've kept my computer skills up to date and am familiar with MS Office 8, email, internet". If you've spent time volunteering or fundraising, mention it. They may be great references in the future.

Lastly, no matter at which stage of your life you are, keep trying and stay positive. It can be a lengthy process but the right job could be right around the corner.

About Angelique Robbertse

Angelique Robbertse is the Product and Marketing Manager at Job Mail.

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