Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Good Job Hunting...in A Digital World

After recently having a job offer from a prestigious internet company retracted, I'm now faced with the challenge of finding a new position for myself. Both as a foreigner in South Africa and in the nascent mobile telecomms sector, these challenges are further exacerbated because positions are limited and hotly contested. But we won't get into that here.

A good job hunt in South Africa means you need to know where to start. For the connected, the Internet, desktop or mobile, seems to be the natural hunting ground.

Here's a breakdown of all the digital/online channels you could use:

1) Generic job search and career sites
A heaving smorgasbord of choices. In South Africa, often poorly curated. When companies upload open positions onto a career site, it's often filled with obscure role descriptions, generic terminology. Looking at them, you'd feel as if every recruiting company performed a 'cut and paste' from someone else's job description. Most recruiters will use the submitted CVs as a database for future use. Recommended only if you have an uncapped internet subscription and are willing to trawl through mostly irrelevant search results.

2) Twitter
Interestingly, digital marketing and software agencies have taken to Twitter in a big way. You'd find postings for junior to mid-level positions commonly on Twitter pretty often. From programmers to account managers, keep an eye open on your Twitter timeline if you're interested. DMs are quite useful for when you want to hook up with the job poster. Recommended for those starting out in the digital and mobile industry.

3) LinkedIn
It is the de facto pre-requisite. You can't claim to be related to the digital industry without a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn provides a simple interface for uploading your CV. Recent introductions like 'Endorsements' for skills means that your connections can also support your particular skill sets. Recommendations from partners, colleagues are a must for your personal LinkedIn profile. A new job search function attempts to match your skills against available positions. It's not bad for a beta function, and I've applied seamlessly through that. However, there aren't many positions for South Africa yet. Recommended if you've actually got a decent CV to put up and want to be available in search engines.

4) Facebook
If you're job hunting, the only reason you're on Facebook is to moan or tell friends you need a job. Or play life-consuming games. Really? Get off Facebook! Recommended if you're not at all serious about actually finding a job.

5) Google+
Thus far, haven't seen the same level of penetration of job offers as on Twitter. Would have thought this a natural repository for the same roles you find in Twitter, however that's not the case. G+ remains more pertinent to bloggers and Hangouts. Interesting trend with photographers picking up G+ to display their work, so works more like a personal brand profile. Make sure you fill in the 'About' section on you. Recommended if you've got some great articles or photos to share.

6) Smartphones, Email and IM:
WIth smartphones sitting around 20% of the SA population, I'm still surprised when job seekers don't have a copy of their CV on their smartphones, ready to email out at a moment's notice. You can plug the URL to your LinkedIn profile on your IM status. Recommended for the tech-literate.

And finally, the BEST channel for job-hunting....

7) Phone Calls.
Nothing beats this old school analog goodie. Pick up the phone, call your contacts, friends and network; put the word out. Call everybody. It's still gratifying to answer the phone, desktop or cellular in this day and age. I use this channel daily. It's still essential to speak to someone, with the eventual aim to lead up to a face-to-face meeting. The human voice still packs a visceral impact. Recommended if you do not sound like Darth Vader.