12 Do’s and Don’ts of job hunting

Are you unemployed? I think it’s safe to say that everyone that has finished school has either been in this position at one stage in their life, and with the unemployment rate being over 25% there are many who are currently in this position and probably not for the first time.

Great news Job Mail is here to help. Not only are we continuing our #jobmailtipoftheday series this week, but were also featuring 12 Do’s and Don’ts of job hunting today. Some of the tips on job hunting may be old news for some but this is a refresher and hopefully some useful tips for those who are entering the job market for the first time.


So, let’s start with what you should DO:

1. Be prepared: Firstly, you need to ensure that the email address you are using is professional. If you have one which was funny when you created it, consider getting a separate email account to use for your job search. Always have an up-to-date CV ready to send – even if you are not currently looking for work. You never know when an opportunity that is too good to pass up might come along.

2. Evaluate your CV and cover letter: A cover letter is the best way to make a good impression on a prospective employer and a way to show that employer why you are strong candidate for the job.

Create Your Own Templates. Have copies of your CV and cover letter ready to edit. That way you can change the content to match the requirements of the job you’re applying for. You can keep the introduction and closing paragraphs the same.

3. Remember that you don’t have to do this alone: If you can afford it make use of a CV writing expert to ensure that your CV is professional, grammatically correct and yet is personal.

Use a recruitment agency to help you find a job. This is what they do for a living and have the expertise to place you in a job that will suit your needs and culture.

Use Your Network. Take note that many job openings aren’t advertised externally. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work and ask if they can help.

Use all avenues available to you such as Job Search Engines (like Job Mail). Also use sites relevant to the industry you are searching in. Look at who are the movers and shakers and research them to see if they have positions available.You can also research based on associations. Let the jobs come to you: set up job alerts via email – or better yet, via Facebook. This way you won’t miss out on any potential job.

4. Remember the power of proper communication: Follow up after the interview with a letter of thanks for seeing you. Send the letter preferably within twenty-four hours after your interview. Do follow-up all job leads and be persistent. Make sure a potential employer can reach you. Provide your home phone number, cell phone number and email address.

5. Research companies that you are interested in and specifically companies that call you for an interview: Find out what their core business is and how you would fit into the greater scheme of things. Research the company culture to see if these match your beliefs. This is very important for sustainability in your career.

Look at their competitors and clients. Remember you want to be proud of the company you work for so make sure they fit in with your beliefs and values. You spend at least 7 hours a day at work 5 days a week; make sure you will be happy there.

6. If you are in any of the fields of marketing / digital etc then try to create a Digital CV: Hiring managers are looking for validation of skills. A digital resume allows you to incorporate rich-media portfolio items alongside more traditional, text-based resume content.

In today’s world it is a good idea to establish a professional online profile for consistent presentation of your personal brand that you can link to from anywhere you have a digital footprint – email signature, Facebook, LinkedIn, blog, company website bio, etc.

Use Keywords. Analyze job postings for keywords and incorporate them in your resume. Review at least 6 to 8 job postings in their field to find keywords that appear consistently in these postings. These are likely to be the keywords that hiring managers search for when going through their database of resumes.


Now let’s look at what you should NOT DO.

1. Don’t sit back and wait: Don’t limit your job searching to one avenue. If you are searching online, use job boards as well as social platforms or even individual company websites. If you are only using social platforms don’t limit yourself to just one – use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Mixit and Google+.

Don’t place your CV somewhere and wait for the offers to come rolling in. There are too many employable people out there and the competition is stiff. You need to actively be out there job hunting on a daily basis.

2. Don’t doubt yourself and your abilities: In a society where so much is already pitted against you, maybe due to age, experience, race, gender or even the way you look, people tend to steer clear of challenging pursuits they fear won’t accept them. Don’t allow this unfortunate attitude or perception to carry over into your career hunt! Remember, you miss 100 % of the shots you don’t take.

We all doubt ourselves when nervous and unsure and tend to supplement our speech with “like” and “um,” then raise our voices at the end of sentences so that our statements sound more like questions. While this is a relatively common bad habit, overcoming uncertain speech patterns presents a confident front that impresses potential employers. Speak with conviction and be amazed at how much it improves your professional life and your personal one.

Don’t always assume you know what the rules are for applying. Sometimes people don’t feel confident applying for work unless they’re 100 % qualified. Yes, only apply if qualified but what we mean here is people tend to rather not apply in fear of others applying that are better than them or fear rejection because they don’t believe in themselves.

Do not undermine your worth when it comes to salary negotiations. When people are desperate for the job they tend to under negotiate for their salaries. Rather than hesitating to ask a higher salary, remember that your work is just as valuable as other employees.Now we are not saying you should be unreasonable and yes there are times when one needs to start at the bottom but if have something to bring to the table such as experience or the right qualifications then you should stand your ground. On the other hand don’t play the “cat and mouse” game with salary.

Remember to stay positive. While there may be times when the job search will leave you feeling frustrated, don’t ever give in to negative feelings or let them derail you from your professional goals!

3. Don’t abuse your current job while job searching for a new one: It is best not to quit your current job until you have a new job. Depending on your relationship with your boss, you may want to share information about your job search, but letting co-workers know can make it difficult for you to leave on a good note, especially if they are vying for your job.

Don’t use any of your current boss as references. If they are contacted while you’re looking for a new job and they’re not aware you’re looking for a new job, you’ll have a lot of explaining to do. Don’t put yourself in this position as it could have disastrous consequences.

Schedule interviews during non-work hours and don’t fake sick days or doctor’s appointments. Avoid making up excuses to get time off to do interviews; any lie you tell is likely to come back to haunt you. If you need to take a day off to do an interview, try to book it in advance through normal channels and work with your recruiter to fit your work time around the interviews.

Don’t use the company computer, internet, fax machine or phone in your job search. Most companies track your internet usage so anything related to your job search may raise suspicions. Most importantly, stay focused on your current job. Continue to perform at or above your current performance level.

It is important to show respect and professionalism to your current employer, remember you need a reference from them or might even want your job back so don’t create any situation where your employer will question your loyalty and professionalism.

4. Don’t just randomly call a company to ask if there are job openings: If you’re interested enough in an organization to want to know about openings there, research them. Most companies have a section on their site for “jobs available”.

5. Don’t mass mail your CV: Tailor your CV to the positions / employers you’re interested in and send each CV and cover letter individually.

6. Don’t show disrespect of others’ time: Beyond being punctual for interviews and responding promptly to requests for references, this rule also covers timing issues once you receive an employment offer. If you’re not prepared to give a yes or no answer immediately, stretching out your decision beyond a few days could convey a lack of interest, and may also inconvenience the prospective employer, who may need to fill the position quickly. If you choose not to accept the job, inform the hiring manager immediately. This will give him/her a chance to offer the position to someone else.

So, there you have it. Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment and me know. Feel free to share this article if you’ve found it useful. Keep a close eye on our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram profiles this week for useful tips.

Currently job hunting? Upload your CVbrowse for jobs and apply for them NOW! You may just find the position you’ve been looking for. If you have any queries about the registration process or experiencing technical issues with our website, feel free to e-mail our Webmaster via jobmaster@jobmail.co.za.

Watch this space for more more updates for job seekers on the Job Mail Blog.

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. Thobile says:

    thank you so much for the tips

  2. Pretty Nogcantsi says:

    Thank you I have learnt a lot keep up the good work .

  3. Sharon says:

    The tips are relavant, professional and helpful. Thank you

  4. Vusi Mlangeni says:

    The tips are very good and powerfull.I thank you

  5. James says:

    Thanks for tip it will help

  6. Lazarus Fulela says:

    I really enjoyed the don’ts tips they are so relevant, especially when frustration crip in,one tend to mass apply and hope for the best,at least I managed to stay clear of the temptation, I also like the “Be flexible ” part.once again thanks so much

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

8 − 7 =