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If you have a question for our Career Coach, e-mail us at careers@ReConnectAfrica.com

Image"Dear Career Coach

I am a graduate in Management and hold an HND in Marketing. I completed my course in 2006 and I still have not got a job. I wanted to know if you can coach me as to how to get a job."


Dear Lorinda

I am publishing your letter because it is typical of many of the requests we receive and highlights an important point about some job applications and some of what we call "fatal flaws".

The first "fatal flaw" in your approach is that you haven't mentioned the type of job that you are looking for. In our experience, many graduates complete their degree course and don’t take the time to research the types of entry level jobs in their sector or how others are using the same qualification in the workplace. Having invested heavily in your education, are you looking for just a job or are you planning the first stages of your career?

This is an important distinction because if you want a career in your chosen field, you need to be clear what a prospective employer is looking for in a Marketing graduate and how you can convince them that you have what it takes. In today’s competitive job market, simply assuming that your qualification will sell you is another ‘fatal flaw’. Employers will not be assessing you to see what job they can fit you into; they will be assessing you against the needs of a particular position in their organization and it is up to you to be clear how you can sell your skills to get that job.

As you are a Marketing graduate, let me suggest that you think about yourself as a product; what are you selling to an organization? Where are your skills best placed? What is the pricing – or salary – that would be appropriate in view of your target market? And, most importantly, once you have established all this, how are you promoting your personal product?

Once you have built a clear picture of what you offer, you will be better placed to identify the companies or organizations that would benefit from your skills.

Take a good look at your CV to see if it is helping you with your job search. If it doesn't show your skills and experience clearly, employers will not be likely to call you for interview and give you the chance to get the job. Have your CV reviewed by a professional careers coach (don’t forget we also offer a CV review service) or a recruitment consultant or Human Resources manager and make sure that it is well laid out.

There are a number of routes to finding employment: using your network of contacts (friends and family, former professors, former colleagues who are now working, etc.), using recruitment agencies, applying for jobs through the newspapers and relevant magazines, applying for jobs online, applying directly to companies, etc. Each of these requires you to be structured, positive and well presented.

Can I suggest that you consider the options I have mentioned above carefully and plan a strategy that uses all these routes and avoids the ‘fatal flaws’ I have mentioned? You do need to get more specific about the type of job role you are looking for. Employers are not interested in people who apply for 'any job that you think is suitable for my skills'. They want to see that you have done your research, that you know what they do and that you are able to state how you can help them achieve greater success.

Given the current market conditions, job applicants like yourself are going to have to be much more strategic and proactive in how you approach the job market.

All the best!

Need some help to solve your career dilemma? Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, our experienced careers coaches can work with you – on an individual or group basis – to help you get back on track with your career.

From online CV checking to face-to-face coaching, presentation skills training to making the right impact at interview, our careers services will help you reach your goals.

Contact us now to discuss your needs:  careers@reconnectafrica.com
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