I have recently had the opportunity to present to graduates to help them to get their first jobs in the IT space.  I was taken aback by their questions about how to break into the industry as a graduate or a junior developer. I have since decided that I would dedicate my blog to share some of the key points I discussed in that session to try and assist graduates who were not present at the IT Day for MLab, Geekculture event.

Topics discussed were as follows:

  • What should you be doing now?
  • How will you stand out from the other applicants?
  • How will you stay ‘in demand’ throughout your whole career?
What should you be doing now?

Take time to start developing and growing your online footprint – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and start a Blog. These are the platforms that would make you visible to employers while showcasing your interests within the IT field. It is also the platform in which Recruiters would look to see what kind of person you are, so make sure your keep your social media presence clean. Twitter has a host of opportunities where you could join chats, such as #JobAdviceSA , #womenintechchat #JobSeekersSA where the new age Recruiter as well as companies would post vacancies on. Be present and participate in these conversations.

How will you stand out from the other applicants?

Firstly, I believe that students should work hard to attain good grades and attain the highest qualification possible within their budget as this will give you an advantage over job seekers who do not hold a qualification. Secondly it is very important to gain some practical experience whether be it through a part time job within the field they choose to go into or by doing some volunteer work to build their CV. Most important is to have a CV that stands out from the rest, (see tips on how to have an outstanding CV on this blog https://itsaboutpeople.co.za/top-resume/)

How will you stand out from the other applicants?

It is imperative to strive to learn something new every day. There are a host of websites and free learning platforms which graduates can use to add to their skill set and take time to use those skills in practical applications. I have found that a lot of companies are moving with the times and trends within the IT space and one of their core requirements is that a potential employee should have certifications. This is an important part of standing out – keep your certificates up to date. Many people who advise graduates entering the job market focus so much on technical skill and somehow forget to educate on the soft skills that are needed with the working environment. Soft skill varies depending on everyone’s personality however this is a guideline of things most people look for. Once you get employed and have spent some time in your current position and you would like to progress to your next position, you need to do so without putting other people down.  Also, never EVER leave a company on a bad note, follow the correct procedures to exit a business. Hard work and determination pays off literally, employees who are focused and show initiative within businesses are 100% successful within the industry.

I think it is important to know that there are a thousand jobs out there for you. The way to secure employment is to keep up with the trends and focus your career in your areas of interest and be active within that space. Become a thought leader in your area of choice, use your knowledge and your creativity to do challenging things that will get you noticed, and empower your peers so that you move up together and create strong reliable teams.

In closing I would like to share that you need to be yourself always never try to be someone else, upskill yourself and be original and you will shine.

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