Ikusasa Lami

Nov 6, 2017 | Publisher: Mike Stuart | Category: Education |  

IKUSASA LAMI WORK READINESS GUIDEBOOK FOR TECHNICAL & VOCATIONAL EDUCATION & TRAINING COLLEGE STUDENTS Your future starts on page 9...First Edition IKUSASA LAMI Published 14 February 2017 Department of Higher Education & Training Private Bag X174 Pretoria 0001 SOUTH AFRICA Tel: +27 (12) 312 5911 Twitter: @DHET4 Email: callcentre@dhet.gov.za Web: www.DHET.gov.za "Ikusasa Lami" is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. To understand more about the license visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ Credits: Cover photo: thanks to free word cloud creator www.wordle.net Back cover photo: Copyright Sasol, source Media Club South Africa, www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com "Our Stories" section photos and interviews: EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative Infographics created with free tools from www.Canva.com Citation format: Please cite this publication in the format provided below - Department of Higher Education & Training (2016), Ikusasa Lami. Pretoria, South Africa: Author ISBN 978-0-620-68376-0 Legal disclaimer: The information contained herein is compiled from a wide variety of primary sources. While every care has been taken in compiling this publication the publishers do not give warranty as to the completeness nor accuracy of its con- tent. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers, the Department of Higher Education & Training, nor its associates and the Department takes no responsibility for any errors or inaccuracies and shall not be liable for any damages aris- ing whatsoever from works contributed by the publisher notwithstanding assignment of such works to the Department. Care is taken to make sure that the information presented is accurate at the time of going to print, however the publisher does not accept legal responsi- bility for damages arising from inaccuracies or errors contained in this publication. Please contact us at the email above should you note any inaccuracies or errors. FOREWORD The White Paper for Post-school Education and Training states that the priority of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is to 'strengthen and expand the public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and turn them into attractive institutions of choice by increasing their responsiveness to local labour markets and improving student support services'. Research has identified Work Readiness as a key area of focus to increase access to employment for TVET college students and graduates. Even before the introduction of the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) qualification in 2007, and the extension of Report 191 (NATED) Programmes, students exiting the college system with the intention of finding formal employment, had found it difficult to compete for jobs in the South African labour market. The college system offers vocational subjects in critical skills but college graduates still struggle to find and keep jobs. It is against this background that the Department developed a Work Readiness guidebook with the aim of positioning TVET college students and graduates to compete favourably in the labour market. This guidebook is intended to assist college students and graduates to find work placement opportunities and employment. Work Readiness skills are critical to bridging the gap between TVET college graduates and their ability to access unemployment. Work Readiness skills prepare students for adaptive behaviors that enable them to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of work and everyday life. Work Readiness skills are wide-ranging and may include among others: behaviors related to self-actualisation, conflict management, responsibility, study skills, teamwork, diversity, career planning, creative thinking, decision-making and leadership. The guide provides links for further research and development of more skills and related infographics that will extend well beyond the guide itself. The Department is keen to address gaps between employer expectations by ensuring that TVET colleges produce graduates who are employable and have the attributes, capabilities and dispositions to find work and be successful in the workplace. Research emphasises knowledge, competencies, values, practical skills, sector and industry understanding and personal attributes instead of just a list of generic skills. Employers value the conceptual foundation, knowledge and contextualised approach to tasks evidenced by work ready college graduates. There is a need for strong partnerships between TVET colleges and potential employers in order to increase student career options whilst they are still at college. These cover a multitude of issues from life skills to soft skills, from instilling a work ethic to developing personal initiative and responsibility. This work readiness guidebook is intended to assist TVET colleges to produce thinking, responsive and well-rounded individuals who are flexible and can readily adapt to workplace demands and challenges. This work readiness guidebook should be used by Life Orientation lecturers, Student Support Services staff, college students and college graduates as well as the whole college community. For TVET college students and graduates, there are practical exercises at the end of each topic to guide them through their work readiness journey. The exercises will guide them to complete their work readiness journals which can be shared with other TVET college students and graduates. The Department wishes to express its gratitude to the Danish government for the financial aid that enabled the research, development and production of this work readiness guidebook through the Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA) Support to Education and Skills Development (SESD) III Programme. The guidebook serves as additional support to colleges by enabling them to develop new capabilities in equipping students and graduates for success in the labour market. It should be used in conjunction with other relevant college materials and resources to prepare TVET college students and graduates for the challenges of the workplace. It should also be integrated with initiatives such as Workplace-Based Exposure / Experience (WBE), Work Integrated Learning (WIL), Workplace-Based Learning (WPBL), programme specific work readiness preparations and in support of generic work readiness skills, job search, placement and tracking. IKUSASA LAMI FIRST EDITION 3 Mr GF Qonde Director-General: Department of Higher Education and Training 14 February 2017 THE WORK READINESS TOOLKIT NOTE TO READERS TO COLLEGE STAFF Including Lecturers, Student Support Unit staff, and Career Counsellors The content of this guidebook has been carefully selected to provide information that is key to the work readiness of college students. As a lecturer, student support practitioner or career guidance counsellor, you play a central role in preparing students on the journey to the workplace. Lecturers, specifically those who lecture Life Orientation, can use this guidebook as a reference and teaching activity book by making use of the content and activities to supplement or enrich teaching and learning. The student support practitioner or career guidance counsellor can implement the content in consultations or workshop sessions for individuals or groups. When making use of the guidebook in any of the above situations, activities should be concluded with the completion and discussion of the "Work Readiness Journal" lessons learnt, and workplace applications which appear at the end of each topic and are completed by the students. This will ensure that the lessons learnt and workplace applications are considered and thought through instead of remaining mere paper-based activities. Be willing to share experiences from your own personal journey into the workplace with students as this will enrich and add authenticity to the teaching or counselling and support you provide. TO STUDENTS What is the story of your life? Are you the one writing it or are you letting circumstances write the story for you? Or are your friends and parents writing the story of your life? Don't wake up one day and realise you are not happy with your life, and someone else wrote your script. You are about to cross a river from your college life as a student to your work life as an employee. Remember the proverb, "one does not cross a river without getting wet." So prepare well before you enter the water, then cross all the way to the other side and help those who come after you. This guidebook provides you with a toolkit which will equip you with the soft skills necessary to function effectively in the workplace. The five tools each address a specific group of skills, attitudes and values which are necessary in preparing to enter the workplace and also your employment. Share the knowledge inside the toolkit with others. Return to your college when you are successful and help the staff to write a new edition with more wisdom and more tips for those who follow you. You can make use of this guidebook in the following environments as a journey to the workplace: Formal teaching and learning process (e.g. Life Orientation); and Student support or career guidance counselling sessions. It is important that you engage with all of the "To Do" activities featured within each topic and complete the "Work Readiness Journal" for each topic. The "To Do" activities will expose you to skills, attitudes and values which are necessary for your effective performance and functioning in the workplace. The "Work Readiness Journal" will provide you with an opportunity to reflect on the skills, attitudes and values in the context of a workplace environment. The impact that the toolkit will have on your readiness for the workplace will ultimately be determined by the effort and commitment you put into your work readiness journey. Your "Work Readiness Journal"if maintained and duly completed will accompany you into the workplace as a reference journal which you can use as a guidebook once in the workplace. Space has been provided in this guidebook for you to keep your "Work Readiness Journal". Keep it in a safe place as you will never know when you may need to consult the lessons learnt on your journey to the workplace. You are invited to share the story of your journey into the workplace once you are placed in employment so that your experience can be shared and encourage other college students. Submit your story to your college's Student Support Services manager. The stories you will read at the end of this book are shared by many South African youth. They are not Hollywood stories nor stories of the American Dream, nor are they fairy tales. They are tough stories growing out of struggles and tears and hardship. They are our stories and no-one can take them away from us. No-one can live them for us and when we come to the end of our life on Earth, our story is what we take with us into the night sky, and it shines brightly like a star on those below... WORK READINESS GUIDE BOOK 4 PersonalMasteryJob SearchJob InterviewJobOrientationSkillsEntitlement & Expectations Employers complain that some graduates have unrealistic expectations of their first job and are not willing to put hard work in before expecting rewards. They call this "entitlement" and believe that such graduates are not good team players and fail to learn and absorb the many new skills and experiences the workplace has to offer. Employers value new entrants who are able to wait to be rewarded until they have settled in, learned from those more experienced than them, and contributed to the benefit of their team and organisation. WHY? "The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately" FAQs "What if I am patient and my boss never recognises me?" Some organisations and some managers will not have your interests in mind, and will be content to use your time and energy for their business without acknowledging or rewarding you. Learning to choose an employer who is responsible and ethical takes time, and many people go through at least one or two bad jobs before they can see the warning signs from afar. Some research has shown as little as 35% of managers are effective bosses. In situations like this don't act immediately or emotionally. Take your time and get a second opinion of your situation, preferably from someone who does not work in the same company. It may be that you should resign and find a better place to work, but you should put your interests first and wait until you have another job opening confirmed before resigning. Here are some tips for how to deal with a bad boss, and if you feel like reading a book about bad bosses and how to deal with them, you can download "A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses" here. Unknown "I learned all this stuff at college and my manager is not interested in trusting me with anything! What should I do?" Experienced employees can be suspicious of new knowledge that young employees bring to the workplace. After all they have worked in that environment for years and now you arrive and want to change everything. Be patient with your new ideas. Choose your time carefully to introduce them, and make sure you have researched the context (the actual situation) and have adapted your theories to the local setting. New graduates are in fact valued for their new approaches and knowledge but timing and the way you suggest the changes are important. Don't get discouraged if an experienced coworker or manager cuts down your great ideas mercilessly. They are watching how you react and respond, and if you can pick yourself up, be willing to acknowledge weaknesses in your proposals, and then rework your ideas, they will respect you for your persistence. Here and here are some suggestions on how to pitch new ideas to your boss. Graduating from college can be an exciting time in your life. You've spent 12 years in school and another two or three at college, and now finally you will be seeking employment, earning your own money, contributing to society and have some freedom. This enthusiasm and optimism is a powerful source of strength that will help you get through some of the obstacles up ahead. It's also fuel for ambition, which is an important attribute many employers are looking for. However some graduates get ahead of themselves and are so ambitious that they expect to go from "zero to hero" overnight. They get their first job, are disappointed that it doesn't meet their expectations, and resign. They repeat the pattern over and over and don't build up deep networks and work experience. Employers notice that their CV includes several short work stints and may interpret this as a lack of commitment and responsibility. IN A NUTSHELL Email WHY? "I assume everything I'm saying in an email or saying on the telephone is being looked at" FAQs "Can I "undo" an email after I have sent it?" Only some email programs allow you to do this. Microsoft Outlook for example can do this when the person you sent the email to also uses Microsoft Outlook, or a similar email program. Think carefully before you hit the SEND button. Save the email to your Drafts folder if you need more time before sending. Michael Moore Email is the most commonly used communication channel for business purposes. About 2,400,000 emails are sent every second around the world. Email offers a fast and reliable way to communicate with other business people. Be careful what you say because business emails can be used as evidence in a court of law and your employer is required to store emails for 3 years or longer. IN A NUTSHELL Attitude An older person might think your behaviour reflects a bad attitude, whereas they are actually just misunderstanding the intention of your actions. In the workplace, your supervisors and managers (i.e. your "bosses") will almost always be older than you, since you have only recently graduated from college. Sociologists study the differences between generations which they call "social generations". People born between the 1940's and the 1960's are called "Baby Boomers" (find out why). Your generation is referred to as "Millennials" (born between early 1980's and early 2000's). The next generation is referred to as "Generation Z", (born between from the early 2000's onwards). WHY? "Attitude", in this context, refers to your emotional approach and commitment to your work. A "good" attitude is generally shown by sincerity, alertness, care, perseverance and a willingness to overcome obstacles. A "bad" attitude is shown by a lack of concern for work quality or quantity, rude communication or behaviour, sloppiness, and giving up at the first sign of difficulty in a task. WHAT IS ATTITUDE? "A bad attitude is like a flat tyre. If you don't change it, you won't go anywhere." FAQs Anonymous Attitude is often top of the list of what employers are looking for in new entrants to the workforce. Does this mean that many students have a poor attitude to work? Probably not. "Attitude" means different things to different people. The older generation (bosses) may be misunderstanding actions and words by the younger generation. They may also not "get" the different approach to work which youth around the world have. Young people want to work "smarter", whereas the older generation value those who "work hard". Understanding how other people interpret "attitude", and being sensitive to your actions and words, can help you avoid misunderstanding, and succeed at your first job. IN A NUTSHELL "How do I know if I have a bad attitude, or if it's just my boss misunderstanding me?" Being aware of your emotional state at all times will help you tell the difference. If you are feeling positive about yourself, your day and your work, and your boss accuses you of a bad attitude, it's likely that he or she has misunderstood you. However if you cannot be sure of your emotional state, then you won't know for sure if their accusation is true or not. To become more aware of your emotional state, see the To Do List. Choosing Jobs to Search For If you limit yourself too much when job searching, you may exclude jobs that could benefit you in ways you do not yet see. You can limit yourself by being too "picky" and by being too narrow in your searching, by searching for example only for jobs in the same field that you studied. The Development Bank of South Africa did research to understand how a person's first job helps them to stay employed later in life. They found that if young people are able to hold down a first job for at least a year, their chances of being employed the rest of their life was 85%. This suggests that it is better to keep your first job for at least a year, even if it's not your dream job, and even if it's tough and doesn't pay well. Your record of employment at the job can go on your CV and you can put your boss as a reference for other potential employers to contact. The experience you learn in this first job can make a big difference in keeping the more attractive jobs you land in future. A job candidate who has a year's experience with good references at a single company is sometimes more attractive to an employer than a candidate who has had several jobs over the year, and left all of them after a few months. WHY? "Look before you leap" FAQs "What else should I be looking for in a job, other than a good salary?" Salary (remuneration) is very important. However you should be open-minded about the jobs you are searching for as young people can restrict their career development by seeking only the best paid jobs available. To make a good job selection you need to consider many things: (1) meeting minimum requirements for the job (2) costs involved in doing the job (e.g. transport, accommodation, clothing) (3) how this job helps you get a future, better job (4) opportunities for training, education or experience (5) opportunities for promotion (6) the quality of the work environment (7) benefits not related to salary, and of course (8) the salary offered Anonymous Job scams These are jobs advertised with huge salaries or other "too good to be true" offers which turn out to be illegal. Job Scams advertise huge salaries for what seems like little or no work. Some scams require you to pay a "registration" fee after which the scammer disappears or you find out the job is actually less attractive than was advertised. Other scams get personal information from you, and then use that to commit fraud in your name, making you responsible. Report a Crime - http://www.reportacrime.co.za - offers a service where you can report such scams, and also search to see if a suspected scam is listed there. See Job Mail (http://www.jobmail.co.za/avoidscams) for a list of common job scams and tips to avoid them. Watch out for... ! Good job research is the first step in getting yourself good employment. Its also part of building a valuable skill for yourself - Job Searching - which can help you many times ahead in your future. The objective of job search is to get a job interview with an employer. Job search consists of many different steps, but this article focuses on the groups of jobs (occupations) you are considering. Many first time work seekers have a narrow set of jobs in mind, and this excludes them from opportunities that other kinds of work could offer them. Remember that your first job does not need to be your last job, so don't be too fussy. At the same time you will be spending about 40 hours every week at your job, so it must be something that you connect to on a personal level. IN A NUTSHELL Job scams Job Interview Research Would you score with a boy or girl if you didn't know their name, or anything about them? Not likely. In the same way, to build a relationship with your employer, you will need to know what makes them tick, what they are trying to achieve, what they value and how they prefer to work. Job interview research will give you an edge in your job interview, over people who may have a better CV than you. Your employer will be impressed that you are interested in working in their organisation not just for the salary, but because you see an overlap between the employer's mission and your own life mission. WHY? Job interview research is not just a tool you use to land your first job, then forget it for the rest of your life. The average number of years young people hold a job for is about 4 - 5 years, with people born after 1980 likely to have more than five jobs in their life-time. Job interview research is a skill you can use again and again to research new potential employers. Keep in mind however that holding a first job for 12 months or longer will increase your likelihood of being employed the rest of your life to 85%. By the way "One important key to success is confidence and an important key to self-confidence is preparation" FAQs "What kind of information do I need to research about my potential employer?" What is important to you? How the organisation works? Why the organisation exists? The future plans of the organisation? Who the top management of the organisation are? Past successes or failures of the organisation? It is up to you really? What matters is not so much that you know everything there is to know about the employer, but that you know things that are meaningful to you about the employer. In your interview you will likely be asked, "Why are you interested in working at *this* organisation?" You can then mention the information you researched about it and link that back to your own interests and motivations. A sincere answer is better than an answer where you fake an interest in the employer that is not true. Arthur Ashe Job interview research is an essential part of preparing for your job interview. It involves learning as much as you can about your potential employer, and then thinking about how this links to your own personal interests and abilities. It's not only about knowing facts about your employer, it's also about seeing the relationship between your values and ambitions, and your employer's vision and mission. The fact that you have taken the time to research your employer shows that you are "interviewing" your potential employer as much as your prospective employer is interviewing you. This signals to the employer that you are proactive, not reactive, and that you check the facts before leaping to a decision. IN A NUTSHELL Your First Day We all know about stereotyping and its not cool when it happens to you. What will your employer and your coworkers think about you after your first day and the first week? Its easier to maintain a good impression that you make during the first week of work, than it is to change a negative impression that you made on the first day. By setting the bar high on day one you show your employer that you are not afraid of excellence, and you also give yourself a benchmark for the rest of your days there. WHY? "All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence" Martin Luther King Jnr Your first day at work can be confusing, frustrating and messed-up. Especially if this is your first job and especially if your employer is not used to induction (introducing new employees to the workforce). If you are lucky your employer will make time for you to experience induction or orientation. If not you will have to "sink or swim" in the deep end of the organisation. This infographic will try to prepare you for what you can expect so that your first day is a fantastic memory. IN A NUTSHELL Don't be late for work Employers expect you to start highly motivated and organised. Getting to work late on your first day will trigger all the wrong switches in your boss' brain. Just like with your interview, make sure you know where you are starting work (if it's not the same place as your interview) and make every effort to get to work early. This means have a plan B for your transport if plan A fails, and make sure your watch or phone is working and accurate. Ask your mom or someone you live with to doublecheck that you are awake at the same time. Arriving late will mean starting work on the back foot, and you will have to fight to change negative perceptions that you triggered on day one. Watch out for... ! Don't be late for work Planning & Prioritising Planning and prioritising skills have been identified by employers as an essential capability that young people must bring to the workplace. With the rapid advances in technology in the twenty first century, workers have opportunities and requirements to multi-task more than ever before, and can be more productive than ever before, but not without learning to plan their days and prioritise their tasks. WHY? "In the modern workplace, distraction is destruction" FAQs Mike Stuart "Help! I know what tasks I need to do but I always end up wasting time with less important stuff" You may be a procrastinator (someone who delays unpleasant tasks in favour of something unimportant). There are many techniques you can use to break this habit. Find one that works for you. Each person's psychology is different, so you may need to try a few of these techniques before you find one that works for you. Deadlines, targets, interruptions, stress and distractions. All the ingredients you need for a large explosion. Fortunately with good planning and prioritising skills you can navigate these things without losing track of what needs to be done each day, and you can make sure you don't forget important things that can't be tackled just yet. Your ability to plan and prioritise is essential for your success in the workplace no matter what industry sector or occupation you work in. IN A NUTSHELL Overplaning If you try to plan and control your day too much you can end up wasting time and frustrating yourself. Every day there will be unplanned and unplannable incidents that you have to squeeze into your schedule without time to think much about it. Too much planning can stress you out, make you grumpy with coworkers and customers, and make you skip tasks that are actually important. Watch out for... ! Overplaning (Proverb) Creativity & Innovation The world is changing very quickly and this makes it important for businesses and their employees to be more creative and innovative than ever before. The internet was invented in 1984 and it took 15 years for it to get 50 million users. 17 years after that the internet has 2,700 million users, or 39% of the world's population. 90% of the data in the world was created in the last two years. It is not only technology that is changing rapidly, but society, the economy and the environment. The increase in divorce rates and the effect of HIV/AIDS means that only one in every three children in South Africa now lives with both parents. The economy and environment are also changing rapidly. Rapid change causes stress on people who have to deal with unexpected situations that their parents did not experience. It also causes stress on businesses. Businesses find that they have to create new products and services more quickly than ever before. Customers are more demanding now than they were before and can complain via social media channels in ways that are more effective than ever before. WHY? Creativity and innovation in a work context means your ability to find new solutions and improvements to challenges in your job. For example, if you worked in a clothing shop and noticed that the babies and toddlers clothes were far away from the mother's clothes, you might suggest putting them next to each other, because mothers are often the ones shopping for babies and toddlers. That way your shop will sell more clothes and your customers will find what they want more quickly. WHAT IS CREATIVITY? "The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes" Marcel Proust Many employers ask you to describe something creative you have done, when they interview you for a job. They say they need employees who can work creatively and innovate (improve) current business practices. Young people are often the best employees to do this because they understand the new forces shaping business, such as technological breakthroughs, social media and environmental and social responsibility. Young people are also the majority of the population in South Africa, and therefore the majority of the customers for many businesses. But creativity is not something that is always taught at schools or colleges. IN A NUTSHELL Building a CV Why don't employers just use your National Senior Certificate or your NC(V) statement of results for hiring purposes? Because employers are not just looking for clever employees, they are looking for smart employees, and smart employees don't just have qualifications, they have personalities, character, visions and dreams. Smart employees are socially active, civically engaged, proactive, agile and persistent. These are some of the qualities employers are looking for in a CV that do not necessarily reflect in a college certificate alone. WHY? CV stands for Curriculum Vitae. A "curriculum" is a course of study (like your TVET college programme) and "vitae" means life, so a CV is a document describing your lifelong learning, including classroom study and real work experience. A CV is also called a "resume". WHAT IS A CV? "Find a job you like and you add five days to the week" FAQs H. Jackson Brown, Jr "What should a good CV not consist of?" Here are some humorous quotes from actual CVs to show you how careless people can be when drafting such an important document. See if you can spot the mistakes and think how you would correct them : * "My hobbies including cooking dogs and interesting people" * "My role was to pervert unauthorised people coming on the site" * "I was responsible for dissatisfied customers" * "Duties involved processing clams" * "I am in charge of ensuring dew diligence" Clean up your social media posts Recruiters are increasingly using social media to build a picture of candidates that they are considering hiring. This is something to be aware of whenever you post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter or make any other kind of public comments. Check your privacy settings on these apps to make sure you post appropriate content for different audiences. Also remember that no matter how private your settings are, anything on the internet can be hacked and exposed. (How to delete online history). Watch out for... ! The purpose of a CV is to impress an employer so much that they want to shortlist you and interview you for a job opening. Some employers consider the CV as more important than your exam results. Your CV is not something you write once and then forget about. It expresses your continuing learning and experience throughout the course of your life and so it just gets better and better with time. Considering how important your CV is shouldn't you spend a few days or even a week creating it and improving it? And whenever you complete an important course, or gain valuable experience, make a note of it in your CV so that you can always send out the latest version to a potential employer. IN A NUTSHELL Social Media Preparing for the Interview The difference between a prepared interview and an unprepared interview is like the difference between getting dressed smartly for a date or going in your pyjamas. Compared to the amount of exam preparation and study you have done, during 12 years or more of schooling and college, the preparation for your job interviews is a small task with a potentially life-changing reward if you get hired. Unlike your exams, you can't write supps, or appeal the decision. There is no moderation of your job interview, and no "undo" button. And for each job opening there is only one person selected, unlike exams, where a percentage of everyone who writes will pass. WHY? "Job interviews are like first dates: good impressions count, awkwardness can occur, outcomes are unpredictable" FAQs "I have just got an opportunity for a job interview tomorrow and I don't have time to prepare - what do I do?" It's wonderful to have this opportunity and if it is not possible to postpone the interview, then you should do as much preparation as you can, without getting too hard on yourself if you still feel you are not ready. Part of being "work ready" is being able to handle situations that you are thrown into without preparation, so look at it as an opportunity to practise your agility and adaptability. Even if the interview is not successful it will be part of your own learning experience and growth because the more interviews you attend, the more experienced you get at being interviewed. Unknown Preparing properly for your interview will give you a boost of confidence and may make the difference between being selected or not. You have done so much work to get the interview opportunity that you owe it to yourself to be prepared for it as best you can. Don't leave your preparation to the last minute. Make sure you have finished all your preparations the day before. This is part of the work of proving that you are ready to be offered the job and are responsible enough to make a success of it. Your interviewers will almost always be able to feel whether you are prepared or not, and will be reluctant to approve a person for the job who appears at the interview not fully prepared. IN A NUTSHELL Attendance & Leave To understand why attendance is such a sore point with employers, put yourself in their shoes: they are paying you to *not be at work* every time you are late, leave early or don't pitch up. Many organisations are already working with as few people as possible, to keep salary costs down. This means each person is usually doing the job of more than one person, and so when you miss work it has a bigger impact than just one person not being there. Your absence means your co workers have to carry your load as well as their own. These days many companies also have legal agreements to deliver a product or service in a specific quantity, at a specific quality, by specific dates and times. If even one person messes up their job this could result in the company failing to meet its delivery agreements, and losing business, or failing to reach a service delivery target. WHY? "I want to hire employees who arrive late" - said no boss ever FAQs Unknown "What are the maximum working hours?" 45 normal hours per week, 10 overtime hours per week and 5 days per week. However you can agree to work up to 12 hours a day so long as you don't exceed the weekly limit on normal hours, overtime hours or days. Also if you work more than 5 days a week then you should not work more than 8 hours a day, and if you work 1 - 5 days a week you should not work more than 9 hours a day. See the Department of Labour Basic Guide to Working Hours for more detail. Many employers state that new employees are frequently absent or late for work, so this is one area where you can quickly stand out from the crowd and show your value to your employer. In modern organisations salaries are often the biggest input cost, yet many people are simply not at work for significant periods of time during the day, costing South African companies more than R10 billion a year. There are many reasons why people cannot always be at work on time, all the time, and this infographic will help you keep to a minimum your work interruptions. One of the most important things you can do is warn your employer in advance that you are not going to be at work, or will be late. It's not always possible to know in advance, but the simple fact of communicating as soon as you know you will be delayed tells your employer that you take the situation seriously and care about how it impacts them. IN A NUTSHELL There are a lot of laws dealing with attendance, leave and pay, covered by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, plus special agreements for certain occupations, for learner workers and certain economic sectors. For this reason there are some exceptions to the answers below. See the Department of Labour website for detailed information, and check with your union representative or HR department if you are not sure. Teamwork In recent years, teams have emerged as the basic building blocks of effective organisations. Teams reduce inefficient hierarchies, speed decision making, and discover improvements to customer problems more quickly. In the 1960's, a typical business unit would focus on one part of a business process (say assembly) have a manager, a supervisor and a team leader, plus ten regular employees. Nowadays it's common for a business unit to have five employees and a team leader, and to cover several parts of a business process (say assembly, manufacturing, purchasing and sales). Through technological advances and process improvements, this team does the work of five teams from a typical 1960's factory. WHY? "None of us is as smart as all of us" FAQs Ken Blanchard Teams are more effective at solving their own problems and more robust because of the different skills sets and personalities they contain. However teamwork requires more advanced interpersonal skills and a willingness to drop some of your personal boundaries to advance the team's progress. Arguments, jealousy, rivalry, and bullying are just some of the challenges a team can face, and unless these are resolved quickly, everyone in the team can suffer. Teamwork requires a paradox (seemingly conflicting ideas): the individual's well-being is as important as the team's well-being. Teams that neglect individuals fall apart, but individuals within a team who neglect the team end up falling behind. Perhaps this is a modern rediscovery of the saying, "All for one and one for all?" IN A NUTSHELL "There are some people in our team who are wrecking it by their behaviour. What can I do about it?" Naming the negative behaviour can help to make everyone aware of it. The kinds of destructive behaviour that teams often get into include conflict, withdrawal, monopolising and scape-goating. Conflict is an issue we have looked at already (page 91). Withdrawal is a common behaviour where a person just refuses to participate in the team. A good team will be a safe environment for introverted (shy) people to open up more, and will not force people to participate. Some personality types contribute less than others, but their contributions are very powerful when they happen. A good team respects the individuality of each contribution. Monopolising is a destructive behaviour where one or two team members are so active that other team members can't make a contribution, or are forced to contribute in limited ways only. Scapegoating is where the group blames an individual member for its failure to achieve something, instead of recognising that the failure is the group's responsibility. You can read up more about these behaviours and how to respond to them here. Personal B FOREWORD 3 NOTE TO READERS 4 TO COLLEGE STAFF 4 TO STUDENTS 4 THE JOB SEARCH JOURNEY 8 THE WORK READINESS TOOLKIT 9 PERSONAL MASTERY 10 ATTITUDE 10 CREATIVITY & INNOVATION 15 PERSONAL BRAND 20 JOB SEARCH 25 CHOOSING JOBS TO SEARCH FOR 25 BUILDING YOUR CV 27 WHERE TO SEARCH 32 JOB INTERVIEW 36 JOB INTERVIEW RESEARCH 36 PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW 41 AFTER THE INTERVIEW 46 WORK READINESS GUIDE BOOK 6 JOB ORIENTATION 51 YOUR FIRST DAY 51 ATTENDANCE & LEAVE 57 PERFORMANCE 63 ENTITLEMENT AND EXPECTATIONS 68 SKILLS 72 ENGLISH FOR THE WORKPLACE 72 CAREER 78 COMMUNICATION 84 CONFLICT 91 PLANNING & PRIORITISING 97 TEAM WORK 104 TECHNOLOGY 110 EMAIL 116 OUR STORIES 120 CONTACT DETAILS 127 IKUSASA LAMI FIRST EDITION 7 TABLE OF CONTENTS The Job Search Journey Personal Mastery Skills Job Search Job Interview Job Orient- ation (fitting in) (being your own boss) Have a look below at the cycle of five steps involved in searching for your desired job. Note that Personal Mastery is the starting point for your job search journey, and the foundation of all other skills you will need. Also note that you may have to make more than one cycle through the job search journey as you learn more about what is required in the workplace, and build additional skills in your profile. WORK READINESS GUIDE BOOK 8 TABLE OF CONTENTS Personal Mastery Job Search Job Interview Job Orientation Skills English for the Workplace - page 72 Career - page 78 Communication - page 84 Conflict - page 91 Planning & Prioritising - page 97 Team Work - page 104 Technology - page 110 Email - page 116 Entitlement and Expectations - page 68 Performance - page 63 Attendance & Leave - page 57 Your First Day - page 51 Job Interview Research - page 36 Preparing for the Interview - page 41 After the Interview - page 46 Choosing Jobs to Search For - page 25 Building Your CV - page 27 Where to Search - page 32 Attitude - page 10 Creativity & Innovation - page 15 Personal Brand - page 20 The Work Readiness Toolkit Personal Mastery Job Orientation Skills Job Search Job Interview " One does not cross a river without getting wet Zulu Proverb " 9 Attitude An older person might think your behaviour reflects a bad attitude, whereas they are actually just misunderstanding the intention of your actions. In the workplace, your supervisors and managers (i.e. your "bosses") will almost always be older than you, since you have only recently graduated from college. Sociologists study the differences between generations which they call "social generations". People born between the 1940's and the 1960's are called "Baby Boomers" (find out why). Your generation is referred to as "Millennials" (born between early 1980's and early 2000's). The next generation is referred to as "Generation Z", (born between from the early 2000's onwards). WHY? "Attitude", in this context, refers to your emotional approach and commitment to your work. A "good" attitude is generally shown by sincerity, alertness, care, perseverance and a willingness to overcome obstacles. A "bad" attitude is shown by a lack of concern for work quality or quantity, rude communication or behaviour, sloppiness, and giving up at the first sign of difficulty in a task. WHAT IS ATTITUDE? "A bad attitude is like a flat tyre. If you don't change it, you won't go anywhere." FAQs Anonymous Attitude is often top of the list of what employers are looking for in new entrants to the workforce. Does this mean that many students have a poor attitude to work? Probably not. "Attitude" means different things to different people. The older generation (bosses) may be misunderstanding actions and words by the younger generation. They may also not "get" the different approach to work which youth around the world have. Young people want to work "smarter", whereas the older generation value those who "work hard". Understanding how other people interpret "attitude", and being sensitive to your actions and words, can help you avoid misunderstanding, and succeed at your first job. IN A NUTSHELL "How do I know if I have a bad attitude, or if it's just my boss misunderstanding me?" Being aware of your emotional state at all times will help you tell the difference. If you are feeling positive about yourself, your day and your work, and your boss accuses you of a bad attitude, it's likely that he or she has misunderstood you. However if you cannot be sure of your emotional state, then you won't know for sure if their accusation is true or not. To become more aware of your emotional state, see the To Do List. 10 FAQs "I have a lousy attitude all day, but it's not my job causing it" You may have had some bad experiences in the past, or be worrying about bad experiences in the future, and this could be causing you to have a negative attitude at work. Try to deal with this challenge because it may negatively impact your work. Sometimes just talking to a close friend about your experiences can help you move on. Other times talking to an older person you trust, a pastor, counsellor or psychologist will be necessary. If you find your attitude is upsetting people at work it's ok to say something like this: "I am aware of my problem and I am getting counselling to help me. Please be patient with me." Saying nothing may just make your work situation worse, because people will not understand your attitude. TO DO LISTS Understand generational differences Read the Wikipedia articles on Millennials and Baby Boomers. Make a list of the differences between your parent's generation and your generation. In the columns include headings like "Speech, Body language, Dress, Diet, Technology, Emotions". Fill in the list to see how these generations are different. Share the list with a person from your parent's generation, and a friend, and see if they agree with your list of differences. "I do have a bad attitude because I hate my job!" There are few employees who never experience hating their job :D This may be especially true if you have just started working, or if you have just moved to a new part of the company, or been given a new boss or co-workers. In that case your feelings may change as you settle-in. If you find yourself still hating your job consistently for more than a month then there is probably something wrong. Here are some steps you can follow: (1) Try to work out what is causing you to hate your job. (2) If a person or task is making you hate your job it can sometimes help to talk to co-workers first and see how they are able to manage the same task or person without getting upset (3) If co-workers can't help you it's time to talk to your team-leader, supervisor or manager (4) Phrase your request for help something like this, "Please can you help me with [this person or this task]. I am struggling to enjoy my work because of [him or her or it], and I really want to do my best at this job. Is there anything you can suggest to help me?" (5) Don't expect an immediate solution. It may take time to get the help you need and your boss may expect you to swallow your attitude and try harder for a while. However good bosses know that they don't get the best performance from people who are not enjoying a specific task or work environment, and they will try to change your situation as a result The Development Bank of South Africa did research to understand how a person's first job helps them to stay employed later in life. They found that if young people are able to hold down a first job for at least a year, their chances of being employed the rest of their life was 85%. This suggests that you should put special effort into holding down a job for at least a year, even if it's not your dream job, and even if it's tough and doesn't pay well. Your record of employment at the job can go on your CV and you can put your boss as a reference for other potential employers to contact. 11 Links This is a detailed guide on emotional intelligence and how to develop it Stress management is an important part of keeping a good work attitude. Check out these apps that help you de-stress. If you don't have a smart- phone, try using a stress ball or breathing exercises to reduce your stress levels. Exercise is another great way to reduce stress and promote your health at the same time. Walking (infographic) is a great way to de-stress. Humans are not meant to sit for long periods of time as many of us do in our workplaces. Use your lunch-hour or tea-breaks to move around. Get into the habit of inspiring yourself on a daily basis. A personal journal can help you to see how you are slowly making progress in your life. Here and here are two good links for starting a personal journal. Inspirational quotes can also give you a boost when you need it. Tumblr and Instagram are great sources of inspirational quotes. Create a Scrapbook with your favourite inspirational quotes and use it to boost your mental immune system when you feel yourself coming down with negativity. Often the way we talk and think about ourselves is the source of our negativity. Some people enjoy using positive affirmations to turn that around. Some points to consider when you hate your job. Understand emotional intelligence Self-awareness knowing your own emotions and how they effect your behaviour Self-management being able to manage your emotions in a healthy way Social awareness recognising and understanding the emotional states and needs of others Relationship management being able to relate to individuals and teams in a healthy way TO DO LISTS Emotional intelligence is "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously (with clear judgement) and empathetically (with feeling)." Develop emotional intelligence so that you can know if someone is right or not when they tell you that you have a bad attitude. Emotional intelligence is also referred to as EQ (Emotional Quotient) and it is seen as important alongside IQ (Intelligence Quotient). The four skills sets of emotional intelligence are: Understand how what you eat affects how you feel If you have a bad attitude, it may not only be caused by negative thinking or bad experiences. The food you are eating can affect your body chemistry and your body chemistry can affect your emotional state. Keep a daily journal. Record what you eat each day, and record your emotional state (e.g. happy, sad, anxious, guilty, regretful, bored). After a month look back at your journal and see if you can find a pattern between what you eat and how you feel. See this article for some suggestions on foods that can affect your emotions. The four most common emotional traps in the workplace Passivity: agreeing with everything said but not acting on it Manipulation: controlling other people emotionally for selfish gain Bullying: being mean or cruel to people to make yourself feel better Drama: focusing large amounts of energy and attention on things that are not actually that important, including gossiping and excessive complaining Watch out for... ! IQ 12 Understanding cultural differences Make a list of the differences between your culture and other cultures. In the columns include headings like "Speech, Body language, Dress, Diet, Technology, Emotions" PLUS "traditions & cultural practices", and "malefemale relationships". Fill in the list to see how these generations are different. Share the list with a person from another culture, and a friend, and see if they agree with your list of differences. My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: How is emotional intelligence affecting your life at the moment? What lessons have you learned about attitude that you can take into the workplace with you? How would you rate your overall emotional intelligence at this point in time (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to the four skill sets of emotional intelligence by referring to examples in your own life. How does your emotional intelligence affect your attitude in the workplace? 13 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 14 Creativity & Innovation The world is changing very quickly and this makes it important for businesses and their employees to be more creative and innovative than ever before. The internet was invented in 1984 and it took 15 years for it to get 50 million users. 17 years after that the internet has 2,700 million users, or 39% of the world's population. 90% of the data in the world was created in the last two years. It is not only technology that is changing rapidly, but society, the economy and the environment. The increase in divorce rates and the effect of HIV/AIDS means that only one in every three children in South Africa now lives with both parents. The economy and environment are also changing rapidly. Rapid change causes stress on people who have to deal with unexpected situations that their parents did not experience. It also causes stress on businesses. Businesses find that they have to create new products and services more quickly than ever before. Customers are more demanding now than they were before and can complain via social media channels in ways that are more effective than ever before. WHY? Creativity and innovation in a work context means your ability to find new solutions and improvements to challenges in your job. For example, if you worked in a clothing shop and noticed that the babies and toddlers clothes were far away from the mother's clothes, you might suggest putting them next to each other, because mothers are often the ones shopping for babies and toddlers. That way your shop will sell more clothes and your customers will find what they want more quickly. WHAT IS CREATIVITY? "The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes" Marcel Proust Many employers ask you to describe something creative you have done, when they interview you for a job. They say they need employees who can work creatively and innovate (improve) current business practices. Young people are often the best employees to do this because they understand the new forces shaping business, such as technological breakthroughs, social media and environmental and social responsibility. Young people are also the majority of the population in South Africa, and therefore the majority of the customers for many businesses. But creativity is not something that is always taught at schools or colleges. IN A NUTSHELL 15 Fear of failure Creativity is fueled by support from others and your first successes. If you have had bad experiences with being creative in the past, or if others have given you a hard time with criticisms and judgements, it can cramp your creative style. To help yourself get beyond this, start with small projects and build up slowly. Each success will give you more confidence to try the next more difficult project. Also keep a record of your creativity projects, like a scrapbook. Record your successes and failures. Next to your failures, write what you learned from them. Watch out for... ! Develop your creativity Start a Creativity Journal or Scrapbook Every day reflect for 10 minutes on what you did and make a note of anything creative you or someone-else did. After a month, start writing down creative challenges at night before you sleep, at the back of the book. A creative challenge could be anything you want to make, solve, fix or express. Read these when you reflect on your day as in Step 2 and make a note of any solutions or creative ideas that start to come to you Make a list of people you think are creative at the back of the book, and explain why Research these people and identify at least one behaviour, activity or discipline these people do which may explain why they are so creative If you get a chance to interview these people do so, and ask them how they get creative, and what their secret to success is After about two months, offer to teach someone younger than you what you have learned about creativity. By teaching them you will strengthen your own understanding and confidence about creativity. You may even learn new things and see new perspectives through this. Showing them your creativity journal may help them build their own creativity Your journal or scrapbook may just be a useful experiment for a month or two, or you may keep it going the rest of your life. Either way you will be able to talk about your creative experience in any job interview. TO DO LISTS Fear of Failure Make sure you understand what creativity is first. Building a CV Personal brand Team work SEE ALSO You can copy a result but not the creativity Unknown 16 LinksThis infographic shows how rapidly the internet has exploded, and how companies that were not innovative are now "extinct" Discover what a mind-map is and how you can use one to creatively solve problems "Hackers" are not just computer geeks who create viruses. A "hacker" is anyone who finds a better way of making things work. Watch this video of a 13 year old boy who is "hacking" his schooling to make it more interesting and relevant. How would you hack the educational system to make it better for your children? A Google Search of "how to increase your creativity" yields over 29,3 million results. Browse some of these and share the best one with a friend. FAQs What is the difference between creativity and innovation? Creativity refers to the process of coming up with new responses to any kind of challenge or to express your desires and intentions. Artists often talk about the "creative process" which enables them to think of new approaches and perspectives. Inventors also use the creative process to imagine better products and technologies. The creative process can also be used to develop new business services, or radically improve existing ones. Imagination and curiosity are important parts of the creative process. Innovation is the development of original approaches and solutions to challenges we already face in the world. It is used often in science and technology situations, as well as in business. Creativity is a requirement for innovation. Both creativity and innovation are increasingly viewed as team or group processes because complex challenges often require experts from more than one field to collaborate. TO DO LISTS Research Design Thinking This is a new approach to problem solving which is being used in some businesses. This Wikipedia article provides a good introduction and this video explains how Design Thinking works. Reflect on how Design Thinking could solve a problem your family, college or community is experiencing Gather together a group of people who are interested in solving the problem Explain to them how Design Thinking works Then apply the process and see how far you can get in solving the problem Make sure to mention your experience in your CV The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt Sylvia Plath 17 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about Creativity & Innovation that you can apply to your life now? What lessons have you learned about Creativity & Innovation that you can take into the workplace with you? How would you rate your overall creativity and ability to innovate (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to (a) your creativity and (b) design thinking ability by referring to specific examples in your own life. How will creativity and innovation improve your performance in the workplace? 18 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 19 Personal Brand WHY? A brand is the set of ideas, feelings, emotions and attitudes people attached to an organisation, product, or person. For example, the Vodacom brand is projected as a fun to use, exciting brand. By sponsoring major sports events, Vodacom builds this brand over time, and strengthens this association in people's minds. WHAT IS A BRAND? "Be yourself, because everyone else is taken" FAQs "Is my personal brand the same as my reputation?" "Reputation" is related to your personal brand, but whereas "reputation" refers to how people see you, "personal brand" refers to how you actively affect the way people see you. A personal brand is the set of ideas, feelings, emotions and attitudes that people identify with a specific person, rather than an organisation or product. For example the South African singer Lira has a personal brand that is distinct from other popular celebrities, and expresses a more authentic, more African, and less commercial identity. Your personal brand is something you can become aware of, improve and strengthen over time. While you may work in many different organisations, your personal brand follows you wherever you go and is an important part of your ability to succeed at work. IN A NUTSHELL Oscar Wilde 20 Building a fake brand may be tempting but it can backfire badly on you. For example, if you are naturally a shy person who does not like speaking in public, it may be difficult to build a brand that includes the words "talkative" or "vivacious". When choosing how to build your brand, try to be as authentic (true) as possible. At the same time try to see yourself in the best possible light, in other words, see the good in yourself that may not always be visible to others. People can be quite harsh on themselves when describing their current personal brands. That is why it helps to get the opinion of other people we trust when we work on our personal brand. They can see positive aspects of our personalities which we may not see as clearly. If you are working to improve a specific quality in yourself, don't stop, but perhaps leave it out of your personal brand statement until you are confident you have cracked it. For example if you are naturally quite shy and reserved, work on becoming more talkative and outgoing, but leave this out of your personal brand until you can objectively confirm that you have made progress. Watch out for... ! Discovering your current brand Everybody already has a personal brand, whether good or bad, strong or weak. Do you know what your personal brand is? Write down a list of words that you think describe your personal brand (e.g. friendly, fun, care-free, sociable) Now ask one of your friends to write down a list of words that describe how they see you. Then ask one of your neighbours to do the same thing. Then someone from your family How similar are the lists of words to the list you wrote about yourself? How differently do friends, neighbours and family members see you, compared to each other? To get a more accurate idea of your current brand, ask more people for feedback TO DO LISTS Faking your brand Should I use social media to build my personal brand? Social media can publicly represent your personal brand to potential employers, supporters or influential peers, at virtually no cost. Some social media platforms, like Twitter, are by default 100% public. Be careful what you share on them because what seems hilarious to you at 11 pm on a Saturday night may not be viewed in the same way by a potential employer at 8 am on a Monday morning. Before you start using a social media platform, read their Help pages to check how you can delete a post. Despite the dangers of public posts, your Tweets, Shout-outs, Likes, Posts and Comments can also communicate your personal brand effectively to a very wide audience. FAQs If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll do business with you Zig Ziglar FA KE 21 Links Forbes article on building a personal brand Check out these infographics on personal brands. Post the best ones to your favourite social media platform with #PersonalBrand Check out this 4 minute video by William Arruda on "How NOT to Build Your Personal Brand" The Personal Branding Blog - http://www.thepersonalbrandingblog.co m/ - has several tips and articles focused on different aspects of personal branding The Personal Branding TV website - http://www.personalbranding.tv/ - has radio interviews and video presentations on many different aspects of branding yourself The Complete Guide to Building Your Online Brand - this is a detailed online book with a lot of useful information. If the link is broken, try this Google Search to find it An infographic on what recruitment managers find out about potential employees via their social media posts Creating a new brand Once you have discovered what your current brand looks like, you can choose if you need to strengthen it or change it To do this, make a list of the words that describe the kind of brand you would like to create for yourself, we will call this your "future brand" Compare your "future brand" with the responses people gave you when you asked them to describe how they see you The difference between your future brand and how people see you shows you how much work you have ahead of you in order to change or strengthen your brand Identify the top two words that are in your future brand and work on these first Write a list of the kind of things you associate with the top two words, under headings like Clothing, Behaviour, Speech, Pose, etc. We will call this your "brand toolbox" Your task now is to train yourself to adopt (or strengthen) the kind of behaviours, ways of dressing, walking, speaking etc, that match your future brand Some of these new behaviours may be expensive to adopt. For example if your future brand includes the word "stylish", you may need to buy new clothes to strengthen that aspect of your personal brand. If you can't afford to buy new clothes, you may need to work on other areas of your brand toolbox, or just buy one item of new stylish clothing whenever you can afford to Give yourself a month at this exercise, then ask another group of people to make a list of words that describe you. Compare this list with the one you made at the start of the exercise. Has anything changed? Have some aspects of your personal brand become stronger, or weaker? The results can guide you and hopefully encourage you in building an even stronger brand TO DO LISTS how you look + how you speak + how you act = your personal brand Lisa Marie Jenkins 22 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about your Personal Brand that you can apply to your life now? What lessons have you learned about your Personal Brand that you can take into the workplace with you? How would you rate your overall Personal Brand (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) dress code, b) language use and c) general behaviour by referring to specific examples in your own life. What do you need to change about your current Personal Brand with respect to your a) dress code, b) language use and c) general behaviour to strengthen your readiness for the workplace? 23 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 24 Choosing Jobs to Search For If you limit yourself too much when job searching, you may exclude jobs that could benefit you in ways you do not yet see. You can limit yourself by being too "picky" and by being too narrow in your searching, by searching for example only for jobs in the same field that you studied. The Development Bank of South Africa did research to understand how a person's first job helps them to stay employed later in life. They found that if young people are able to hold down a first job for at least a year, their chances of being employed the rest of their life was 85%. This suggests that it is better to keep your first job for at least a year, even if it's not your dream job, and even if it's tough and doesn't pay well. Your record of employment at the job can go on your CV and you can put your boss as a reference for other potential employers to contact. The experience you learn in this first job can make a big difference in keeping the more attractive jobs you land in future. A job candidate who has a year's experience with good references at a single company is sometimes more attractive to an employer than a candidate who has had several jobs over the year, and left all of them after a few months. WHY? "Look before you leap" FAQs "What else should I be looking for in a job, other than a good salary?" Salary (remuneration) is very important. However you should be open-minded about the jobs you are searching for as young people can restrict their career development by seeking only the best paid jobs available. To make a good job selection you need to consider many things: (1) meeting minimum requirements for the job (2) costs involved in doing the job (e.g. transport, accommodation, clothing) (3) how this job helps you get a future, better job (4) opportunities for training, education or experience (5) opportunities for promotion (6) the quality of the work environment (7) benefits not related to salary, and of course (8) the salary offered Anonymous Job scams These are jobs advertised with huge salaries or other "too good to be true" offers which turn out to be illegal. Job Scams advertise huge salaries for what seems like little or no work. Some scams require you to pay a "registration" fee after which the scammer disappears or you find out the job is actually less attractive than was advertised. Other scams get personal information from you, and then use that to commit fraud in your name, making you responsible. Report a Crime - http://www.reportacrime.co.za - offers a service where you can report such scams, and also search to see if a suspected scam is listed there. See Job Mail (http://www.jobmail.co.za/avoidscams) for a list of common job scams and tips to avoid them. Watch out for... ! Good job research is the first step in getting yourself good employment. Its also part of building a valuable skill for yourself - Job Searching - which can help you many times ahead in your future. The objective of job search is to get a job interview with an employer. Job search consists of many different steps, but this article focuses on the groups of jobs (occupations) you are considering. Many first time work seekers have a narrow set of jobs in mind, and this excludes them from opportunities that other kinds of work could offer them. Remember that your first job does not need to be your last job, so don't be too fussy. At the same time you will be spending about 40 hours every week at your job, so it must be something that you connect to on a personal level. IN A NUTSHELL Job scams 25 Jobs in the big cities Jobs in the big cities can offer higher salaries than those closer to where you live. However the cost of living is also higher in the big cities, so the actual money you earn after your expenses will be less than it looks. Do your job research properly to avoid making expensive mistakes. Check the cost of accommodation, the cost of transport, the cost of creche or pre-school (if you have children), the crime levels in the area, and any other information that relates to your cost of living. Factor all of these hidden costs into your decision about where to work. Watch out for... ! Create a job search plan This article has looked at one aspect of job searching - the selection of occupations to search for. Job searching involves many other tasks. Review the key elements of a successful job search here. Understand different types of work Permanent jobs have an employment contract that gives you more job protection and more benefits than other types of work Temping is short term work assignments with less job protection but more opportunities to get exposure to different working environments. You might earn more per hour than a permanent employee, but have less or no job benefits. Contracting is like temping but for longer periods of time with specific responsibilities or benefits built into the contract. The challenge is what to do when your contract ends, and you have to start looking for more work. Internships can be paid or unpaid and can help you get valuable work experience for your CV. Most internships at least cover the cost of your transport. Learnerships are combined theory and work experience qualifications. On successful completion you earn a qualification plus you have work experience to show on your CV. Apprenticeships enable you to complete work experience needed before you can write your trade test to become an artisan. You typically earn less than an artisan but get the benefit of coaching and mentoring from more experienced workers Volunteering can help you build networks with potential employers and co-workers, add experience to your CV, and add to your skills. Volunteering is unpaid work but sometimes includes free training. TO DO LISTS Understand occupations There are over 1,200 distinct occupations in the South African economy. Visit the National Career Advice Portal - http://ncap.careerhelp.org.za/ - and click on "Occupations" to learn more about what is involved in each of them. Which of the following types of work are you considering? Each has different drawbacks and benefits: Employers can get government incentives and BEE points for hiring interns, apprentices and learnership candidates. Tax incentives also apply to learnerships and the employment of youth aged between 18 and 29 years of age (see the Employment Tax Incentive). Use a decision matrix It can be a tough decision to choose between occupations that are different and offer you different benefits. A decision matrix can help you weigh up different occupations to see which one may be best for you. Jobs in the big cities Links What to look for in a job besides salary (infographic) Kheta - http://www.careerhelp.org.za/ - is the largest career portal for South Africans and it lists different kinds of career advice centres you can get help from. You can contact their helpline on 086 999 0123 or send an SMS to 0722 045 056. Their Twitter handle is @sacareerhelp and their Facebook address is http://www.facebook.com/careerhelp The National Career Advice Portal - http://ncap.careerhelp.org.za/ - has a career guidance questionnaire you can take for free to help you think more clearly about career choices UNISA has career counselling resources here that are relevant for TVET and university students The document "8 Ways to Do Career Research" has more detailed help including how to conduct interviews with people in jobs that interest you My Next Move is an international interest profiler that helps you with career choices Go Study and CareerPlanet are South African websites with career questionnaires and assistance as well as information on occupations 26 Building a CV Why don't employers just use your National Senior Certificate or your NC(V) statement of results for hiring purposes? Because employers are not just looking for clever employees, they are looking for smart employees, and smart employees don't just have qualifications, they have personalities, character, visions and dreams. Smart employees are socially active, civically engaged, proactive, agile and persistent. These are some of the qualities employers are looking for in a CV that do not necessarily reflect in a college certificate alone. WHY? CV stands for Curriculum Vitae. A "curriculum" is a course of study (like your TVET college programme) and "vitae" means life, so a CV is a document describing your lifelong learning, including classroom study and real work experience. A CV is also called a "resume". WHAT IS A CV? "Find a job you like and you add five days to the week" FAQs H. Jackson Brown, Jr "What should a good CV not consist of?" Here are some humorous quotes from actual CVs to show you how careless people can be when drafting such an important document. See if you can spot the mistakes and think how you would correct them : * "My hobbies including cooking dogs and interesting people" * "My role was to pervert unauthorised people coming on the site" * "I was responsible for dissatisfied customers" * "Duties involved processing clams" * "I am in charge of ensuring dew diligence" Clean up your social media posts Recruiters are increasingly using social media to build a picture of candidates that they are considering hiring. This is something to be aware of whenever you post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter or make any other kind of public comments. Check your privacy settings on these apps to make sure you post appropriate content for different audiences. Also remember that no matter how private your settings are, anything on the internet can be hacked and exposed. (How to delete online history). Watch out for... ! The purpose of a CV is to impress an employer so much that they want to shortlist you and interview you for a job opening. Some employers consider the CV as more important than your exam results. Your CV is not something you write once and then forget about. It expresses your continuing learning and experience throughout the course of your life and so it just gets better and better with time. Considering how important your CV is shouldn't you spend a few days or even a week creating it and improving it? And whenever you complete an important course, or gain valuable experience, make a note of it in your CV so that you can always send out the latest version to a potential employer. IN A NUTSHELL Social Media 27 If you haven't already created a CV, create one See the "Links" section below for templates and CV builders that can help you. If you don't have access to a computer or Word Processor then make use of the NYDA, Department of Labour, or Thusong Service Centres to draft a CV. Some internet cafes will also be able to do this for you. If you already have a CV then see if you can improve it Use the information on these two pages to see if you can improve your CV. Then ask someone you trust, who is an employer (preferably a manager) to read your CV and suggest ways you can improve it. If you are not sure about their suggestions try to get more opinions. TO DO LISTS "What should a good CV consist of?" CV formatting and headings vary a lot. Check the CV templates and samples in the "Links" section below and select one that makes you look the best. If you are not sure create more than one CV formatted according to the different templates and ask some people who are employed which one they think works best, and why they think so. Employers are aware that there is no official CV format prescribed and will not judge your CV on the basis of conformity, but on the basis of completeness. These are important headings to have in your CV: (1) Your contact details (name, cell number, email) - see the section "Email" if you don't yet have an email. (2) Important personal information including your age, if you have a driver's license, (3) Your educational achievements (primary school, high school, college). Include the years you were at each institution (e.g. 2013 - 2015 Mnambithi TVET College) as well as the name of your learning programme (e.g. Grade 12 or National Certificate (Vocational): Engineering Level 3). (4) Any important extra-mural activities while you were at those institutions (e.g. SRC Secretary, sports captain) along with details (e.g. Helped to restructure the SRC committees to function more effectively). This information helps the employer to understand your personality, your interests and your potential. (5) Skills that you have which are not necessarily from long courses (e.g. computer skills, languages, safety skills) or soft skills (e.g. negotiation, bookkeeping, operating a till). (6) Any work experience you have gained so far. You can include Workplace Based Exposure or Work Integrated Learning that may have taken place via your college, or internship and volunteering experiences. Give the name of the organisation, the dates when you were there, and describe your tasks and responsibilities. Highlight any positive contribution you made to the organisation. State why you left an organisation (e.g. received opportunity for internship). (7) References. These are names and contact details of people who can confirm questions about who you are and what kind of an employee you could be. (8) Your CV should be about two pages long (9) Finally check your CV for spelling and typing errors. Ask someone who is good at English to double-check for you. Be aware that your employer may ask you to prove the information you put in your CV, so have copies of your certificates, reports and other documents available. There is no need to send them with your CV unless the employer has specifically requested copies of these documents. Never send the originals as you may not get them back. Send copies or, if requested to do so, send certified copies. See the section "Preparing for the Interview" to learn more about information your employer is legally allowed to ask you for. FAQs Links A CV template available from the Kheta website and many sample CVs from Quintessential Careers. Notice the variety in formats. The Kheta CV template is more commonly used in South Africa but US based employers may be familiar with the other formats as well. Employers are aware that there is no official CV format prescribed and will not judge your CV on the basis of conformity, but on the basis of completeness LiveCareer.com has a resume (CV) builder that helps you build a CV step by step Hundreds of resources for building a CV at the Quintessential Careers website. Note that because this is a US website some of its information follows different conventions from what you may be used to. Read this debate about whether qualifications or experience are more valuable on a CV so that you can understand how some people view experience This video from a recruitment specialist talks about building a CV when you have just graduated from college and don't have experience to put in it, and this video is recruitment managers discussing common mistakes they have seen on CVs (called "resumes" here). The RecruitmentGuy YouTube Channel has interviews with people from different occupations who explain what their work is like, interview tips, CV tips and job hunting tips. He also has videos for employers giving them recruitment tips which will help you understand what employers are looking for in new talent. 28 "My friends lie in their CVs. Will they get found out?" Lying on your CV is like putting a bomb under your bed. You don't know when it will explode but when it does you will either lose your bed, or your bed and the person who sleeps on it. Employers have developed very sophisticated ways to detect CV fraud and they blacklist applicants whom they know have submitted fake information on their CVs. Employers can verify your educational achievements via SAQA's National Learner Record Database - http://verisearch.octoplus.co.za/. They can also contact references on your CV and cross-check the quality of the references. You may have met some individuals who get away with this for a while but it's a dangerous practice that can lead to loss of life (when someone unqualified is appointed to a post) and career destruction (when the truth comes out). However it is important to show your best side in your CV. This is not referring to inventing false information about yourself but rather highlighting or emphasising your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Sometimes this means leaving out negative information about yourself (not lying), for example leaving out a short course that you failed. However if your employer questions you on information that is not in your CV you have an ethical responsibility to answer truthfully. FAQs TO DO LISTS Try to email it directly to a person at the employer (e.g. Thami@jdgroup.co.za), rather than a general email address such as info@jdgroup.co.za. Write a cover note to the email which is unique each time. This can be hard to do unless you know something about the employer. Perhaps you see a news article about JD Group, and perhaps your family has bought furniture there before. This can be something you mention in the cover note. For example, "Hi Thami. Congratulations on winning the prize for the most improved business in Newcastle. My family has bought furniture from JD Group for ten years, and we are still using it somewhere in the family." Your cover note should also make a clear link between you personally and your application for work. For example, "I have recently graduated from Majuba TVET college and have decided to stay in Newcastle and build my community, rather than migrate with the flocks to Joburg. However I am an ambitious and energetic young man and will not be content working for any employer in this town other than JD Group. I didn't arrive at this decision quickly. I have been researching JD Group and interviewing current and past employees to make sure of my choice." This makes your email different from a "casual" job seeker who is just trying his or her luck. Finish the cover note with a commitment to follow-up on the email so that the reader will think twice before just discarding it. For example, "Please review my CV to confirm that it fits the profile of new talent you are seeking to attract to your company. I will call you next week to answer any questions you have and discuss my application further." The cover note addressed to a real person, customised to their organisation and explaining your connection to them makes it harder for the person to just trash your email immediately. The commitment to follow-up next week makes it more likely they will read your CV and respond. Check here for more help with cover notes. Keep a list of everyone you have emailed, their name and a contact number (available from their company website), as well as any commitments you have made to follow-up with a call. Keeping to your commitment to phone back is already a sign that you are reliable. Don't be disappointed if you get declined. Employers are impressed by those who respond to negative news with optimism and perseverance. It may have nothing to do with the quality of your CV, it could just be because the organisation is not hiring new employees at the moment. If your CV has made an impression it will be stored for a time when the company is hiring again. Telling the employer that you are disappointed and sounding negative is only likely to leave a negative impression with them. Review the section in this book on "Attitude" and "Manage your Expectations" to help keep yourself motivated. Once your CV is as good as you can make it, send it out to potential employers. See the previous sections "Choosing Jobs to Search For" and "Where to Search" for help with this step. It's important to not just send out a blank email with your CV attached. The chance of getting a response, or even of getting the CV read is very small because there is nothing to indicate on the email that your CV is relevant to the person receiving it. So to customise your email do the following: Send your CV out frequently and with a customised cover note Pay for help services There are companies and websites that will charge you to help you build a professional CV, write a LinkedIn profile, and train you in interviewing skills. Some of these companies will review your current CV for free. It can cost R600 or more to get professional help writing your CV. Before you spend money on these services, check if you have already made use of the Exit Support services at your TVET college, your family and your community. If you decide to use a pay for help service, speak to friends and family who have used a service before that they can recommend, so that you can avoid scams. Watch out for... ! Pay for help services 29 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about building a CV that will help you find a job? How would you rate your current CV? (Good Fair Poor) Motivate your rating in relation to the a) format and template (readability) used and b) skills (all types) and related experience listed by referring to specific examples in your own life. What do you need to strengthen about your CV to improve your chances to enter the workplace? 30 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 31 Where to Search The world economy is currently shrinking. This puts pressure on job growth in all countries. As a result there are many more work seekers than job openings in South Africa at the moment. About 36% of young people between the ages of 15 - 35 are unemployed. This means you will be competing with many other people for the same position. However you can improve your chances of finding work by increasing the number of search channels you open up, and increasing the quality of your CV and interview skills. WHY? "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you" FAQs See the "Links" section in this infographic for more options: * Traditional searches * Your TVET college (Student Support Services) Department of Labour Centres (register on their work seeker database) National Youth Development Agency offices Thusong Service Centres Provincial initiatives for youth work seekers such as Vulindlel' eJozi (Gauteng) Government buildings such as libraries, municipal centres, community centres and provincial departments The jobs section in your local and national newspapers Recruitment, staffing and temporary employment services agencies (check to make sure they are registered with the Department of Labour) Visit a career or jobs exhibition or fair to talk to people from specific industries and organisations and find out more about what working in this environments is like * Online searching * Job search engines and networking sites (see "Links") Career pages on company websites (usually labeled "Careers" in the main menu) Emailing your CV directly to potential employers * Networking * Any event where you meet people who are employed can turn out to be a successful job search. This includes church, community meetings, charity events, queues, visits to the clinic etc. Anyone who is employed could let you know about an opportunity. This includes your parents' friends, neighbours and relatives. Start a conversation with them. Even if they don't know of any opportunities, ask them how they found their first job so that you can get ideas for yourself. Stay connected with your college friends and find out how and where they are getting jobs. Matthew 7:7 Don't rely exclusively on the internet The internet can give you a false sense of achievement because you can send out so many CV's and reply to so many job posts. However everyone else is doing the same thing. The internet is only one of several channels you should use for job search. Watch out for... ! Job search in the old days used to mean writing letters to the HR departments of employers, and reading job advertisements in the newspapers. All this has changed. Job search is now a lot easier, and a lot harder! While it's a lot easier now type a job into a job search engine and click "SEARCH", employers expect a lot more in a job application, and they have thousands of job seekers to choose from. Understanding the many different places you can search for jobs can make your search more effective. IN A NUTSHELL Relying on the internet Don't expect to get your first job immediately You may be lucky but don't depend on luck. Rather have a job plan- which allows you some months to search for work, and be prepared to apply to hundreds of jobs and attend many interviews before you get a good job offer that matches your realistic expectations. Keep a personal journal of your job seeking which counts how many jobs you have applied for and how many people you have sent your CV to. Also count how many interviews you have been to. You can use this journal to set targets every month. Watch out for... ! 32 Upload your CV to job search engines There are eight large job search engines serving South Africa, and many more international ones (see the "Links" section later). Some of these sites are simple listings of jobs by region or type of occupation. Other sites (such as Career Junction and PNet) allow you to load your CV onto the site so that employers can search a CV database for candidates that meet their requirements for a specific job opening. When loading your CV think about how you can make it unique as it will be one of thousands of CVs on the database. For help see "Building your CV" later in this booklet. The difference between job seekers who find work and those who don't is often motivation and persistence. Motivated job seekers don't give up. This is where your work on your Personal Mastery (Attitude, see page 10) pays off. Use the exercises in that section to avoid negative thinking and self-doubt. If you have a belief in God, tap into this to encourage yourself. Spend time with motivated people. Read true stories of people who persisted and never gave up, and see what you can learn from them. Monster.com has this advice for you, and The Muse has these eight inspiring stories of job finders. Use this Google Search to find more inspiring stories. TO DO LISTS Register on LinkedIn and create an attractive profile page LinkedIn is the world's largest networking portal and database of professionals. Think of it as the Facebook for the working world. It has 364 million people on its database across 200 countries. Besides creating a work profile that will enable you to grow your network of work associates, you can search for companies that you may be interested in working for, chat directly to potential employers or key people, and learn about the culture of work through posts and articles. LinkedIn also has an function that lets your work colleagues "endorse" your skills and experience to show that you are good at specific tasks. Create a free account at https://www.linkedin.com/. Here and here are some guides to creating a good LinkedIn profile. Unprofessional private employment services Private employment services charge employers a fee for searching, selecting, testing and preparing work seekers that meet the employer's unique requirements. These companies are not allowed to charge you for this service, they must charge the employer. You can expect the following rights when dealing with a private employment service, and if any of these rights are not given to you, you can complain to APSO (a professional body) or the Department of Labour: * Right to be treated in a professional and confidential manner * Right to be interviewed in a non-discriminating manner by a consultant of appropriate experience & skill * Right to be informed of the full details of the job you are being considered for including location, key performance areas, salary & benefits and any other relevant information * Right to be given the name of the client company before your CV is submitted for the position * Right to always be asked permission before any of your personal details (CV) are sent to any client company * Right to be kept informed of the progress of your application and to be notified if you do not gain an interview or the job opening Watch out for... ! Stay motivated Private employment services Public employment services -> Employment Services South Africa (Dept Labour) - https://essa.labour.gov.za/EssaOnline/WebBeans/ Private employment services -> APSO is the industry body for these organisations and you can search for private employment services via their website - http://www.apso.co.za/search/ Note that private employment services are not allowed to charge you (the candidate) for employment services. This cost is carried by the organisation that employs you. Job search Engines -> Gumtree - http://www.gumtree.co.za Indeed - http://www.indeed.co.za/ Job Vine - http://www.jobvine.co.za/ Career Junction - http://www.careerjunction.co.za/ PNet - https://www.pnet.co.za/ Careers24 - http://www.careers24.com/ JobMail - http://www.jobmail.co.za/ JobsDotCoZa - http://www.jobs.co.za/ An infographic about LinkedIn The Career Sherpa Blog has extensive career search advice. While the site is international much of it is applicable to South Africa: 40 Twitter accounts to follow with job search ideas and tips A job search toolkit with templates, assessments and guides Quintessential Careers has many resources for job seekers including some real life experiences of the importance of networking in job search If you are interested in a career in Tech, check out http://www.ta3mal.com/ and Microsoft YouthSpark. Both sites have free learning programmes and career guidance resources and Ta3mal also has small business development resources. If you are interested in a career in Hospitality, use this job search engine: http://hospitalityjobsafrica.co.za/jobs/ Links 33 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 34 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 35 Job Interview Research Would you score with a boy or girl if you didn't know their name, or anything about them? Not likely. In the same way, to build a relationship with your employer, you will need to know what makes them tick, what they are trying to achieve, what they value and how they prefer to work. Job interview research will give you an edge in your job interview, over people who may have a better CV than you. Your employer will be impressed that you are interested in working in their organisation not just for the salary, but because you see an overlap between the employer's mission and your own life mission. WHY? Job interview research is not just a tool you use to land your first job, then forget it for the rest of your life. The average number of years young people hold a job for is about 4 - 5 years, with people born after 1980 likely to have more than five jobs in their life-time. Job interview research is a skill you can use again and again to research new potential employers. Keep in mind however that holding a first job for 12 months or longer will increase your likelihood of being employed the rest of your life to 85%. By the way "One important key to success is confidence and an important key to self-confidence is preparation" FAQs "What kind of information do I need to research about my potential employer?" What is important to you? How the organisation works? Why the organisation exists? The future plans of the organisation? Who the top management of the organisation are? Past successes or failures of the organisation? It is up to you really? What matters is not so much that you know everything there is to know about the employer, but that you know things that are meaningful to you about the employer. In your interview you will likely be asked, "Why are you interested in working at *this* organisation?" You can then mention the information you researched about it and link that back to your own interests and motivations. A sincere answer is better than an answer where you fake an interest in the employer that is not true. Arthur Ashe Job interview research is an essential part of preparing for your job interview. It involves learning as much as you can about your potential employer, and then thinking about how this links to your own personal interests and abilities. It's not only about knowing facts about your employer, it's also about seeing the relationship between your values and ambitions, and your employer's vision and mission. The fact that you have taken the time to research your employer shows that you are "interviewing" your potential employer as much as your prospective employer is interviewing you. This signals to the employer that you are proactive, not reactive, and that you check the facts before leaping to a decision. IN A NUTSHELL 36 Trying to impress with useless information Memorising lots of information about your prospective employer for the job interview may help you feel confident but it's not going to automatically impress the interviewers. What will impress them is if you can talk about what their organisation means to you, in other words, how you applied your job interview research to your own feelings and thoughts. Also be careful to come across too knowledgeable about the organisation. Just from internet research or from speaking to one or two employees you will not know everything there is to know about the organisation. If you make broad statements about the employer that are not true in the experience of your interviewers, they not be impressed. To show that you are not being arrogant with your knowledge you can introduce your statements like this, "From what I have heard about your company.." and "The impression I get about this organisation is.." That leaves the door open for you to be wrong, but nevertheless sincere. Watch out for... ! What types of information are you seeking in job interview research? Mission statement - the public statement of the organisation's vision, mission and goals Annual report - their achievements during the past year, and their plans for the year ahead Financials - the income, expenses and profit an organisation has recorded for the previous year The About Us page on the organisation's website. Examples: The Transnet About Us page, and the Sasol About Us page. Careers page - a page on some organisation's websites which explains who should be seeking to work there and allows you to submit your CV. For example, here is the Pick n Pay careers page, and here is the Vodacom one. Products and services offered by the company. For example if you are applying for a job at MTN, it would help to know the kind of cellphone products and services they offer, not in detail, but the main types. Locations, branches and head office of the organisation. Again it's not necessary to know all the details about the organisation's "footprint", but at least know where they are based (the head quarters), and whether they are local or international. The organisation's social media pages, including their Twitter handle, their Facebook page, their LinkedIn page and others. LinkedIn is more likely to have career related information than other social media sites. The main competitors of the company you are being interviewed by. For example if you are going to an interview at Vodacom, learn a little about MTN and Cell C because its very important for Vodacom to understand their competition. If your interview is with a government department, then they have no competition so focus instead on the strategic plan of the department which should be on their website under the heading "documents" or "reports". The industry or social sector that the organisation works in. For example Sun International is a hotel chain that is part of the hospitality sector in South Africa. See the SouthAfrica.Info website for information on different economic sectors. Knowing one or two trends or pieces of interesting information about an economic sector that your potential employer is in is sufficient. For example if you are researching Volkswagen, then knowing that the automotive sector makes up a big part of South Africa's manufacturing exports is relevant information. Complains about the company. These can be common complaints you have heard from people you know. The website http://hellopeter.com/ is another good source of customer experience on your potential employer. TO DO LISTS The following list is types of information about a company that may be helpful in your research: Trying to impress 37 LinksThe Quintessential Guide to Companies, Industries and Countries Business Day is a publication and website focused on business news in South Africa SouthAfrica.Info has useful information about the business sectors in South Africa and Gov.ZA has similar information about national, provincial and local government. The LinkedIn Company Home page and some help in how to search for companies on LinkedIn How do you research your potential employer? It's not sufficient to base your job research only on the organisation's website and their advertisements. That information will always be biased and a projection of what the organisation wants people to think about it. Start with the organisation's website but also do a news search to see what other people are saying about the organisation. To do a Google News search, go to https://news.google.com/ and then select "South Africa edition" at the top left, if you are researching a South African company. Then type the name of the company in the search box and read the articles that interest you. Besides the organisation website and Google News try to speak to people who work at the organisation, previous or past employees, to gather more information. Do an internet search for any interviews with the current CEO or Director of the company. You should at least know who the current CEO or Director General of the organisation is. TO DO LISTS When you find that job that causes you to be excited every day - forget about the pay - with people you love, doing what you love, it doesn't get any better than that Warren Buffett 38 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about researching for a job interview? How would you rate your overall job interview research skills (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to the objectives and the services provided by the employer. What do you need to strengthen about your job interview research skills? 39 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 40 Preparing for the Interview The difference between a prepared interview and an unprepared interview is like the difference between getting dressed smartly for a date or going in your pyjamas. Compared to the amount of exam preparation and study you have done, during 12 years or more of schooling and college, the preparation for your job interviews is a small task with a potentially life-changing reward if you get hired. Unlike your exams, you can't write supps, or appeal the decision. There is no moderation of your job interview, and no "undo" button. And for each job opening there is only one person selected, unlike exams, where a percentage of everyone who writes will pass. WHY? "Job interviews are like first dates: good impressions count, awkwardness can occur, outcomes are unpredictable" FAQs "I have just got an opportunity for a job interview tomorrow and I don't have time to prepare - what do I do?" It's wonderful to have this opportunity and if it is not possible to postpone the interview, then you should do as much preparation as you can, without getting too hard on yourself if you still feel you are not ready. Part of being "work ready" is being able to handle situations that you are thrown into without preparation, so look at it as an opportunity to practise your agility and adaptability. Even if the interview is not successful it will be part of your own learning experience and growth because the more interviews you attend, the more experienced you get at being interviewed. Unknown Preparing properly for your interview will give you a boost of confidence and may make the difference between being selected or not. You have done so much work to get the interview opportunity that you owe it to yourself to be prepared for it as best you can. Don't leave your preparation to the last minute. Make sure you have finished all your preparations the day before. This is part of the work of proving that you are ready to be offered the job and are responsible enough to make a success of it. Your interviewers will almost always be able to feel whether you are prepared or not, and will be reluctant to approve a person for the job who appears at the interview not fully prepared. IN A NUTSHELL 41 Checklist Make sure you have the correct date, time and venue for the interview. Doublecheck this information with a parent, aunt or uncle. In each city there are several streets with exactly the same name (but different suburbs), and in South Africa there are also several suburbs with exactly the same name (there is a "Sydenham" in Durban and one in Joburg, and an "Observatory" in Cape Town and one in Joburg). Google Maps will sometimes pick the closest match to an address you type in, which may not be correct, so doublecheck. Make sure you have directions to the venue and transport money to get there, or a lift. Arrange this a week in advance in case you hit problems. You don't want to get stressed on the day of the interview by problems you could sort out earlier. Have a plan B for transport in case plan A fails. Select the clothes you will wear at least two days before the interview, and check them carefully to make sure they don't need washing and ironing. More suggestions on what clothes to wear to the interview here. If you don't have smart clothes there are churches and public benefit organisations who can help you, for example Harambee. Remind yourself about your Personal Brand (page 20), and plan to accurately express your personal brand on the day of the interview. Wash carefully, brush your teeth and shave on the day of your interview. Make sure you use deodorant. Some more tips on personal hygiene for an interview here. Make sure you have a phone or watch that is giving you the correct time, or frequently check leading up to your interview with fellow passengers and passersby. Aim to arrive at the venue 30 minutes before for the interview to allow for traffic or accidents on the way there. Enter the venue 15 minutes before the interview and to allow yourself time to signin with security and make your way through the building to the correct room. Get clear directions from the receptionist so that you don't get lost in the building. Turn your cell phone off before the interview. Your employer will think you are disrespectful or forgetful if you get a call or SMS during the interview. This can be immediate grounds for failing the interview for some employers. Wait outside the room until you are called. However if it's now time for your interview and noone has called you then knock on the door and open it, to see if you can now enter. You can say, "Excuse me I have an interview here at [time of interview], can I come through now?" TO DO LISTS These are general pointers to prepare for a job interview. Be sure to check the job advertisement or correspondence from the employer to see if there are any additional requirements: During the interview Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, a smile and direct eye contact. Some parents bring up their children to avoid eye contact as a sign of respect. Except in very traditional settings, make and keep frequent eye contact during a job interview. More suggestions on body language here and here. If there are several interviewers greet them individually. An appropriate greeting could be, "Hello, my name is [First Name] [Second Name]. How are you?" If the interviewers tell you their names you can respond with, "Nice to meet you [Mr or Ms] [Second Name].' After greeting, remain standing to one side until the interviewers show you to your seat or ask you to sit. Keep a positive tone throughout the interview (see the section on "Attitude", page 10, earlier in this book for help building up to this). See some typical interview questions here and here. In response to questions: If you don't hear the question correctly, ask the interviewer to repeat this, for example "Please can you repeat that question?" This is not considered a mistake. Interviewers will be impressed that you are making sure what the question is before attempting to answer it. Use reallife examples to back up your answers where this is possible You should be able to answer clearly about your plans for your life, especially with regard to your career, ambitions and dreams. The work you have done on your Personal Brand (page 20) will help you with this You should have a clear answer about why you are suited for the job advertised, and what you can bring as a person to the company, in that post (job position). Keep your answers fairly short, unless asked to continue or give more detail. If you are not sure you can ask, "Can I give you more detail?" An impromptu question is one that you won't expect. If you get asked an impromptu question and you don't know how to answer it, buy yourself some time by saying, "Wow, that is a good question, let me think about that," or clarify what the question means by rephrasing it back to the interviewer, for example, "Can I clarify what you mean by that? [Wait for them to nod yes] Do you mean [put the question in your own words]?" If you are still unsure how to answer, give the closest answer you think may be appropriate, but "hedge" (limit) your answer by starting it with, "That's a tough question but I think my first answer would be .[your answer], although I would have to reflect on that more to be certain." Your interviewers may be impressed that you answered the question in such a way that expressed your reservation while being sincere. Some interviewers are not well trained or experienced in interviewing. In this case you may get some strange interview questions which can be tricky to answer. See advice on this here. Ask some questions, after the interviewer has finished asking you questions, or if given an opportunity. Interviewers will be impressed that you show a curiosity about the position and are applying your mind to what it might require of you. Some suggestions about questions you can ask are here and here. You will already know the answer to some of these questions from your "Job Interview Research" (page 36), but you can then confirm your information with the interviewer, which will give you an opportunity to show that you have researched the organisation. When the interview is over, thank the interviewer for their time, and shake their hands again before you leave. Also request contact details or a business card from the person in charge of the interview, if you don't already have them. This will enable you to do followup after the interview (see "After the Interview", page 46). 42 Practice makes perfect Mock (simulated) interviews are an excellent way to prepare yourself for the real thing. Ideally you need to arrange to be interviewed by someone who is employed in a company (and preferably a manager or an officer in their Human Resources department), so that they can give you realistic feedback on your performance. Some organisations, such as Harambee, and the South African Board for People Practices, run special Mock Interview workshops for work seekers to help them practice their interview skills. Suggest this idea to your Student Support Services unit at your college. TO DO LISTS Making as if you know everything A job interview is not an exam where you get points for knowing facts. Although interviewers are looking for candidates who know about the employer, the sector, and the advertised post (job position), they are also trying to establish an overall personal connection with you so they can feel comfortable with you joining their organisation. An interviewee who is honest and upfront about not knowing the answer to a specific question is not necessarily going to be penalised for not knowing the answer. Your honesty can show that you are aware of your limitations and not trying to hide away from them. For some employers this can be more valuable than getting the "right" answer, because it shows that you have integrity. Watch out for... ! 100% "Cleva" www Links You know everything? Here are some sectorspecific job interview questions that you may get. Note that this is a UK site so not all of the questions may be relevant to South Africa. How to answer the job interview question "Have you ever been fired?" Use the job interview to confirm that you really want to work at this organisation. This blog post gives some tips on spotting a bad employer through the interview process. Small talk is often used at the beginning of the interview to make everyone more comfortable. Here and here are some tips about small talk. Also see the section later in this book, "English" and "Communication". Read about how job interviewers often have a lot to learn about potential employees from research done by Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. Some job interview questions with example answers Learn about the difference between traditional job interviews and behavioural job interviews Do this Virtual Interview test to see how well prepared you are Feel sorry for these poor candidates who got the worst possible job interviews (video) 43 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about preparing for a job interview? How would you rate your overall preparedness for a job interview (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) punctuality b) dress code c) performance during the interview What do you still need to improve in your preparation for a job interview based on the mock interview? 44 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 45 After the Interview Many work seekers leave out this all important stage and this can be the "make or break" moment in a job application. Think about the dating scene for a moment. You have a great first date with someone you really like. Then nothing. He or she doesn't message you, phone you, spot you in a crowd or even act like you exist. Follow-up failure. Or the other option, you find you have a stalker on your trail. He or she obsesses over you, watches your every move, interrupts, bumps into and hijacks your life. Follow-up failure too. The best approach is a balance between no interest and too much interest. Making absolutely certain that the potential employer knows you are keen for the position, but not coming across as too desperate, like you have no other chances in life, and don't believe in yourself. WHY? "Talent will get you in the door but character will keep you in the room" FAQs "I tried following up after my interview but no-one at that organisation will talk to you and they just have an email address that never responds" Some large organisations receive thousands of applications for a single post. They will not take your calls and you won't be able to reach anyone to follow-up personally. In such a case your follow-up simply means keeping an eye out for follow-up correspondence (a letter, email or phone call) to inform you if you were successful or not. It's considered very bad practice for an organisation to fail to send a letter of regret to unsuccessful job applicants, so it's very likely that they will send something eventually. Check the job advert or any information from the employer from the interview that tells you when you can expect an answer. Be careful to complain on social media channels when this may damage your application before it has been decided. Unknown "I don't have contact details of anyone to follow up with" In "Preparing for the Interview" (page 41), we suggested that at the end of the interview you get contact details, and also mention that you will call the following week to follow-up. There are two traps to fall into after a job interview: (1) forget all about it and do no follow-up, or (2) get so obsessed with the interview that it stops you looking for more interviews. The job interview is not finished until you have followed up and received a yes or a no. In the meantime you need to keep a positive mind-set and continue searching for work so that you don't have "all your eggs in one basket." The process of shortlisting and follow-up interviews can mean that the "After the Interview" phase takes a long time. Nothing is guaranteed until you sign an employment contract or receive a letter of regret, so you need to keep your focus right until the end. IN A NUTSHELL 46 Crash and burn after hearing you didn't get the job Getting depressed after receiving a "no" for a job interview is understandable but won't help you ace your next interview. Allow yourself time to feel the negative emotions, and expect that you will be tempted to doubt yourself. This is normal. Refer to the chapter on "Attitude" (page 10) for reminders on how to get back to a positive state of mind as soon as possible. If you feel you messed up in the interview, reflect on what you can learn and improve for next time. The first time you get something wrong it's a mistake, the third time it's a failure. Then pick yourself up and remind yourself that not getting the job has nothing to do with your value as a human being and may simply be the result of the company having a better match with another candidate (or no match at all). Who knows how close you came to getting the opening? Who knows if that was in fact the best job for you personally? Take the attitude that there is a better job waiting for you and don't give up or get discouraged. The right job is looking for you right now, are you looking for it? Watch out for... ! Thank the people that interviewed you This is a small act of showing gratitude and respect to the interviewers, and shows an attention to detail and sensitivity on your part as a potential employee. In very large organisations which are interviewing thousands of candidates your appreciation may be scoffed at, but smaller organisations will generally appreciate your courteousness (politeness). Make follow-up phone calls or emails TO DO LISTS Crash & Burn See the FAQ section previously for suggestions about how to do this and when. Alert your references Let the references on your CV know that they may get a phone call from your interviewer to confirm your credentials. If they fail to take a call or respond to a voice mail your interviewer may not have the time to check your references and you may lose the opportunity as a result. This is why i'ts important to have responsible people on your CV as references, and to update their contact details before you send out your CV. Keep your emotional state positive even if you get a "no" Like a great sportsman, the psychology of job seeking is just as important as the physical work you do. Your psychology can defeat you if you let it take over your emotions, and it can also give you the boost you need at just the right time to land a new opportunity. You never know when opportunity will knock, so it's important to always be aware of your emotional state and nurture it (see the heading on emotional intelligence in the "Attitudes" section, page 10). "How frequently should I follow up? By phone or email?" This depends on the time-frame you were given at the interview. If you were asked not to follow-up ("Don't contact us, we will contact you"), then follow the instructions and wait. If the interviewers indicated their decision will take more than a month, then don't call until it's close to a month later. If you were not given a time-frame, then call a week after your interview. Leave a detailed message if you can't reach the contact person, and if a receptionist answers the phone, ask them if they know when a decision will be made on the job applications for your post. If you left a message, send an email as well. Phone calls are more powerful than emails as they are more personal and direct, and you can interpret a lot of extra information by the way they speak. However some interviewers will prefer emails as they don't always have time to speak on the phone. Don't follow up more frequently than once a week, unless asked to. This will make you appear desperate and pushy. FAQs 47 Keep focused and keep job hunting even if you get a "yes" A "yes" does not translate into a job opening until you and your employer have signed the employment contract. This can take weeks to finalise, or longer if the employer needs authorisation from higher up. During this time you may get another job offer and you will need to compare them to see which one is in your best interests. You will be sent a letter offering you a position at the organisation and detailing what it involves. Read this letter carefully to make sure you are getting what you expected and what was advertised. If the letter seems to be offering you less than the job advertisement, double check your opinion with someone at your TVET college, or a family member. If they agree, then query the differences politely with your contact person at the company before you sign. It is better to do this in person than over the phone to avoid the misunderstanding that you are not enthusiastic about the job. When you accept the offer you will then be given an employment contract to sign. Read the employment contract carefully and get a second opinion from someone you trust before you sign it Your employment contract is a legal agreement that you are bound to, and there are penalties if you break its conditions. You should therefore take the contract home before signing it, and let your parents, or someone responsible whom you trust, and who has good English skills, read it and confirm your understanding of what you are signing. Make a note of any queries you have and go over these queries with your employer before you sign the contract. To explain this to your employer, and avoid seeming ungrateful for the opportunity, you can say something like this, "Thank you so much for this opportunity. I take my legal responsibilities very seriously and therefore always read through legal contracts carefully before I sign them. So can I go through the contract tonight and return it tomorrow for signing?" An employer who insists on you signing it on the same day is acting strangely, but if no other option is available, you should at least have them sit with you and explain each paragraph to your satisfaction. Any legal contract you sign can be negotiated with the other party (your employer). If something seems unfair or odd to you, question it, and propose something you would be happier with. At the same time, especially if this is your first job, the value of getting your first work experience, and the further employment opportunities that may result from it, should be something you weigh carefully before you become too demanding. A good employer should respect the fact that you take a legal contract seriously and take the time to clarify what it involves. They should also respect the fact that you believe in yourself enough to want the best working conditions, but they may expect you to prove yourself first before they agree to any of your requests. TO DO LISTS Links The Do's and Don'ts of Interview Followup Understand about good and bad recruitment practices (infographic) View one company's 6 month approach to proper onboarding (infographic) Watch this video on how employers use social media to screen (filter out) candidates An interview with South African comedian Trevor Noah on how he got the job of being a comedian. The Snagajob YouTube Channel has hundreds of videos helping with the job search process, including before, during and after the job interview. 48 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about the post interview process? How would you rate your overall reaction to the interview (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) follow up communication b) alerting your references c) keeping your emotions positive Do you understand your employment contract and conditions of employment? List 5 in order of priority. 49 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 50 Your First Day We all know about stereotyping and its not cool when it happens to you. What will your employer and your coworkers think about you after your first day and the first week? Its easier to maintain a good impression that you make during the first week of work, than it is to change a negative impression that you made on the first day. By setting the bar high on day one you show your employer that you are not afraid of excellence, and you also give yourself a benchmark for the rest of your days there. WHY? "All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence" Martin Luther King Jnr Your first day at work can be confusing, frustrating and messed-up. Especially if this is your first job and especially if your employer is not used to induction (introducing new employees to the workforce). If you are lucky your employer will make time for you to experience induction or orientation. If not you will have to "sink or swim" in the deep end of the organisation. This infographic will try to prepare you for what you can expect so that your first day is a fantastic memory. IN A NUTSHELL Don't be late for work Employers expect you to start highly motivated and organised. Getting to work late on your first day will trigger all the wrong switches in your boss' brain. Just like with your interview, make sure you know where you are starting work (if it's not the same place as your interview) and make every effort to get to work early. This means have a plan B for your transport if plan A fails, and make sure your watch or phone is working and accurate. Ask your mom or someone you live with to doublecheck that you are awake at the same time. Arriving late will mean starting work on the back foot, and you will have to fight to change negative perceptions that you triggered on day one. Watch out for... ! Don't be late for work 51 Keep a notebook about new things you learn "Too much information" is not just your response to your parents when they let rip with things that should never leave the bedroom, but it's what happens at work on the first day. A small pocket notebook can be very useful on your first day to scribble down the names of your coworkers and managers. Don't worry about spelling yet, you can clarify that later. And don't use your phone to make notes because you first want to find out the rules about mobile phones in the workplace before you start using yours. Tip: write notes in between people talking to you, otherwise they may think you are not paying attention to them. Another tip: have a separate questions page where you can jot down questions as you think of them because you may only be able to ask later. Dress and hygiene TO DO LISTS Same story as "Preparing for the Interview" (page 41). Your workplace may allow more casual clothes than an interview but find out first before you throw on a tshirt and shorts. Don't leave work early on day one This warning is similar to the previous one. Employers like employees who arrive early and leave late. You won't be able to do that every day, or perhaps ever :D, but at least on your first day leave at the normal closing time, unless your boss tells you to leave early. Try to "checkout" with your boss each day before you leave work. This can be as simple as saying goodbye (in smaller work environments), or leaving a note on her or his desk about your progress with your work that day. Watch out for... ! Leaving early Buy (or borrow) suitable work clothes This is a tough one. It's going to be expensive and you won't even have your first paycheck yet. Don't buy work clothes until you know how you are expected to dress in the workplace, otherwise you may waste money. You might only be able to afford a few outfits, and then have to wash and iron them during the week to wear again. Being stylish at this point is not as important at being neat, tidy and clean. Ask questions and ask for help In most workplaces asking questions is seen positively, though you will need to learn when and how to ask them. Especially during induction, new entrants are expected to have many questions, so don't hold back. If something has already been explained and you didn't get it, you can phrase your question something like this, "Excuse me {sir / maam}. I know you have covered this before but please can you explain it again?" If you still don't get it, write it in your notebook and later on, when someone asks if you have any questions, bring it up again. 52 Unfriendly coworkers Asking for help is generally seen as positive in the workplace, especially when it could cost the company money if you make a mistake. However when your coworkers are under the pressure of a deadline they will not give you much space, if any at all. Some of them may even be be rude, unhelpful or even ruthless in response to your questions. This is a work environment, not a church group. Some work cultures are focused on performance at the cost of friendliness, and this can be quite a culture shock on your first day. You will need to grow a thick skin when it comes to dealing with work colleagues who are less than helpful but it's ultimately your choice if you want to stay employed in a toxic work culture. TO DO LISTS Don't sit around doing nothing If you are in a large group of new entrants your employer may struggle to keep all of you busy from day one, in which case you may need to be patient until work kicks in. However if people seem to have forgotten you somewhere and you have nothing to do, try to contact your team leader or supervisor, and ask for work. This is being proactive and will help build a good first impression. It's ok to be asked to do menial (humble) tasks on your first day, like making a cup of coffee for your boss, or helping out at reception. A willingness to be helpful and fit in with whatever is needed will be appreciated by most employers. Don't do personal work during business hours Your employer is paying for your attention during business hours, so don't check personal emails, handle personal calls, or do online shopping while you are on the job. Companies have very sophisticated ways to track every call you make, and every website you visit. Your phone calls can be checked against a known database of company clients and it will raise red flags if you are making personal calls at your company's expense. If its an urgent family matter ask your boss first for permission to make the call and keep your time to the minimum. What you can expect from orientation or induction Most companies have a clearly guided process to onboard new employees which includes giving you the following: Where you will work and who your coworkers and managers are What the requirements of your job are (KPAs Key Performance Areas) The dress code, what your working hours are, when lunch and teabreaks can be taken, how leave works and how to apply for it How your performance will be measured and when, and training that may be available to help you improve Disciplinary, ethics and whistleblowing procedures How and when you are paid and what deductions will come off your salary Procedures to follow in case of emergencies 53 TO DO LISTS Avoid office politics and gossip... forever if possible, but especially for the first weeks you are there. Many new entrants become pawns in office politics that damage their careers early on. Be careful to trust coworkers or supervisors with confidential information until you know them really well. Office politics and backstabbing can be far worse than anything you experienced at college, because employees are fighting for promotions with big salary tags attached to them. Offer advice and improvements carefully and humbly Everyone else in the organisation has worked there longer than you, and they may have experience of that environment which you still need to gain. With that in mind, don't rush to give advice and fix everything as if you know it all. Maybe you do know stuff that your supervisor doesn't, but take time to see the situation from different perspectives before you start to offer advice. When you do offer advice, phrase it carefully, like this, "Excuse me {sir / maam}. I have a suggestion that might make this {easier / better / simpler}. Can I show you? " and be willing to be shown that your idea won't work. To be sure, many young college graduates have good ideas for improvements in the workplace that are crushed by supervisors with big egos or bureaucracies without a soul. Many books have been written about how to introduce changes at work, and how businesses lose out on innovation because of their stuffiness. For now however, your first job is to keep your employment, hopefully for at least a year, and gain valuable experience. Get involved in after-hour activities with coworkers Most organisations organise opportunities for coworkers to socialise because it helps to improve the quality of your work relationships. Team building events, competitions and conferences are often used for this purpose. You need to grow a lot of networks and become visible to a lot of people in your organisation, so try to participate in these opportunities whenever you can. Remember however to be a professional at all times during these events because although they are social, they are worksocial, so avoid getting drunk, flirting, or doing anything that your boss or coworkers could be hurt by. LinksAdvice from college graduates on what kind of things can you expect to try and stress you out in your first job, and things to be aware of on your first day on the job. Has your college education prepared you for your first job? Here are some comments from college graduates about what helped and what did not help A humorous look (video) at what to not do on your first day of work A helpful picture with everything you need to remember for your first day Beena Kavalam discussing her "First 90 days plan" to make an impact at a new job (video) Some tips from Nestle.com on your first day at work An hour by hour guide to your first day (note in the USA organisations start work at 9 am and finish at 5 pm) You won't get paid till the end of the month in which you started work, but check out this Department of Labour guide to understanding your payslip. 54 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about your first day at your job? How would you rate your overall readiness for your first day at work (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) punctuality b) dress code c) relationship with colleagues What would you improve about your readiness for the first day of work. 55 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 56 Attendance & Leave To understand why attendance is such a sore point with employers, put yourself in their shoes: they are paying you to *not be at work* every time you are late, leave early or don't pitch up. Many organisations are already working with as few people as possible, to keep salary costs down. This means each person is usually doing the job of more than one person, and so when you miss work it has a bigger impact than just one person not being there. Your absence means your co workers have to carry your load as well as their own. These days many companies also have legal agreements to deliver a product or service in a specific quantity, at a specific quality, by specific dates and times. If even one person messes up their job this could result in the company failing to meet its delivery agreements, and losing business, or failing to reach a service delivery target. WHY? "I want to hire employees who arrive late" - said no boss ever FAQs Unknown "What are the maximum working hours?" 45 normal hours per week, 10 overtime hours per week and 5 days per week. However you can agree to work up to 12 hours a day so long as you don't exceed the weekly limit on normal hours, overtime hours or days. Also if you work more than 5 days a week then you should not work more than 8 hours a day, and if you work 1 - 5 days a week you should not work more than 9 hours a day. See the Department of Labour Basic Guide to Working Hours for more detail. Many employers state that new employees are frequently absent or late for work, so this is one area where you can quickly stand out from the crowd and show your value to your employer. In modern organisations salaries are often the biggest input cost, yet many people are simply not at work for significant periods of time during the day, costing South African companies more than R10 billion a year. There are many reasons why people cannot always be at work on time, all the time, and this infographic will help you keep to a minimum your work interruptions. One of the most important things you can do is warn your employer in advance that you are not going to be at work, or will be late. It's not always possible to know in advance, but the simple fact of communicating as soon as you know you will be delayed tells your employer that you take the situation seriously and care about how it impacts them. IN A NUTSHELL There are a lot of laws dealing with attendance, leave and pay, covered by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, plus special agreements for certain occupations, for learner workers and certain economic sectors. For this reason there are some exceptions to the answers below. See the Department of Labour website for detailed information, and check with your union representative or HR department if you are not sure. 57 Asking a friend to cover for you This is a sure way to get you and your friend into trouble, and your friend may return the favour by putting you at risk, and asking you to cover for him or her. If you have to miss work for a period of time, let your supervisor know about it ahead of time, rather than hoping they won't find out. More on this later in this infographic. Watch out for... ! Understand about sick leave TO DO LISTS Asking a friend to cover for you Your employer may have additional policies about sick leave, but they should not be stricter on employees than those specified by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA). During the first 6 months of your employment you may take 1 day's sick leave for every 26 days worked. After that, the BCEA allows you up to 6 weeks of fully paid sick leave every 3 years. However you have to give your employer a medical certificate to prove you were sick. If you are absent for more than 2 consecutive days (or less than 2 consecutive days, twice in an 8 week period) you have to give your employer a medical certificate (or your salary may be deducted). More information on sick leave in this Department of Labour Basic Guide. If you are sick for longer than 14 days, you may qualify to claim Unemployment Insurance Fund Illness Benefits. "How do I know if my work counts as overtime?" You can work overtime if you choose to. Overtime pay is 150% your normal hourly wage and is any time worked beyond the normal 45 hours per week. You should not work more than ten hours overtime per week, unless a collective agreement has increased this. More information on overtime here. FAQs "Is there a law about lunchtime at work?" You should be allowed a 60 minute meal-break after five hours of work unless there is a written agreement in your workplace to reduce that to 30 minutes and / after six hours of work. "My employer wants me to work on a Sunday?! And Heritage Day!" You can be asked to work on a Sunday, but your employer must pay you double your normal daily wage. Alternatively they can give you paid time off. More info on this here. You only have to work on a public holiday if you agree to, and then your pay must be double your normal daily wage. Public holidays are paid holidays and should not be deducted from your salary. More information on working on public holidays here. "My employer wants me to finish after 6 pm or start at 6 am?!" See the question on maximum working hours earlier, because that is relevant. Also relevant is that if you finish after 6 pm or start before 6 am then your employer must give you a night work allowance, or give you reduced working hours (less than 45 per week), and have transport available for you. "Whoa! My boss took money off my salary because I was absent!" If your absence was covered by any of the paid leave circumstances covered in this infographic, then no money should be deducted from your salary. Speak to your HR department to clarify and then speak to your union representative or a Department of Labour officer to resolve this. See the Department of Labour Basic Guide to Deductions for more information. 58 Understand family responsibility leave The BCEA gives you 3 days every 12 months to use as paid family responsibility leave, but it does not rollover to the following year. These are the situations that qualify for family responsibility leave: when your child is born, if your child is sick, if any of the following relatives dies: your spouse or life partner, parent or adoptive parent, grandparent, child or adopted child, grandchild, or sibling. See the Department of Labour Basic Guide to Family Responsibility Leave for more information. Understand maternity leave Some organisations have additional benefits for maternity leave, plus childcare facilities for working parents, but the Basic Conditions of Employment Act provides at least 4 months maternity leave for mothers, starting one month prior to your due date. You may not be asked to do any work that is unsafe for you or your child while you are pregnant. See the Department of Labour Basic Guide to Maternity for more information. You may also qualify for Unemployment Insurance Fund Maternity Benefits or Adoption Benefits. TO DO LISTS Understand annual leave The BCEA gives you 21 consecutive days of paid annual leave every 12 months. Your employer can't convert these to working days by paying you extra, as with public holidays and overtime. What if you haven't worked for 12 months yet? Then your annual leave is calculated at 1 day for every 17 days worked, or one hour for every 17 hours worked. Public holidays don't count as part of your annual leave (e.g. Christmas, New Year etc). See the Department of Labour Basic Guide to Annual Leave for more information. 59 Review the infographic on your Personal Brand (page 20). Is being late or missing work a part of your personal brand? Being punctual can be as simple as waking up earlier (and going to sleep earlier) or as difficult as finding a lift club that can get you to work on time if the public transport near you is not reliable. Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl? Night Owls may need some special gymnastics to get into the habit of arriving for work on time. Some people set their clocks 15 minutes fast to help them always be on time. Other people pack their lunch, layout their work clothes, and shave, the night before, to give them extra time in the morning. If you have children to look after or other family responsibilities, it may be more difficult. You may need to get a partner or relative to help. Remember the first week and the first month are the most important times to make a good impression at work. Six months is considered an even more significant milestone to reach. Make adjustments to your life to make sure you attend work on time Being 5 10 minutes late for an appointment is not generally cause for getting upset, but this is not the case at work where you are expected to be there a few minutes early or exactly on time, and the same with leaving for the day. Rather than take a chance and hope you won't get noticed sneaking in late, communicate your delay to your workplace. In some organisations it may be appropriate to send a text message to your boss, in other workplaces an email to your team leader or coworker will be sufficient. Find out by asking a coworker you trust, and clarify with a supervisor if you are not sure. If you are going to be late, inform your supervisor as early as possible TO DO LISTS SEE ALSO Your First Day Performance Entitlement & Expectations Links The Department of Labour Basic Guide to Health & Safety Duties of Workers 7 Steps to Getting to Work on Time (WikiHow) More detailed information and examples on the law covering absenteeism 60 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about the importance of attendance and leave? How would you rate your overall knowledge for attendance and leave requirements in your job (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to legislation and policies regarding attendance and leave. What do you still need to improve in your understanding of attendance and leave policies in your work place? 61 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 62 Performance Just like a sports teams, your organisation exists to achieve specific objectives, and can succeed or fail at that. Its ability to achieve its objectives depends on a lot of things, just like a sports game, but the performance of its team members is one area the organisation can encourage and develop, so this is why performance is such a big deal, and good organisations have sophisticated ways of measuring and rewarding high performance. WHY? "Ask not what your company can do for you, ask what you can do for your company." FAQs Based on famous quote from US President JF Kennedy "I am the best employee in my unit but my boss never notices or recognises me. What can I do?" First of all your boss may be noticing, but just not have recognised it yet. Bosses sometimes delegate that work to managers or supervisors, so they may expect that others are giving you feedback and reinforcement. If this is not the case (and if you really are performing well), then your organisation may be under pressure or not functioning well. Some great employees are not recognised by their companies yet they still go on to be successful in other organisations, and use their experience to continually improve themselves. Ultimately you are performing well for yourself, whether you get recognised or not. Even without recognition, hard work and great performance are a reward in themselves because you gain experience and skills that don't come to those who fall asleep at work. Keep a file of positive comments and successes at work that you feel show your high performance. This can include when customers commend you or when you complete a task ahead of schedule. Use the file to motivate your performance to your manager if you are ever questioned about it, and reflect the best experiences on your CV and send it out to prospective employers who will value your work. But remember that employees who hold a first job for 12 months or longer have a much greater chance of being employed the rest of their lives, so don't be in a rush to leave your employer before then. The all important question: when do I get promoted? In good organisations your performance will be noticed, recognised and rewarded, so this article focuses on what performance is required at work and how it is recognised. Some key points we will cover: (1) hard work does not always lead to desired outcomes, (2) desired outcomes are not always recognised, (3) recognised outcomes cannot always be rewarded fairly in all organisations, (4) becoming a high performance professional is more abou personal mastery and self-motivation than factors outside of yourself that you have little control over. IN A NUTSHELL 63 Taking credit for others' hard work This is a shortcut to success that can be dangerous. Except in dysfunctional (not healthy) organisations, your own success is linked closely to that of your coworkers, and taking credit for someone else's success can alienate you from your team and make it harder to get the support you need from them later. Alienated coworkers can also sabotage your efforts. Whenever you are given recognition at work, think about who helped you, and make sure you acknowledge them to your boss, and publicly. This will help your coworkers trust you and make it more likely that they will support you when you really need it. Some organisations include teamwork as part of your rating in a performance appraisal. Watch out for... ! Understand your job profile and your key performance areas TO DO LISTS Taking others' credit Most medium and large employers have job profiles for all the posts in their organisation. Each job profile describes the purpose of the job and a set of tasks it involves, or areas that are key for successfully performing it (also known as Key Performance Areas KPAs or Key Performance Indicators KPIs). Sometimes these are spelled out in your employment contract (see the infographic "Your First Day"). If not, ask your boss or HR department for your job profile and key performance areas. They may not have any specifically defined. In that case check in with your boss periodically (how often will depend on your work and the organisation), give a report back on your progress with your work, and check if there is any new work you need to take on. Inputs vs Outputs Performance is not so much about what you put in, but the results that come out of it. Most employers will not reward hard work in itself, because hard work does not always translate into results. This can be a tough lesson to learn. Americans talk about "working smart" and they mean getting the best results with the least amount of work. If your focus is taken up with how much you are putting in, be careful to keep an eye on what actual results you are getting from your work, because that is what your employer will normally reward. Here is a great infographic on what it means to work smarter. Watch out for... ! Inputs vs Outputs Understand how your performance is being measured Some employers measure performance formally, and others not. If your performance is formally measured, find out how this is done. Most organisations only do performance appraisals (evaluations) once a year. Your HR department, team leader, supervisor or manager will know what is involved. A poor performance appraisal will usually result in support being given to you, through training or other resources, to help you improve. This makes it an ideal time to help your employer identify areas where you need more training, or better support in order to do a better job. A continually poor performance appraisal, which does not change through training or support, can lead to a warning from your employer and eventually dismissal. A good performance appraisal can lead to a salary increase or a promotion. 64 Understand how your boss thinks and communicates, and how you think and communicate There are many different personality types and communication styles. Each one has strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your boss will help you tune your work performance to their style, and make it more likely they will recognise you. Understanding how different or similar your own personality and communication styles are to your boss will help you "pitch" and "tune" your workplace performance so that it is more visible to them. TO DO LISTS Ask for feedback on your performance Rather than wait until your next performance appraisal, ask for feedback often. Your manager may not always be available to do that, but your supervisor or team leader may. And if they aren't, then an experienced coworker can be a source of feedback. Some feedback may be negative and it's seldom easy to swallow this or take it objectively. If you are getting feedback about your performance that does not seem accurate, rather than rejecting it angrily, ask for more detail on the incident behind the evaluation, so that you can understand what triggered it. It may be a misunderstanding. If it still makes no sense get the opinion of a coworker or team leader you trust. Appraisals are not always accurate. Manage your expectations You may be performing well but at the same time there may be limited opportunities for growth or promotion in your organisation. Some organisations will not consider promotion until you have worked there for a specific amount of time. Other organisations may have only one supervisor post open, but three people who deserve to be promoted to supervisor. The sooner you understand how performance is rewarded in your organisation, the sooner you can adopt realistic expectations about it. If you feel performance is being unfairly rewarded in your organisation communicate to express your view and find out if there is any information you are missing. A non threatening way of doing this is to say, "{Sir / Maam} please can you explain to me the thinking behind the promotion that happened yesterday. I am trying to understand what management is looking for so that I can up my performance." Review the infographic "Entitlement and Expectations" (page 68) to make sure you are not demanding too much too soon. Links Find out your communication style through this quizz. Is it the same as your boss' style or different? How will you compensate for that when you communicate with her / him? Is your HR department speaking jargon to you? Check out this glossary of HR terminology. See the employer's perspective when it comes to giving negative feedback. An article by a psychologist on how to give and receive negative criticism (not workplace focused but still relevant) Are performance appraisals accurate? Rater errors can result in misleading appraisals. Don't take life too seriously check out some funny performance reviews (videos) 65 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about performance in the work place? How would you rate your overall performance at your work place (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your understanding of your a) Job Profile b) key performance areas c) performance measurement? Which performance areas do you still need to strengthen? 66 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 67 Entitlement & Expectations Employers complain that some graduates have unrealistic expectations of their first job and are not willing to put hard work in before expecting rewards. They call this "entitlement" and believe that such graduates are not good team players and fail to learn and absorb the many new skills and experiences the workplace has to offer. Employers value new entrants who are able to wait to be rewarded until they have settled in, learned from those more experienced than them, and contributed to the benefit of their team and organisation. WHY? "The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately" FAQs "What if I am patient and my boss never recognises me?" Some organisations and some managers will not have your interests in mind, and will be content to use your time and energy for their business without acknowledging or rewarding you. Learning to choose an employer who is responsible and ethical takes time, and many people go through at least one or two bad jobs before they can see the warning signs from afar. Some research has shown as little as 35% of managers are effective bosses. In situations like this don't act immediately or emotionally. Take your time and get a second opinion of your situation, preferably from someone who does not work in the same company. It may be that you should resign and find a better place to work, but you should put your interests first and wait until you have another job opening confirmed before resigning. Here are some tips for how to deal with a bad boss, and if you feel like reading a book about bad bosses and how to deal with them, you can download "A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses" here. Unknown "I learned all this stuff at college and my manager is not interested in trusting me with anything! What should I do?" Experienced employees can be suspicious of new knowledge that young employees bring to the workplace. After all they have worked in that environment for years and now you arrive and want to change everything. Be patient with your new ideas. Choose your time carefully to introduce them, and make sure you have researched the context (the actual situation) and have adapted your theories to the local setting. New graduates are in fact valued for their new approaches and knowledge but timing and the way you suggest the changes are important. Don't get discouraged if an experienced coworker or manager cuts down your great ideas mercilessly. They are watching how you react and respond, and if you can pick yourself up, be willing to acknowledge weaknesses in your proposals, and then rework your ideas, they will respect you for your persistence. Here and here are some suggestions on how to pitch new ideas to your boss. Graduating from college can be an exciting time in your life. You've spent 12 years in school and another two or three at college, and now finally you will be seeking employment, earning your own money, contributing to society and have some freedom. This enthusiasm and optimism is a powerful source of strength that will help you get through some of the obstacles up ahead. It's also fuel for ambition, which is an important attribute many employers are looking for. However some graduates get ahead of themselves and are so ambitious that they expect to go from "zero to hero" overnight. They get their first job, are disappointed that it doesn't meet their expectations, and resign. They repeat the pattern over and over and don't build up deep networks and work experience. Employers notice that their CV includes several short work stints and may interpret this as a lack of commitment and responsibility. IN A NUTSHELL 68 Entitlement syndrome Entitlement is expecting things you have not yet earned. But after 12 years at school and two or more at college you have earned the right to a good job, right? Wrong! You have earned the opportunity to prove yourself in a workplace, but until you can show your coworkers and managers how you have benefited your organisation, your are not entitled to their respect. Remember grade 7? You were at the top of the primary school food-chain. All the pupils in the school thought you were the best and they couldn't wait to enter grade 7. Then came high school. Suddenly you were at the bottom of the food chain. You came last in all priorities. Getting your first job is a bit like the transition from primary to high school. You are entering a new environment with rules to learn, and new people you have to prove yourself to. But unlike school, moving ahead is not based on an annual promotion to the next grade. It's based on things you can effect like your willingness to learn, your loyalty to your team, hard work and creative solutions. Watch out for... ! Become conscious of your expectations Sometimes we have unconscious expectations that are driving us, and they push us to do things that are not in our best interests. Make a list of your work expectations. Break it into (a) short term expectations (for the next three months), (b) medium term expectations (for the next six months) and (c) long term expectations (for the next 12 months or longer). Reflect on how realistic these expectations are. Or perhaps they are not ambitious enough? Discuss your expectations with people you trust and revise them if necessary TO DO LISTS Entitlement syndrome First discuss your expectations with someone outside of your workplace to help you get an objective second opinion of whether you are being realistic or not. They can also help you identify steps you will need to take to realise the expectations. Then discuss it with someone inside your workplace as they can give you a more accurate (but sometimes more biased) opinion of your expectations. If possible, discuss some of your expectations with your boss. Some organisations have a monthly or bi-monthly interview with your boss as part of the regular schedule of meetings. This could be an opportunity to discuss your expectations with your boss, and get feedback as to what they think you can realistically achieve. You may want to be careful at first, until you know your boss better, and test out expectations with them that they are not likely to have a problem with. Then in time you can discuss some of your more daring expectations with them. Links Check out this SlideShare deck which surveyed LinkedIn influencers and asked them what their first job was. What does this tell you about humble beginnings? We don't often think of humility as a leadership quality, but this article argues that it is one of the most important leadership qualities. Watch this 3 minute video on Servant Leadership - a different approach to leading people that has found significant support in organisational development. Ken Blanchard is an American author and management specialist. In this video (6 min) he talks about the importance of self-leadership as the basis of building all other kinds of leadership. Review the section "Attitude" (page 10) for the discussion of generational differences and then read this article on how HR professionals (managers in an organisation who a responsible for people issues) view "Millennials". Do you think this this is a stereotype of the younger generation or does it have some validity? How would you make sure you dodge the stereotype of a "Millennial", or "Generation Y"? Employees with no expectations from their employer are likely to be seen as "lacking drive and ambition". So the fact that you have expectations may be seen as a positive fact by your manager. See the section "Communication" later in this booklet for tips about ways to introduce sensitive topics with your manager. 69 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about entitlement and expectations in the work place? How would you rate your expectations (Idealistic Reasonable Unrealistic Entitled)? Motivate your rating in relation in relation to how real and reasonable your expectations are. What do you still need to improve in relation to your expectations based on the feedback you received from your friends and fellow students? 70 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 71 English for the Workplace Many unnecessary problems result every day when people don't communicate accurately and misunderstandings result. Once a miscommunication has taken place, it takes more work to undo the false perception and rebuild trust. In the workplace the potential for miscommunication is even higher, as people from diverse communities and social groups mix inside the business and in the marketplace. WHY? "The expert in anything was once a beginner" Helen Hayes What is "Grammar"? Grammar is the rules for combining words together to make sentence structures. Communication is one of the top skills employers look for in potential employees, and English is the business language of South Africa and the world (for now). Improving and then mastering English will empower you to work more effectively and gain more recognition in the workplace. But English is a huge language, with over 500,000 words in its vocabulary, and it's full of exceptions and multiple rules for similar situations. It takes between 5 and 7 years to speak English fluently, depending on how completely you surround yourself with the language. Fortunately "business English" is a subset of the full language and improving your business English can already give you an advantage in the workplace. IN A NUTSHELL What is "Vocabulary"? Vocabulary is a list of available words in a language. While English has more than 500,000 words in its total vocabulary, you only need 850 words to cover the most essential aspects of communication in it. Synonyms are words with a similar meaning (e.g. "hard" and "difficult") whereas antonyms are words with the opposite meaning (e.g. "easy" and "difficult"). What is "Pronunciation"? Pronunciation describes how similar or different to a native speaker your speech sounds, usually because of the influence of your home language on your second language. 72 TO DO LISTS Improve your English The internet has changed the world of learning. There are many free online learning programmes that you can register for and complete to improve your English skills. Some sites charge a fee if you want an assessment and statement of results after completing the learning, but that is optional. Some of the sites with English learning programmes are listed below, and you can search for more of them here: FAQs "I am really shy and I find it difficult to practise my English, what can I do?" Limiting your opportunities for using English will slow down the speed that you can improve. Perhaps you had an embarrassing experience in the past and now it makes you reluctant to exercise your English in public. "There is no such thing as a stupid answer" is relevant to all attempts at learning, because no-one steps immediately into perfect performance until they have made mistakes learning. In fact the only way to find out what your mistakes are is by speaking. You can try working on your writing and reading skills first, and then focus more on your speaking skills. Reading skills are the most passive, followed by writing, then listening, then speaking. You can build the more passive skills first and this will support your speaking skills indirectly. What is "Punctuation"? Punctuation is the use of speech symbols (such as brackets, commas and "parentheses") to add meaning to a sentence by breaking or pausing the flow of language in specific ways. For example notice the difference in meaning in these two sentences, which only have a single punctuation mark separating them: "Let's eat Granny," and "Let's eat, Granny." ALISON.com Coursera edX ESOL Courses Memrise Udemy University of Reading (has an academic focus) If you are interested in learning about other subjects, see this list or this one. While online learning can help you enormously, the highest quality learning is face-to-face learning with an instructor. Other than paying for English tuition, which can be expensive, research your area for NGOs, churches or government agencies which are offering free or subsidised learning programmes. Also check if your company offers any courses in English which will be free to its employees. Improve your English reading skills Take the Macmillan Readers Level test to see what your current reading level is. Now set a target to improve your reading level within two months. Then take the test again and see if you have improved. Try some of the free English reading courses available online (listed earlier) to improve your skills. Some tips: Read for the general meaning of the text first, then come back and read more carefully for the detail, looking up words you are not sure of in a dictionary. If you don't have a dictionary handy, try to guess the meaning of a word from the words around it (its context) There are many words in English which have a similar spelling but different meanings. Check out this list of 125 of the most common ones. Take this synonyms and antonyms test to increase your vocabulary Read English articles or books regularly. This will improve your reading skills and increase your vocabulary. Practice reading out loud to improve your speaking skills as well. Finding an English author that you like could very well improve the quality of your English faster than anything else you do. Here are 20 websites which have thousands of free books to read, and some sites let you join online book clubs and rate or comment on books as well as recommend them to friends. Join a book club on Twitter or Facebook and find books that match your interests. 73 Common errors for speakers of African languages - pronouns Your home language affects how you will speak English. Most African languages in South Africa have no gender marking pronouns such as he, she, his, hers etc. This sometimes results in second language English speakers using the wrong gender in the pronoun, such as "The girl is here. He is not listening to me," (instead of "she is not listening to me). Pronouns are also often used twice when they only need to be used once, e.g.: "The women, she is here," instead of "The women is here." Watch out for... ! Improve your written English English writing skills are even more important these days because of the huge amount of digital communication that travels via text mediums such as emails, web pages, chats and posts. Written English can be divided into structure (how you put ideas together), style (the "flavour" of your writing), and content (the topic of your writing). Here are some suggestions to write better business English from Grammarcheck.Net: Common Errors TO DO LISTS Common errors for speakers of African languages - pronunciation English has about 20 vowel sounds whereas local African languages have as few as 5 in some cases (such as Zulu). It takes practise to hear and pronounce all the extra differences in vowel sounds, but it improves your spoken English once you do it. Examples of this difficulty are common in words like "bird" (wrongly pronounced "bed"), "apple" (wrongly pronounced "epple"). English also has consonants that don't exist in African languages, such as the "th" sound in the word "three" (wrongly pronounced "dree"), or "that" (wrongly pronounced "dat"). Watch out for... ! Common Errors Avoid jargon and complicated words (don't try to impress just yet). Get straight to the point (after a greeting there is no need to chit chat in business English). Avoid exclamation marks, WRITING IN CAPITALS (it's like shouting). Write your first draft quickly, then do a second draft where you pay more attention to English errors. If you have time, use an English dictionary and Thesaurus to choose the best words, and also expand your knowledge of the language. Use the built-in grammar and spell checkers in software like Microsoft Office or use free online ones here and here. Use Google Translate to check vocabulary (the automatic translations are seldom accurate enough to use in a business context) Get another person to check your English if it is an important document Check your current spelling and punctuation level here. Review more help and checklists on written English at the University of Kent Employability website. Improve your English listening skills Understanding spoken English is a lot harder than understanding written English because spoken English shortcuts many rules of written English, and speakers leave out details that they expect you to get from the context of the conversation. Also the pressure of "realtime" communication adds more difficulty to the task of comprehension. A great way to improve your English listening skills is to watch English TV programmes which have subtitles in your home language. Most YouTube videos have the option of turning on automatic subtitles which enable you to read the English being spoken on the video. To make this technique even more effective, select a 5 minute slot to review, look up any words or phrases you do not understand in a dictionary, jot these down, then replay the slot and review your notes when necessary. More help on this technique here. This is a YouTube playlist dedicated to improving English listening skills. Used with a microphone, you can record your own pronunciation and then play it back to hear how close your pronunciation is to the target. Watching shows is just one part of a successful listening skills strategy. More approaches are provided here and here. 74 Improve your spoken English Spoken English is a critical part of teamwork, telephone skills, resolving conflict, making proposals, gathering information, persuading and negotiating, and presenting your personal brand. There are many approaches to improving your spoken English, as these search results show. Kent University has a good web page that groups many of these insights together plus provides resources and self-evaluation tests. Some of the best tips are listed below: TO DO LISTS Organise English-only events with groups of friends. During the outing enforce a rule of speaking English only with each other. Uses phrases like, "How do you say angizwa khale in English?" Someone have a dictionary handy. Make friends with an English home language speaker and spend at least two hours a week with them, speaking in English. Ask them to speak more slowly than they normally do. Ask them to correct your biggest mistakes. Offer to teach them your home language in return :) Don't speak too fast. It might impress your listener if you can rattle off in English, but you are more likely to make mistakes and it's seldom necessary unless you have a wild dog chasing you! Learn key phrases in English that you can use when you get stuck, for example, "I am not sure how you say this in English" or "I am struggling to find the best way to describe this in English so let me put it this way." See this video for guidance on how to improve your spoken English (22 minutes). Also review the infographic "Communication" for guidance on how to use your English skills for specific communication purposes. SEE ALSO Career Communication Conflict Planning & Prioritising Teamwork Technology Links Jargonism.com has a business English dictionary and a quizz to determine how good your business English is. It also has Google Translate built into it, which allows translation into Zulu, Sesotho and Afrikaans A free online guide to writing briefing notes (memos) with step-by-step guides and examples Did you know that Google Translate is a free tool that supports translation into SeSotho, IsiZulu and Afrikaans. It can also translate entire web pages and can be used offline (on your phone). Wiktionary is a free English language dictionary which includes pronunciation of words (an audio snippet) and different meanings for each word, with examples. It has a Sesotho and IsiZulu counterpart. Thesaurus.com has lists of words of similar meanings and words of opposite meanings. The Crown Academy of English has hundreds of hours of free video courses to help you improve your English Vocabulary.com has a an adaptive learning game combined with a dictionary that makes it fun to increase your English vocabulary. You can also enter a list of words you are trying to learn, and the website will create a game to help you learn them. LearnEnglish.De has many resources to assist you in improving your listening skills. 75 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about language use that you can apply to your life now? What lessons have you learned about proper language use in the work place? How would you rate your overall knowledge of the professional language requirements in your work place (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to written, spoken, reading and listening skills. What do you still need to improve regarding the skills referred to above? 76 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 77 Career When you parents were growing up it was common for employees to have two - four jobs in their life-time. Technology has changed the world so much that only a few of the large companies that were around in the 1960's are still going. Entirely new economic sectors, new products and services have emerged since then, creating new job opportunities, and also eliminating old ones. Employers now want flexible workforces that can increase and decrease quickly as demand in the economy changes. They employ the smallest number of people possible so that they can hire additional specialist skills to respond to new opportunities as they arise. All of this means that individuals need to take more personal responsibility for their career development, and not rely on an employer to babysit them. WHY? "Things don't turn up in this world until somebody turns them up" FAQs James A. Garfield "I want to study and improve myself so that I can advance my career, but I just don't have the time." It takes enormous commitment and discipline to further your studies while holding down a full-time job and looking after a family. You only have a few hours left to yourself every day and you are exhausted after a tiring day at work. Fortunately there are part-time and eLearning options you can consider. Part-time learning normally takes twice as long to finish, but you can work on your studies during evenings or weekends. eLearning enables you to complete a course electronically (usually over the internet), whenever you have spare time. Some employers also recognise short courses as valuable, just check before you sign up for them that they will assist your career development, as some short courses are a dead-end. Your employer will sometimes cover the financial cost of your training or education, if the courses are related to your job and help you perform more effectively. An alternative, if you really don't have time to study at all, is to network with people in the same field as you in order to find out what developments you should be aware of, and to share your experiences. See "Networking" later on in this infographic. Another alternative is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Once you have significant experience in a specific field you may qualify for an RPL assessment that could result in you getting certification for your expertise. RPL assessments still cost money but they may save you a lot of time repeating studies for knowledge and skills that you have already gained informally in the workplace. For more information on RPL see CareerPlanet. Well done on landing your first job! Seemed like a lot of work? 12 years of education plus job searching, interviews, more interviews, induction, orientation, and now you have joined the ranks of the employed. The good news is that you are employed. The bad news is that this is just the beginning of your career and you probably have at least 8 job changes, searches and interviews ahead of you before you retire. Taking responsibility for your career will mean staying up to date with changes in your occupation, learning new skill sets, earning new qualifications, helping to coach new employees, getting good performance appraisals, navigating crises at work (and home), getting promoted, getting fired (or retrenched), looking for new job openings, and starting the whole cycle over again. In the middle of getting married, raising a family, paying home-loans and supporting your community you will also have to nurture your career. Neglecting your career or your personal life can both cause problems. This infographic will make you aware of some of the opportunities and challenges you need to be aware of as you build your career prospects through your life. IN A NUTSHELL 78 Complacency Complacency means you get so comfortable that you don't remain aware of important changes around you. Complacency creeps in when you feel that your job is safe and you don't need to "up your game". Modern day employees are more like sportsmen and sportswomen who continually improve their skills and exercise to keep fit. Never knowing when a new competitor will emerge on the sportsfield to challenge their position, they work tirelessly to keep their edge. If you don't enjoy your work this kind of continuous improvement can be a real drag. This is why you should try hard to find work in an occupation that you enjoy and find very meaningful. Watch out for... ! Understand career-pathing TO DO LISTS Complacency A careerpath is a route from one occupation to a more advanced one (e.g. Sales Agent to Sales Supervisor), or to an occupation on the same level, in another job family (e.g. Electronics Technician to Telecommunications Technician). Understanding the various careerpathways available to you can expand the opportunities for your career development. Some people experience career progression that is very unexpected. For example a Casting Agent is someone who chooses which actor to cast (place) in a specific acting role for a film or TV show. A Literary Agent is someone who chooses which books to publish for specific audiences of readers. Although these occupations seem very different, they both use the skills of screening, assessment, selection, and appointment. So you may not think you have options when it comes to your career pathway but the skills sets you have may be important in a very different occupation. Another common form of career progression is based on working with similar materials. What materials do you work with in your occupation? Someone who works a lot with words (e.g. an author) may find it easier to career path into a language teaching occupation because of their experience with writing and language. They would have to develop their pedagogy skills though. For more ideas to help you understand the career pathways in your occupation visit http://ncap.careerhelp.org.za/ and browse their database of occupations. Some entries on this website have information on the type of career pathways common leading to and from them. Become a Lifelong Learner Lifelong learning is based on the realisation that there are many different forms of learning, beyond what we experience in school and college, and continual learning is required to remain relevant and up to date with your work environment. Given that the average worker will have 8 or more jobs in their lifetime, lifelong learner is a necessity in order to keep up with new technologies and new job requirements. Lifelong learning is also becoming easier with advances in technology bringing engaging content to mobile devices and laptops, and innovations such as MOOCS bringing down the cost of high quality learning. The South African National Qualifications Framework has also embraced lifelong learning as one of its key principles, encouraging education and training providers to adapt their programmes to meet the needs and environments of adult learners. Increasingly workers are able to access learning programmes that are modular, selfpaced, flexible and articulate into further learning opportunities (rather than ending in deadends). 79 Find yourself a mentor A mentor is an experienced person who is willing to support your career development and personal growth. They can be drawn from within your organisation, your occupation or industry sector. Mentoring is a very powerful form of development. Some companies hire mentors to develop young people that they believe have the potential to succeed in their organisations. But mentors are not always paid professionals. You may have a friend of your family who has lots of experience and has recently retired. They may be willing to mentor you. Older people who have succeeded in their careers sometimes have a desire to give back to their field by mentoring new talent. You might feel the same way one day! A mentor is very helpful, especially when you have a crisis at work and do not know or trust anyone of your coworkers enough to be able to turn to them for advice. Unlike a college lecturer or academic, a mentor has experience in the environment you are now working in, and has learned through success and failure. If you are considering asking someone to mentor you, you should know what will be required of them, especially if they have not mentored someone before. What will be required of you as the mentee or protg? Read here to prepare yourself for your responsibilities in the mentoring relationship. TO DO LISTS Network and party! No not that kind of party. We are talking about work parties and events that enable you to socialise with people in the same organisation, industry sector or occupation as you. Networking is the informal but very powerful business and social tool that allows you to grow your network of associates and colleagues. Your network can be a source of new customers or sales for you in your current job, better job offers to work at better organisations, warnings of risks or developments in your field, and peers or rolemodels that can help you improve your career potential. Protip: take business cards to networking events and give them out to selected people. Keep their business cards and make a note on the back to remind you of the context of your meeting and anything significant you want to remember about them. Store all these business cards and "tap" your network when you need a new job offer, are trying to get more customers for your current job, or need any other kind of help. Of course if you have a LinkedIn account you can do this and more online (see "Building a CV", page 27). If you are naturally an introvert (shy person), these suggestions will help you socialise more successfully at events. "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." (Milton Berle, American comedian and actor) "I realised that you have to be in charge of your own success because no-one is going to do it for you." (Unknown) 80 TO DO LISTS SEE ALSO Building a CV Communication Conflict English Entitlement and Expectations Planning & Prioritising Teamwork Technology Join a community of practice A community of practice is a social group of people who perform a similar occupation or profession. Such groupings include professional bodies, industry associations, chambers of commerce, trade unions, and business forums. Communities of practice can help you understand your field better, introduce you to mentors, rolemodels or colleagues and associates. They can keep you up to date with legal changes in your occupation, and offering you professional development and training opportunities. Communities of practice provide input to government and business relating to their particular fields of expertise. You can view the SAQA recognised professional bodies here. A list of registered trade unions is available here. Industry associations are listed here. Business chambers can be found here. "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.' (Mark Twain, American author) "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." (Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company) Links Public education institutions can be searched for here. Other education and training institutions can be found here. Some suggestions on how to get promoted, and transferable skills in case you are looking to change employers. Not sure what the difference is between coaching, mentoring and teaching? See here. Some suggestions on networking for career or business purposes. Check out Beena Kavalam's YouTube Channel for career guidance help for women. As you move from your first job to your second, and more, keep in mind the difference between a job, a career and a lifestyle. This video by Ralph Smart (psychologist, author and counsellor) on "5 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job", explains the difference and what to look for in your next work opportunity. 81 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about the importance of career development? How would you rate your overall career development plan (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) life long learning b) career pathing c) mentoring and d) networking What do you still need to do to improve your career development plan? 82 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 83 Communication The workplace requires communication skills that are not commonly required at home or in colleges, so many new employees come to the workplace lacking in workplace communication skills. This makes it harder for them to excel in other areas of their work, increases the chances of misunderstandings and miscommunication, and makes it more difficult for them to resolve conflict, work in teams, and communicate with customers. WHY? "The single biggest problem in communication, is the illusion that it has taken place" FAQs George Bernard Shaw "I get nervous, self-conscious and afraid when I have to communicate at work, what can I do about it?" Dodging workplace communication can make your life a nightmare, and result in people thinking you are silent because you have nothing to offer. The fact that you are aware that you have this habit is the first step to changing it, so well done on being self-aware. Your next step is to shift the way you see yourself. Low self-esteem, sometimes caused by bad past experiences is one of the reasons you could be struggling to speak up at work. Here is a good article to address that issue. Alternatively maybe you are just very strict on yourself, a perfectionist who demands that you be perfect. Either way, change starts with a conscious choice to see yourself differently (and more accurately) than you do now. The next step is to start changing your behaviour gradually. Classify communication opportunities at work as easy, moderate and hard. Push yourself to communicate during the "easy" opportunities first. Make a note in a journal or scoreboard at your desk for each time you successfully engage an easy communication opportunity. Don't count the ones you miss. "Engaging" does not mean you have to give a speech, it can simply be supporting what a speaker has said, or adding to their communication. Leave disagreements and conflicts till your confidence is higher. Once you have got some momentum, graduate to the "moderate" communication opportunities, and then eventually to the "hard" ones. More suggestions on confidence building here. Mastering English for the workplace (page 72) is one step towards more effective communication. The next step is to understand communication approaches and patterns that are used in the workplace. We mentioned earlier that communication is one of the top skills employers look for in potential employees. This is because communication supports almost everything you do at work. Building your communication skills requires more than just English competence. It also requires personal mastery (in areas like confidence, patience and empathy) and social awareness (in areas like culture, diversity, motivation and team-work). IN A NUTSHELL 84 Assuming you know what is inside someone else's head Prejudices, stereotypes, misunderstandings and verbal abuse are often based on thinking you know someone's intentions when you might be only half right, or completely wrong. While you think it may give you an advantage to second guess people, or make you feel like you are in control, there are disastrous consequences when you are wrong, and you end up alienating people at work by simply think you know more than you do. Even if someone is makes a snide comment, is it professional workplace behaviour to play the game with them and retaliate? Your boss may be pleased with you sidestepping the comment and getting on with the job at hand. Watch out for... ! Understand the most important aspects of communication in the workplace TO DO LISTS Assuming Communication is a huge field of study but specific kinds of communication are really important in the workplace. We go into more detail for some of these areas in this infographic, and we suggest links at the end of this section where you can explore this field more widely. Areas of communication that are important in the workplace include: assertiveness, body language, crosscultural communication, customer service, diversity, motivation, negotiation, persuasion, presentations, research, sales, and telephone skills. Assertiveness Assertiveness is the ability to assert (make a statement) your perspective or judgement of a situation, including respectfully, but firmly disagreeing with others. Assertive behaviour at work is essential for efficient communication and the quick resolution of problems, but many people are unfamiliar with workplace assertiveness, preferring to remain silent when they should speak, or speaking aggressively when they should simply state their opinion. Assertiveness is not aggressiveness. There are specific communication techniques to express yourself firmly without being overbearing (putting others down). More help on assertiveness here. Steps to improve your assertiveness can include the following: Value yourself and know your rights in the workplace Identify your needs and wants in the workplace Realise that people are responsible for the way their interpret other's actions Express negativity in a constructive way Accept positive and negative feedback in a balanced way Learn to say "no" when it is appropriate Learn to change your decision and to apologise in an objective way "Communication is the real work of leadership" (Nitin Nohria) 85 TO DO LISTS Get savvy with cross-cultural communication Each culture has its own way of showing respect, humour, challenge, support and disagreement. This is part of the rich variety and heritage of humanity, and cultural diversity is something that should be encouraged. In the workplace however, there are conventions (rules) around communication that help avoid misunderstandings, and make communication more efficient. Learning these conventions does not mean changing your culture, it just means respecting the culture of the workplace, and knowing when it's appropriate to communicate using workplace conventions. Crosscultural differences in communication are well known across the world. Asian cultures for example are typically more team oriented than Germanic cultures. Middleeastern cultures are less participative than Anglo cultures, and East European cultures are more autonomous than Latin American cultures. For example, how do different cultures say "no" to their boss when saying "yes" may result in more important work not being done? German: "No, I cannot anymore, I might have to postpone some other important work" Chinese: "This may be not so easy to do." Chinese culture never openly says "no" as this is considered very disrespectful in certain contexts. Italian: "I am not sure if it is possible." British: "This might be a good idea," with the emphasis on the word "might". In some traditional African cultures it is respectful when greeting a senior person to avoid eyecontact, not talk until you are spoken to, immediately seat yourself in a lower position, and not question the decisions of the senior person. In most South African workplace cultures, the communication conventions when greeting a senior worker are the opposite: eye contact is made immediately and maintained throughout the conversation, you are expected to be communicative, to remain standing until offered a seat, and to disagree respectfully when appropriate. How can you become more effective at crosscultural communication? When interpreting other's communication styles, leave space for the possibility that crosscultural differences may explain some of the things you find unusual or offensive in the other person. For example you may feel your boss has been cold and hostile towards you, whereas they may feel they are being professional and polite. Likewise understand that others may misinterpret your communication if they are unfamiliar with your culture. For example you may communicate in a way that you believe is friendly, but others may interpret your behaviour as too demonstrative or disrespectful. Grow your understanding of the workplace communication culture in your organisation so that you understand what is and isn't appropriate in that context. For example ask your coworkers questions like this, "Sandy, that person seemed very unfriendly to me in their body language. Is that normal here, or was the person actually trying to be unfriendly?" Be tolerant of cultural differences, realising that good intentions are often expressed in very different ways by different cultures 86 TO DO LISTS Body language Sometimes our mouth says one thing and our body language says another. We are not often aware of what our body language is saying, and in a workplace context, our nonverbal language is just as important as our verbal language. Key ingredients of body language include: "The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply" (Unknown) "10% of conflict is due to difference of opinion and 90% of conflict is due to delivery and tone of voice" (Unknown) Posture (the shape of your body when sitting or standing) Eye contact Hand and body movements Distance between people and touch Research what a "defensive posture" looks like and how a person's body language can tell you if they are lying. Become aware of your body language during interviews, presentations and when listening to your boss. Customer service communication Customer service skills are essential in most businesses, but especially if you are "front office" or "forward facing" (dealing directly with customers). Without customers a business would not exist. This gave rise to the expression "The customer is King", and "The customer is always right," reflecting the importance of customer service in organisations. Poor communication with customers can lose your organisation business (or affect service delivery) which is why customer service communication is often high on the list of skills for new employees. Good customer service communication can be as simple as putting yourself in your customer's shoes, and feeling what they are feeling, then aiming to give them what you know you would like if you were in their situation. Dealing with unhappy customers is another valuable customer service skill and it requires good communication performance on your side. Asking the customer "what happened?" can give you the information you need to assist them effectively as well as make the customer feel a little better as they get their negative experience "off their chest". Read up on some additional tips to deal with unhappy customers here and the even more difficult angry customers. Then ask around if anyone knows someone who is really good at customer service, and spend an hour or two observing them in the workplace if possible. What makes them so good at this skill, and how can you learn from them? 87 TO DO LISTS Common mistakes in communication Being aware of the common pitfalls out there can save your communications. Here are some common ones to avoid: Assuming your listener can hear you. Especially when delivering a presentation, or speaking to a group of people in a noisy place, check that the listeners at the back can actually hear what you are saying, for example "Can you hear me at the back there?" Assuming your listener automatically understands you. Check they have got the message, by asking for example "Does that make sense to?" Assuming bad intentions. If you think a speaker or listener has bad intentions, your communication (whether listening or speaking) will tend to reinforce your opinion, and may actually turn a neutral person to one who does have bad intentions. Instead, try to keep an open mind when communicating, and be aware that your own interpretations are not always 100% accurate. Lecturing or blah blah blah blah. Get straight to the point, especially with business communication. While bantering and chit chat may be appropriate in social situations, in the workplace people have jobs to do and don't appreciate "waffle". Try not to use email to communicate emotional content or bad news, rather use face to face communication. Electronic communication seldom carries the empathy that is needed for such emotional communications. Links This article is targeted at managers to make them more aware of crosscultural communication issues in the workplace, and this article gives a bigger framework to understand how workplace cultures differ globally. MindTools.com has hundreds of useful articles on getting ready for the workplace, including several on communication in the workplace. A similar site is SkillsYouNeed.com. Empathy is an essential workplace capability, especially when working with customers, and managing teams of employees. We discussed EQ earlier in this publication (page 12). Here is a view of empathy in business communication. 88 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about the importance of communication that you can apply in your daily life immediately? What lessons have you learned about the importance of communication in the work place? How would you rate your overall communication skills (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) assertiveness b) body language c) crosscultural communication d) diversity and e) customer service communication Which aspects of your communication skills do you still need to improve? 89 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 90 Conflict Conflict at work is inevitable. Most workplaces are high pressure environments where delays or errors can result in financial loss or health and safety risks. Local, national and global competition contributes to high levels of stress and raises the likelihood of conflict. Conflict is also not necessarily a bad thing. It can force communication to take place and reveal blockages and dangers that are hiding under the surface. It can also relieve stress when people express their feeling and emotions openly. There are however healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with conflict in the workplace. This infographic looks at both. While sporadic conflict can be constructive if channeled correctly, it can also rip apart a workplace and make it toxic. Working in conflict ridden environments is not supportive of business. Being able to resolve workplace conflict successfully is in your best interests. You never know when your coworkers will appear later in life as your new boss, or fellow manager in another organisation or sector. Some work enemies even end up being influential managers in your customer's organisations or your supply chain. So it's never a good thing to part ways with a fellow employee on bad terms. Dorothy Thompson "Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict" IN A NUTSHELL FAQs "I am worried that if I get involved in conflict I may lose my job, but I have to stand up to people here. What can I do?" If you are new at your job it might take a while before people trust you enough to respect problems that you are pointing out. That is why the first 6 months of your employment are so critical. If possible, wait until your supervisor and coworkers have got to know you and trust you before getting involved in conflict. In a healthy workplace you will be able to speak confidentially to a trusted coworker, supervisor or manager about the conflict, and get advice as to how you should respond. If this is not possible in your workplace then are probably more problems there than you think. Fear of losing your job is understandable, but you should also know that your boss cannot simply get cross with you and fire you. Employers must follow a clear and fair process before they can dismiss an employee. In a situation like this there are several approaches, and no-one can really tell you which one is best: (1) approach a trusted coworker or team leader for advice (2) confront the person who is troubling you and express how you perceive their behaviour (3) approach your team leader, supervisor or manager to make an official complaint (3) try to resolve the conflict privately, outside of work (4) request a transfer to a different department or building (5) wait and hope the problem will disappear. More suggestions in the "Links" section of this infographic. WHY? 91 Understand the type of conflict TO DO LISTS There are three types of conflict in a workplace: "Someone is messing with me at work. Do I confront them privately or publicly?" The advantage of privately confronting someone is that they will not be publicly humiliated, and they may be less defensive and more open to hearing you out. The advantage of publicly confronting someone is that you have witnesses if the dispute turns out nasty, and other people can hold the person to account, not just you. If your conflict is with a coworker (not a superior), then it's usually advisable to talk to them before or after work so that the conflict does not spill over to the workplace. If that fails, and the conflict is affecting your work, then the next step would be to request your team leader or supervisor (not your manager) to help you resolve the problem. If that fails you would have to escalate (take higher) the conflict to your manager. FAQs Being nice Being nice is usually very socially acceptable. In a workplace being nice can often be counterproductive (work against you) and is sometimes called "denial" because it pretends there is no cause for conflict. Because workplaces are complex environments requiring everyone's best performance, conflicts are often a sign of trouble under the surface, and it's therefore very important not to bury disagreements at the first sign of trouble. Rather try to work out if there is a genuine problem behind the disagreement so that you can solve the root problem before it breaks out at a worse time, with more repressed (buried) energy. See the heading "Assertiveness" in the infographic "Communication", page 84, for more help. Watch out for... ! Being nice individual conflict, between people instrumental conflict (over what the organisation is doing or how it is doing it), and implementation conflict (over the resources needed to achieve the organisation's objectives) Understand the causes of conflict in a workplace Miscommunication and misunderstandings are a significant cause of workplace conflict (see "Communication", page 84, for tips to avoid this). Workplace stress is another significant cause of conflict. Review some of the suggestions in the infographic "Attitude", page 10, to help you destress. Competition is another common cause of conflict, as employees fight one another for recognition, promotion or other types of reward. Disagreements about organisational objectives or ways of working is another source of conflict. Patient to doctor: "I don't do much traditional exercise, but I make sure to get my heart rate up by freaking out at the office on a regular basis" (Source) 92 Understand strategies for resolving conflict in the workplace Before looking at strategies, it's important to state that you should try to deal with conflict early. It can become more difficult and more dangerous to resolve conflict later. Its also helpful to focus on the business goals and objectives. Everyone at work in an organisation is there to further the objectives of the organisation. This "higher" objective can encourage people to let go of their personal differences in pursuit of the bigger purpose. Sports teams often build unity in this way by reminding individuals of their commitment to the team and the game. Personal conflicts seen in this light are petty. You can even show people how their conflict is negatively impacting the organisation that they both rely on for employment, to move people away from selfish tendencies. These are the common strategies used for resolving workplace conflict: TO DO LISTS Passive aggressive conflict Just because conflict is under the surface does not mean it's not lethal. Passive aggressive behaviour is indirect. Sulking, resentment and withdrawal can be passive aggressive behaviours. Here are 10 ways to spot this kind of aggression which can often sabotage a workplace silently and much more lethaly than open conflict. Watch out for... ! Passive aggressive conflict Seek a winwin resolution to the conflict. "Winwin" means all parties in the conflict get what they want. This is the hardest outcome to achieve, but the one with the highest rewards. You need to understand both sides of the conflict well to know what would benefit each side, which is not always the same as what they say they want or need. You may also need to convince the parties that what they say they want is not actually in their best interests after all. Seek a compromise resolution. This is not as good as a winwin solution, but not as bad as a winlose situation either. Each party agrees to change their demands so that agreement can be met. The danger is that conflict may arise again in the future if the compromise was not heartfelt or was not deep enough to the root causes. Seek a winlose resolution where one party's demands are considered more valid than the other party, and the conflict is resolved in their favour. This is a weak solution because it leaves one party feeling like they have lost and not been validated, but sometimes it is the only solution to conflict, especially where one employee is simply bullying another, or where it's more important to preserve the relationship than solve the problem. Accept a loselose solution where both parties agree to drop the conflict, and neither gains what they want. This is also known as denial or avoidance. In some situations it isn't possible to resolve the causes and this solution can at least create a temporary pause in hostilities until a better solution can be found. "The best general is the one who never fights" (Sun Tzu) "Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die" (Malachy McCourt) 93 TO DO LISTS SEE ALSO Attitude Career Communication English Planning & Prioritising Teamwork Technology Understand the link between conflict, stress and illness A work environment riddled with conflict is called a "toxic work environment" for good reason. Understanding the link between conflict, stress and illness may help everyone involved try harder to find a real solution. When your body is stressed it goes through major physical changes which are designed to protect you when you are in danger, the socalled "fight or flight" mechanism. The problem isn't the fightorflight mechanism, the problem is staying in it frequently due to constant stress. The more frequently you are stressed, the more the body's fight or flight changes become toxic for your longterm health. Review the diet and nutrition suggestions here to protect your body from stress responses, but ultimately, remove as much stress from your life as possible. "Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas" (Donatella Versace, fashion designer) Links This is not a good way to resolve conflict (video) What this short summary of conflict avoidance strategies (video) What is an unfair dismissal? Here is the Department of Labour guide on this topic. Some examples of conflict resolution in workplaces Things can get out of hand if conflict is not resolved early on (video) Become a pro at dealing with stress, stress in the workplace, and understand how stress can affect your health Negotiation skills support conflict resolution. Read up on them here. Relaxation techniques to help with stress and conflict. Exercise can also help you destress, and has additional health benefits A humourous look at malefemale relationship conflict. Discuss with a friend of opposite gender how this infographic can help resolve conflict at work. 94 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about conflict that you can apply to areas of conflict in your life? What lessons have you learned about conflict in the work place? How would you rate your overall knowledge of conflict management (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to a) types of conflict that you understand, b) strategies for conflict resolution and c) the link between conflict, stress and illness. What do you still need to improve in your conflict management skills? 95 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 96 Planning & Prioritising Planning and prioritising skills have been identified by employers as an essential capability that young people must bring to the workplace. With the rapid advances in technology in the twenty first century, workers have opportunities and requirements to multi-task more than ever before, and can be more productive than ever before, but not without learning to plan their days and prioritise their tasks. WHY? "In the modern workplace, distraction is destruction" FAQs Mike Stuart "Help! I know what tasks I need to do but I always end up wasting time with less important stuff" You may be a procrastinator (someone who delays unpleasant tasks in favour of something unimportant). There are many techniques you can use to break this habit. Find one that works for you. Each person's psychology is different, so you may need to try a few of these techniques before you find one that works for you. Deadlines, targets, interruptions, stress and distractions. All the ingredients you need for a large explosion. Fortunately with good planning and prioritising skills you can navigate these things without losing track of what needs to be done each day, and you can make sure you don't forget important things that can't be tackled just yet. Your ability to plan and prioritise is essential for your success in the workplace no matter what industry sector or occupation you work in. IN A NUTSHELL Overplaning If you try to plan and control your day too much you can end up wasting time and frustrating yourself. Every day there will be unplanned and unplannable incidents that you have to squeeze into your schedule without time to think much about it. Too much planning can stress you out, make you grumpy with coworkers and customers, and make you skip tasks that are actually important. Watch out for... ! Overplaning (Proverb) 97 Understand time management TO DO LISTS Time management is an important part of planning and prioritising your day. The key ingredients are: Set clear goals if you are not sure of it, it's not a goal go back and check with the person who gave you the work to do in the first place. Break your goals into separate pieces or steps each step leads you to the next, and is a necessary part of getting the goal done Review your progress, adding, deleting or reordering goals depending on your progress and how much time is available to complete the goals Don't let time "run away from you." Use a watch, or your phone or PC to periodically check the time so that you can catch yourself spending too much time on a single piece of a goal. If you find yourself stuck on one piece of a goal, let go and take on another task. Your mind burns energy when concentrating intensely and it gets exhausted. A change of task can give your creativity a boost and stop you from getting bogged down (see "Creativity & Innovation", page 15). When interruptions come, defer them (leave them till later) unless they are urgent. You will work more effectively on a task without interruptions. Be friendly, polite and yet firm with people who try to distract. This includes your boss! For example, telling your boss, "{Maam / Sir} I would really like to help you with that task now but you have said this work is really important, so I will help you as soon as I have completed this task. Is that ok?" Your boss can then decide whether to distract you or not, but will respect your commitment to getting your job done effectively. Interruptions will happen whether you like it or not, so building in extra space before and after tasks to allow for unavoidable interruptions. "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least" (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) 98 Use to-do lists to shepherd your tasks A small pocket notebook, or task manager like Google Keep, is an absolutely essential tool for work. Give each day its own page, and write the date clearly at the top. Use it to quickly jot down notes to yourself so that you don't forget details and tasks that your boss quickly mentions to you while you are busy with something else. This way you won't get stressed trying to remember what your boss told you earlier in the day. Use it to jot down phone numbers, figures, addresses, names and other important information that you will need for later. When you have a space during the day check your notebook and cross off the things you have done so that you can easily see what still needs to be done. The act of reviewing your todo list may remind you that one task requires an additional task to be done first (e.g. you need to buy a new lightbulb before you can replace the broken one). Use symbols (like an exclamation mark!) to highlight urgent or high priority tasks, or designate priority with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 etc to show the order or priority of different tasks. Don't throw the notepad away when you are done. In a month's time you may be looking for a phone number you wrote down in it, or trying to remember what you were doing on a specific day. TO DO LISTS Understand prioritisation "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least" (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe). The 80:20 rule of time management is that 20% of your tasks cover 80% of what is really important for you to accomplish. This rule helps you sift out the tasks which will take as much time as a high priority task, but are not nearly as important. Get the 20% most important tasks done first in the day, as early as possible. Don't forget about the remaining 80% less important tasks, but use less valuable time, such as late afternoon, to focus on them and get as many as you can done in a short space of time. You will find it much easier to tackle lots of less important tasks (the 80%) when the few important tasks (the 20%) are sorted. Also if there is an unexpected disruption to your day (loadshedding at the office, or the boss asks you to help with something), your important tasks will have been taken care of earlier in the day, leaving you more confident to tackle the emergency. Prioritisation is about knowing the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. 99 Low hanging fruit refers to "quick wins", tasks that should be relatively quick and easy to accomplish, and result in some kind of gain or benefit. For example if you work in a call centre, you may have five phone calls to do that you know are complicationfree and will enable you to register a big amount of progress for the day. One strategy of prioritisation and task management is to identify and harvest low hanging fruit as soon as possible. You will feel better about your workload, and have made an early impact on your day. Low hanging fruit can be in either the 80 or 20 percent of the 80:20 rule, but the small amount of effort involved in completing these tasks, along with the benefit of doing so, makes them important. Low hanging fruit Another strategy to prioritising is the time management matrix. Think of all your tasks as fitting into one of four quadrants (squares) of a graph. The left axis of the graph shows increasing urgency of the task. The right axis of the graph shows increasing importance. The top right quadrant are tasks that are urgent and important (sometimes called "firefighting"). The bottom right quadrant are tasks that are not urgent but are important. The top left quadrant are tasks that are urgent but not important (office drama sits here). The bottom left quadrant are tasks that are not important and not urgent. Some of these tasks however can lead to problems later if they are not addressed sometime. Most people spend too much time in the top left quadrant (urgent but not important), and not enough time in the bottom right quadrant (not urgent, but important). Once you have allocated your tasks to one of the four quadrants this is one approach to tackle them: The time management matrix TO DO LISTS Deal with firefighting emergencies first (top right quadrant) Don't let all your time get stolen by firefighting Be sure to spend time with important but not urgent tasks (bottom right quadrant) When you need a break, or at the end of the day, work on the remaining tasks, keeping in mind tasks that have the potential to be important in the future Urgent & important Not urgent but important Urgent but not important Not urgent & not important Increasing importance Increasing urgency100 SEE ALSO Career Communication Conflict English Teamwork Technology Have contingency plans in case important tasks can't get done on time. For example you have an important customer whose printer needs repairing. You dispatch a technician to the job, but you know there is a small chance that one technician won't be enough. Your contingency plan is to keep a second technician in the same suburb so she can reinforce the first technician if necessary. In most cases you don't need to develop a full contingency plan, but can just have thought through some options, and made the necessary decisions so that contingencies are available. There's always Plan B (King Julien in "Madagascar") TO DO LISTS "A stitch in time saves nine" (Proverb). This proverb highlights the importance of actions you can take now which will save you from a lot of work down the line. For example your boss tells you to set up a contact details database so that you can quickly lookup the phone number or email of a customer without searching through papers or lists. You put the job off because it sits in the 80 part of the 80:20 rule (see "Understand Prioritisation" earlier). However you end up missing an important call to a customer because you can't find their contact details. You didn't do the stitch in time and now you have a lot of work to do to build up the relationship with the customer again. Be proactive Links Suggestions on taking notes in meetings. Tips on using a shortterm memory notebook. We discussed keeping a daily journal in the infographic "Attitude" (page 10). Turns out you can use a notebook for journaling many different things The top 6 free task management apps If you are a procrastinator (someone who puts off important tasks for no good reason), then this decision flowchart may or may not help you. A time management questionnaire that rates you on a scale of 1 to 15 in eight different areas, and then helps you improve your lowest scores How do you know if you are in the 80 or the 20? 101 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about planning and prioritising that you can apply to your life immediately? What lessons have you learned about planning and prioritising that you think will be tough for you personally to apply in the workplace? How would you rate your overall planning and prioritisation skills (Good fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) time management b) prioritisation and c) proactiveness. 102 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 103 Teamwork In recent years, teams have emerged as the basic building blocks of effective organisations. Teams reduce inefficient hierarchies, speed decision making, and discover improvements to customer problems more quickly. In the 1960's, a typical business unit would focus on one part of a business process (say assembly) have a manager, a supervisor and a team leader, plus ten regular employees. Nowadays it's common for a business unit to have five employees and a team leader, and to cover several parts of a business process (say assembly, manufacturing, purchasing and sales). Through technological advances and process improvements, this team does the work of five teams from a typical 1960's factory. WHY? "None of us is as smart as all of us" FAQs Ken Blanchard Teams are more effective at solving their own problems and more robust because of the different skills sets and personalities they contain. However teamwork requires more advanced interpersonal skills and a willingness to drop some of your personal boundaries to advance the team's progress. Arguments, jealousy, rivalry, and bullying are just some of the challenges a team can face, and unless these are resolved quickly, everyone in the team can suffer. Teamwork requires a paradox (seemingly conflicting ideas): the individual's well-being is as important as the team's well-being. Teams that neglect individuals fall apart, but individuals within a team who neglect the team end up falling behind. Perhaps this is a modern rediscovery of the saying, "All for one and one for all?" IN A NUTSHELL "There are some people in our team who are wrecking it by their behaviour. What can I do about it?" Naming the negative behaviour can help to make everyone aware of it. The kinds of destructive behaviour that teams often get into include conflict, withdrawal, monopolising and scape-goating. Conflict is an issue we have looked at already (page 91). Withdrawal is a common behaviour where a person just refuses to participate in the team. A good team will be a safe environment for introverted (shy) people to open up more, and will not force people to participate. Some personality types contribute less than others, but their contributions are very powerful when they happen. A good team respects the individuality of each contribution. Monopolising is a destructive behaviour where one or two team members are so active that other team members can't make a contribution, or are forced to contribute in limited ways only. Scapegoating is where the group blames an individual member for its failure to achieve something, instead of recognising that the failure is the group's responsibility. You can read up more about these behaviours and how to respond to them here. 104 TO DO LISTS Rate yourself on interpersonal skills You will need a high level of interpersonal skills to crack teamwork. Rate yourself here to check where you currently stand. Understand different roles in a team The most effective teams are diverse. Rather than everyone trying to be the same, the team respects individual differences and encourages the strengths of each person to be expressed through distinct roles in the team. Effective teams are also flexible enough to allow people to change roles to meet their personal needs. Some teams are small so one person may fill more than one of the roles below. As you look at these roles, try to identify which roles you currently play in your work team, and compare that with roles you have played on other teams or groups during your life (e.g. sports team, church group, political organisation etc). Team roles typically include the following, often called by different names, and with some roles split into two in some systems of thinking: Leader their leadership style will affect the character and success of the group and should be flexible enough to change over time (in emergencies it may be appropriate for them to dictate tasks whereas in normal circumstances it may be appropriate for them to seek guidance and direction from within the group). Shaper a shaper helps the team enter new areas and cross obstacles, but their impatience and risktaking can also create problems for the group. They are great at starting new work, but usually struggle to finish it. Implementer an implementer likes to make progress and get the job done. They are practical but can struggle to see the big picture or embrace new approaches . Implementers often finish the work that Shapers start. Supporter a supporter is sensitive to the team's needs and provides members with encouragement and help. They are good listeners but may not enjoy the limelight or leadership roles. Investigator an investigator is comfortable gathering information and resources outside the group and is sociable and good at negotiation. They may be overly optimistic about their potential for success. Scientist an intellectual or problem solving role which can work away from the group for periods and develops creative ideas and solutions which bypass conventional limitations and are therefore either very useful, or impractical. Judges are good critical thinkers able to evaluate plans objectively and point out strengths and weaknesses of an approach or contribution. They can sometimes be too analytical, unemotional and critical. 105 TO DO LISTS SEE ALSO Attitude Career Communication Conflict English Planning & Prioritising Technology Are you a good leader? There are many different kinds of leaders, and not all of them are the superhero type you see in Hollywood movies. If you enjoy working with teams and are successful in motivating and organising people, you may be a good leader. Take this survey to get an idea if you already have leadership capabilities, what kind of leadership style you prefer, and what areas you can improve on to become a better leader. Once you prove yourself at teamwork you may want to consider becoming a team leader or supervisor. Leadership has nothing to do with bossing people around, and is made up of a whole bunch of interrelated (connected) skills such as: big picture thinking, organising, decision making, problem solving, communicating, motivating and empathy. Get an idea of what this involves here. "Individually we are a drop. Together we are an ocean." (Ryunosuke Satoro) "Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results" (Ifeanyi Onuoha) Links Read up on how workplaces have changed in the last fifty years, leading to the importance of teams in workplaces Meetings are an important part of teamwork but can often be frustrating and unproductive. Check here for some suggestions on how you can make them more effective. We are all on the same team, and we have work to do (video) Here are some resources to help improve teamwork in your organisation Didn't find your team role in this infographic? Try this set of alternative team roles. 106 Respect diversity in your team and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each person As you may have noticed, the list of team roles given previously is very diverse. To the extent that a team is aware of these differences and respects each role's strength, while being aware also of each role's weakness, this diversity is a powerful source of strength. However if the team members try to make everyone the same, or see some roles as less important, they can run into trouble. The MyersBriggs Type Indicators (MBTI) is a personality theory that allows teams to identify which personality types they match, and then work together by playing to their strengths and accommodating their weaknesses. The 16 MBTI personality types link to the team roles described above, but also provide a lot more detail on the communication styles, conflict strategies and thinking patterns that characterise each personality type. You may have heard people described as "introverts" or "extroverts". Introverts tend to be more comfortable on their own than extroverts, who can spend long periods of time in groups without feeling drained. The introvert extrovert dimension is just one of four dimensions of personality in the MBTI theory, showing you how complex the many different aspects of personality can be, and how different team members can be from each other. If you are interested in finding out more about your personality type, visit http://www.16personalities.com/ to do a free evaluation. Some more background on the MBTI can be found here and suggestions on how to apply this in your team here. TO DO LISTS Good guys, bad guys and ethics Integrity and accountability have risen in public awareness recently, as scandals and corruption have been exposed across many sectors of society, business and government around the world. As an individual and a team you may be faced with some tough decisions to make where you are not sure what the right thing to do is. Whistleblowers serve society by exposing corruption in their organisation, but sometimes pay a high price. These pages offer you some help in establishing an ethical framework for your choices at work and at home. Leaders have a special responsibility with regard to ethical choices. Here is some reflection on how to be an ethical leader. "The buck stops everywhere" (The Simpsons) "We had a great team at work but now it's a disaster. What is happening?" Teams have a natural life-cycle they grow through, just like a living part or animal. Teams first come together and establish common ground (Bonding), then individuals within the group challenging each other and the group to establish authority and prominence (Storming), then the group tends to stabilise and agree collectively on who does what (Norming), followed by a phase of productivity in terms of achieving the team's objectives (Performing), and finally the team adjourns (ends) at some point, or get's absorbed into a bigger team. Not all teams go through all the stages in the cycle. Which part of the life-cycle do you think your team is in now? How does this affect how you will act in the team going forward? For more information on these cycles this see here. FAQs 107 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about Team Work that you can apply immediately in your life? What lessons have you learned about Team Work in the workplace that you were not familiar with before? How would you rate yourself as a team player ( Good fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) understanding different roles in a team b) diversity What do you still need to improve in order to be a good team player? 108 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 109 Technology Technology has become so pervasive in the workplace that you are now at a serious disadvantage if you are technologically illiterate. And while the younger generation has an advantage in growing up with technology, they still have to keep pace with rapid improvements in telecommunications and electronics. Employers try to adopt the latest technologies in the workplace in order to save costs and improve the quality of their products and services. Being able to benefit from the time-saving and efficiency benefits of this technology should impress your employer and help you get your job done better. WHY? "Life was much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits." Unknown You may not have grown up in home with all the latest gadgets, but as a college graduate you are young enough to pick up many digital literacies much faster than older people in the workforce. This means way more now than just computer literacy. Workplace technology has increased beyond software, laptops and PCs to include tablets, smartphones,, photocopy machines, coffee machines, time control systems, automation systems, remote control devices (think projectors and aircons), and many more. IN A NUTSHELL Gadget mania The definition of technological literacy includes the fact that you are not scared by technology nor infatuated by it. Next time you see your boyfriend or girlfriend drooling at Dion Wired, or possessed by the latest smartphone tech, don't get envious. Technological infatuation can result in an unhealthy over reliance on technology to the extent that you use it in the wrong situations (emailing someone to break emotional news) or for the wrong purposes (virtual dating instead of the real thing). The purpose of technological literacy is for you to use technology, not for technology to use you. Gadget mania also leads to office etiquette violations that can make you appear unprofessional and rude. Not putting your private phone on "silent" while at work, taking a call in the middle of a conversation with a person, and typing a message while someone is speaking to you, are common examples of poor technology etiquette. Your supervisor, manager and boss are more likely to get upset with the way you use technology than your peers. This is not just because they are responsible for discipline in the workplace, but being older than you they have developed a different set of norms and values around technology, which are less tech-friendly than yours. More tips about using your technology sensitively here and here. Watch out for... ! Gadget mania 110 Master typing TO DO LISTS Typing has been identified as a fundamental modern business skill, due to its importance in many electronic interfaces. Test your typing speed at Typing Test. You should have a word per minute speed of not less than 40. The same website has typing training games and tips to help you increase your speed if you need to. Master "Help" Most commercial software and technology is sold with user guides or help functionality. Surprisingly few people actually use this functionality to solve problems they have, or improve their efficiency with the program or device. In Microsoft Office for example, the website https://support.office.com/ provides articles, videos and downloads to help you use the Office suite of programs. Online forums are also an excellent source of work or personal help. Once you register on a forum you can post questions, reply to questions and get notified by email whenever anyone responds to your post. My Broadband is a popular South African forum and you can see here how wide the range of topics is. Yahoo Answers is another kind of website where you can post questions and receive answers from people. Good answers receive the best ratings and so you can usually see which answers are more trustworthy than others. DID YOU KNOW? Master Google Search Google is probably the best tool for getting general help on anything. You can obviously use Google to type in a specific question such as "How to troubleshoot a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4" but you can also use it to test a suspected solution, for example "shaking a samsung galaxy s4 fixes it" results in no articles confirming that suspicion, whereas "cinnamon repels ants" gets results that confirm your hypothesis. Did you know you can add the words "site:za" to the end of your search query to get results only from South African websites? This is more effective than just adding the word "South Africa" to your query, because the results will include websites from anywhere in the world with the word "South Africa" in their title. Google Search can also be used as a calculator (type 9+10 and see what happens) and a dictionary (type definition Google). Type this query into Google and see what happens: "What teams have won the Africa Cup of nations ..2010". More help on using Google search help here and here. "My friend told me there was life outside the internet and that I should check it out. I asked him to send me a link." (Unknown) 111 TO DO LISTS Master the tech you need for your work Each job will have its own environment and its own technology. During induction, or the first day of work, find out what technology forms part of your job and what resources your employer offers you to learn how to use them. Also find out who the technology experts at your work are, so you know who to contact if you can't fix something. When asking a technician to assist you with technology, don't just let them fix it for you and leave, ask them to show you what they did to fix the problem, and ideally you should do the fixing while they tell you what to do, so that you learn for yourself. Although this is harder at first and takes more time, you will teach yourself technology in the act of solving your problems, and become more tech-friendly. Technicians may need to be asked to "go slowly" or repeat themselves, when explaining what to do, as they may not relate to your lack of technological understanding if they have no experience in training people. Before you call a technician, try to fix the problem yourself, as most common technological problems stem from simple things like the device not being plugged in, or can be solved by simply restarting the program or the operating system. See Tech Terms for help with tech jargon. Subscribe to good tech resources to stay updated Certain websites specialise in technology developments and can keep you up to date with relevant developments. These include My Broadband, ITWeb, Ars Technica and The Verge. If you are struggling to keep up with information overload, try using an RSS reader, such as Feedly, which lists headlines on all your favourite websites so that you can only explore the topics that interest you. RSS Readers can save you hours of time and yet enable you to stay abreast of news and information across a variety of fields. Backing up With more and more information becoming digitised, and with more important information being uploaded, it's important to understand how to make and restore backups of your data. You should back up your data frequently. How frequently depends on how much data you would be happy to lose. If you are working on a big project, it's advisable to backup your files whenever you reach a small milestone. Where do you backup your data to? Ideally the backup location should be in a different physical location to the primary location (e.g. your laptop). It's no use back ing up to a memory stick, then storing your laptop and memory stick in the same room and both get stolen. Online backups are probably the most convenient, although your data is not necessarily private or secure (see Digital Privacy and Security later). Google Drive offers 15 GB of free online storage space. Dropbox offers 2 GB free storage. Learn how to backup contacts and messages from your phone to another device. How to do this will vary depending on your phone. Consult the help documentation that came with the phone or try this Google Search "How to Backup a [insert phone make and model]". "Getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant" (Mitchell Kapor) Help! 112 TO DO LISTS Other tech related skills you should develop Digital Privacy and Digital Security are two areas of technological literacy that are worth finding out more about and adopting practices to keep your personal life private, and to prevent hackers from stealing information or money from you. Some Digital Privacy and Security tips are given below, along with references for more help: "It has become appalling obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity" (Albert Einstein) https:// Find out if your employer has IT or security policies that you need to be aware of. Read here to understand the difference between HTTP websites (not secure) and HTTPS websites (more secure). Be careful of doing online banking over public Wifi Hotspots, as these access points have numerous security weaknesses that can be exploited by a hacker. Two-factor authentication is used by many websites to add another layer of security to your communication, and you should use this wherever possible. Choose a secure password Never send passwords or credit card details in an email or text message as these can be easily hacked. Don't share your password with anyone else, including your IT administrators. They have their own passwords they can use to access your account securely without compromising your password. Don't give your passwords out over the phone to people you assume you can trust. Don't open attachments on messages from people you are unfamiliar with as these can infect your device Use antivirus software on your devices and make sure they are working properly and have up to date virus definitions Keep the software on your device patched and updated to prevent it being vulnerable to exploits If you intend to blow the whistle on corruption, take precautions to ensure your actions are anonymous by using the Tor Browser. Links You thought there was only one or two kinds of illiteracy? There are 20 distinct forms of illiteracy according to Listverse. How many apply to you? LifeHack has a set of articles helping you become more tech-friendly. Tech Terms has a browseable glossary of technology words and phrases as well as quizzes and answers to common technical questions Suggestions on netiquette for IM at work. Microsoft Office Support Microsoft Office Word 2010 help and tricks website. 113 My journal ... also use this page to write your own observations and notes. Before you move on use these reflection exercises WAIT! to deepen your understanding Record your reflections on the following in your journal: What lessons have you learned about the importance of technology? How would you rate your overall technological skills (Good Fair Poor)? Motivate your rating in relation to your a) world wide web skills, b) Backing up data, and c) your Email skills What do you still need to improve to master your technological skills? 114 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 115 Email WHY? "I assume everything I'm saying in an email or saying on the telephone is being looked at" FAQs "Can I "undo" an email after I have sent it?" Only some email programs allow you to do this. Microsoft Outlook for example can do this when the person you sent the email to also uses Microsoft Outlook, or a similar email program. Think carefully before you hit the SEND button. Save the email to your Drafts folder if you need more time before sending. Michael Moore Email is the most commonly used communication channel for business purposes. About 2,400,000 emails are sent every second around the world. Email offers a fast and reliable way to communicate with other business people. Be careful what you say because business emails can be used as evidence in a court of law and your employer is required to store emails for 3 years or longer. IN A NUTSHELL 116 Email security Email security is important. Here are some guidelines to keep yourself and your company safe online. Opening malicious attachments on emails can result in your device getting a virus, or even worse, you can lose personal information such as passwords and bank details. Never provide personal information such as passwords over email. Someone asking you to do so might be a Phishing Attack. Be careful of clicking on links in emails from people you do not know. You can end up on websites that will steal information from you. Avoid using public WiFi for confidential business or personal work, as these hotspots can be easily hacked. See the "Links" section below for more suggestions on Email Security. Email privacy is also important. While your employer may not read your personal emails, they may read your work related emails, and the law says you do not have an expectation of privacy with regard to your work emails. If you use your work email account for personal emails, you may be breaking your employer's email or computer usage policy. If you are not sure, check with your IT department on what the policy says. Watch out for... ! If you have never used email before Register for a free email account Practice some of the exercises in the Links section of this article If you have used email before TO DO LISTS Email Security Visit the Links section on this page to check your knowledge and find out some new cool facts and tools that you may not know about yet. English Communication Personal brand Technology SEE ALSO Links The Wikipedia entry on "Email" - https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Email The BBC Guide to using computers and the internet Also see more resources on technology from the BBC at their WebWise address: http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides /learning-resources Organising emails - http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides /organising-emails Learn more about internet chat, social media and internet forums here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/topics/email-and-sharing/ Research email productivity tools Internet Live Stats shows how email compares with other forms of internet communication - http://www.internetlivestats.com/ Email Security Suggestions from Google Suggestions from Makeuseof.com Download this guide The BBC has published a free guide on how to use computers and the internet. It includes helpful information on how to use email. Click here to view the guide on the internet (3 MB) or if the link does not work then click here to search for it. If you don't have an email account Register for a free email account. Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Outlook are the most popular international email accounts. South African free email providers include Webmail and MailPlus. 117 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 118 My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. 119 OUR STORIES The following stories have been gathered from real TVET college graduates who have shared with us their struggles in finding their place in the national workplace. We have taken the best examples from several stories and merged them into the following three graduate journeys, to draw out of them things that you can learn and apply to your own journey to employment. Wherever you see a reference like this, "see Planning & Prioritising", you are being directed to an infographic in the Toolkit section of this publication on page 9. The Toolkit section contains infographics on 21 topics to help you become more work ready. OFENTSE LETLOLOANE My name is Ofentse Letloloane. I was born in the remote area of Malamulele in Limpopo. My parents were rural entrepreneurs but I chose to study Information Technology. The importance of planning & prioritisation I don't find my job really challenging because that's what I love. Planning and prioritisation definitely did help me to start the day properly, to diarise my work and to start my day with a positive attitude (see "Attitude") Whatever I am doing if I see a need to note something, I make a note (see "Planning & Prioritising"). Every morning when I go to work I start my day by planning my work. For instance if I am going to install a scanner in Thembisa, and after that I have a new user in Alexandria, I know how to schedule my time (Time Management), so that by a certain time I will be in Thembisa and then two hours later I will be in Alexandria. Whereas before I didn't plan like this. If I spent more time than I should have I didn't worry about it. Now I make sure that the customer doesn't have a reason to complain. So if a customer calls, I say: "Sir, I am still in Thembisa, I should be with you in an hour. But I will update you closer to the time." Updating customers (see "Communication") is something I wasn't doing before, and now I am doing it. It has helped a lot in my life. Co-operating with people I also know how to co-operate with people now. The first time I stepped in to work, some people were very rude. Even if you are asking a very simple thing, like: "Sorry where is the photocopy machine?" They would just say: "The sign is there! Why should you ask?! Do you understand?" And when we worked on team projects each person was very different to the next one, which also caused conflict. So work readiness preparation has been very useful to me because I now know how to talk to people assertively (see "Assertiveness"), I know how to sort out conflict at work (see "Conflict"), and I can understand and work with team members who have different personalities to me (see "Teamwork"). Support from his family My family never gave me negative mind. Even if I didn't have enough money for college they were making sure I had money to attend classes and to buy books. On the importance of technology As we are living today, we are living in a high technology world on a daily basis (see "Technology"). What I do at work is mostly involving technology. I saw the way people struggled, and the way I was struggling to understand tech. If you are struggling with a tech problem there is a lot of research you can do on the internet to find solutions. You can even do a Google Search on your phone while at the customer's premises, and get information that you need to fix their printer, or you can download the latest updates for the device, from your phone. " I realised that you have to be in charge of your own success because no-one is going to do it for you Ofentse Letloloane " WORK READINESS GUIDE BOOK 120 Picture credit: EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative BUYISILE MTHEMBU My name is Buyisile Mthembu. My parents were tough on me, but not as tough as employers who refused to give me a chance to prove myself. Fortunately I am a fighter, and I do not give up. After seeking employment for months I finally got the break I needed and I am now call centre agent supervisor already. Upbringing I grew up in Umlazi with my grandmother. When I was 10 years old my mother decided to come and fetch me to live in Joburg. I was scared when I arrived in Joburg. I take time to adjust to change. Moving from home and coming here I did not understand at all. And I was young then but I said "ok" because this is what my mother wants there is nothing I can do. My father works on the mines. At least I was living with my parents. " Fortunately I am a fighter, and I do not give up Buyisile Mthembu " On the importance of experience After I completed my NC(V) it was difficult because everywhere you go, every company you enter, they will ask for experience. I remember I was called for an interview in a clothing company. I was excited, thinking: "Oh, this is my big chance now to change my life." Then when I got there they asked me about experience and I didn't have any experience - remember? I was just from college. They asked me about project management troubleshooting. They asked me: "Do you have any experience in this field?"' and I said, "No I don't". The only time I remembered creating a project plan was at college, and I didn't have any experience in troubleshooting. But I reminded them that all their customers are young people, like me, and I understand how young people think (see "Where to Search"). They liked my attitude and invited me back for a second interview. I didn't get the job but I knew I got close to it. Steps through the desert - volunteering After that I was just sitting at home unemployed. And then I decided to volunteer at Rietvallei Clinic for Youth Services (see "Choosing Jobs to Search For"). I was multitasking there and was nominated as a Project Manager. We did antenatal care, dealing with youth, encouraging youth, family planning, and safe-sex counselling. For almost a year I was volunteering. Steps through the desert - job scams I was careful to watch out for job scams, there were plenty of those. They wanted a registration fee of R100 and there is just an email address and a bank account. And they promise you will earn R50,000 a month. Can you imagine? Any way I created a job search plan and I stuck to it (see "Choosing Jobs to Search For"). I kept my CV up to date and submitted it at every opportunity (see "Building Your CV"). I also visited the National Career Advice Portal - http://ncap.careerhelp.org.za/ - to research other occupations. Steps through the desert - Independent Electoral Commission Then it was the 2014 National Elections. I submitted my CV before the deadline and they called me to come and write a test. I got a position as a supervisor at the IEC. For all the years before there was no work. I never IKUSASA LAMI FIRST EDITION 121 OUR STORIES Picture credit: EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative give up. I am a fighter. One thing I told myself: when I give up, who is going to fight for me? So keeping a positive attitude was important to my success (see "Attitude"). How having a son changed her focus Now its even worse because I have a son. I have to provide for my son. In the past it was better because I was alone, whatever I did at the shop was all about me: I want those shoes, I want that dress. Now I have a son to look after, to give him a better future that I never had, better opportunities that I never had. After the Elections my contract at the IEC ended. Finally she landed a Project Management job Still I continued to submit my CV at every opportunity. That's when I heard about an employer who was looking for project mangers. I went for an interview and then I got appointed as a junior Project Officer. It was a big break for me, I don't want to lie, it was a big break. Even now, if my job ends, at least I have something: experience. After how long? I graduated in 2014 and I got this position in 2015, but right now I am enjoying this. This is nice. This is a great experience. This is the big break that I knew, "one day I will have this." Even now when my job ends I am not that stressed because now that I have experience, I can go to a company and say: "You know what, I can do this and that for you. I can develop a project plan, I can plan for contingencies and risks so that your project will succeed. I am confident." Her father was tough on her, and it helped her That's why I think I am here, because of my father. The way he pushes me. He says "stand up and do it yourself..." My father was a hard worker. He won't feed you anything if you are lazy. He will tell you: "My child, go out there and work. If you don't want a future then just stay at home and stop wasting my time and my money". I came and said to him that I am going to do a National Certificate (Vocational) in Management. Then he said: "You see now, you are talking." He would tell me: "I will give you money to go and fax and email and do everything, even buy laptops and modems so that you can apply, but I will never buy a car for you, I will never buy a house for you. Go out there and stand up and fight." My mother was the same. They believe that everything you get in life you have to work for and stand up and believe in yourself... Now here I am (see "Entitlement & Expectations"). How does she see her future? I want to advance my career in Project Management and I want to become a senior Project Manager in a big company. I am a self-starter, I don't wait for somebody to say "wake up, go to work." " My father was a hard worker. He won't feed you anything if you are lazy. My mother was the same. They believe that everything you get in life you have to work for and stand up and believe in yourself... Now here I am. Buyisile Mthembu WORK READINESS GUIDE BOOK 122 Picture credit: EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative THABANI NGCOBO I managed to complete grade 12 despite being one of seven children with no parental support. My older brother and sister pay for my siblings' schooling. Through my first job I have been able to study further and I am hoping to be able to help support the whole family once I get promoted. Background I was 18 when I came to eThekwini. If you are from a rural place and you come here you see things are very different from home. It was hard for me to adjust. Actually when I was doing matric my first career choice was advertising. My second choice was IT but because of money I didn't manage to do IT. I did the electrical engineering course at the TVET college because it was not that expensive, but actually I like IT. Reflection on the importance of work readiness I have been working here at my first job for three weeks now. We are busy updating the calls from the incident centre then we call the technician to update them. The work readiness programme at my TVET college helped me a lot because now I know how to communicate with people, how to respect others (see "Teamwork"), how to dress when you are going to work because you can't just dress casually at work (see "Personal Brand"). My first interview I got this job because I was careful in the research for my job interview (see "Job Interview Research"). Previous interviews I could feel I wasn't connecting with the interviewers, but this time around was different. I knew the company had opened up a branch in Durban recently, that it came from Joburg. I knew they had a product they were trying to grow here in KZN, and there was already an existing local product they had to compete with. The interviewer was impressed that I understood why the company was here and what they were trying to achieve. My friends had also tried job interview research but they just memorised general information about the company, and its not the same thing. You have to know stuff about the company that is important to the company, and then you have to know how you can help the company get what they want. Almost lost my job Just after I got the job I had to move house because I was staying with an uncle and he lost his job. My older sister gave me a place to stay but it was 40 km away from work and the transport was very expensive. It was not possible to get to work on time but I understood how employers feel about attendance (see "Attendance & Leave"), so I was able to talk to my boss and explain my situation. He saw my willingness to work after hours, but that was dangerous because of crime. Instead he gave me an arrangement to make up my lost time during the week on a Saturday morning. When I got my first pay check I could move closer and that problem was solved. I think the clear communication with my boss (see "Communication"), and understanding my responsibility to work 45 hours per week, was the key to solving that problem. Vision for future I would like to see myself completing my studies. " When I got my first pay check I could move closer and that problem was solved Thabani Ngcobo " IKUSASA LAMI FIRST EDITION 123 OUR STORIES Picture credit: EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative JESSIE HENDRICKS Jessie was brought up in a family of four by a single mother who was paralysed in an motor accident when Jessie was in grade 2. She wants to pursue a career that combines Human Resources and Hospitality, and is still studying for her HR certificate part-time while working. Background I am staying with my mom at the moment. My mom is a pensioner. My dad separated from my mom. I don't know where he is now. My mom raised all of us on her own. That's why she had to go to pension at last, to get her time to rest. She is really proud of me. She still thinks I am young and treats my like a baby some times but I love her so much. Her job interview went well thanks to some help from a relative My auntie worked in a recruitment agency, and she understood the problems young people run into in their first job interviews. She prepared me well for my interview (see "Preparing for the Interview"). I am lucky to have her as an auntie. I didn't pretend to know everything in my interview, like some of my friends tried to bluff their way through. I was honest about what I did and didn't know when the interviewer asked me questions. But I was also very clear on why I wanted the job opening, and why I was the best person for the job. What surprised them most was the questions I asked them at the end of the interview. They could see I had thought a lot about the job and that impressed my interviewers. The work readiness programme helped her communicate professionally At the TVET college they gave us a work readiness programme in final year. The programme was good. It was a new thing to me. It made me more prepared to know what I want from life and how I should present myself as a professional. At school they just teach you the basics, but at this programme we learnt how to dress properly, how to talk professional, how to act, and how to do your job. It was very useful because before the programme I would just act like "that" without being professional; start shouting if I want something and if something was wrong I would shout at the others. But the programme showed me the right way. I get cross with people now but in a professional way. For example I say, "I think its wrong, but what do you think? How about we do it this way?" Whereas before I would say: "Forget it! Take it back! Finish 'en klaar." See "Conflict" and "Communication". English was a make or break skill for my promotion Although my English wasn't bad, my employer's clients were all English speaking, and she made it clear to me that I would have to improve my English if I wanted to get promoted further. I book marked a free online English dictionary and thesaurus so that as I worked I could increase my vocabulary (see "English for the " My aunt worked in a recruitment agency, and she understood the problems young people run into in their first job interviews Jessie Hendricks " WORK READINESS GUIDE BOOK 124 Picture credit: EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative Workplace"). I also enrolled for a free English course on Coursera but what helped me the most was starting to read English books and newspapers. Her dream is to see her mother walk again I am interested in Hospitality and HR. I am still studying HR part-time. My mom is paralysed. If I had enough funds to make it possible that we can get some surgery for her I will do it. Its from an accident in 1997. She got a car accident and her spinal cord was smashed. She is using a wheelchair. She is doing good but I feel that I owe her something, she has been there for me. The spine can be fixed but only if you get the experts. She rolled on a mountain, twelve times. No but she is alive and strong. You will be strong if you have four children. I was still in grade two at the time of the accident. She brought me up even though she was paralysed. She would give me a spanking when I am wrong, she won't say "I am paralysed I won't give you a hiding." If she had to go to the school meetings she would be there. She is my role model. Sometimes I feel like I lost that memory of seeing her walking with her feet. I am used to seeing her using that wheel chair. I want my dream to come true to see her walking again. ROD STEVENS Rod's mother had a disability and was not able to work, but his family was ok because his father had a good job as an electrician. When his father had a motor accident and became paralysed, things changed suddenly. Now the family has had to rely on relatives for support and Rod is the oldest child. Rod speaks emphatically about the difference between theoretical education and experiential learning and has embraced digital work despite it being a mystery to the older generation in his community. One day he hopes to return home and make people in his town aware of the ways in which information technology can expand your horizons. Background I am from a small town called Theunissen in the middle of the Free State. The closest city is Welkom. I have three siblings, two girls, and a younger brother. I was raised by both my parents. My father was paralysed in " I get cross with people now but in a professional way Jessie Hendricks " " Even though I wasn't cleverer than any of the people in my group, I made such a good first impression that it helped me a lot after that. Rod Stevens " a head-on collision in 1999. My mom is not working. My two uncles have jobs and they are helping us financially every month. Meeting his manager on his first day I was very lucky on my first day at work. We were a group of 10 new employees and I was the only one who was properly prepared (see "Your First Day"). Two of my friends arrived late for their first day because they had transport problems. Another two left early because no-one was watching them. Others sat around doing nothing for a while but I was pro-active and asked the team leader for work to do. I had also kept a note-book during the orientation session so I knew where to find people in other parts of the company, and what their names were. My team leader was so impressed with me that he introduced me personally to my manager on day one. Even though I wasn't cleverer than any of the people in my group, I made such a good first impression that it helped me a lot after that. IKUSASA LAMI FIRST EDITION 125 OUR STORIES Picture credit: EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative The importance of having a mentor in the workplace At college we had no mentors, just lecturers and staff. At college I learnt everything myself. Here at my workplace I have a mentor. He told me everything I need to know about the company and how it works. It helps because here the IT challenges are complex, not like the ones in the books at college. It helps your career to have a mentor (see "Career"). In the books at college you just read about IT, the PC, the motherboard, the processor, but here you know how to assemble PC's and pimp them according to our customer's different needs. So its a completely different experience from college. When I got my first job I didn't know how to network projectors, printers, routers and other devices. Not a clue. So here at work I have learned so much from my colleagues. His town does not understand IT as a field of study nor as a career Every month I go to my family home in Theunissen. I want to encourage the kids there to do IT. I enjoy going to schools to help them with their IT problems, and encouraging kids that there is more to life than what they see in Theunissen. They must explore, go visit other cities, and bring back what they find to our home town so that we can reduce unemployment. IT was a good career choice for me. It's not the best choice for everyone, but for me it was the right choice. My school friends wanted to be cops, teachers or entreprenurs. They don't understand why I am doing IT. They wanted me to be a teacher. They don't understand how much the world has changed. "What are you doing there? Why don't you apply for a teaching course and teach?" But I made the right choice. Even if I do another job in future, IT will help me do that job better. " Creativity is intelligence having fun Albert Einstein " WORK READINESS GUIDE BOOK 126 Picture credit: EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative HEAD OFFICE CONTACT DETAILS Physical address Sol Plaatje House 123 Francis Baard Street PRETORIA Postal address Private Bag X174 PRETORIA 0001 Website www.dhet.gov.za Telephone 012 312 5911 Email callcentre@dhet.gov.za HEAD OFFICE CONTACT DETAILS Physical address Laboria House 215 Francis Baard Street PRETORIA Postal address Private Bag X117 PRETORIA 0001 Website www.labour.gov.za Telephone 012 309 4000 Fax number 012 320 2059 PROVINCIAL OFFICES CONTACT DETAILS Eastern Cape (043) 701 3000 Free State (051) 505 6200 Gauteng (North) (011) 853 0300 KwaZulu-Natal (031) 336 1511 Limpopo (015) 299 5000 Mpumalanga (013) 753 2844/5/6 North West (018) 297 5100 Northern Cape (053) 838 1500 Western Cape (021) 468 5500 LABOUR CENTRES: EASTERN CAPE Aliwal North (051) 633 2633 Butterworth (047) 491 0656/0490 Cradock (048) 881 3010 East London (043) 702 7500 Fort Beaufort (046) 645 4686 Graaf-Reinet (049) 892 2142 Grahamstown (046) 622 2104 King William's Town (043) 643 4756/7 Lusikisiki (039) 253 1996/7 Maclear (045) 932 1424/6 Mdantsane (043) 761 3151 Mount Ayliff (039) 254 0303 Mthatha (047) 501 5620/5617 Port Elizabeth (041) 506 5000/1 Queenstown (045) 807 5400 Uitenhage (041) 992 4627 LABOUR CENTRES: FREE STATE Bethlehem (058) 303 5293 Bloemfontein (051) 411 6400 Botshabelo (051) 534 3789 Ficksburg (051) 933 2299 Harrismith (058) 623 2977 Kroonstad (056) 215 1812 Petrusburg (053) 574 0932 Phutaditjhaba (058) 713 0373 Sasolburg (016) 970 3200 Welkom (057) 391 0200 Zastron (051) 673 1471 LABOUR CENTRES: GAUTENG Alberton (011) 861 6130 Atteridgeville (012) 373 4434/5/8 Benoni (011) 747 9601 Boksburg (011) 898 3340 Brakpan (011) 744 9000 Bronkhorstspruit (013) 932 0197 Carletonville (018) 788 3281 Garankuwa (012) 700 0290/ 0255 Germiston (011) 345 6300 Johannesburg (011) 223 1000 Kempton Park (011) 975 9301 Krugersdorp (011) 955 4420 Mamelodi (012) 812 9502 Nigel (011) 814 7095 Pretoria (012) 309 5000 Randfontein (011) 693 3618/9/3650 Randburg (011) 781 8144 Roodepoort (011) 766 2000 Sandton (011) 444 7631 Soshanguve (012) 730 0500 Soweto (011) 983 8700 Springs (011) 365 3700/03 Temba (012) 727 1364/1367 Vanderbijlpark (016) 981 0280 Vereeniging (016) 430 0000 LABOUR CENTRES: KWAZULU-NATAL Durban (031) 336 1511 Dundee (034) 212 3147 Estcourt (036) 342 9361/9369 Kokstad (039) 727 2140 Ladysmith (036) 638 1900/1/2/3 Newcastle (034) 312 6038 Pietermaritzburg (033) 341 5300 Pinetown (031) 701 7740 Port Shepstone (039) 682 2406 Prospecton (031) 913 9700 Richmond (033) 212 2768 Richard's Bay (035) 780 8700 Stanger (032) 551 4291 Ulundi (035) 879 8800/02/42 Verulam (032) 541 5600/03 Vryheid (034) 980 8992 LABOUR CENTRES: LIMPOPO Giyani (015) 812 9041 Groblersdal (013) 262 3150/2983 Lebowakgomo (015) 633 9360 Jan Furse (013) 265 7210/7125 Lephalale (014) 763 2162 Makhado (015) 516 0207 Modimolle (014) 717 1046 Mokopani (015) 491 5973 Phalaborwa (015) 781 5114 Polokwane (015) 299 5000 Seshego (015) 223 7020 Dept Higher Ed & Training Dept Labour HEAD OFFICE CONTACT DETAILS Physical address Sol Plaatje House 222 Struben Street PRETORIA Postal address Private Bag X895 PRETORIA 0001 Website www.education.gov.za Telephone 012 357 3000 Fax number 012 323 6260/0601 Dept Basic Education CONTACT DETAILS IKUSASA LAMI FIRST EDITION 127 CONTACT DETAILS Thohoyandou (015) 960 1300 Tzaneen (015) 306 2600 LABOUR CENTRES: MPUMALANGA Baberton (013) 712 3066 Bethal (017) 647 2383 Carolina (017) 843 1077 Eerstehoek (017) 883 2414 Emalahleni (Witbank) (013) 653 3800/656 1422-28 Ermelo (017) 819 7632 Kwamhlanga (013) 947 3173 Malelane (013)-7901528 / 1682 Mashishing (Lydenburg) (013) 235 2368/9 Mbombela (Nelspruit) (013) 753 2844/5/6 / 755 2640 Middelburg (013) 283 3600 Piet Retief (017) 826 1883 Sabie (013) 764 2105 Secunda (017) 631 2585/2652 Standerton (017) 712 1351 LABOUR CENTRES: NORTHERN CAPE Calvinia (027) 341 1280 De Aar (053) 631 0455 Kimberley (053) 838 1500 Kuruman (053) 712 3870 Postmasburg (053) 313 0641 Springbok (027) 718 1058 Upington (054) 331 1098 LABOUR CENTRES: NORTH WEST Brits (012) 252 3068 Christiana (053) 441 2120 Klerksdorp (018) 464 8700 Lichtenburg (018) 632 4323 Mafikeng (018) 381 1010 Mogwase (014) 555 5693 Potchefstroom (018) 297 5100 Rustenburg (014) 592 8214 Taung (053) 994 1679 Vryburg (053) 927 5221 TEL: 0800 52 52 52 FAX: 086 606 6563 WWW.NYDA.GOV.ZA The whole aim of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is to advance the economic development of young people, especially young people from low income households. Young persons with disabilities enjoy a special emphasis. The NYDA does this through guiding and supporting initiatives that have the same objective as the NYDA. FULL SERVICE YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE POINTS Bloemfontein (051) 411 9450 * Cape Town (021) 415 2040 Durban (031) 327 9900 * East London (043) 704 4600 eMalahleni (013) 653 9400 * Johannesburg (011) 834 7660 * Kimberley (053) 807 1020 Nelspruit (013) 756 0100 * Polokwane (015) 294 0800 * Port Elizabeth (041) 503 9100 * Rustenburg (014) 591 9600 Secunda (017) 631 9500 * Tshwane (012) 322 1375 * Maponya Mall Thusong Centre (Klipspruit) (011) 938 4101 * YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: EASTERN CAPE Baviaans (044) 923 2106 Buffalo City (Duncan Village) (043) 742 2322 Buffalo City (King William's Town) (043) 705 1071 Buffalo City (Mdantsane) (043) 761 1669 Buffalo City (East London) (043) 722 5453 Eastcape Midlands (Uitenhage) (041) 995 2000 Gariep (Burgersdorp) (051) 653 1777 Gompo (043) 742 2322 Ikhala (Queenstown) (045) 838 2593 Inxuba (Cradock) (048) 881 1515 King Sabata Dalindyebo (Mthatha) (047) 501 4007 Lovedale (King William's Town) (043) 642 1331 Makana (Grahamstown) (046) 603 6117/8 Nkonkobe (Alice) (040) 653 1214 Qaukeni (Flagstaff) (039) 252 0131 Uitenhage (041) 994 1138 YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: FREE STATE Dihlabeng (Bethlehem) (058) 303 5732 Goldfields (Welkom) (057) 391 0500 Letsemeng (Jacobsdal) (053) 591 0038 Magareng (Warrenton) (053) 497 3111 Maluti A Phofung (Witsieshoek) (058) 718 3777 Motheo (Bloemfontein) (051) 411 2080 Nkentoane (Reitz) (058) 863 2811 Setsoto (Ficksburg) (051) 933 9333 Vuselela (Pudimore) (053) 995 1376 NYDA LABOUR CENTRES: WESTERN CAPE Beaufort West (023) 414 3427 Bellville (021) 941 7000 Cape Town (021) 468 5500 George (044) 801 1200 Knysna (044) 302 6800 Mitchell's Plain (021) 391 0591 Mossel Bay (044) 691 1140 Oudtshoorn (044) 203 6100/279 2386 Paarl (021) 872 2020 Somerset West (021) 852 6535 Vredenburg (022) 703 8100 Worcester (023) 346 5200 CONTACT DETAILS WORK READINESS GUIDE BOOK 128 Hibiscus Coast (Port Shepstone) (039) 688 2278 Imbabazane (Estcourt) (036) 353 1493 KwaDukuza (032) 437 5000 Mandeni (Sundumbili) (032) 456 8200 Mpofana (Mooi River) (033) 263 1221 Nquthu (034) 271 0076 Umgungundlovu (033) 341 2216 Umfolozi (Eshowe) (035) 474 1775 / 2304 Umnambithi (Ladysmith) (036) 635 3403 Umngeni (Howick) (033) 239 9200 YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: LIMPOPO Bakenberg (015) 423 0538 Bela-Bela (014) 736 8000 Capricorn (Seshego) (015) 223 0041 Fetakgomo (Apel) (015) 622 8051 Lephalale (Shongoane) (072) 495 6930 Lephalale (Phalala) (073) 462 6690 Makhuduthamaga (Jane Furse) (013) 265 7037 Marble Hall (013) 261 1152 Modimolle (014) 717 5211 Mookgophong (014) 743 1111 Mopani (Phalaborwa) (015) 781 5604 Mutale (015) 967 9004 Thabazimbi (014) 784 0348 Thulamela (Malamulele) (072) 311 8872 Tubatse (Burgersfort) (013) 231 7815 Vhembe (Sibasa) (015) 986 3490 YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: MPUMALANGA Bushbuckridge (013) 708 6018 Ehlanzeni (Hazyview) (013) 798 3531 Gert Sibande (Evander) (017) 632 2388 Nkangala (Siyabuswa) (013) 973 1966 Steve Tshwete (Mhluzi) (013) 249 7000 Thaba Chweu (Sabie) (013) 764 5088 YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: NORTHERN CAPE Kgalagadi (Kuruman) (053) 712 0860 Namakhoi (Springbok) (027) 744 1654 Kareeberg (De Aar) (053) 631 0891 YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: NORTH WEST Orbit (Rustenburg) (014) 592 7014 Potchefstroom (018) 299 5130 Ratlou (Setlakgole) (018) 330 7000 Taletso (Mmabatho) (018) 384 6213 Tlhabane (Rustenburg) (014) 590 3300 Tswaing (Delareyville) (053) 948 0900 Leretlhabetse (Moretele) (079) 255 2742 YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: WESTERN CAPE Bitou (Plettenberg Bay) (044) 533 6881 Boland (Worcester) (023) 348 6920 Breede River (Robertson) (023) 626 8200 Crawford (021) 696 5133 Eden (044) 752 1024 False Bay (Khayelitsha) (021) 361 1976 Other organisations Many supporting organisations are referenced through hyperlinks in The Work Readiness Toolkit section. Please find their contact details on their websites. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator helps young South Africans find employment for the first time. It is funded by the Jobs Fund and by private sector employers. Harambee provides a free work readiness programme for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who pass an entrance assessment that checks their suitability for specific kinds of work. Youth who do not pass the assessment still qualify for free job orientation assistance. Johannesburg - (011) 593 0500 Cape Town - (021) 812 2300 Durban - (031) 831 8200 Port Elizabeth - (041) 813 9200 http://harambee.co.za South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) This is a SAQA registered professional body representing Human Resource practitioners in South Africa. Human Resource practitioners are responsible for recuiting new entrants to their employer's workforce. The SABPP can assist employers to on-board college graduates, including providing guidance on appropriate recruitment and selection practices, and work readiness programmes. Johannesburg - (011) 045 5400 http://www.sabpp.co.za/ Thusong Service Centres There are over 171 of these centres (formerly known as Multi-Purpose Community Centres MPCCs ) which serve as one-stop government services and information centres. Contact details for each of the centres is available from their website. http://www.thusong.gov.za Vulindlel' eJozi Vulindlel' eJozi is a youth skills empowerment initiative by the City of Johannesburg in partnership with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. It is designed to break down barriers to opportunities by creating pathways for young people to access skills training programs and entry level employment. http://vulindlelejozi.co.za/ Hartebeeskraal (021) 573 7400 Knysna (044) 302 6564/8 Overberg (Caledon) (028) 214 1557 Overstrand (Hermanus Industria) (028) 313 0129 YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: GAUTENG Boipatong (016) 988 9487 Bophelong (Sebokeng) (016) 986 3711 Katlehong (011) 860 5743 Randfontein (011) 411 0247 Ratanda (016) 340 4456 Sebokeng (016) 950 9496 South West Gauteng College (Tshiawelo) (011) 982 1002 Vanderbijlpark (016) 950 9343 YOUTH ADVISORY CENTRE (YAC) POINTS: KWAZULU-NATAL Coastal KZN (KwaMakhutha) (031) 905 7000 Coastal KZN (uMlazi) (031) 907 2666 Elangeni (Harmasdale) (031) 771 0148 CONTACT DETAILS IKUSASA LAMI FIRST EDITION 129 CONTACT DETAILS My journal ... this page is also for you to write your own observations and notes. General Notes IKUSASA LAMI First Edition Department of Higher Education & Training Private Bag X174 Pretoria 0001 SOUTH AFRICA Tel: +27 (12) 312 5911 Twitter: @DHET4 Email: callcentre@dhet.gov.za Web: www.DHET.gov.za MY FUTURE IKAMVA LAM LIKUSASA LAMI IBHUDANGO LAMI BOKAMOSA BAKA ISAGO YA ME/ BOKAMOSA JWA ME MY TOEKOMS VUMANDZUKU BYA MINA BOOKAMOSA BJAKA VHU MATSHELO HANGA

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Department of Higher Education & Training
Private Bag X174
Pretoria
0001
SOUTH AFRICA

Tel: +27 (12) 312 5911

Twitter:  @HigherEduGovZA
Email: callcentre@dhet.gov.za
Web: www.DHET.gov.za

About Mike Stuart

I am a communications veteran in the field of the South African skills development landscape with an interest in workplace learning and how this can be simplified and upscaled to reduce poverty through job creation. Communication, linkages and advocacy in the workplace learning field are my primary skills. I am interested in finding and supporting more sustainable ways of wealth creation through distributed network technologies.

Specialties: Networking and research skills in the training and education industry - with special reference to Skills Development and the NQF.

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