South Africa's unemployment rate drops down to 26.7%

REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko

Getting out of the unemployment slump and back into the running

“Last in, first out” is a scary term for young South Africans new to the workplace. South Africa has the world’s third highest unemployment rate for people aged 15 – 24 years, so keeping a job if you get one can be a challenge. If you do get work and it doesn’t work out, it can be difficult to stay motivated when looking for another job.

South Africa's unemployment rate drops down to 26.7%

REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko

The soaring cost of living is sending young adults back to live with their parents and stunting career development. Are there steps unemployed youth can take to get going again?

I spoke to Godfrey Madanhire, a professional motivational speaker, and he had these tips:

“You’re special, your situation isn’t”



It’s hard to believe this, but you’re in the same boat as 10 million other young South Africans who are potentially looking for their first employment. The only difference between you and the others is that you are you. Compile a list of your strengths to sell yourself to potential employers. Outline your personality traits that will be useful in the workplace, things like: reliable individual, a quick learner, enjoy working in a team. Never underestimate listing your personal characteristics as an advantage as many employers are looking for employees who are compatible with the rest of the staff.

“If you don’t make a move you’ll never progress”


Climbing the corporate ladder begins with the first step, even if it is a small step. Jobs are not given out you have to go and find them. Keep a stack of classified newspapers at hand, or keep a constant eye on recruitment websites. Getting yourself into the running for a position is better than not being in the race at all. Apply, apply and apply again. Persistence is the name of the game.

“Internships have their pros and cons”



Get your foot in the door. Internships are a great way to do this and often if the extra effort is put in it can turn into employment. Just be warned, cheap labour is great for employers and many will make promises in order to use your skills for as long as they can. Set yourself an end date before accepting any internship, and then establish if your employer is prepared to offer you something more permanent.  If the internship does not directly result in employment, the experience gained will be valuable when applying for another job.

“Using connections will get you places”

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The Internet is a tool you can use to find out more about a potential employer before going for an interview. You’d be amazed at the social media footprint people leave online that’s accessible via a quick Google search. The knowledge you’ll gain will help you construct better and more informed responses in interviews. An interested and well informed candidate is one that is going to be hired.

“Failure is an option, just learn from it”

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Often the idea of failing at something is a devastating prospect. You’re going to stumble a few times before landing a job, get used to it. Pick up the pieces from your failure and move forward with purpose and new found knowledge. Applying what you’ve learnt with a new potential boss will only guarantee that eventually you’ll be back in the job market, more resilient and more capable than ever before.