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It can be hard work looking for jobs online. Try these smart-search strategies to make the internet work for you – not the other way around. 

Where to start?

The key to searching for jobs is knowing what you are looking for. You need to decide where you want to work, what you want to do, and how much you’re willing to get paid for the job.

It often helps to start with an exercise, which I like to call “Brainstorm Myself”. Be honest and list what you’re good at, as well as any achievements you’ve accomplished (at school, church or volunteering). 

Write down the following:

  1. Your ideal first job (Top 5 but, BE REALISTIC!) – the kind of job you are looking for
  2. Where you would like to work (the company/individual)
  3. What skills and characteristics do you have, so you can get a better picture of what you have to offer
  4. Why you want to do that job
  5. Your short and long-term goals

What’s next?

Job-hunting used to be about getting the newspaper and trawling through the jobs section or classifieds. Whilst newspapers are still a good place to look for opportunities, particularly your community paper, the internet is another great place to look – at home, school, your local library or internet café.

Online job-hunting takes practice, however. And be prepared, some internet cafés may charge by the minute.

What do I search for?

If you do a Google search ( for “job opportunities in South Africa”, approximately 441,000,000 results come up…EEK! That’s not a good place to start!

Use the answers from your brainstorm exercise above and start by typing these keywords into the search field. Use these keywords to search for jobs with specific skill requirements rather than searching for jobs in general.

Find out which job portals are most popular for the type of work you are looking for. You can ask your teacher/lecturers, friends, past employers, relatives or mentor.

Many career sites advertise opportunities for “first jobs”, “graduates”, “Matriculants”, “Part-time” or “No experience needed”. Add these keywords in your searches. You may need to use the advanced search option.

There are a number of websites listed at the end of this article to help get you started.

You should also read about the companies you would like to work for and learn about what they do; understand their vision and see if you truly want to work for them. Do they have positions available at your level? Do they have jobs for school-leavers, graduates or offer internships or apprenticeships?

Check out their websites for employment or other opportunities they may promoting, including internship or graduate programmes, under the Vacancies, Careers or Jobs section.

Be specific, be creative

Be creative. For example, when looking for jobs in Sales or Retail, type in retail assistant, sales consultant, customer service agent, shop assistant, etc. By doing this, you are searching for the same kind of job in many different ways.

So, when typing in search terms or filling in entry fields on job websites, the trick is to include as much detail as possible to narrow your hunt and get closer to the job that’s right for you.

Include the industry you want to work in, job type and title
Location: City or area you’d like to work in. Most career sites today give you the option so use it!

Level (junior/mid/management): keep it real! Look for jobs within your experience level to maximise your chances of getting an interview

Full-time/ Part-time/ Contract/ Permanent: in these hard times, explore what’s out there. You never know if a part-time position will turn into something more permanent.

It’ll also count as experience to add to your CV, which most employers look for.

Good luck!

by Liat Beinart

Liat Beinart  is a Graduate Development Consultant at S-Connect

‘It may not always be profitable at first for businesses to be online, but it is certainly going to be unprofitable not to be online.’ – Esther Dyson


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