What They Didn’t Teach
You in School: Life Long
Learning Tips to Land a
Job Straight out of
Job Search Report
By Justice Mandhla
Have an Effective Resume and be Prepared
The keys to making an impact at any interview are researching and preparing yourself
mentally, as well as anticipating the questions you are likely to be asked, and working out
the best possible answers to these questions. All what Hiring Managers want to know about
is you; they want to know what kind of a person you are and whether you will fit into the
job for which you are applying. Interviewers often focus their questions on trying to discover
the real you by asking ‘tailor- made’ questions that will reveal whether what you have got
will link smoothly and effectively with the work, culture and philosophy of the organization.
In order to improve your chances of success at interviews and of landing that job there are
secrets that you should know. These include:
• Never lie in your resume
• Ensure your contact details on your CV are correct
• Keep your resume to about three to four pages
• Make sure the format is in a font that is legible, make it easy for Hiring Managers to
read the text quickly and get an immediate idea of your background
• Use bullets and create spaces in your CV for the reader’s eye
• Spell-check your resume
• Mention your achievements in point form per company
• Put reasons for leaving include your present employment
• Indicate whether a job was contract/temporary or permanent
• Include references (and not friends) and keep them updated
• If you have been promoted in a specific job - point this out on your resume
• Keep details of your most recent jobs and responsibilities easy to read and factual.
• Keep old work experience and responsibilities down to a minimum
• Put your highest educational marks for all your courses
• Never use humor in your resume
• Be well groomed for the interview
• Don’t be late
• Be prepared for the interview
• Take a copy of your resume with you
• Have a sincere smile
• Look the interviewer in the eye
• Be open, honest and frank with your replies to questions
• Believe you are worthy for the position
• Be present – concentrate on what is going on during the interview
Always remember that Hiring Managers are actually trained to spot the negatives and
positives when reading your resume. This is a sort of a filtering mechanism they use taking
into account some of the factors tabulated above. Hiring Managers have to identify
negatives because most people hide their poor work experiences very carefully and lie in
their interviews about their strength and weaknesses. This has led to Hiring Managers to
become very careful when hiring, as dismissing someone is now harder than ever.
Is job – hopping a negative? Are ‘Gaps’ on your resume negatives?
To answer these questions I would like to briefly discuss two types of resumes. The
chronological resume and the functional resume. The chronological resume reveals too
much for the Hiring Manager. If you have a habit of job hopping, are a fresh graduate, or
transitioning from a different field, then a chronological resume might not be a good fit. A
chronological resume is built so it highlights excellent credentials or a solid work experience,
something which you might lack if you have never worked or have a habit of leaving after
only a few months. While everyone has their own reason for why their resume may be a bit
sparse or contain gaps in history, you want to be able to explain this yourself, which may not
happen if they see an almost empty sheet of paper.
A functional resume, on the other hand, pays more attention to your skills than time.
Rather than highlighting where you worked and for how long, it places more emphasis on
your qualifications and achievements by writing them in categories on top of the page.
While company names and length of employment are not omitted, it is given less
importance by simply summarizing them on the bottom, or last page. The beauty of a
functional resume is that it can draw attention to important skills and achievements, while
hiding flaws such as a lack of experience or gaps in employment.
Contrary to most people’s beliefs, you do not need to reveal everything in your resume.
Some things are better explained yourself. While unstable job histories or gaps in
employment may look bad on paper, some are backed up by reasonable explanations. Most
potential employers are aware that functional resumes are crafted to hide certain pitfalls, and
get suspicious as to what you are hiding. Even if you do have a good enough reason, if you
do not maximize writing your strengths, their wariness from seeing you might not give you
an opportunity to give an explanation.
Most people who are new to writing resumes rely too much on the resume templates found
in their word processing programs. While helpful, using a template can be limiting, since
most people do not bother to customize or expand beyond a template’s borders. It can also
be detrimental, as a number of other applicants might be using the same template, allowing
your resume to simply fade into the crowd.
The Four Pillars of Job Hunting
Your Cover Letter
Job Skill Testing
Your CV is probably the most important document in any job search process. Most people
think that because they have a qualification, skill and experience they can sell themselves to
hiring managers and ignore the CV. What they do not realize is that a CV is the first
document that will attract the hiring manager to consider to shortlist them for interview.
Ignoring and neglecting to provide an effective CV and resume will nullify your chances of
been shortlisted. Hiring managers scan through hundreds of CVs’ looking for the exact
qualifications, skills and experience required to fill the vacancy. If your CV is badly written
recruiters will find it difficult to select such candidates. It must be remembered that hiring
managers are also under pressure to fill vacancies and will not have time to read every CV
thoroughly to understand if potential candidates fulfils the exact requirements of the post.
Why make it difficult for them to select your CV? The hiring managers will only scan and
select a CV that present the most concise information with the relevant and informative
text that will catch his eye. Your CV can open doors for you to be selected and hopefully
shortlisted for the position you have applied for.
The content of your CV and how you have arranged your career history will improve your
chances of getting into the interview. Your CV should contain a flow of information that
starts with your qualifications and ends with your latest employment history. Anybody who
reads your CV should be able to understand your CV without meeting you or reading your
cover letter. Besides, that is what happens in real life – hiring managers peruse your CV long
before you are called for interview. The final decision to finally call you for interview will
ultimately rest on your CV. Your CV is the only key that will get you through the door of the
company you wish to work for. It is therefore advisable to keep two CV formats to meet the
requirements of different employers. Those who need a summarized 4 pages CV and those
who need a longer and more detailed CV.
The easiest way of blowing your chances of a job opportunity is by making a poor
impression with poorly presented and sloppy CV. Many applicants are usually not aware
about the importance of this first stage of securing employment. They believe incorrectly
that because they submitted a CV this guarantees them an interview or a job. The CV
provides the employer with an overview of potential candidates for the position, and it gives
the interviewer and idea of what to expect from the applicant. A good CV will improve the
possibility of being granted an interview during which a good impression can be made. A
good impression improves the chances of being hired.
Your CV is there to assist you to get a job. It acts as a support in search for employment and
either secures you for an interview or ensures that you do not even get the opportunity to
be interviewed. It markets and acts as the sales agent for you. A CV is an account of your
career, and it enables you to present yourself to a prospective employer before meeting
him/her on the interview day. It also provides the hiring manager with an opportunity to
form opinions about you in advance. Your CV has to make an impression on the hiring
manager, if it does not, you do not have a chance of being called for interview. The purpose
of submitting a CV is to project a positive image about you by illustrating your educational
qualifications, skills knowledge and experience. This will enable the hiring manager to form
an impression about you. If through your CV you project a negative impression, the chances
are that you will not be afforded an opportunity to attend an interview.
Your Cover Letter
The second step to actually getting a job interview is to create an attention-getting cover
letter. Your cover letter is a piece of information that lets’ a potential employer know what
your skills are and whether you would make a perfect fit for the available position. Your
cover letter must be as detailed and informative as possible, without going beyond a one-
page limit. Write a cover letter that will be attractive and draw as much attraction as
possible. Remember getting noticed amongst hundreds of CV’s is the only way to get a job.
Take time to compile a compelling cover letter that sells your skills.
Here are five points to include in your cover letter:
Address your cover letter to a specific person – this will show that you have done your
research about the company.
Clearly indicate the position you are applying for.
Showcase your experience and how it will be helpful in the position you are applying for.
Use company “buzzwords” for instance, “Breaking New Ground” if that is the company’s
Be enthusiastic – Your enthusiasm will be communicated to the reader of your cover letter
and enhance your chances of gaining an interview. If you can take time and write a cover
letter that summarizes your strongest skills, you have the edge over other contenders who
skip this important step.
The keys to making a brilliant impact at any interview are researching relevant information,
preparing yourself mentally anticipating the questions you are likely to be asked and
working out the best possible answers to these questions. Remember all interviewers are
seeking answers to two fundamental questions;
Can you do the job?
Will you fit in?
Preparation for job interview is the most important part of the entire interview process.
Know the position and ensure that you know something about the job you have applied for.
Talk to people you know in the same job and learn about the tasks involved. Prepare
answers to questions you are likely to be asked relating to the job. You should also know
about the industry to which you’re applying. Find out as much as you can about the
industry. More importantly than knowing the industry, is knowing something about the
company to which you’re applying. Having the skills to do the job well and a strong
knowledge of the company will put you above candidates who only have the skills to do the
Having managed to secure an interview means that the real preparation must begin. You
have the opportunity of marketing and selling yourself to your prospective employer. You
have passed the first stage and now you have to negotiate your way through the second.
There are a number of ways and tools you can use to find the information you need. The
first is obvious; do you know someone who works at the company? Perhaps a friend or
relative of yours knows someone who works at the company and can put you in touch with
that person. Use this to gain an inside perspective on the company. There’s also a wealth of
information at the library, newspapers and magazines about the company. Look for
everything about the company. The product or services they offer the type of customers
they deal with, name of company and CEO. You should make yourself familiar with the
company’s size and anything else you deem important. If you think you will do well without
having taken time to acquaint yourself with the company and its business, you will not
succeed in landing a job. You should perform intensive research once you have secured a
date and time for the interview, otherwise you may waste your time researching companies
that may never call you.
It always helps to practice. The only way to measure your readiness for interview is to
practice. Practicing your answers to likely questions is the key to projecting a calm and
confident impression during the interview. Sit down with your best friend and have her fire
questions at you. Ask her for feedback. You can also have your friend to tape you on a tape
recorder or video camera. Listen to your voice is the pitch of your voice and tone pleasant,
clear and distinct? Watch your eye contact, body language, do you see yourself confident or
are your answers rambling and off-the-mark? Analyze the way your answers sound on the
tape recorder. On the next run-through make a conscious effort to make yourself sound
more like a professional and work on your flaws before that eventful day of interview.
Apply to several companies you do not have all that much interest in. If you are not
successful, analyze what went wrong so that you can improve in the next one. Consider
each job- hunting activity as an additional step in enriching your abilities and take criticism
as an opportunity to improve yourself.
Having arrived for interview;
Be prepared – bring along an extra copy of your resume and reading materials in the event
you have to wait a little while before the interview.
Dress appropriately – ensure that you are neat and well presented.
Be confident and project a positive attitude – the manner and confidence with which you
answer questions will be carefully observed. Project an air of positive attitude and
remember that the company called you because they believe you are capable of performing
the job at hand.
Make eye contact – maintain eye contact as you talk about your skills and experience and
let the interviewer know that you think you could do a good job.
Show enthusiasm – there is nothing that sips energy like a candidate who lacks enthusiasm.
Even if the interviewer discusses your having to perform a skill that you are not familiar
with, show him how eager you are to learn.
After the interview
Aside from being a recruiters test, sending a thank you letter to the person with whom you
met during your interview can be a way for you to underscore your continued interest in the
position and the company. Be polite and make sure to express your continued interest in
the position as well as your ability to perform the duties required. Send a handwritten note
and make sure to send the thank you letter immediately following the interview while your
meeting is still fresh in the interviewer’s mind. It will help to put a face to the letter. Ensure
that your letter is brief and emphasizing your interest in the company and position.
You should not stop working on finding a new job until you have received an official offer.
Even if you think the interview went great, there are no guarantees that you have the job
until the company tells you so. Continue sending out resumes and scheduling more
interviews. It is not wise to stake the future of your employment on one interview.
Remember that finding a new job is a full-time job in itself, be prepared to work on your job
search to make job offers come rolling in.
Job Skills Testing
What are the kinds of written examinations commonly used to assess applicants? They can be
divided into four kinds: Personality Tests, IQ Tests, Aptitude Tests, and E
ersonality Essay Questions.
Preparation before Test-taking
The same way that you are advised to dispose yourself before an interview, you
should also dispose yourself before taking a written test. After all, your main tool is your
mind; if your mind is neither relaxed nor rested, you might not perform on the exam as well
as you otherwise would do.
Get a good night’s rest the night before. Make certain that you arrive at the
examination site with at least 15 minutes to spare.
Eat well. Brain food is recommended, like food that is high in protein. You’d want to eat
enough to last you the entire testing duration. It helps then to inquire ahead of schedule
how long the test would take. Some companies screen using a battery of exams, meaning
they use more than one test and thus the examination can take hours. The last thing you
need is hunger pangs in the middle of analyzing a problem!
Bring your own timer, preferably a stopwatch. This can help you monitor your pacing and
adjust accordingly. In some cases, a calculator or extra sheets of scratch paper for
computations are permitted by the test proctor, so ask ahead if they are necessary and
Some human resource practitioners advise wearing layered clothing when taking
examinations. Room temperature can be distracting to a test taker and yo want to be able
to adjust to the temperature. If the room is too cold, at least you have a jacket and if it is too
hot, at least you can still peel off some layers.
Feel like practicing?
If you feel that you need some exposure and practice with psychological exams before you
take one, there are places to go to get a better grasp of them. If you’re still in school, or
have access to school resources, a guidance counselor can help you become more familiar
There are also sites online that offer practice tests for job applicants. Just make sure that
you pick a website that offers a close approximation of standardized job application
screening tests. There are many supposed psychological tests online but most of them are
made just for fun and in by no means valid nor similar to what companies would give you.
In general though, there is very little to worry about when it comes to employee testing.
Personality tests, IQ tests and aptitude exams require, more than anything, presence of
mind. Personality tests have no right or wrong answers, and can be answered best by
merely being authentic to yourself. IQ tests and aptitude tests on the other hand need very
little review of vast research and subject matter. All that you would need to answer the
questions correctly can be found in the question itself.
General Test-taking Tips
The following are some tips and techniques that can help you navigate most examinations.
Read the instructions and questions carefully. This is imperative! At first glance the lay-out
of a question gives a hint already how it is meant to be answered. For example, a question
stem followed by four choices marked a, b, c and d usually connotes a multiple choice kind
of question, or chooses the best answer among the four choices. But unless you read the
instructions thoroughly you can never be sure.
What if you are not supposed to pick the choice that is right, but to cross out what is wrong?
What if there can be more than one answer to a question? You need to be able to follow
instructions to the letter for it may cost you even your correct responses. If there are
examples of how to answer the questions, then review the examples.
Look out for scoring techniques that may affect the way you answer. For example, if
instructions say that this is a ‘right minus wrong’ test, then it means that when scoring, the
number of your wrong responses would be subtracted from the number of your correct
responses. In which case it is not advisable to guess when you don’t know the answer;
perhaps it’s better if you just keep it blank. If no such rule exists, then guessing in objective
questions may be a better option in case you’re stumped.
Also, instructions tell how to answer, not just what to answer. You might have to encircle
the letter of your choice, cross it out or shade the appropriate section in an answer sheet.
Some companies would nullify all your answers if you don’t follow the correct way to mark
Other answer sheets are not scored by hand but via a computer and if you don’t follow the
instructions, the scanner may not be able to read your responses. It would be a shame not
to have your correct answers credited just because of a technical error.
If you have questions or clarifications about the instructions, don’t hesitate to ask your
proctor before you even begin.
Note the time limit. Some tests are time pressured so budget your time wisely. Before you
take a test, look at how many items there are and how much time you are being given. For
example, if you have 30 minutes to answer a test with 30 items then you have
approximately 1 minute to answer per item. This can guide you when discerning whether to
give a question more thought or to move on.
In general, do not linger unnecessarily on an item. If you must, make a guess and then go
back to the item when you still have time.
If you have to guess, make an intelligent one. If you get really stumped, don’t just choose an
option randomly. Pick a choice that has the higher likelihood of being the correct answer
compared to the other choices.
Look for context clues. Context clues are hints in the question that suggest the correct
responses. Basically you have to pick the option that (a) makes the most sense, (b) seems to
fit best and (c) feels right as far as your understanding can tell. This is most helpful for verbal
Eliminate obviously wrong responses first and then focus your attention on the remaining
options. Note that sophisticated tests use clever distracters so make sure that you’re critical.
For example, you might feel that an option is obviously correct, but it might just be a word
that sounds like the correct response or looks like the correct response.
And if you really can’t figure it out, use your intuition. Choose the response that feels most
right. Chances are, if something ‘feels’ correct, you may have come across the connection
before but cannot recall it at that moment.
Consider the following example:
Choose the word closest in meaning to the italicized word.
The four-colored Brazilian spider lost a leg, so it regenerated a new one.
When you think of animals, what would they most likely do if they lost a limb? Option c
seems grammatically correct, and some animals have been known to steal from other
animals before, but it doesn’t make sense to do so for a leg.
Reinforced is a tricky distracter; it has the same form as the item you are analyzing. The
prefix‘re’ might make you feel that it is the most appropriate choice because regenerate
also has it. But the word ‘reinforce’ means ‘to support.’ It is difficult to picture a spider
supporting a new leg, and it makes for awkward sentence structure.
By process of elimination, the correct response is b.
Don’t overanalyze. This is especially true for IQ test. Sometimes we can over think a
question when the answer is the most obvious one. Remember, these tests are for the
average reasonable person to comprehend. If the analysis you came up with is too
complicated and conspiracy-oriented, chances are you just may be looking at it too hard.
Learn more about job search strategies at: http://www.mystudent4life.com or by ordering
the hard copy from email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 51136, Protea Glen South
Africa 1818. Facsimile: 0866857642
So, You Think You Are Being Overlooked For Promotion?
You may be thinking and asking yourself why you are not being considered for a promotion
when you have the right qualification and experience. You may also be asking yourself why
the company appointed you in the first place if you are not considered good enough for a
promotion now. Before you give up trying, consider some of the following and measure
yourself as to whether you meet some of the requirements demanded by employers.
What personality traits are employers looking for? Recruiters are looking for people who
know the mission and vision of the organization. People who can implement the strategy,
goals and objectives of the organization. You probably know several colleagues who have
been promoted but who could not even recite the mission and vision of the organization.
You even know of some who switched jobs and were promoted by other departments. You
hear on daily basis in corridors about favoritism, nepotism and how flawed the hiring
process is in your organization. People with more than two decades of experience are
overlooked in favor of the young and often inexperienced colleagues.
Your labor union is not able to assist either because they are part of the hiring and interview
panel. You think promotions are justified in the name of affirmative action and gender
equality prerequisites. It does not matter in what department you are employed, Human
Resources, Finance, Marketing or Operations there are seven fundamental keys you need to
know in order to get that promotion.
• Do research about the post you have applied for. This should not be too difficult
since you are a serving official.
• Do you understand the process flow within the department in which you have
applied for a position?
• Are you well acquainted with the systems and procedures in the department you
aspire to work for?
• Do you know what are the challenges and problems faced by the department you
want to work for?
• Can you provide answers and solutions to some of the identified challenges?
• Can you provide evidence about some of your work achievements? Hiring managers
want to see facts and figures as sufficient proof of your achievements.
• Can you prove that you can do the job you’re seeking?
Show the following proof;
- What projects did you complete that added X percent to the bottom line or saved X
percent in costs and what specifically did you contribute to that success?
- What successful projects did you launch and how much did they add to the
company’s revenue and profits?
Employers are looking for passionate, talented and committed people. People with initiative
– people who make things happen. Provide proof of this when you discuss about your
current projects. As a serving official your employer do not want to hear about what you did
when you were in college, do not focus on dry recitation of jobs held and meaningless
proclamations of competency, because you have been in his employ now for some time. It is
true that employers promote people they like. People they like because of their
participation and contribution to the organization.
It is only by honestly answering these questions that you will gain insights and
understanding of what hiring managers look for when interviewing internal staff. Your
honest answers to these questions will move you through this highly competitive post
Today you have a second chance at getting that promotion you have been eyeing using the
information in this report. You can get the full details by ordering the book specifically
written to assist people who want to land their first jobs or to be promoted in any
organization. One such book I know of which has assisted me is “What They didn’t Teach
You in School: Life Long Learning Tips to Land a Job Straight out of School by Justice
Mandhla. This book is obtainable from most online bookstores including Kalahari.net and
Amazon.com. . It is organized and provided in well defined and clearly structured steps.
People in and around Gauteng can obtain the copies of this rare book from the following
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East gate Mall their telephone numbers are 072 669 6593/ 084 381 2444 or you can contact
Limbada & Company School Books & Stationers, 22 Diagonal Streets Johannesburg at
telephone numbers 011 838 6326.
This book is offering you a second chance at seeing your self promoted.
You can also order the book by contacting us at: Life Long Learning, Box 51136, Protea Glen
1818 or Fax us at 086 685 7642 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our website: www.mystudent4life.com
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