By Gugu Mthimkhulu, Breath of fresh air and communications account executive at Innocomm SA
Every year South Africa dedicates the month of June to all things youth related. As we have just entered into the month, it is cause for concern that a significant amount of the youth in South Africa, more especially graduates are still faced with the struggle of unemployment. Could this potentially be a problem that is rooted deeply in communication?
According to the Flickerleap’s ‘Where is South Africa digitally in 2019: the stats’ article released on the 1st of April 2019, there are 31.18 million active internet users, 28.99 million active mobile internet users and spend an average of 8 hours and 32 minutes on the internet per day via any device
Are young people visiting the correct recruitment channels? Are recruiters communicating the right kind of information on the correct communication platforms? These are very important questions that nobody ever seems to ask. There are three aspects of communication that need to be carefully integrated in order for communication of any sort to be efficient- these are; message, medium and target. Information sent to the correct audience through an incorrect medium has very high chances of being distorted and not coming to its full effect.
Often times; job vacancies are advertised on print media, which was fine 20 years ago but not today. Today’s youth is more digitally/technologically inclined and prefers to do most if not all things online on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are also various online recruitment platforms such as Oracle Recruitment, Unlock’d, Indeed and Careers Planet to name a few that young people spend most time surfing. ‘We Are Social’ and ‘Hootsuite’ have published the latest Global Digital Yearbook for 2019, showing how the world’s internet population has changed over the past 12 months, the research showed that South Africans spend the 6th longest time online, connected for an average of 8 hours and 25 minutes each day, on any device.
These statistics are proof that print media is not the most effective way of getting information of any kind, for that matter across to the youth. Recruiters and businesses need to awaken to the fact that they might be losing out on skilled candidates due to not exploring the best avenues of communication.
The fault does not lie solely with employers and recruiters. Job seekers are also responsible for marketing and positioning themselves in the best way possible. Professional platforms like LinkedIn were created especially for job seekers to locate businesses and employers and to stay up to date with their job offerings and other relevant information about companies. Young people should consider investing a significant amount of time on LinkedIn to gain access to valuable information about these companies, and to build potentially fruitful networks with various people from various industries.
Personal selling is another vital element of securing jobs. Young people invest very little time in perfecting their personal brands and marketing themselves to potential employers, which dramatically decreases the chances of landing the perfect job. You are your brand and you should constantly invest in improving it.
Here with some tips to consider when marketing and communicating your personal brand:
- It is never too late to start building a personal brand. Start building your brand today and remember that it comes with benefits such as gaining trust from prospective employers and people in general. People like it when they can almost predict your actions. Brands ensure that this happens, and a certain degree of vulnerability is appreciated by recruiters because being able to read you makes their job easier.
- Keep your personal brand consistent and authentic. Although there are times you may need to ‘adjust’ your style, resist the temptation to fit in and to imitate other people. Always stick to your guiding compass and remember that nobody can do you better than you can.
- Recent graduates with more than 500 connections on LinkedIn are able to develop their personal brand much more effectively than a recent graduate without a LinkedIn profile. Why? Because they have distribution for their status updates and blogs in a professional setting. Recent graduates can develop their brand by filling out a profile, highlighting what they want to be known for and connecting with the right people. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Be your own ‘plug’. Take note of the various opportunities at your disposal on the internet and social media and remember that you are only as good as your communication skills. Poor and wrongly timed and placed communications have been and will continue to be a downfall of many if you as today’s youth do not form a communication evolution. Communicate your way to the top!