With South Africa in the grips of graduation fever, and the soon-to-be capped proudly displaying their achievements on social media, the reality of the challenges associated with one’s first job search will soon set in for many.“Transitioning from studenting to adulting can be hard and often demotivating once application after application goes unanswered,” says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest private higher education institution.Ntshinga says, with years of hard work behind them, the real work now starts for graduates.“You have to approach the job search with the mindset that the search is your job, for now, until you convert your CV into an interview, and your interview into a job offer,” he says.ACCORDING TO NTSHINGA, THERE ARE SOME THINGS GRADUATES MUST DO WHEN PREPARING FOR THE JOB HUNT1. SORT OUT YOUR CV“Your CV will be the first impression prospective employers get of you. Structure your CV logically, make sure that it contains all the necessary information and showcases any relevant experience and qualifications. “Very importantly, get your CV proofread to ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors.” Finally, it is vitally important to tailor one’s CV for the requirements of each individual position. “Sending out a generic CV which does not address the specific position advertised is a sure-fire way to land your application in the recruiter’s recycle bin,” Ntshinga says.2. SEARCH FOR OPPORTUNITIESThe jobs won’t come to you, you have to find them, says Ntshinga. “You can’t apply for something you don’t know about. “The way to find out about current or future openings is to keep your ear to the ground, to network, and to do desktop research.”It can be very helpful to join professional organisations, which will provide networking events and opportunities, industry newsletters, and the possibility of finding a mentor. Meeting with recruiters, checking in daily with career sites, and registering your CV on a number of sites will also help to get your profile out there, Ntshinga says.3. DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND“The very first thing a prospective employer will do upon receiving your CV is to search your social media profiles, and peruse any other information about you they can find online. So, you must do a social media audit and remove anything that could throw a negative light over your candidacy,” says Ntshinga.4. KEEP GROWINGOngoing professional development is non-negotiable in today’s world of work, Ntshinga says. “The work doesn’t stop when you receive your degree, or even once you land your first job. You have to constantly update and build on your skills to remain employable and sought after. This means you have to commit to an attitude of lifelong learning. “So, what you can do right now is, for instance, sign up for a short or online course which builds on your existing skills or provides an additional skill that complements your first qualification.