“You must have 5 years experience for an entry level position"


According to a recent report on News24, Cyril Ramaphosa has recently called on both the private and public sectors to look beyond lack of experience when it comes to employing young graduates.

Alex Mitchley reports that Ramaphosa, who was speaking at the Youth Day celebrations at Orlando Stadium on Saturday, said that experience requirements have become a huge obstacle for the youth and added that companies should be willing to hire graduates regardless of the level of experience.

And we couldn’t agree more.

Students fresh out of university are often deterred from applying for positions because they have the skills, but they don’t necessarily have experience within the industry. Internships are of course, there to help, but not everyone is able to get one that could help boost their levels of experience.

And that’s a huge problem because so many graduates often feel like they’ve wasted their time going to college or university only to be put off by job ads where there’s a minimum requirement of at least 3 years.

How can companies consider 3 years of experience an entry level position when it doesn’t include the student demographic?  

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I reached out to Elizabeth Mamacos, freelancer and former head of content at Careers24.com who told us why some companies require a certain amount of years in terms of experience and what companies could do to help facilitate easing young graduates into their job: 

On companies who have specific requirements in terms of experience she says that it would really depend on the type of job.

“Some positions require industry knowledge or experience with certain systems and methodologies, while others need a certain level of maturity or practical experience that comes after a few years of work in the industry or position advertised. 

The more complex the position, the more likely it is that an experienced candidate will have dealt with the same or similar issues in the past and will be able to handle them appropriately in the new position.”  

What can be done to provide more accommodation for young graduates?

Training is a key factor in helping to ease graduates into the job market. 

Elizabeth says that while teaching “maturity and ethics would be hard,” companies can definitely “train new employees to use systems and metholodologies.” 

She adds that many business in South Africa do offer graduate programmes that are specifically there to help ease new employees into the working world, but for those who don’t, they can “make the transition easier by providing thorough on-boarding programmes and targeted training.”

The key here is to clearly understand that a helping hand could go a long way in establishing graduates in the industry. 

Ramaphosa also notes that employers need to understand and realise that the only way young adults can get work experience is to actually provide them with jobs and that, in order for their businesses to thrive, they need to take on the responsibility of being willing to help graduates.

Aside from this, there are a a few other struggles on top of this that graduates have to contend with.

The agony of putting together a CV

There’s absolutely nothing worse than having to put together a resume immediately after you’ve completed your studies.

Not only do you only have your educational credentials to show, but based on that, you still have to sell yourself in your cover letter too.

Putting yourself out there and “selling yourself” to potential employers is not that easy. Not only do you have to sell yourself to your prospective employer, but you need to take into account that you’ll be competing with many others – some more experienced than you – for the same position.

Make sure that your CV and cover letter is 100% error free before sending. Get someone to check, it for you – or, if you’re able to pay for it – there are people who offer the services of putting together a comprehensive CV and profile for you. 
You have one chance to impress with your CV – so make it count. 

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The dreaded job interview

Then, of course, there’s the actual interview, which is pretty much like an X-factor audition (I would assume), except, you thankfully (and hopefully) don’t have to sing.

You do still have to give the performance of a lifetime though, because not only do you need to impress your potential employer, you’re also competing against a myriad of other candidates who may or may not be more experienced and qualified than you.

The pain of waiting to hear back from the employers you’ve applied to.

While many job listings at least have the decency to put a notification up which tells you that you should consider your application unsuccessful if you haven’t heard from them after a certain amount of time, many don’t. 

This leaves you in a state of eternal wondering and self-doubt.

And even after the interview, the people who tell you they’ll contact you, won’t necessarily follow through. Not exactly encouraging is it?

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Going right back to the start

But, the one and absolute worst thing that every graduate could agree on, is being unsuccessful first time round and being forced to do it all over again.

At least until you find that perfect job!

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