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How South Africans can stay positive during job search efforts amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

stay positive during the job search

Give or take two or three months ago, South Africans were still going about their daily lives. Some taking a day spent at the office for granted. Some still hoping to get invited to that interview for their dream job. But in just a few short weeks, the daily lives of millions of South Africans have been disrupted beyond belief. Perhaps the crisis has left those looking for reliable employment even more concerned for what the future might hold.

Covid-19 might change the world of working for good

Staying motivated during a long job search isn’t easy, but the outcome depends on your attitude

The job seekers of February had a very different landscape to navigate compared to today’s job seekers. The world of recruitment has mostly been a candidate-driven market. But the Novel Corona Virus pandemic has created some serious economic uncertainty. We all know that healthcare workers are more in demand today than they’ve ever been. But then again, not everyone wants to work in the essential services sector. So if you’re currently job hunting, how do you keep moving forward if you don’t exactly where you’re going?

Staying motivated during a job search was never an easy task. And now, it’s become even more strenuous. With so many companies out there laying off their employees, and some businesses even considering the idea of closing for good, it’s not hard to see why some people are driving themselves nuts with stress and anxiety.

💡 Read more: Do you know what career capital is and how it impacts your job search efforts?

It’s understandable that a lot of people see this as one of the worst times for job hunting, but if you focus on the right stuff, this might be one of the most productive pauses of your career. Adzuna pulled together some tips on how to stay positive during a job search and shares some tips on how to come out at the other end of the COVID-19 crisis and thrive in a position that you truly enjoy!


Adzuna’s top ten tips to help you stay positive during a long job search

📢 You can STILL search for a job

📢 Get clear on your rights

📢 The government is here to help if you work for a small business

📢 Now is the best time to learn a new skill

📢 A career change might worth considering

📢 Short-term employment might be the best option for the moment

📢 Prioritise your finances like never before

📢 Understand which benefits apply to you

📢 Network like never before!

📢 Refine the way you work from home


Don’t panic – companies are STILL hiring

Not all industries and companies are putting their recruitment drives on pause. South Africa’s 35-day lockdown might have caused widespread panic. But contrary to popular belief, some sectors are more in need of available hands than ever before. While it’s true that there has been a 10% (give or take) drop in the number of vacancies being advertised on Adzuna, some companies need remote workers to help fill in gaps that their own staff members cannot fill.

Adzuna found that a few of SA’s hiring companies and recruitment agencies are still hiring and searching for skilled workers amid the global pandemic. Metier Recruitment, with a comparatively high job count in SA, boasts a whopping 123% increase when compared to the number of jobs they advertised last year this time. Datacentrix came in with the second most impressive figures, hiring 80% more people than they did in April 2019.


Jobs April 2019
Jobs April 2020
% Increase
Metier Recruitment
UDM International
Dischem Pharmacies


Know your rights when it comes to something like retrenchment

With all these restrictions in movement being enforced, the way companies recruit might change for good. If your employer has no other choice than to retrench you, you need to be absolutely clear on what benefits you’re entitled to. Double-check that your employer is lawfully able to make short notice changes to your contract. If you’ll be unpaid for a certain amount of hours per week, is this something that your contract allows? Perhaps something like guarantee pay might help you navigate the rough financial waters in times like these. Keep in mind that that’s only if it has been catered to in your employment contract. The South African Unemployment Fund is also keen to help out employees that have lost their income due to changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic, so this is yet another key point you have to keep in mind.

Know your rigts

Our government is doing its best to support small businesses

The South African government promised to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiatives are designed to help ensure cash flow isn’t a problem during and after the national lockdown. It also aims to keep employees on the payroll. If you work for a small business (not corporate) you might not even need to look for a new job at all. This is a good time to chat with your employer about what company plans involve and whether or not your job might be on the line.


Learning a new skill will help you stay positive during the job search

You might be wondering how you’ll stay motivated during the job search. Especially once you start noticing that interviews aren’t coming in as fast as they used to in the past. But this is no reason to get disheartened. You can use this quieter time to up your employability factor. Right now, there are so many free courses ad certification programs being offered. It just wouldn’t make sense not to use them to your advantage. Some options include:

Free Ivy League Courses

If you’re stuck at home and can’t physically get out to enhance your skills, why not take your pick at more than 450 distance learning courses? A qualification from prestigious colleges like Harvard and Princeton will never hurt your chances of finding your dream job once the pandemic blows over.

LinkedIn Courses

Although not all of them are free, LinkedIn has some pretty amazing online courses that are all geared towards improving business skills like spreadsheets and strategy development.

SEO courses from Moz

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is useful regardless of what kind of business you’re in. Moz – a leading software company – has decided to offer almost all their SEO courses for free until 31 May this year. By doing one of these courses you’ll learn SEO basics, keyword search principles, page optimisation and backlinking basics.

Learn from home

Consider a career change

If you’re not having the best luck when it comes to finding a role that you’ve worked in before, perhaps you need to play around with your search criteria. Your skills might actually be useful in a wide range of roles, and by re-evaluating your skills, you might be surprised that it could even lead to a drastic career change.

💡 Read more: Here’s how to make your career shift as effortless as possible


Consider taking on short term roles to stay positive during a long job search

Permanent jobs offer a lot of security. But if you’re unable to find something permanent right now,  a temporary gig might be the best option you have at the moment. As the pandemic fades out and companies in South  Africa start needing more hands-on board again, you’ll be free to move to a permanent role since you won’t be committed to something else  for an extended period. Perhaps you might also want to consider taking on a number of part-time jobs (Adzuna has more than 500 of them listed) to make up for the full-time hours you’re used to.

💡 Read more: Landing a job without a degree is easier than you think


Now is the time to make your finances your top priority

You know how much you need to earn each month to make it through, and perhaps you’ve already cut out all unnecessary luxuries from your budget. It might not be easy to budget for what you need to have secured in reserve funds, especially given that months of unemployment might be a very real possibility at this stage. But the good news is that there are still some options you might want to consider. These include applying for an emergency loan or credit card and even asking friends or family for help when you need it most. Nobody wants to swallow pride in that way, but perhaps moving back to your parents’ house can really help take a massive burden off your shoulders.


Consider the kind of benefits you can apply for

Even though South Africa is a developing country, we have a benefits system that aims to help people in need. If you’re unable to find work, you might just qualify for financial aid. Adzuna’s advice is to make use of a benefits eligibility calculator to see which kind of support you’re eligible for and how much money you could expect.

Be clear on your possible benefits

Now is the time to expand and nurture your network

If ever there was an ideal time to leverage your professional network, this would be it. You need to ensure your LinkedIn profile is updated. Especially at a time like this where almost half the world is under some sort of lockdown. You might not have considered it, but connecting with professionals in your line of work can open up opportunities you might not even have explored yet. Right now, remote work is the predominant new norm. So it’s important to make every effort to leverage the power of videoconferencing. This can help maintain and mature the relationships you have, professional and personal alike.

💡 Read more: Networking is your most important tool during this time. Here’s how to do it right!


Refine the way you work from home

88% of businesses across the globe have required their employees to work from home in response to the pandemic, according to Gartner’s latest research.  A lot of us might have started considering the option before March this year. Today, however, remote working doesn’t seem like an option anymore. It’s much more of a necessity. And in reality, working from home is a skill in and of itself. Since your efforts from the home office count towards your company’s bottom line, it’s essential to maintain regular hours and still treat your day the way you would if you were at the office. You’ll need a dedicated space to work. You’ll also have to set firm rules for your family members as far as your schedule and break times are concerned. After the crisis has settled down, it’s entirely possible that the number of remote workers out there will increase, and if you can demonstrate your effectiveness during the 2020 pandemic, you’ll increase your odds of being one of them. At the very least, you’ll have yet another great skill to add to your CV!

💡 Read more: Not sure how to work from home? Here’s Adzuna’s complete guide!

working from home

Final thoughts

Regardless of whether you’ve been job hunting for quite some time or you’re suddenly facing unemployment due to the COvid-19 pandemic, there are a lot of tricks and tips that will help you stay positive during the job search. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that THIS WILL PASS. We’re all simply going through a moment in time. Once we emerge from the other side of this tunnel, you’ll be a far more resilient employee thanks to everything you’ve been through.


Stay healthy, happy and home!

Regardless of what your work circumstances look like, finding ways to stay positive during a long job search is essential to your mental physical wellbeing. A sudden shift in your employment circumstances can have anyone feeling confused and alarmed. But it’s important to be patient with yourself. You (and those around you) need to be patient while you adjust to the new way of working. This is a stressful time for most of us. It’s normal to feel frustrated. But you can turn that into feelings of empowerment just by taking some action. You need to figure out the best steps to deal with your specific circumstances, and this will call for some serious practice in the patience department.

We’ve mentioned ten great tips to help you stay positive during the job search. But above all, one of the most important aspects of getting through this is trying to reduce your stress levels. Stress actually affects your immune system. It makes you more vulnerable to the virus and ups your chances of getting more than just mildly ill should you contract Corona virus. Make sure you take enough time every day to focus on your mental and physical state. If you can’t move around outside, do some exercises in your living room. Drink enough water. Get enough sleep. You can never pour from an empty cup. Use this time to really focus on your emotional and physical wellbeing. Doing that will ensure that you can pour everything into your career once the time is right.