SLICE OF LIFE: Watch me dive into the talent pool


Palesa Radebe

Palesa Radebe

If you are like me, you are probably nervous about every new experience and change that occurs in your life. Having recently graduated, I’m about to start an internship and am anxious about what lies ahead.

[pullquote align=”right”]Change would always occur – with or without your participation. So if you aren’t enjoying some aspect of your situation, you should actively work to change it.[/pullquote]

I recently read an O magazine article which made a lot of sense. Basically, the point was that it didn’t matter whether you embraced change or ran in the opposite direction. Change would always occur – with or without your participation. So if you aren’t enjoying some aspect of your situation, you should actively work to change it.

It turns out, even if you make no changes to your lousy job or your painful relationship, all those things will eventually change anyway.

This new phase of my life has been a bit difficult to embrace. I constantly hear my friends and former classmates talk about how interns are hated in the workplace and how their lack of experience makes them a liability.

I personally do not believe this to be true. You do have valuable skills and you need to remind yourself of that fact through the job hunting process. Companies spend large amounts on graduate recruitment and training programmes, not because they pity us, but because they need us! Yes, I said it.

The problem is that our attitudes hurt our chances of getting a job. To an employer, this lack of confidence comes over as a lack of initiative, a lack of drive. To them it’s unprofessional – a sign that you’re not competent. An indication that they’re going to have to walk you through every little stage and task. They will, but you don’t have to remind them of this. Fake it till you make it.

[pullquote]We need to learn how to appreciate the skills we possess and sell these as valuable assets.[/pullquote]

After four years of frequent visits to the career counsellor, there is one thing I have learned. Spend time learning how to sell yourself. Learn how to make your skills seem essential. Be ready to always give the best answer to this recruitment question: Why are you the best person for the job?

We need to learn how to appreciate the skills we possess and sell these as valuable assets. You might not have the experience, but remember, you have spent three or four years at university. You have learned to write essays and reports, worked in teams, made presentations and, most of all, committed to tasks. Think positively, remember your strengths and approach it like this: “I’m good. I would be an asset to this company because …”

As I venture into a new phase of life, I can’t help but feel excited about this new growth experience.

I’ll walk into my new organisation with the confidence of knowing I can make a meaningful contribution and be open to learning.

After the ink dries

AS new students explore their new-found freedom by eyeing local tattoo parlours, campus counsellors urge students to think carefully before inking.

Raj Naran from the Counselling & Careers Development Unit (CCDU) believes students should consider how their tattoos could affect the image they present when applying for jobs.

They should also think about the environment in which they hope to work when considering displaying their tattoos. “My opinion is that a conservative business environment is likely to show less tolerance of excessive tattoos,” he said.

“A more artistic and less conventional environment is likely to be more accepting, if not encouraging, of such creative expression.”

“The question is how far does one push one’s boundaries? Excessive display of tattoos could lead to inappropriate assumptions being made by recruiters.”

Former Wits student Daniel Gallan, who has a tattoo on his leg, was denied a job as a photographer on a cruise-liner because of a strict policy on visible tattoos.

Most students with visible tattoos approached by Vuvuzela said they would ensure their tattoos did not affect their future careers. They would simply cover them.

Bianca Dacruz, 1st year psychology, has a line from a Jimmy Eat World song and a date tattooed on her back to remind her of her grandmother.

She said she would cover it up if she went for a job interview because “people frown upon tattoos”. She said she would not want to come across as unprofessional. She did not feel the need to show it in a work environment because it had a sentimental meaning.

Chiara Molinaro, 4th year drama, has a melting clock on her wrist, inspired by Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory, as a reminder of time spent and still to be enjoyed in her life.

Molinaro believes the creative arts are much more lenient than office environments and feels it won’t present such a problem.

When asked how she would react if asked to cover her tattoo, she said: “Besides ‘fuck you’?”