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CAPE TOWN: How to get the career edge

She Says Cape Town hosted its third-ever event on Thursday, 15th of November, at Workshop 17 at the V&A Waterfront. The audience heard from a powerhouse panel of speakers who discussed what it takes to ‘have the edge’ and make it to the top of the talent pool in 2019.

The King James Group, one of the most admired advertising agencies in the country, was the first agency in South Africa to formally get behind the SheSays movement.

The panel consisted of Head of Talent at King James, Tabatha King; Managing Director at Ogilvy Cape Town, Vicki Buys; Founder and Chief Creative Officer at King James Digital, Matthew Ross; Content Director at VML Johannesburg, Nondu Petlele; and Freelance Art Director/Creative Director, Larissa Elliot. Anette Muller, Founder of Flexyforce.com, was also present to moderate the discussion.

Here are a few keep tips to landing a job and future proofing your career:

Just starting out:

  • Nail your CV. According to Tabatha King “your CV needs to reflect you – sending something you have copied and pasted from the internet is not going to cut it.” “But,” adds Vicki Buys “for the love of all things good, do not refer to yourself as a unicorn, or a wizard.
  • Follow up. King adds that when circulating your CV, it is important to be persistent, but not… creepy. “It is easy for a great candidate to slip through the cracks – always follow up, but definitely don’t send personal gifts.”
  • Intern… if you want to. The panel agreed that internships can be great to get your foot in the door but don’t always take the first thing that comes your way - it is just as important for individuals to vet the companies they are applying to for to complete their internships. And once you are there, “work your ass off,” says Matt Ross.
  • Social media. Recruiters are professional stalkers - they will almost always look you up on social media. Nondu Petlele adds that “this doesn’t mean you need to hide who you are, but whatever you post, you need to stand by it.”
  • Set your goals and work towards them every single day. King referred to a quote from Sheryl Sandberg: “When you are offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat, you just get on”. King explains that even though the opportunity presenting itself might not be exactly the salary or title you were expecting, but if the rocket ship is going in the direction you are heading, get on!

In the thick of it:

  • Manage expectations. Larissa Elliot explains that it is important to continuously take an audit of yourself and then share it. “Don’t hold it close to your heart or let it manifest – if you don’t ask you don’t get.”
  • Always show up and deliver on the promises you have made to yourself and/or your company. No matter what.
  • Don’t get comfortable. “Keep learning and be hungry,” says Petlele. If you want to future proof your career, you need to be tough to replace. By knowing more about the company you work for and what various departments do, you are able to add more value.
  • Speak up. Many individuals struggle in the environments they are in. But the panel says that if you need help (especially when dealing with mental illness), don’t quit, be part of the conversation to improve your work life with your manager and set clear boundaries.
  • Build a network and references. “And then keep building,” says Matt Ross.
  • Know your worth. Talking about your salary is a universally awkward thing to do. King advises that before asking for a raise, individuals need to do their research and gather all the necessary facts, then be ballsy. “Consider the industry norm when thinking about your salary expectation, as well as how long you have been in your current position, and what you have added to the business.”

With special thanks to:

King James
Workshop 17 for the venue
Elevenpast for the furniture
J&M for the snacks

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