Job Hunting in Jamaica is said to be easy or difficult, depending on who you ask. Some people are naturally good at the hunt, while others obtained the skill through research and practice. The truth is, Job Hunting is a skill that anyone can learn.
You can increase your chances of landing a job by following a set of tips and instructions. In today’s work world, it is important to do everything you can to increase your chances of being hired.
A Look in the Mirror
The first thing that has to be done is a self-assessment. Write down your current skills, certificates, and qualifications. You can have a friend or colleague help with this process. Your career path is guided by the qualifications that you have.
After the assessment, take a look at the current jobs available and decide if you want to upskill. Upskilling can be going to university for a degree, pursuing a certificate in a field of interest, or gaining skills.
Job Hunting is a competitive sport and employers are on the lookout for the ‘best candidate’. It’s important to understand that employers are looking for someone who fits the company culture. You could be highly qualified but simply won’t mesh well with how things are handled in the organization.
Take the time to get any certificates that you believe will give you an advantage.
If you have no skills or qualifications, then it’s best to figure out where your interests are. Which career field would you like to go in? Which field currently has high demand or will have high demand shortly? What are my current strengths and weaknesses?
Sometimes, a friend can tell you what you are good at. More employers are hiring people without degrees.
Sometimes getting a job is as simple as replying to a tweet or messaging someone on LinkedIn. Social Media has made the job hunt much easier than before. This is why we must have a strong digital presence. These persons online are more likely to offer you the job if you interacted with them in the past. It could be as simple as replying to a tweet, congratulating them on a promotion, etc.
LinkedIn remains a vital tool in the job hunt. I believe that LinkedIn is underutilized by Jamaicans. I also believe that most probably don’t even know what it is. LinkedIn is essentially a job-focused social media website where you can apply for jobs and earn certificates. It allows you to connect with job seekers and recruiters. You want to set up your LinkedIn for success by having the following:
- A professional profile picture
- List your skills and certificates
- Add employment history
- Have an engaging About section
- Post valuable content
Having a good Instagram, Youtube Channel, and/or Facebook can also open doors that you never thought about.
Depending on your type of work, having a portfolio to showcase your projects can be all you need to land a job. Designers and Software Developers tend to have portfolios ready to show off their work. Here is an impressive portfolio by Gavin Dennis that you can check.
Looking at portfolios can give you an idea of how to structure yours. You can also check out Jason Clarke’s portfolio. For the Software Developers out there, you can add your portfolio to this GitHub repository that I made.
Portfolios are used to showcase your skills, projects, certificates, a little about you, etc. This gives employers a glimpse of the individual before hiring them. Some persons build their portfolios from scratch while others use websites/services like WordPress, Webflow, Google Sites, etc.
Using a service like Google Analytics allows you to track and measure the number of individuals who visit your portfolio.
A link to your portfolio can be added to social media websites like LinkedIn and Twitter. Having a strong digital presence means that people can discover you online and your portfolio. After all, what is the point of having a beautiful portfolio if no one sees it?
Apply! Apply! Apply!
There are far more job-hunting sites, especially for local jobs, today than there were 4 years ago. The more websites available give you a higher chance of spotting a job that you like. Here is a list of websites you can check on the job hunt.
In the past, I have spent most of my job hunting time looking at CaribbeanJobs and LinkedIn. I view these two as the best websites to look for jobs. You can set alerts for a particular role and you can bookmark a job for later on LinkedIn.
Caribbean Jobs seems to be a favorite among Jamaican financial institutions when it comes to hiring. A wide range of jobs is advertised, from the service industry to CEO roles for companies. Whatever kind of local job you are looking for, CaribbeanJobs will likely have it.
Apply as soon as the job is posted! The earlier the better.
Communities and Networking
I have heard many stories about people who simply replied to a message in a WhatsApp group and got a job. It’s important to join communities of like-minded individuals. Those communities could be on Telegram, WhatsApp, and other places. All you need to do is reply to the message and vet the employer.
Make sure that this employer is legitimate as a precaution. The good thing is that, in most groups/communities of individuals, there is usually trust. Since you all should trust and look out for each other, any job posted tends to be seen as favorable.
There are all kinds of communities out there that you can join, both local and international. If the community you are looking for doesn’t exist then consider creating one. There are apps like Meetup that you can check for communities.
Networking is certainly a difficult topic for many people on the job hunt. Having the right ‘links’ can make getting the job a lot easier. If you don’t have any links then you can go out and ‘create’ some. Go out to events and speak with people, you never know where you might meet your next employer.
You can also choose to join a club like Rotaract or Toastmasters. Finding a local Rotaract Club to join may be as easy as searching Instagram or asking a friend.
In this life, we must use every advantage avaliable to us.
Imagine waking up, rolling out of bed, stretching, then heading to your computer for work. Wouldn’t that be a dream? This is the reality for some Jamaicans and remote working jobs will likely increase.
The pandemic made several companies realize that you don’t need to be in the office to get the work done. NCB decided that there was no going back at the end of 2020 and about 62% of its employees’ Work from Home.
Studies show that people are less stressed and more productive when working from home. The pandemic also opened up more doors for international companies to hire people remotely. There are several Jamaicans who live here but work for international companies and get paid in USD, etc.
I can see a case where people will refuse to work for a company unless they have a remote work policy. This will force companies to either adapt or risk losing talented workers. These are some exciting times after all, who wants to sit in traffic for 2 hours?
You can check out this list of Remote Work Websites:
Internships: Getting your foot in the door
Internships remain a great way to get some experience and gain employment. Many interns become full-time employees after performing well at a company. You can search for Internships and Graduate Programs on LinkedIn and CaribbeanJobs.
One of the biggest requirements to get a job is experience……..but you can’t get experience without having a job. People can pursue internships to fill up their resumes with some experience.
There are programs like the Heart Amber Academy that guarantee placement in well-known companies after completion. The barrier to entry for the program is low, this was done deliberately. There are other programs you can sign up for with varying levels of requirements.
UWI and UTECH both have internship programs that allow students to gain some experience at a company while still in university. Ask your computing departments about these internship programs. UWI has a Department of Placement and Careers to which you can give your resume. They will send it to companies looking for prospective employees.
Don’t be Discouraged
The job hunt can feel overwhelmingly depressing but don’t be deterred. Apply and keep applying for jobs, the worst they can say is no. Combine all the information I have given in this article to increase your chances of getting hired.
While on the job hunt, try to attend networking events and upskill yourself. Ask a qualified individual or your community to review your resume. A great resume forms an important part of being able to market yourself.
LinkedIn has an “Open to Work” feature that has shown moderate success for many. This feature helps to inform your network that you are currently job hunting. With a strong enough network, you could receive a job offer in no time.
The best time to find a new job is when you already have one. Blind loyalty is ill-advised in this day and age. This statement holds even truer given the number of layoffs that have taken place over the past year.
There are too many stories about individuals placing the needs of a company above themselves, even to their detriment. This type of mentality leads to persons foregoing better/higher-paying opportunities to remain loyal to one company. Many of these persons justify their decision with all kinds of excuses.
If a company truly means you well, then they should want to see you grow. Loyalty is commendable however, it requires careful consideration.
You can check out this tweet which gives an example of blind loyalty.
Be as resourceful as you can. You can check out this thread about useful resources. We also have to be honest with ourselves. Why is it that I have been failing to secure a job? Did I make an error in my recent interview? Should I keep applying or should I seek to upskill myself? How qualified am I for the job that I am applying for?
You have to also think about the other individuals applying for jobs and ask yourself, would I be chosen over this individual? What can I do to give myself an advantage and increase my chances? A.I. has been all the rage in recent years. You could ask ChatGPT or another A.I. to:
- Review your resume
- Create a modern resume.
- Give you interview tips
- Create a Cover Letter