Application tips for jobs in Zambia
Application tips for jobs in Zambia
Getting a job anywhere is about you being able to communicate that you're the most suitable candidate for the position. Qualification and experience play a huge part but it also comes down to the effort spent in the application and how you fit in with the company. Distinguish yourself by spending time on your application correspondence. Follow these tips to get yourself started right in the Zambian job market, making sure your emails, CVs and cover letters get opened, read and considered for interviews and positions. All the best!
Step 1 — finding the right job vacancy in the Zambia jobs market
Read our guide on where Zambia jobs are advertised. In addition to the jobs sites, newspapers and recruitment companies we’ve listed in that section, word of mouth is still one of the biggest ways people find jobs in Zambia. Put the word out that you're looking for a job with your friends and family. Remember, that people know people, who know people! Word will get around, especially if you have a proven track record.
Step 2 — applying for jobs in Zambia
With significant competition in the Zambian jobs market it is imperative that you make an effort to stand out. Here are our top job application tips.
Focus your applications and energy
Applying for every job you find can feel very productive, but it’s better to think about quality over quantity. You’ll have more success applying for 10 positions well than for 100 jobs that you loosely fit. Having received many job requests and applications from people from very different backgrounds to The Best of Zambia, we’ve noticed this to be a problem in the Zambian jobs market.
From an employer’s perspective it is frustrating to receive job applications from people who are from altogether different backgrounds that do not have transferrable knowledge, skills and experience. It sends a message that the applicant is thinking, ‘any job will do’. If this comes through, it may well put you on the ‘no’ pile pretty quickly. Although as an applicant it may sometimes feel like any job will do(!), it’s important to take the time to communicate otherwise in your application. The jobs market in Zambia would be more efficient for applicants and recruiters if everyone applied to jobs to which their knowledge, experience and skills are suited to, rather than applying for those loose fit job opportunities.
Demonstrate you are a good fit
To apply for jobs you’re suited to, choose to apply for jobs that are related to:
- Work experience you have previously had
- Sectors you have worked in
- What you have studied or are studying
- Your areas of interest and your aspirations
There is nothing wrong with seeking a complete career change or applying for jobs that don’t quite follow on from your current position. However, when you do this, it is important to:
- Clearly explain why you are changing paths
- Demonstrate how you have transferable knowledge, skills and experience that would be valuable for the role you are now applying for
- Reassure recruiters that you do not plan to make a habit of changing direction too often
Don’t apply for more than one position at a company
If an organisation is filling more than one position, and you apply for more than one job at the same company, you'll seem like you are unfocused and looking for any job.
Write a tailored cover letter for each application
Generic introductions don't work especially in the saturated Zambian jobs market. Seasoned recruiters can spot generic introductions a mile off! All they do is make you look like you haven’t made the effort. Instead, take the time to demonstrate you are a good fit by adapting each cover letter to the position you're applying for, identifying relevant accomplishments, achievements and anything you can offer the particular role.
Think about your references
It’s always a good idea to have a reference from a previous employer. Current recruiters will appreciate the chance to speak to a person you have worked for previously. It also demonstrates that you left that position on good terms which is always a sign of a respectable professional individual. You can also consider references from teachers, coaches and church leaders. Having references from friends and family doesn’t look very professional and isn’t recommended simply because they are likely to be biased. Another important point is to ask your referees if they are willing to give a reference. It won’t go down well if they are surprised to hear from your potential employers when they get in touch.
Follow the application instructions
This might seem obvious but many people fall at this first hurdle! If the instructions say send an email to a specific email address, with a specific subject line with specific attachments then do that. Recruiters give these instructions to make their recruitment process as simple and efficient as possible. Those that follow instructions will stand out for the right reasons.
Give your email a clear subject
Your email might not even get opened if it doesn’t have a clear subject line, looks too vague or is unprofessional. Give the reader context such as the position you're applying for.
Keep it short
Zambian recruiters have to go through many applications and might not read beyond the first paragraph of an email or cover letter. Keep them short, concise and focused. Two or three paragraphs are enough although you might consider more, the more professional the job.
Keep it professional
You’re writing to your potential boss. Keep your correspondence professional and skip the slang, abbreviations and emoticons. This is not a text or whatsapp message, so use paragraphs and full sentences!
Make sure it's perfect
Spell check, grammar check and proofread your application document. Then do it again. Read it out loud and if you have trouble spotting your own mistakes, ask someone else to run through it.
Make sure you're contactable
It seems obvious, but make sure you include your contact information. Provide a name, phone number and email address and then be on the alert to answer your calls and check your emails.
Don’t use a work email address!
It’s always best to use your own email address and phone number otherwise it’s not very respectful to your current employees. Imagine how difficult you will make things for yourself if your current employer found out and you don’t get a new job straight away.
Make sure you're online presence is good
Increasingly, recruiters considering your application will search for you online. Make sure you look responsible and trustworthy on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Read more about this, in our section, ‘How to find jobs in Zambia the unconventional way’
Looking for a job in Zambia can be a trial. Don't get discouraged. Stay positive and keep moving forward. You can do it!
Step 3 — Interviewing for jobs in Zambia
Prepare, prepare, prepare
It’s essential that you find out as much as possible about the company you are going to be interviewing at. A good place to start is their website (if they have one). Also look for company information on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Research the following key information:
- Company products and services
- Key team members
- Awards and achievements
- Approach and company culture
Going to an interview equipped with such knowledge enables you to tailor your responses to suit the company and possibly even the people interviewing you. Demonstrating that you know about the company and showing genuine interest will help you stand out. This will always go down positively with recruiters.
Dress code for interviews for jobs in Zambia
They say you only have a few seconds to make the right impression. You should want to make an entrance for the right reasons when going for any level job. Ladies, avoid outfits that are too revealing and have too much jewelry and makeup. Gentleman, iron your shirts and ensure your haircut is professional looking. Other tips are to have clean shoes and ensure you smell nice - small details will make a big difference! Of course, not all jobs require you to dress the same. For example, an interview for a job in fashion will mean you have an opportunity to demonstrate that your style matches with the company. Similarly, going for an interview on a construction site may not require you to be suited and booted. All in all, the research you do when preparing for your interview may help you select the perfect interview outfit. Think about the position, the work you will be doing if you got the job and dress accordingly. It’s a good idea to carry these habits through to when you get the job as well.
Be on time
Never be late for a job interview! It will make your potential employers think you are disorganized and that you don’t care for the job. It’s far better to be early. If you are too early you can always wait elsewhere and then go in 10-15 minutes early.
Be polite to everyone
A good way to make a positive impression is to be polite to everyone you meet when you go for the interview. Being polite and respectful is a good trait to have everyday but even more important at this early stage when you have no idea who is who, or what level of influence they have on the recruiters.
Take the right paperwork
If you have any certificates, letters of recommendation, work samples, or anything you were asked to take the interview, make sure you have them, and that they are professionally presented.
Prepare questions for the interviewer
Most interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask them questions. As someone who has been the interviewer, it’s always disappointing when people don’t have questions or ask the wrong questions. Ask questions that demonstrate your desire to settle in, make a positive impact and to contribute long term. Don’t ask questions about leaving early or whether you can play music!
or studying it’s probably best to do some voluntary work. A potential employer will be impressed that you are filling your time with something valuable rather than just sitting around. Doing voluntary work will also give you an opportunity to learn new skills and gain further experience.