“When I brushed off the dust from my CV, I couldn’t help but laugh because a few months back I was holding my company’s financial statement.”

The story of 27 year old Sazi Dlamini is not an unusual one for many young South Africans who find themselves in the 27.2% of unemployed youth in the country.

Originally from Kwazulu Natal, Sazi completed his basic education at Protea North High School, Johannesburg. He had a knack for business and commerce subjects which is why going into business was such a natural progression for him; this after a collarbone injury threatened his future in provincial rugby, and killed all hopes of playing professionally after school.

Like many young South African’s, Sazi’s family couldn’t afford to take him to university. His injury ruled out the possibility of a fully funded bursary,so after matriculating, he had no other option but to seek employment. He then became a storeman for one of the country’s biggest banks, and after six months he was promoted to a consultant. His future at the bank beamed even brighter as he was headhunted for a supervisor role in just a year and a half of becoming a consultant.

With the insights gained at the bank after becoming a consultant and managing the company’s employee beneficiary portfolio, Sazi saw an opportunity to open his own security company business with a partner in 2013. After a lucrative two years in business, the company came to an abrupt end and collapsed, leaving him jobless and companyless.

Thanks to his savings, and picking up catering and events jobs, he managed to live off these finances for a further two years. In July 2017, the realities of unemployment struck and it was time to go back to the drawing board. Having already downsized from the lavish lifestyle of a business owner to a much more modest one, Sazi was officially in the job market and he registered with JobStarter.

Within a month of signing up to JobStarter, completing his assessments and profile, he received a call from a potential employer requesting an interview the next morning.

“I googled the company’s profile, company size, directors and financial records to see how stable and profitable they were,” he says on preparing for the job interview.

Needless to say, Sazi secured his bag! His advice for anyone in the job seeking process is to let go of the “Abantu bazothini,” syndrome. “The biggest mental challenge of going through unemployment was letting go of the fear of, ‘What are people going to say?” Sazi reflects.

Another of his reflections that could work for you too is to conduct a thorough analysis on yourself: “I used to be very shy and it came from fear and doubt. After dealing with all sorts of people, employers and employees, I now know how to stand tall and firm. This is when I started to focus on my strengths rather than my weaknesses.”

And if one job seeking formula is not working, try another, Sazi suggests: “For example, if you use newspapers to search for job opportunities; buy data instead and follow career sites such as JobStarter to expose yourself to more opportunities.”

On whether he’ll go into business again, Sazi says he’s past lessons and keeping current on the country’s state will inform his next business venture:

“I see myself going back to investments, especially for the market of the underprivileged. Movements such as #FeesMustFall have become so powerful that they can’t be ignored. Our people need education policies and investments to study.”

Sazi’s Top Advice for Job Seekers:

  1. Deal accordingly with fear and doubt

  2. Know your weakness, but amplify your strengths

  3. Align yourself with people who have the same goals as you