Finding a job in the wide-ranging local government sector can seem like a daunting journey. So, to help you on this journey, we’ve created a guide to help you figure out which steps to take to find your first job in local government:
Step 1: Research the various job opportunities in local government and choose a field that interests you:<
Municipalities are not the only employers in the local government sector. You could also work for various non-profit organisations that work closely with local government, or you could work for organisations such as the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) or the South African Local Government Organisation (SALGA).
Some of the positions that exist in the local government sector include:
- Administrative Officer
- Communications Officer
- District Manager
- Environmental Officer
- Financial Assistant
- Financial Manager
- Housing Officer
- Office Manager
- Operations Officer
- Supply Chain Manager
Once you’ve identified a career path that interests you, you can conduct research to find out about the different aspects associated with that career path, such as: the skills and qualifications required, the working environment, the salary range, and the level of competition you will be dealing with.
A good starting point for this type of research is the local government website: http://www.localgovernment.co.za/vacancies/index/9/western-cape (you can select different provinces to see the jobs that are available in different parts of the country).
Also read: A Day in the Life of a Municipal Manager
Step 2: Develop your skills (and earn your qualifications):
Most of the people working in local government will tell you that they started their careers in entry-level positions – and worked their way up from there.
Since there is a lot of competition for the entry-level positions in the local government sector, you need to make sure you have skills and qualifications that will help you stand out from all the other candidates.
Good to know: Public sector employers receive so many CVs and job applications that they often automatically discard CVs/applications that don’t meet the minimum requirements – so make sure to read the requirements carefully, and to tailor your application accordingly.
If you don’t meet the minimum requirements, but you feel you are qualified for a certain position, you can still apply, but you may need to contact the employer directly to explain your situation.
To find out how you can develop the skills and earn the qualifications you need: click here.
Step 3: Network and meet new people:
Networking will not only help you find out about job opportunities that are available, but will also assist you with finding out what employers in the local government sector are looking for. Networking options you could consider include:
- Attending events hosted by organisations in the local government sector.
- Engaging with such organisations on social media.
- Volunteering in your community.
Step 4: Take responsibility for your career:
You are responsible for the success of your own career. When you apply for a government post, you could wait months before you get a reply. This means you need to be patient.
If you are serious about your career, you will use this time constructively.
You could, for example:
- Do volunteer work in your community to gain experience.
- Study a part-time course to develop your skills and enhance your CV.
Note: This article was originally published on 20 June 2016, and has been updated for accuracy.