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South Africa - Finding Employment

To apply for a work permit in South Africa, foreigners are required to get a job offer from a company. Therefore, it is advisable to begin your job search before you plan to move there. Unless you have a couple of job offers, it is difficult to enter South Africa and begin your job search. Once you get a call for an interview in South Africa, submit an application for a work seeker's permit to visit South Africa to attend the interview or seek other offers.

There are plenty of ways to find a job. However, many South Africans rely on referrals and recommendations to find jobs. Beware of offers that promise you to make a fortune while working from home. Such offers are often from conmen out to defraud unsuspecting jobseekers.

You can begin your search through job websites such as:

You can also search for jobs in the classifieds section of local newspapers. In addition, sign up to professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. You may also get additional information about job vacancies in South Africa from industry publications such as Forbes.

Recruitment agencies and trade organizations

Recruitment agencies are alternative places to search for jobs. You can find their contact details on Ananzi Examples of trade organizations in South Africa include:

• SAIMECHE, also known as the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering
• SAICA, also known as the The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
• ABASA, also known as the The Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants in Southern Africa
• FEDUSA, also known as the The Federation of Unions of South Africa
• COSATU, also known as the The Congress of South African Trade Unions

How to apply for a job in South Africa

There are two types of curriculum vitae that you can create for your job search in South Africa: the Comprehensive CV and the Brief Profile CV. These CVs are usually sent out in different stages of the job search. A cover letter alongside your CV is also necessary.

Expats often find it difficult to get jobs in South Africa because many people find jobs through referrals. It is often “who you know” and not “what you know” that will get you a job in the country. Consider one of the hardest parts of your move to South Africa over once you manage to get a job offer from an employer in South Africa.

To apply for a South African work permit in your country of residence, you have to gather the correct paperwork.

The following are some steps you should follow to increase your chances of landing a job.

• First, send a “Brief Profile” (a summary of the “Comprehensive CV”)
• Send a cover letter if you are applying for general consideration
• Since most applications are sent by email, it is important to follow up your application with a phone call.

Brief Profile

This is a one-page CV that contains a chronological list of all your previous jobs, your education, and your personal information. Your most relevant position should be emphasized.

Comprehensive CV

This CV must include your complete contact information: phone number, first name, and address. It must have every detail of your education and employment history. The education section of your CV must include the following:

• A list of schools you have attended and the period within which you attended the schools
• The location of the schools you attended
• Your areas of specialization
• Your diploma and degree certificates
• It should also include a brief list of your extracurricular activities, and prizes awarded

In the work experience section, include:

• The dates you were employed
• The names of your current and former employers
• Your job location
• Your job position
• Your job responsibilities
• Your professional achievements

Use power words and action verbs to highlight your skills, experience, and why you feel you are the best candidate for the job.

List your volunteer experience, hobbies, and professional affiliations. Include some personal information (date of birth, marital status, nationality, and languages). Also, include references and their contact information in the final section.

The comprehensive CV should be no longer than five pages. If you did not send a cover letter with the brief profile, you must send it with the comprehensive CV.

Cover letter

Cover letters must never exceed one page and should ideally be three or four paragraphs. They must be written professionally and should be concise and straight to the point. Express your willingness to explain everything in a personal interview when closing your cover letter. Copies of your diplomas should not be included.


The annual vacation period for employees consists of 21 days. There are twelve public holidays each year, which are not included in the leave period. An employee is entitled to an hour’s leave for every 17 hours worked, or 1 day for every 17 days worked.

Recruitment Agencies

Frogg Recruitment SA
Telephone number: +27 21 556 5598
Fax: +27 86 539 5272

Manpower South Africa Head Office
Tel: (27) 11 465 6020

Robert Walters Johannesburg
Telephone number: +27 (0) 11 881 2400
Fax: +27 (0) 11 881 2499

TRASA Recruitment
Office +27116780212
Cell: +27 73 235 4096

Quest Recruitment
Bloemfontein +27 51 447 7618
Cape Town +27 21 413 4700
Durban +27 31 279 9000
East London +27 43 726 2523
Rand +27 11 823 3213
Johannesburg (Head Office) +27 11 628 0300
Mbombela/Nelspruit +27 13 752 2819
Old Mutual Park +27 21 504 4500
Polokwane +27 83 869 3250
Port Elizabeth +27 41 373 1183

Read more about this country

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