“We all have something we are good at or passionate about, we should utilise social media to push that.”
Just over a year ago, a young social media specialist took it upon himself to create a twitter hashtag that
would serve as a tool that aids individuals in their search for employment. Menzi Ngcobo is the founder
of #JobSeekersSA, a purpose driven hashtag that exposes job seekers to career opportunities and recruitment
information. The idea came about in July, 2015, after he came across an influx of tweets from graduates
who were practically begging for work. Their circumstance struck a nerve; the agony of being an unemployed
graduate was one that he was all too familiar with as he was jobless for two years after obtaining his degree.
“I truly believe that it’s easy to understand something if you’ve been through it. I knew exactly what these
graduates were going through and I wouldn’t wish that for anyone. I can’t save the world, but change begins
with all of us,” he explains. The hashtag was officially introduced to the local twitter community on 28 July,
2015. As fate would have it, it took no more than a week for one graduate to find employment through
#JobSeekersSA, this would be the first of many success stories and highlights to come.
As a social media specialist, Menzi is well versed in the use of hashtags. Through #JobSeekersSA he managed
to create a stream of career related conversations for the local twitter community to follow. The idea sparked
mixed reactions; some people were supportive from the start while others were skeptical about its impact and
longevity. “Twitter is a very fun space and can be a bit negative. I introduced something positive and not everyone
responds well to such things. This is not because people don’t like positive initiatives, they just treat Twitter as
an escape from reality,” he explains.
The extensive circulation of the hashtag has heightened awareness around the disheartening reality
of unemployment and created a virtual space for job seekers and recruiters to interact. “Local recruiters
have come on board with their own hashtag, #JobAdviceSA, which was inspired by #JobSeekersSA.
They have sessions every Monday at 4PM where they discuss different topics and invite me to engage,”
says Menzi. This engagement is a crucial element because most job seekers are disempowered by their
lack of knowledge; many people still don’t know how to structure their CVs, send formal emails, approach
recruiters or negotiate salaries. Menzi also keeps the hashtag alive by initiating twitter polls, topical
discussions and Q&A sessions with people who work in different industries.
Managing #JobSeekersSA with his minimal recruitment knowledge was challenging at first; Menzi had to
do a considerable amount of research to ensure that he shared accurate information with his audience. As a
full time employee, responding to every email, twitter mention and direct message remains another challenging
factor. Furthermore, scammers are rife, he must constantly remind job seekers to be cautious when sending
their details and to alert him if they see any suspicious job adverts attached to the hashtag. The admin and
consequences of overseeing the initiative were in fact his biggest fears. Fortunately, he now gets assistance from
Tebogo Rakumako, a professional career coach who generously makes provision for individuals to email her
for career guidance.
Understandably, tracking the overall amount of people that have found jobs through the hashtag is unfeasible.
However, Menzi can confirm that close to thirty people have personally notified him of their employment in the
past year. The messages of gratitude as well as coverage from prominent media have been some of the highlights
that have made this journey worthwhile. This has motivated him to take a step further in his social contribution
and create The Beginning, an online platform that will profile young black entrepreneurs and feature career
information, insightful opinions and lifestyle news. The #JobSeekersSA hashtag will be embedded on the website for
further convenience and access.
Contributing to the development of others has changed Menzi’s own life for the better; “I honestly believe that if
there’s one person who needed this hashtag more than anyone it’s me, just from engaging with my audience I’ve
become a very positive person, I appreciate life and know that there are bigger problems out there. I love having
something to look forward to the minute I wake up. I monitor the hashtag all the time. I love how approachable I have
become; people feel comfortable sharing their stories with me and trust my judgment and advice.”
When used with good intention, social media can indeed save lives. With nothing more than apathy, selflessness
and a simple hashtag , Menzi presented something that many individuals need: A chance.
Menzi Ngcobo is a social media specialist for a leading travel agency,a creative writer and self confessed internet addict.
Published: 2016-09-22 - 07:59:49