Thursday, 25 June 2020

How to market yourself for your dream job!

Applying for jobs can be stressful, especially if you consider the number of people vying for the same position. The competition is tough and that is why it is important to be able to sell yourself to potential employees. This could be daunting. You don’t want to come across as arrogant or desperate. However, there are 5 easy ways that you can show off your skills and prove that you are the best candidate for the job! 

1. Understand the job requirements
It is important to know what the position you are applying for entails. This ensures that you understand the role and are sure that you have the relevant skills and experience to apply. You can then tweak your CV to highlight the specific skills that are relevant to the job you want. 

You should also do your research on the company you are applying to. You need to make sure that the company and its policies align with what is important to you. Being able to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the position and company to the interviewer will show how serious you are.

2. Look the part
Many potential employers will form their first impression of you based on how you look. A good image will set the right tone for the interview. Dressing appropriately and looking neat and presentable will show that you are serious about clinching the position. Charlotte Quenet-Meintjes, General Manager at Workaway International South Africa says, “You should avoid bright colors and patterned clothes – try sticking to colours like grey, white and blue as these are more professional and show sophistication and maturity. She also recommends not wearing excessive jewellery, ensuring your hair and nails are clean and neat. 

Looking good will also make you feel good and this will help you project confidence. Pay attention to your body language which sometimes speaks louder than words. Eye contact, hand motions, posture and tone of voice—are critical when selling yourself.

3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses
This question is guaranteed to come up in an interview. This is also one of the most difficult questions to answer. Most people don’t want to admit to their weaknesses, as this might undermine their standing. And most people shy away from talking about their strengths, for fear of coming across as conceited. This is, however, the perfect opportunity to define yourself! 

An employee would prefer to hire someone who knows what they bring to the table and can recognize what they need to work on. They need to see that you are capable of self-reflection and can understand and leverage your strengths and acknowledge and learn from your weaknesses. 

Coming up with a list of strengths and weaknesses ahead of the interview is crucial. Consider where you shine in the workplace, tasks that you perform well and get the most compliments on. These will all assist you in defining what your strengths are. Consider illustrating how that strength would be relevant in the particular position. Then look at the areas where you struggled previously and the steps you took to work on them. Look at how you have grown and what you have done to learn from it. 

When you are in the interview, keep your list short and to the point. Focus only on the points that are relevant to the position. 

4. Develop a script to show your experience 
It is always in your best interest to identify your skills and experiences so that you can illustrate how suited you are for the position you are applying for. Look at the list of jobs you have had before and identify what you have learned from each of them. 

Once you have listed your experience, look at how your experience accommodates the position you are applying for. Make sure that you rearrange them from the most relevant and create explanations for each example. Use this as guidelines so that you are clear in the interview. 

5. Using scenarios or anecdotes when talking about your skills
In your interview, you can expect to be asked behavioural questions. These are posed as questions about what you would do in certain scenarios. These questions are essential for the interviewer to determine how you would react in certain situations and whether you can think on your feet. Examples include how you would handle a difficult customer or co-worker, what would you do if there is a delay in the food service, etc. 

Be sure to explain what you would do and support it with examples of how this worked in the past. Do not forget to share the feedback you received from managers and fellow staff and how your solutions or recommendations benefited the business.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Out and About in the USA

By Marlon Goodwin

I was inspired to start my adventure almost 9 years ago by a post on Facebook. I then looked up what Workaway International was all about. I never thought that from taking that first step and applying would, I would get the amazing adventures, friendships, relationships, and experiences I have now.

After the interview’s, embassy visit and police clearance, I was on my first international flight to America. The country club that best suited me was Windsor. From the very first interview, I had a feeling that this could the chance I needed to better myself. Nestled in the exceptionally beautiful Vero Beach, I started my first winter season in America. I never thought that I would be there for 8 seasons!

I started as a normal server. After hard work, I am now a server captain. It is difficult but fun. We have members that are interested in learning about us and where we come from. I've been pulled into conversations by members wanting to know more about my beautiful homeland, South Africa. Some of the hardest and longest shifts I’ve had to work were around Thanksgiving, which just happens to be at the start of the season. As hard as it was, it was also so amazing to experience new traditions. My friends and I even have our very own ‘Friendsgiving’.

It took a little getting used to being away from home, but when I realized that the team around me was going through the same thing, bonds are formed. Going through this Workaway International experience has created a new family that I would never have found.
From having our very own Secret Santa to our own little New Year’s gathering, this experience has opened my eyes. Getting to exchange stories of different cultures and traditions has been amazing. My club initially only hired South Africans and Irish. It was an interesting experience speaking to an Irish person for the first time. A few years later, we also had Portuguese and Italians working with us. Getting to learn from all of them was just such a blessing.

When Workaway International told us there were opportunities to go up north to other clubs in the summer season, I had to take it. I went with a club that most of our members were already in. I got to meet more people there. Some from Jamaica and others from Eastern Europe. This was an entirely new journey that was just as amazing. Going through all of this after so many seasons has been so amazing and it all started from just taking the chance and applying.

I have had so many memories from all the places I have been to and the things that I have done. My favourite memory was when our club took us to Universal Studios Florida. It was such a joyful day. I loved the place so much that I got a year's pass. There was just so much to see and do there. It was a much-needed break from work for the team. Orlando is a tourist destination and I took it all in. The next place we visited was the happiest place on earth, Disney World. The inner child in me went crazy. As silly as it sounds, riding Space Mountain with my friends is still one of my fondest memories.

I could not be in America and not visit New York City. It is truly the city that never sleeps. There was so much to see and do. My first stop was the Empire State Building. I was playing 'Empire State of Mind' by Alicia Keys on repeat that day! As someone who works in hospitality, I was crazy about the different food trucks in Brooklyn. Next on my journey was Sin City itself - Las Vegas.

Vegas was everything I expected and more. My friend managed to arrange a suite at the iconic Caesars Palace. The casinos and shows were so amazing. I will definitely be going back if I get the chance. That is all I can say about my experience because "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas".

Some of the best trips I got to take were the scenic trips to Georgia or the drives down to Miami or West Palm Beach. I will hold the trip to Napa Valley close to my heart. The club was kind enough to arrange a tour at one of the wineries there. It was just so breath-taking.
You might be wondering how I could travel to so many places. The club would always allow us a little downtime towards the end of the season. The managers are always looking for ways to make the season as memorable as possible. That is why I keep coming back. They treat us so well. From wine and food tastings to better our knowledge to health and safety classes. The club always aimed to better us, so that we can give excellent service to our members. That is the knowledge I am so grateful to have gotten from them.

All in all, I am so grateful that I took the chance and applied. Workaway International has introduced me to so many experiences. I have gained a new family that I look forward to seeing every day at work. Anyone questioning whether to take the chance should consider it! The Workaway International team will work with you and guide you each step of the way. They will do what is best to pair you with the right club. Any questions I had were always answered by a kind and friendly team member. I hope that whoever is reading this will have a journey just as amazing as mine.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

My American dream

By Selloane Mlangeni

My name is Selloane Hazel Mlangeni. I have been on the Workaway International programme since 2018 and I would like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to work in the United States. It has always been a dream of mine to travel abroad. Little did I know that I would get a chance to work and stay in the USA. I can say that dreams do come true.

I learned a lot about hospitality, especially in country clubs. It’s been an absolute pleasure providing exceptional service to the members and making sure that they are all taken care of and that their expectations have been exceeded. I love and have a passion for what I do. I am a people person and I understand customer service. Not only did I get along with the managers, but my colleagues and the members also loved me.

I am glad that I have achieved a lot during my stay in America. I got to learn, travel, make money, meet people, make friends, and have fun at the same time. I am very blessed, and I would love to come back to this programme in the future.

A lot has happened in 2020 but that does not discredit the wonderful things that we experienced abroad. Thank you, to Workaway International, for being with us from the beginning until this very moment. God bless you all. You are doing an amazing job. We notice and appreciate it.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

3 Seasons in the USA

By Crisanne Janse Van Rensburg

A year and a half ago I started my experience with Workaway International and Jupiter Hills Country Club. I have been lucky enough to have done some international travelling before, so the flight was easy and smooth sailing for me. Arriving at the furnished apartments and meeting my roommates and fellow Workaway International candidates made it even more exciting. Jupiter Hills was the best country club to start my experience. It’s just an amazing club with awesome managers and members.

After my first season, I went up north to Glen Oaks Country Club in Long Island. This was once again a great club to continue my experience at. Through all the business they plan fun activities for the employees, such as Survivor and The Amazing Race, which my roomie Tara and I were lucky enough to win in 2019.

As the next winter season started to approach, I was invited to return to Jupiter Hills for another season with more responsibility. Hard work, dedication, determination, and motivation paid off. When COVID-19 hit, we were lucky enough that our club kept us for the full season. Most of our members live on the property so the club kept us on to continue working take-outs. This was truly a blessing during this hectic time, and I am forever thankful to Jupiter Hills Club and our incredible management.

It’s hard work and long hours but worth the experience.

Workaway International is a once in a lifetime opportunity and they truly go out of their way to make sure their family is safe and happy.

Friday, 29 May 2020

28 states in 2 years!

By Marco Loubser

My journey with Workaway International started in late 2017. I had just finished studying and thought it would be a great opportunity to experience a different country. Little did I know how amazing the next two and a half years would turn out to be.

I spent my first season in Florida where a group of nervous South Africans was greeted by the staff of the Addison Reserve Country Club. They were so nice! It can be very intimidating walking into one of the best country clubs in America, but everyone made us feel very welcome and all the new faces quickly became close friends.

I spent 6 amazing months in Florida. From playing on some of the best golf courses I have ever seen to soaking up the warm Miami beach sun. I was going back for more.
After Florida I spent my Summer season at Bald Peak Colony Club up in the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire. I traded my beach time for early morning hikes that led me to breath-taking views of Lake Winnipesaukee and instead of going to clubs in the evening we'd spend our time around the fire gazing at some of the brightest stars I have ever seen. It was a different experience but just as amazing in its own way.

I spent the rest of my time in New Mexico and South Carolina. They were all special in their own ways. What blew my mind was how different the people were from state to state. Always very welcoming but the diversity was something to behold.

Unfortunately, everything came to a standstill with the COVID-19 epidemic. Workaway International worked around the clock to get us home safely and have been in constant contact with us throughout our quarantine in Johannesburg.

Working abroad has been the best decision I have ever made. I have traveled to 28 States, seen monuments I never would have imagined seeing, played on golf courses designed by iconic golfers (like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer just to name a few), and met the most amazing people that will stay in my life forever.

If you ever feel like a new challenge or want some experience on your resume, give Workaway International a call. It will change your life!

Monday, 25 May 2020

The first season but hopefully not the last

By Melissa Fourie

After traveling an exhausting yet exciting 24 hours, my boyfriend and I finally arrived in Delray beach. We have been waiting for this moment for so long. Our apartment was amazing, fully furnished with the best view, especially when watching the sunset after a hard day’s work. 

There was no time to waste, we had one day to relax before attending the first day of training, I still remember how nervous we were driving to Addison Reserve for the first time, just knowing that our lives will never be the same. We met a lot of new, amazing people for all over South Africa and Austria. These will be friends for life.

We both were accepted in a country club up north. Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned. Everyone knows why. Although we would have loved to stay longer, it was time for us to head home. It was scary, but we made it. This was an unforgettable experience. I have learned so much about myself and the hospitality service industry. Thank you to Workaway International for giving Zian and I this experience. We hope to be traveling back to USA shortly.

This is a chance of a lifetime, if you get the opportunity to become part of the Workaway International family, do not hesitate.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Southwest Coast

By Connor Manthe

After travelling for a solid 24 hours, I finally arrived in Naples, Florida - fairly tired. Breathing in the hot humid air, I was ready to tackle another season and all the challenges that await. The excitement was unreal, it felt like my first season all over again. I met my new housemates and we got along instantly!  

It was a fast start to the season as we began working the following day. We received our uniforms and training commenced. I was situated at the fine dining restaurant and as a newbie to this type of service, it felt a bit intimidating. However, management was extremely encouraging, and they were great mentors. The items on the menu were unique. 

Unfortunately, my time in the US had come to an abrupt halt due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Everything stopped and safety measures were enforced. Overall, it was an incredible experience once again and I appreciate what Grey Oaks and Workaway International did for the participants on the programme. I await my return to the sunshine state of America.

This opportunity is a blessing, you will never know unless you try.