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Young South Africans, especially in today’s dismal labour market, should be persistent and deliberate about going after their dream careers

 

 

Preshantan Pillay, Marketing Manager B2C – Sub Saharan Africa, Michelin Tyre Company SA

 

The South African labour market can be a depressing topic for anyone, but with the right attitude and determination, you can certainly land – or grow into your dream job.

 

Where opportunities are few, Preshantan Pillay, Marketing Manager B2C for Sub Saharan Africa at Michelin Tyre Company South Africa, shares the journey of how he eventually landed his dream job in the marketing department of one of largest tyre manufacturers in the world.

 

Preshantan also shares his six tips for young career seekers that will help them thrive on their journey.

 

“After finishing grade 12 in 2004 I needed to upgrade certain subjects to get into university. I did BCom Accounting at Damelin, while upgrading some of my grade 12 subjects in the evenings through Damelin School of Arts. I studied during the day and in the evenings until I completed at the end of 2005.

Tip 1: If you want something badly enough you have to be willing to make sacrifices. Invest the time needed and watch things easily fall into place.

 

I got the great marks and was accepted at the University of Johannesburg in 2006 where I studied towards a Diploma in Economic Sciences. This didn’t take long because I was able to get credits for the modules which I had completed at Damelin. I wanted to carry on studying.

 

In 2007 I studied BCom Information Systems (IS/IT) for two years, and after realising it wasn’t really what I wanted as a career, I changed to BCom Marketing, which I completed in May 2010.

Tip 2: Sometimes you will do something only to realise later that it is not really where your passion lies. It’s normal to want to change direction now and again in your career journey, but it’s also important to keep moving forward.

 

I then started job-hunting and landed a one-month learnership at Honeywell. I was placed in different areas of their marketing department so I could get first-hand experience of the industry I wanted to be in.

 

After I had been exposed to the marketing department, I knew that was where I wanted to be in my career, and I kept on applying. This eventually paid off when I got invited to two interviews – a marketing internship opportunity at Michelin, and an opportunity to become a store manager for one of the JD Group retail outlets.

Tip 3: Keep sending out your CV, put yourself out there and do it relentlessly until you start seeing results.

 

I was accepted for both opportunities and had to make a choice to either join Michelin for 6-months, or join the JD Group where I was offered a permanent position.

Tip 4: No matter how many interviews you’re invited to, don’t get ahead of yourself. Stay humble, and give it your best shot, every time.

 

 I decided to join Michelin, even though it was an internship. This is because I had a purpose and clear plan for my career path. I wanted to work for a company that I knew was big enough for me to grow, where I’d be able learn from different disciplines, and where I could have the flexibility to showcase my skills in more than one department.

Tip 5: At the very beginning of your career, don’t be impressed by the money. Have a vision for your career, set goals for yourself, be willing to learn and gain the necessary experience you need to get you to where you really want to be.

 

By showing up every day and doing the most basic of tasks as an intern – getting coffee for senior colleagues, packing boxes, and cleaning up the storerooms,  kept me grounded long enough to start knowing my way around the company. Then things started to change. This last tip is the most important:

Tip 6: Once you are in, you need to take your career into your own hands. Put up your hand and ask questions, don’t be afraid to share your ideas with the team, and make yourself available for leaders in the company who inspire you.

 

By doing all this, Preshantan advanced his way up the ranks at Michelin, and today finds himself in his dream position in a company that has shown that it is passionate about its people.

 

“In my very first interview, what sold me was when my then soon-to-be manager told me that I would be part of a company that does not only give people a chance, but the tools, skills and knowledge to thrive”, he concludes.

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