The ultimate guide on how to get a job in Zambia
The Zambia jobs market is fast paced because jobs are in short supply. Jobs are mainly advertised in national newspapers and through word of mouth. You can also find Zambian jobs online through recruitment websites and social media sites like LinkedIn.
We’ve written this guide to help all Zambian job seekers in their quest to find a rewarding job. We’ve had the experience of being the job seeker and the recruiter in Zambia and the UK. Our intention is to use both the Zambian and international perspective and experience we have so you can get the best of both worlds. This guide will cover:
- Zambia jobs and the recruitment process
- Application tips for jobs in Zambia
- How to find jobs in Zambia the unconventional way
- Where Zambia jobs are advertised
Zambia jobs and the recruitment process
Jobs are mainly advertised in Zambia’s national newspapers and through word of mouth. Get the full details on how you can get the latest on jobs by reading our guide on where they are advertised.
Vacancy windows for jobs in Zambia
Because of the stiff competition for jobs in Zambia, the vacancy window for entry and some mid level jobs tends to be very tight. This is to help recruiters minimise application numbers. The more professional the job the longer the vacancy window tends to be. When you see a job you are interested in, you’ll need to take prompt action.
Application process for Zambia jobs
Nowadays, more and more companies will ask you to email your CV and application documentation. However, some organisations, especially Government organisations will still ask you to deliver a printed or handwritten application.
Communications from the employing organisation
Because organisations usually get a high number of applicants they are unlikely to communicate with you or provide any feedback, except to invite you for an interview if you are successful.
Interviewing for Zambia jobs
Make sure you check your emails and answer your phone for any communications with a potential employer. Since it is an employers market they are unlikely to chase except if you stand out as a high quality candidate. Companies will not alway tell you about the interview format. Expect anything from one to one interviews, panel interviews, tests and even group work with other applicants. If you want to be prepared, it won’t hurt to ask about what they expect of you. If you are applying for a job as an expat or returning resident, organisations may interview you by video link such as Skype.
Trials and probation periods
Most companies will start new recruits on a trial probation period, usually around three months. This may be longer if you are entering a training programme or a more established organisation.
Application tips for jobs in Zambia
Getting a job anywhere is about you being able to communicate that you're the most suitable candidate for the position. Qualification and experience play a huge part but it also comes down to the effort spent in the application and how you fit in with the company. Distinguish yourself by spending time on your application correspondence. Follow these tips to get yourself started right in the Zambian job market, making sure your emails, CVs and cover letters get opened, read and considered for interviews and positions. All the best!
Step 1 — finding the right job vacancy in the Zambia jobs market
Read our guide on where Zambia jobs are advertised. In addition to the jobs sites, newspapers and recruitment companies we’ve listed in that section, word of mouth is still one of the biggest ways people find jobs in Zambia. Put the word out that you're looking for a job with your friends and family. Remember, that people know people, who know people! Word will get around, especially if you have a proven track record.
Step 2 — applying for jobs in Zambia
With significant competition in the Zambian jobs market it is imperative that you make an effort to stand out. Here are our top job application tips.
Focus your applications and energy
Applying for every job you find can feel very productive, but it’s better to think about quality over quantity. You’ll have more success applying for 10 positions well than for 100 jobs that you loosely fit. Having received many job requests and applications from people from very different backgrounds to The Best of Zambia, we’ve noticed this to be a problem in the Zambian jobs market.
From an employer’s perspective it is frustrating to receive job applications from people who are from altogether different backgrounds that do not have transferrable knowledge, skills and experience. It sends a message that the applicant is thinking, ‘any job will do’. If this comes through, it may well put you on the ‘no’ pile pretty quickly. Although as an applicant it may sometimes feel like any job will do(!), it’s important to take the time to communicate otherwise in your application. The jobs market in Zambia would be more efficient for applicants and recruiters if everyone applied to jobs to which their knowledge, experience and skills are suited to, rather than applying for those loose fit job opportunities.
Demonstrate you are a good fit
To apply for jobs you’re suited to, choose to apply for jobs that are related to:
- Work experience you have previously had
- Sectors you have worked in
- What you have studied or are studying
- Your areas of interest and your aspirations
There is nothing wrong with seeking a complete career change or applying for jobs that don’t quite follow on from your current position. However, when you do this, it is important to:
- Clearly explain why you are changing paths
- Demonstrate how you have transferrable knowledge, skills and experience that would be valuable for the role you are now applying for
- Reassure recruiters that you do not plan to make a habit of changing direction too often
Don’t apply for more than one position at a company
If an organisation is filling more than one position, and you apply for more than one job at the same company, you'll seem like you are unfocused and looking for any job.
Write a tailored cover letter for each application
Generic introductions don't work especially in the saturated Zambian jobs market. Seasoned recruiters can spot generic introductions a mile off! All they do is make you look like you haven’t made the effort. Instead, take the time to demonstrate you are a good fit by adapting each cover letter to the position you're applying for, identifying relevant accomplishments, achievements and anything you can offer the particular role.
Think about your references
It’s always a good idea to have a reference from a previous employer. Current recruiters will appreciate the chance to speak to a person you have worked for previously. It also demonstrates that you left that position on good terms which is always a sign of a respectable professional individual. You can also consider references from teachers, coaches and church leaders. Having references from friends and family doesn’t look very professional and isn’t recommended simply because they are likely to be biased. Another important point is to ask your referees if they are willing to give a reference. It won’t go down well if they are surprised to hear from your potential employers when they get in touch.
Follow the application instructions
This might seem obvious but many people fall at this first hurdle! If the instructions say send an email to a specific email address, with a specific subject line with specific attachments then do that. Recruiters give these instructions to make their recruitment process as simple and efficient as possible. Those that follow instructions will stand out for the right reasons.
Give your email a clear subject
Your email might not even get opened if it doesn’t have a clear subject line, looks too vague or is unprofessional. Give the reader context such as the position you're applying for.
Keep it short
Zambian recruiters have to go through many applications and might not read beyond the first paragraph of an email or cover letter. Keep them short, concise and focused. Two or three paragraphs are enough although you might consider more, the more professional the job.
Keep it professional
You’re writing to your potential boss. Keep your correspondence professional and skip the slang, abbreviations and emoticons. This is not a text or whatsapp message, so use paragraphs and full sentences!
Make sure it's perfect
Spell check, grammar check and proofread your application document. Then do it again. Read it out loud and if you have trouble spotting your own mistakes, ask someone else to run through it.
Make sure you're contactable
It seems obvious, but make sure you include your contact information. Provide a name, phone number and email address and then be on the alert to answer your calls and check your emails.
Don’t use a work email address!
It’s always best to use your own email address and phone number otherwise it’s not very respectful to your current employees. Imagine how difficult you will make things for yourself if your current employer found out and you don’t get a new job straight away.
Make sure you're online presence is good
Increasingly, recruiters considering your application will search for you online. Make sure you look responsible and trustworthy on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Read more about this, in our section, ‘How to find jobs in Zambia the unconventional way’
Looking for a job in Zambia can be a trial. Don't get discouraged. Stay positive and keep moving forward. You can do it!
Step 3 — Interviewing for jobs in Zambia
Prepare, prepare, prepare
It’s essential that you find out as much as possible about the company you are going to be interviewing at. A good place to start is their website (if they have one). Also look for company information on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Research the following key information:
- Company products and services
- Key team members
- Awards and achievements
- Approach and company culture
Going to an interview equipped with such knowledge enables you to tailor your responses to suit the company and possibly even the people interviewing you. Demonstrating that you know about the company and showing genuine interest will help you stand out. This will always go down positively with recruiters.
Dress code for interviews for jobs in Zambia
They say you only have a few seconds to make the right impression. You should want to make an entrance for the right reasons when going for any level job. Ladies, avoid outfits that are too revealing and have too much jewellery and makeup. Gentleman, iron your shirts and ensure your haircut is professional looking. Other tips are to have clean shoes and ensure you smell nice - small details will make a big difference! Of course, not all jobs require you to dress the same. For example, an interview for a job in fashion will mean you have an opportunity to demonstrate that your style matches with the company. Similarly, going for an interview on a construction site may not require you to be suited and booted. All in all, the research you do when preparing for your interview may help you select the perfect interview outfit. Think about the position, the work you will be doing if you got the job and dress accordingly. It’s a good idea to carry these habits through to when you get the job as well.
Be on time
Never be late for a job interview! It will make your potential employers think you are disorganised and that you don’t care for the job. It’s far better to be early. If you are too early you can always wait elsewhere and then go in 10-15 minutes early.
Be polite to everyone
A good way to make a positive impression is to be polite to everyone you meet when you go for the interview. Being polite and respectful is a good trait to have everyday but even more important at this early stage when you have no idea who is who, or what level of influence they have on the recruiters.
Take the right paperwork
If you have any certificates, letters of recommendation, work samples, or anything you were asked to take the interview, make sure you have them, and that they are professionally presented.
Prepare questions for the interviewer
Most interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask them questions. As someone who has been the interviewer, it’s always disappointing when people don’t have questions or ask the wrong questions. Ask questions that demonstrate your desire to settle in, make a positive impact and to contribute long term. Don’t ask questions about leaving early or whether you can play music!
How to find jobs in Zambia the unconventional way
Apart from the traditional job advertisement route to finding a job in Zambia there are some things you can do to get noticed.
Networking events where you could meet recruiters for Zambia jobs
The is a good selection of events you can attend to be in with a chance to meet potential recruiters. Some examples are Bongo Hive and Startup Hour. Be sure to keep up to date with career development and networking events via our events in Zambia page.
Make a point of making the right impression, holding conversations, listening, asking questions, letting people know what type of job you are looking for and giving out your contact details. A good tip is to connect with people you have met on relevant social media channels after the event, for example, LinkedIn and Twitter. Remember, you may not meet your next boss, but you could meet the person who will recommend you to your next boss.
Demo your work and interests to attract recruiters
The digital world we live in enables you to demonstrate your work, interests, personality and dreams with relative ease. For a relatively low investment you can set up a website/blog where you can post content that may well impress potential employers. If you haven’t got the budget or technical knowledge to set up a website then you can use tools like LinkedIn and Medium to do the same thing. You can write content that demonstrates your expertise, commitment and passion. Sharing photos, videos and audio files are another way to impress. You can also use these website to network online with potential employers. If your blog can help you impress potential employers then remember to include it in your CV and job application.
Work your social media profiles
Too many people only use social media for fun, jokes and proof of their latest weekend shenanigans. It is important to remember that a lot of what you post is public and savvy employers will look you up social media. Think about your social media accounts as places you can share your expertise, show off your personality and aspirations, and also build valuable relationships with people who can help you get that dream job.
Offer to work for free
This may seem counterintuitive but if you are not currently working or studying it’s probably best to do some voluntary work. A potential employer will be impressed that you are filling your time with something valuable rather than just sitting around. Doing voluntary work will also give you an opportunity to learn new skills and gain further experience.
Where Zambia jobs are advertised
1. Newspapers with Zambia jobs
Many large organisations, such as those in the mining, agriculture and development sectors still mainly advertise in Zambian newspapers. These include:
- Zambia Daily Mail — a national newspaper with a daily jobs section (Monday - Saturday) that is not available online. The best days for jobs are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
- The Post — a national newspaper with a daily jobs section that is not available online. However currently this newspaper is not available
- Times of Zambia — a national newspaper with a small daily jobs section that is not available online
- Zambia Daily Nation — an independent newspaper that is widely circulated in Lusaka every day apart from Sundays, but has very few if any job advertisements. It’s online job section is not updated regularly.
2. Online newspapers with Zambia jobs
- Zambia Eye — it does have a small jobs section but it’s quite dificult to navigate and it’s unclear how recent the jobs are
3. Zambia jobs websites
- The Best of Zambia — A free and easy way to find jobs in Zambia with new job opportunities listed daily
- Go Jobs Zambia — A leading job finder website in Zambia with easy to use job search facilities and lots of tips and advice for Zambian job seekers
- Jobs in Zambia — Lists a handful of current jobs
- UN Jobs Zambia — Latest jobs are listed by date added and closing date with the ability to search by location
- Job Search Zambia — Lists 3-10 jobs daily, with good job search facilities
- Mining Jobs in Zambia — Part of the CareerMine network, this site tends to list 0-3 mining related jobs a day
- Zam Jobs — Lists a handful of jobs, almost daily
- Job Options, Zambia — a steady stream of latest jobs and jobs finding tips
4. Zambia jobs on international job websites
- Careers 24 Zambia — One of the leading job portals in South Africa, this site also lists professional job vacancies in Zambia, from supervisors through to Directors
- CV People Africa — Lists a range of latest jobs in Zambia with a handy progress report that shows hits, shortlisted, interviews and complete status
- Reed UK — There is sometimes a handful of jobs from international organisation in Zambia on this UK jobs site
- Recruitment Matters — This Zimbabwean site lists some jobs in Zambia
- Teaching Jobs — This teaching jobs site advertises Zambian teaching jobs that welcome international candidates
- PNET Zambia — This South African website lists some professional jobs in Zambia
- Robert Walters Africa — Some specialist professional Zambian jobs are listed in their East Africa location
- Career Jet — A useful job search engine that allows you to sort professional jobs by Zambian province and contract type
- Work in Africa — lists professional jobs in Zambia
- CA Global Africa Recruiment — focuses on the mining, oil and gas, banking, finance, telecoms, IT, engineering, construction, power and energy sectors
5. Zambia jobs on Facebook
The 3 leading Zambian job advertisers on Facebook are
When you search for ‘Zambia jobs’ on Facebook you may also get one off job advertisements by specific organisations, so it’s worth searching Facebook too. When you spot a company that posts a job vacancy on Facebook, they are likely to do it again, so it might be worth liking their page to be in with a chance of seeing their vacancy updates.
6. Zambia jobs on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has a jobs tab which allows you to add your location. The search facility isn’t that great because it will throw up some jobs in other locations. So you can do a search to only highlight Zambia, Lusaka (or you city of choice) or ZM jobs, (Ctrl F) and then apply through LinkedIn.
7. Recruitment companies in the Zambian jobs market
There is a range of recruitment companies in Zambia who you can register with. Start by finding out as much about the company as possible, such as, if they focus on a specific sector. Then pitch yourself to them, following their registration instructions — remember they are the connection between you and your ideal job.
- Divine Connections Recruitment Services
- Celsoft Coorporation
- CV People Africa
- Datum Recruitment Services Zambia
- Fidelity LAbour Consultants
- Edmar Services LTD
- KSM Management Consultants
- Memory Business Solutions
- Muhapwa Labour Hire
- Perigon Human Capital
- Prosoft Human Resources
- Resolutions Coaching
- Talent House
- Thomas International
- Top Floor Zambia