» Expert advice to help school leavers land that dream job Family Matters
If, after A level results day, your teenager is planning to shun university for the world of work, jobs guru and author JAMES INNES has some top tips for kick-starting a career
IT’S TOUGH out there! If your son or daughter has decided not to go on to college or university, they will be leaving school at the same time as thousands of other kids in your area and they are all going to be looking for jobs too.
They will have a much better chance if they are prepared. That means getting their CV written, choosing an interview outfit and signing up with local recruitment agencies.
Here is my advice for school leavers: TOP TIP: A job search is more likely to be successful if it is targeted, as opposed to just applying for jobs randomly. Knowing what you want is the first step to achieving success. WARNING: Finding a job is a job in itself. It takes hard work, perseverance, innovation, excellent communications skills and confidence.
TAILOR your CV to every different job role you apply for. Ensure the skills required for the job are clearly demonstrated by identifying key words from the job ad. Having a strong professional profile at the top is an ideal way of achieving this. Most recruiters nowadays use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sort through applications and, without those key words, your CV just won’t cut it.
Keep it brief and only include information that’s relevant. If your CV gets past the ATS, recruiters spend as little as 30 seconds looking at a CV before moving it to the yes or no pile, so ensure your CV has the required impact.
Don’t forget you may have acquired some invaluable skills for the workplace through your extra-curricular activities, such as team work and communication.
Include relevant activities in your CV, but again, keep it brief.
Make sure that there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes!
Proofread it carefully and even get a friend/relative to check your CV in case you miss something.
As a school leaver, your work experience may be limited, so lead with your education and qualifications as this could well be your biggest selling point. But don’t forget, some work experience is better than none, so any part-time work or volunteering should always be included.
Big up your achievements and any awards you have won.
Recruiters look for high achievers both academically and professionally.
WARNING – CLEAN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
NOWADAYS it is common practice for recruiters and HR managers to screen candidates against what they find online; gone are the days of wowing them with just your CV/ resume. It is a fact that 70% of recruiters searched online to see what they could find on a candidate before making a hiring decision.
But it seems the millennial generation have ignored this fact and continue to ignore the impact of their social footprint.
We all leave behind a digital footprint in some form – it’s quite unavoidable. The longer you’ve been online the bigger it will be. Unfortunately, this social footprint can work against us and this is more evident when job hunting.
Don’t panic – there are companies who can do a ‘social scrub’ for you – check out
cvcentre.co.uk for more details.
BEFORE you start, think about what sort of job you are looking for, which isn’t always easy! Do some research
into the sorts of careers available and identify those that match your ambitions, personality, skills, interests, qualifications and experience.
■ Don’t waste your time, and that of the recruiter, by applying for jobs that you are simply not qualified for.
■ Be proactive. A new job won’t find you – you have to find it.
■ Make use of all the job-hunting techniques available from more traditional methods such as newspapers and recruitment agencies to social media, company websites and specialised online recruiters.
■ Network! Take every opportunity to meet prospective employers through attending careers fairs or other events held locally or at school.
■ Make speculative applications. Not all opportunities are advertised but if you explain why you are the perfect candidate for a company you want to work for, they are likely to keep your details on file and get in touch if a suitable vacancy arises.
■ Get your CV and cover letter prepared and keep it up to date with any new qualifications or experience.
■ Make sure you have a professional Linkedin profile. Many recruiters ONLY look for candidates through Linkedin so having a strong profile is vital.
YOUR cover letter is just as important as your CV, as it is often the first document a recruiter will see on you, so it has to be spot on.
Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes and that you have followed any instructions included in the job advert, such as addressing it to a particular person or department.
Make sure the letter contains accurate and up to date contact information – if you change your mobile number or email address, edit these on your letter (and your CV).
Do your homework. Research the company and the job role you are applying for and use the cover letter to explain both why you want this job and why you’re a suitable candidate.
Perhaps the company has launched a new product or service recently – use the letter to impress the recruiter with your understanding of their business.
Emphasise aspects of your experience that are most relevant to the advertised role. This could be experience gained at school, part-time work or extracurricular activities.
Your cover letter, like your CV, should be updated for each different job you apply for to make sure you are highlighting the skills the recruiter is looking for.
Include a ‘call to action’ at the end of the letter and be confident about the next steps. State that you would appreciate an opportunity to discuss the application at an interview.
Why not suggest that you will call them in a week’s time?
Employment expert James Innes has some ideas to help you take that first step into the world of work
Check there’s nothing potentially harmful on your social media
Choose a job you are suited to, and always do some research about the company before an interview