» 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

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - ■ James Innes is the au­thor of sev­eral best-sell­ing ca­reer help books and founder of Cv­cen­tre.co.uk

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.


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

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