School leavers, graduates and the unemployed will apply for multiple roles before they are successful. Most receive lots of rejections, leading to loss of motivation and increased frustration. Often, the reason they cannot get a job is because so many employers ask for experience. What are you supposed to do?
Fear not. This article has plenty of tips to help you shake off the blues and land that job!
You need to know what you can offer employers right this moment. Everyone has something to offer. It doesn’t matter whether you left school at sixteen or graduated university with a PhD - everyone has at least one skill, piece of knowledge or personal attribute that can be valued by employers.
Form a clear picture of your skills by brainstorming. Grab some paper and start writing it all down! Start with your personality - are you an introvert or extrovert? A good listener? Sporty? Artistic? Though you might not think so, these attributes are very important. For example, if you’re an introvert, do you really want to work in sales?
Think about school, college or university too. Sure, you probably learnt lots, but you would also have picked up less obvious things. For example, if you were in a sports club, did lots of group projects or volunteering, you no doubt learned teamwork skills.
Once you’ve finished brainstorming you should have a better idea about your skills. You may even be inspired to take a new career path! Keep this list safe, as you’ll need it for writing your CV.
If you left education long ago, have outdated knowledge or rusty personal skills, please don’t worry. There are many ways to upskill nowadays, such as with training, books, videos or volunteering.
YouTube is a good place to start for completely free advice. Browse channels like TED Talks and Robin Sharma for soft skills advice like increasing confidence or motivation. You’ll also find videos teaching practical skills for the modern age, such as how to make Excel spreadsheets, use social media and even simple coding techniques. There are videos on YouTube for everything.
Books are also brilliant sources for increasing your skills. Check out the author Dale Carnegie. His books How to Win Friends and Influence People and The Art of Public Speaking have helped many people develop better interpersonal skills. You can also look for books written about the industry or role you want to pursue, such as general business, health and safety, or computer skills books.
You may find that jobs expect certain qualifications, or you might just want to get recognition of your knowledge. If this is the case, you should investigate training. Browse the National Careers Service website for courses or visit your local college. They can also provide funding information. Many courses can be done online now, so it’s worth researching this too. It’s often a cheaper option.
Perhaps the best way to learn new skills is through volunteering. Working with others will boost your soft skills, provide valuable experience for your CV, and you’ll likely learn new practical skills too. Do-it.org is a database packed full of volunteering opportunities in the UK. Try to do something that relates to what you would like to work in. For example, if you want a career working with animals, you could help at an animal shelter.
Possessing the right skills, qualifications and knowledge is one thing. But putting it all together concisely into a two-page document is another thing entirely!
The first thing to add is your contact details – full name, home address, email address and phone number. Below this should be a short profile about you. What are your skills? What type of job are you looking for (which industry? Full or part-time?) and why? What is it about your skills, personality or qualifications that make you ideal for this industry? Keep it short, within one paragraph.
Next up is the education section. This should include high school, college/university and any adult training you have done. Starting with most recent, list each institute, the dates you were there, and the qualification received. The next section should be work experience. Again, start with the most recent, listing the dates, where you worked and what you did. This doesn’t have to be paid work – you can list unpaid experience and volunteering here instead.
The section after this should be skills and achievements. This is where you list your practical skills, such as the software or machinery you can use, any additional languages spoken, or achievements relevant to work, such as reaching a fundraising target. The next section is your interests. Steer clear of generalisations such as ‘socialising’. Instead, try to match your interests with your desired job. For example, a graphic designer might like attending art classes or exhibitions.
Try to limit your CV to two sides of A4. Use bullet points, make titles bold and use correct grammar. Use examples where possible to highlight your skills. And get a friend or family member to read your CV before sending it off.
Now that you’re all skilled-up and have a great CV, it’s time to apply for jobs. The best way to find jobs is to search online or visit the Jobcentre. You can also try approaching small companies with your CV, attending career fairs or checking your local newspaper. Sometimes opportunities come from networking, so ask those around you if they know of any available jobs. Apprenticeships can be found on the UK government’s website and notgoingtouni.co.uk.
I hope the information in this article has helped you. Finding a job without experience is an uphill struggle, but as you can see, there is plenty that can be done to change your situation. There’s no magic spell, but if you try hard, remain positive and set yourself a goal, you can achieve anything. Don’t let multiple rejections get you down. You can always try again tomorrow.
Written by Stephanie Rowe, Content Manager at Knowledge Train®, an accredited training company in London.
Company website: www.knowledgetrain.co.uk