The World Youth Organization is about supporting young people in the transition to adulthood, by providing them with the best opportunities and advice along the way. One of the biggest challenges currently faced by young people in the UK is finding a job. Whether you’re a graduate or a school leaver, the battle for employment has never been so difficult.
Between August and October last year, there were a total of 625,000 unemployed young people between the age of 16 and 24 in the UK. (Parliament UK) These shocking statists are not the result of young people being reluctant to work; they are a representation of the struggle young people face when trying to obtain a job in such a competitive market. In this article, I will be sharing a number of tips to help you in your search for employment.
Before you begin to apply for jobs, there are a number of things to consider. The most common problem young people encounter when applying for jobs is a lack of experience. However, when all jobs appear to state experience is essential, how are you expected to step onto the career ladder?
The benefits of volunteering are endless! Not only does it look great on your CV, it allows you to gain valuable experience. There are a variety of opportunities available through volunteering, including funding to run your own project and participating in adventure residential programmes like NCS (National Citizen Service). This gives you the freedom to gain the experience you need, whilst also enhancing your own personal skills. For opportunities to suit you, keep up to date with The World Youth Organization or check out additional volunteering organisations, like Vinspired for further opportunities and information about funding.
Fool Proof your Social Media
With an increasing number of employers lurking on our social media profiles, now is the time to delete that drunken photo of you last weekend. Although this may be hilarious to your friends, potential employers will not be impressed. Another common mistake to avoid is bad mouthing your current employer or place of education. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t post it online for the whole world to see! Keep your profiles fool proof and professional. This also applies to your email address. If you’re still using that cringey email address you made when you were 12, now is the time to upgrade to a new one. Try to keep things simple and professional by using your name.
Create a CV/ Linkedin profile
Now that you have some experience, you can update your CV. When composing a CV, remember to keep it easy to read and no longer than two pages. With hundreds of people applying for the same job, the last thing you want is a potential employer getting bored.
For a bigger online presence, why not create a Linkedin profile? This acts as an online CV and allows employers to find you. It can also act as a tool for networking which is hugely beneficial when searching for a job.
In addition to a CV, many job vacancies ask you to complete an application form. This is often a few pages long and consists of questions that require essay style answers. Although this can seem daunting to some people, the next three tips have been designed to take the stress out of application forms.
Plan and Structure
Plan and structure your answers exactly like you would plan your assignments. Make a list of the points you wish to make and set out an ideal structure, detailing the order in which you will make your points and how you will expand on them. Having a plan to look back on, will relieve the stress of filling out forms and may reduce the time it takes to complete them. Another useful tip is to make a list of words you would like to include in your answers; this will keep your reader interested and help you break the habit of using the same word repeatedly.
It’s always tempting to submit an application form as soon as you have completed it. However, it is really important that you proof read your work at least once yourself. It may also be beneficial to get someone else to proof read your application, as a fresh pair of eyes may be able to spot a mistake you never noticed yourself. Failing to proof read your work could cost you the job as some employers will not consider an application with grammatical errors.
It’s easy to apply for jobs by forwarding your CV to hundreds of companies, but if you really want to stand out from the crowd, take the time to do your research and address your application to the correct person. Addressing your application with a name, other than ‘Sir or Madam’ immediately demonstrates to the employer that you have done your research into the company. Continue this impression throughout your application by tailoring your CV and covering letter to suit each individual vacancy. Studying each job description will allow you to include the skills and experience they list as essential in your application, giving you a better chance of securing the job.
Another way to personalise your application is to send a follow up email to the employer. You can use this to find out the outcome of your application or thank the employer for taking the time to consider your application. In this email, you may also wish to ask the employer to let you know of any future vacancies. This informs the employer that you are keen to work for their company, again improving your chances of employment.
It is important to not feel downhearted if you are not offered a job immediately. An unsuccessful application is not always a poor one, however it gives you the opportunity to reflect and improve in the future. Some companies will happily provide you with feedback on your application should you wish to receive it. However, many companies are simply too busy to provide feedback and you should not interpret this as anything against you and your ability.
Good luck with your applications and thank you for taking the time to read this article!