Your application stood out to us for your demonstrated interest about the business, your resilience and your aims and objectives  - Recruiter reply to a successful Nail That Job candidate

How to help your children onto the career ladder

5th June 2013

Well, James Caan has certainly got us all sharing horror stories about nepotism and the fear that comes from getting stuck in that vicious "No work experience, no work" cycle. Yes, "pushy" parents are trying to do all they can to help their children into work in a very difficult climate. Many other young people find themselves alone in their search and those 'Opening Doors' are even heavier to push open for the unsupported.

The sheer weight of feeling expressed at the apparent hypocrisy of an entrepreneur bidding organisations to open up recruitment procedures while employing his own children, shows how many job seekers are struggling to reach interviews. Everyone wants a level playing field, even and especially the recruiters, who want and need the best person for the job. The fact that the best person for the job may not even know that the vacancy exists, is the first hurdle for most  job seekers  and Caan is quite right to promote a campaign to open up access to work to traditionally disadvantaged young people.

 Meanwhile, regardless of your background and aspirations, if you are a parent of a school, college or university leaver or looking to change career, then here a few hints on organising your job research from Nail That Job. As an experienced recruiter and trainer of recruiters, I know that these techniques do help less confident job seekers to focus, research effectively and present themselves productively to employers who have the right potential opportunities. 

 First of all, use every network you can tap into, just like James Caan's daughters! Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work, from your social networks, your relatives, to the postman. I've heard so many job search success stories about casual conversations that kick off an invitation to be introduced to someone who may know someone who works at your target organisation, A recent survey by UK Commissions for Employment and Skills found that 'word of mouth' is now the sole advertising route for 29% of all vacancies, a rise on earlier surveys. This is one key factor in re-inforcing the 'pushy parents' using all their connections for that first work experience.

 Another great barrier for young people is not knowing what they really want to do, and/or not knowing what jobs are available in today's labour market. With jobs changing faster than at any time since the start of the industrial revolution, how many of us can predict what work we'll be  carrying out in 5 years time and how much harder is that for young people with no work experience? It's OK to not yet know what you want to do when you grow up so the key research focus for young people should be  to find out what that might be. In the absence of defined budgets, careers advice remains patchy, although more schools and colleges are recognising that employability is a life skill they should and can develop for their young people. I applaud all efforts to encourage all young people to raise their aspirations and not let economic gloom panic them into thinking that low skill work is all that they can do. Think big, and ask questions of everyone you know in every job you can reach. All the research shows that doing something that you are interested in is not only better for your boss, it's better for your own health, sense of achievement and personal satisfaction. Life is truly too short to spend it doing something that you are not interested in, unless it is part of a short term role in a long term plan to acquire the right experience. Try the following checklist; 

 What do I want and need from my next job in terms of money and personal satisfaction? 

 What am I good at? How do I know? 

 What skills/tasks /experiences have given me the greatest satisfaction so far? 

 Why these?

 What do I really never want to do to earn my living? Why these activities?

 Which industries/ organisations/jobs would give me the best chance of finding my dream tasks? 

 if I don't know the answer, then where and how am I going to research these roles? 

When will I have a clear plan that targets the right organisation for me to match my skills into? 

If I can't find paid work, what local volunteering opportunities might boost my skills and my CV?

 There are more exercises that can develop your job search plans further in 'Nail That Job,the complete guide for the less-experienced jobseeker', available here. If you would benefit from a further chat, then contact Sian at or 01789, 740948, for a no-obligation chat about your job search worries. Happy hunting!

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