I honestly bought this after reading an article by Sian Case in the Guardian.. I needed that extra boost of confidence and clarity before applying for jobs, especially since I just recently left University. This book is to the point, humorous, and really helps make things clear in your head.  - Recent graduate

How to impress the recruiter when you're young and inexperienced

7th July 2014

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young person in possession of a good CV will secure the best job offer. Sadly, many young people find themselves panicking as they leave education and look for their first step on the career ladder. As I work with many younger job seekers around this time of year needing such help, I've summarised in this month's blog the key actions you can take now that will certainly boost your chances of a successful interview. 

First of all, if you haven't been able to find any sort of temporary or part time holiday/evening/weekend work to boost your employabiltiy and work record, then volunteer now. Every charity will welcome extra hands to any role. The benefits include the chance to build a track record in work skills as simple as punctuality, reliability, commitment, communication, etc. You will also now have the backing of a work referee that is vital in every application and you will have that warm glow of satisfaction at having helped a worthy cause and made a difference. 

How you make a difference at work is a vital message to send clearly in your CV. Of course employers want to see your qualifications, but a mere list of subjects studied does not tell anyone what you are good at, interested in or want to develop, or how well you will suit the vacancy. This is the core purpose of a CV and exactly what the recruiter is looking for. You'll find it helpful to put in a paragraph or list of bullet points: ''Skills Developed" or "Skills Learned" or just "Skills'', some evidence where your part time work or volunteer experience has made a difference for someone in the organisation. You don't need to be working directly with the end users of the charity- you might be doing some administrative or IT support for the charity's workers. I've discovered several small charities largely led by older people who have made fantastic use of youngsters who are far more confident about using and maximising modern social media. I recently worked with one young man who was able to demonstrate on his CV that he had trained up older volunteers to manage and develop a charity website. What a brilliant skill set he developed on a task that to him felt very simple: sensitive communication, training expertise, patience, empathy, questioning skills, problem solving. All these skills were supported on his CV by evidence of the difference he had made for the charity and he had an interesting conversation at interview that reflected on how much he had got out of his volunteering. 

Another useful activity for younger jobseekers is to research smaller employers, who tend to be less visible than the larger ones but can offer more varied work and flexible opportunities. You'll need to balance the practical decisions to make as young job seekers about where you look for work: being young, the world is truly your oyster but/and many young people want to start a career very locally because you will have the benefit of cheaper living and more support by sticking with your immediate family. Both those decisions are right- you just have to decide which is the right answer for you and it will depend on how specialised you need that first job to be. I've often used the environmental slogan for supporting young job seekers: Think globally, act locally.

The final key message for younger job seekers is to practise talking confidently about yourself over the phone or face to face. You may be more used to communicating with your friends through texts or online messaging, and at some point every jobseeker has to leave behind the online research and speak to a human being at a workplace. List the words you'd like to use to decribe the impact you want to make in that first meeting. You'll probably pick words like confident, able, skilled, articulate, dedicated. ..... What do those words look like and sound like for you? Practise introducing yourself with reliable friends offering you feedback. Say hello to a mirror. Do you sound and look confident? 

In my book 'Nail That Job, the complete guide for the less experienced jobseeker', I spell out a simple and powerful exercise that you can practise at home that will quickly impress a recruiter and leave them with the right memories of meeting you.The book has helped hundreds of less confident jobseekers land the job they really needed at the beginning of their career and it can also help you. Please get in touch- if you have any more questions and all best wishes for a speedy and successful job search.

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