Good guidelines and instructions, giving confidence and showing that it's not the most complicated task in the world to write a CV!  - Undergraduate attending Sian's seminar

Young jobseekers:research supports Nail That Job's approach to job search

2nd May 2013

Research just released by my professional organisation, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, shows that younger jobseekers are approaching the job market with poor understanding of what employers are looking for when they recruit. As an experienced recruiter and trainer of recruiters, my experience certainly chimes with the stories unearthed by this research: . The scale of the difference in expectations is clear from the title of the research, as well as some behaviours I've seen in young people at the start of my coaching with them. When young people are struggling so hard just to reach a part-time holiday job, unpaid or paid work experience, let alone their first step on the career ladder, there are some simple strategies to adopt that that will dramatically increase your chances and now, you don't just have to take my word for it! Recruiters also get a bashing in this report for not making their recruitment processes 'youth friendly'  enough, as they should. However, as I always focus on what will work, let's look now at what you can easily do to increase your chances in the job market.

If you're a young jobseeker about to leave school, college, university or the parent of one, here are some top tips that will instantly put you head and shoulders above many young competitors:

1. Quality above quantity; before you make any applications, be clear about what you might enjoy about work and what you won't, what you could manage easily in terms of hours and distance and what evidence you can gather from all parts of your life that demonstrate what you have achieved. Experiences in volunteering, sports, interests, as well as academic work will show a recruiter what you might be able to achieve. Clarity about what you have to offer will help you to make it clearer to a recuiter what you think your potential is; vital when you have little or no work experience to demonstrate achievement.

2. Use time spent researching online thoughtfully; I have some ideas on how to help with this in my book;, Nail That Job, the complete guide for the less experienced job-seeker. At the end of your research, you will have to speak to a human being to ask for an application form/interview/opportunity to work. Most recruitment processes do start online now, but at some point, conversations between two human beings is vital. 

3. Practise talking to adults in all sorts of social situations, just to get used to talking to new people. Strike up conversations in shops, on buses or anywhere you might informally meet  a new adult. The weather is always a guaranteed safe topic for British conversations.

4. Sort yourself out with a free email address in seconds and then use it to apply for work. Very few employers recruit in text speak, but they do expect candidates  to be accessible by email, so ensure that you are checking your email daily and that you don't use text speak in email conversations with employers.

5. Having stressed quality above quantity, expect that you will need to keep at your job search for some time, so keep going! Always ask for feedback when you don't  get an interview or a job offer and see it as a bonus if you do get a response from that organisation. Listen hard to any feedback, whether you believe it or not. Always ask yourself; " What can I learn from this application?" and you will over time, become a better jobseeker. I know that those who reflect on their jobseeking and ask themseves how they might do better next time, do succeed eventually- I've worked with many who have. 

Most of these ideas are common sense to mature job seekers and appear to be very simple changes to make. I support every recommendation in the report, for both recruiters and applicants. I cannot stress too much the need to make sure that you are using a "common sense" approach to job seeking; it's called the Nail That Job approach. Get in touch if you think you could benefit from some help:


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