Volunteering can often be an ideal starting point to a successful career, and it doesn’t usually matter what industry you’re looking to break into, you may have to do some work experience to gain that ‘essential’ initial experience.
Most job positions, including graduate roles, require a certain amount of experience, and you can get that from volunteering in your industry. Whether you’re looking to break into finance, journalism, teaching, marketing or midwifery, you can show you’re eager to ‘get your foot in the door’ if you have experience and qualifications on your CV.
Not many students can step out of school or university and break into a particular industry without any experience whatsoever, so show your passionate by volunteering and getting hands on experience that will stay with you forever.
The decision to take a gap year is a bold one, so you may want to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages before you come to a decision. One of the biggest concerns is whether or not a gap year can have a negative effect on your CV, but that depends on what you do with your time while you’re away.
If you learn a new language, volunteer, teach English or develop your photography portfolio, you may be adding skills and experience, but if you don’t actively take part in anything while you’re away, potential employers may well be put-off when they see a big gap on your CV.
Every individual is different, and so too are their experiences on their gap year, so whatever you do, make sure you return home without any regrets. If you’re seriously contemplating a gap year, remember the option is always there to raise your cultural awareness, hone your existing skills and become more independent, so you could actually boost your job prospects when you return.
When you’re writing out a cover letter to go alongside your CV in a job application, you need to make sure you consider the employer’s requirements. If you haven’t read the job brief in detail, then you need to, because this is essentially your guideline when it comes to applying for a position.
If you can tick all of the employer’s boxes then you’re going to be in with a good chance, and you should always avoid creating a template cover letter that you send out to multiple employers. Remember, no two jobs are the same, and neither are the job descriptions, so your cover letter should be tailored for specific positions.
A good cover letter will not just repeat the facts that you have included in your CV, it should give them an insight into your personality, your aims, your relevant skills and your ambition. The cover letter is often the first part of the application that a recruiter will look at, so it has to well-thought out if you really want a good chance of landing that dream job.
Your CV is essentially your own personal profile, but it has to include content that’s going to make you stand out from the crowd, yet is clear and concise. If your CV isn’t leading to many enquiries or responses, you may need to make a few adjustments and we’re going to talk you through a couple of options.
One of the first items prospective employers look at is qualifications and these should always be clear from the start. You should make sure your school and university qualifications are listed clearly, because most employers want to see the subjects and the grades before they proceed to take more interest in your application.
Nobody says a CV has to be in black and white, and you can always add splashed of colours to make it a little more pleasing on the eye. Text box outlines, social media icons, profile photos and other small features can add a burst of colour to your document.
In a lot of professions, continuing to develop your skills is an important part of your job; often it is a requirement, and if it isn’t you should consider it anyway, as it will benefit you immensely. This continuous job training can be done in a variety of ways; you could sign up for a refresher course, where you go back and re-examine the basics; you could make sure that you keep up to date with any literature related to your work (keeping your skills and knowledge up to date); or you could attend seminars.
Seminars are a gathering of businesses related to a specific industry, and many businesses use them as an opportunity to network and build relations. This means it is a great place to meet a potential employer, but it also means that you have an opportunity to pick the minds of some of the most accomplished professionals in your industry. They also hold speeches regularly at these events, where you can hear their views on how to conduct business in the current environment.
Seminars can be a great way for you to have a quick review of everybody else’s opinions, giving you the opportunity to refine how you do your job. As they typically take place over only a few days, you don’t have much to lose by attending one either!
There are a lot of things which make an internship a valid option for many people. If you take an example of a recently graduated individual looking for work in an area they’re not familiar with or possess little by way of expertise in, then an intern ship can be a great way to introduce yourself to a potential employer and to gain some of the expertise which will improve your chance of finding work in the field.
Internships generate a lot of negativity, both by people who disapprove of the practice of offering unpaid work and by those who’ve gone through the process and ended up with nothing positive from the experience. Not getting anything from them is certainly a risk; some businesses tend to use their interns as a cheap low-skilled workforce. Still, it mostly comes down to attitude, as if you show yourself to be a useful person to have around, they will probably give you more responsibilities, therefore making the experience more valuable to you. Many young people will also choose internships as an opportunity to experience the environment, which should be achievable no matter what.