We constantly hear about stories of young people who cannot get a job. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirmed this. Youth unemployment (aged 16-24) increased to a record of 1.02m. Even those who found a job, they ended up with positions far away from their dream jobs.
The government is trying to put in place initiatives to provide opportunities to this age group (e.g. by giving incentives to employers to increase the number of apprenticeships & internships)
The question is: What can you do to increase your chances to get a job?
Here are some tips that can help you stand out from the crowd.
1. Improve your resume. This is key. The resume is the main tool you have to convince a potential employer to ask you for an interview. Some tips:
- Give examples of what you actually did and what the result was. Don’t list the responsibilities you had. Describe the achievements that are relevant to the position you apply. The employer wants to know what YOU actually did and what the outcome was (e.g. Reviewed the newspapers every day and sent an email to my manager with a summary of X).
- Use bullet points. They are much easier to read. Also be concise. No need to write a long story about your achievements. You will have the opportunity to elaborate on them when you get the interview.
- Use action verbs in past tense. It implies that the activity took place in the past and is already completed (e.g. contributed to the development of Y website, wrote weekly reports).
2. Make your ‘elevator pitch’ perfect. Imagine you met a senior manager of a company you want to work in an elevator. You have a few seconds to communicate to him what you can offer. What would you tell him?
- Decide which 2-3 points you want to come across.
- Make sure they are relevant to the position you apply for.
- Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse!
3. Network as much as you can. Talk to family members, your parents’ friends, your teachers.
- Tell them what you are looking for.
- Tell them what you can offer.
So when they come across to an opportunity that might be interesting for you, they will let you know.
4. Get a mentor. Ask somebody you respect to be your mentor (ideally in the sector you want to work). He/she will be able to provide you advice on how to position yourself. Also, if you convince them that you learn fast and you are willing to work hard, they might be able to refer you to somebody in their network.
5. Get some work experience under your belt. Try to get an internship (paid or unpaid), volunteer for a non-for-profit company or a small business in an area you are passionate. Take initiative. Show you are willing to do more than what you are asked for.
Act on the points above and your chances to get a job will increase. Also, make sure you stay positive. We all prefer to have happy people around us.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply, author of 2 books, consultant and speaker.