Everyone has to start somewhere in their career. Although sometimes it can feel like you need 5 years of work experience even to be in with a chance of an interview with an entry level position, there are great opportunities for school and college leavers out there, recent university graduates as well as those who have taken some time out of their careers too or want to change course in their jobs.
So here are our 4 top tips for anyone that wants to make their first step in a new career!
1. Identify the key skills you need for the job
Open your CV with a brief summary of your skills, and where you can demonstrate them. Try and use the most professional examples you can – from work or education, rather than your personal life.
Tailor this section to each role you apply for – pick out the three most important skills from the job advert and start your CV by outlining your experience in those things. If a job description mentions using Excel a lot, list it as a key skill and explain where you got those skills and how you used them successfully.
2. List your education before your work experience
If you haven’t done a job before, employers want to know you can be trained to it. Don’t be afraid to show off what you’ve got between the ears! It doesn’t matter if you only have GCSEs or a Masters’ Degree.
The more relevant your educational experience is to the job, the more prominent you ought to make it. If you want a job with a firm of solicitors, and you have a law degree, go into lots of detail about the things you studied too.
If you’ve taken a career break to do more training, or you’ve retrained to do something else entirely, this advice applies to you too. As a general rule, if your education was more recent than your last job then put it ahead of your work history.
3. Work Experience
Whether it’s a week working in a shop as work experience with school, helping a parent out at the office, or even just mowing lawns for the neighbours in your summer holidays; if you’re just starting out in the world of work, demonstrating you’ve got the get-up-and-go to show up for the job in the morning. And there are also the softer skills you can demonstrate too, like good customer service, attention to detail, or managing your workload.
4. Be bold
It’s easy to just click the apply button online, send off your CV and wait for someone to be in touch. But don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and follow up on your application. It’s a great way to demonstrate a bit of initiative and confidence, and you’ll be able to show off your fantastic telephone manner too.
There are lots of opportunities out there to get started in a career. They can be challenging to find: sometimes you might have to think a bit outside the box, or look at internal vacancies within your current role, but they are almost always rewarding jobs that will push you towards more career success in the future.