Support & Wellbeing
Increase your employability
Take these easy steps to nail the job search.
Your time is precious, so why waste it chasing after jobs you are not yet ready for? Instead, you should be spending it on getting yourself employable for those roles. It's probably a lot simpler than you think as well. There are three key areas you will need to focus on - experience, skills and CV/online presence. Spend some time on each and you'll be getting hired in no time.
So the classic conundrum is "How do I get experience for a job if I can't get the job in the first place?". You will likely see a lot of job descriptions online that are asking for a minimum of X amount of years in a similar role already. But don't let that scare you off, most employers will just want you to prove that you have done something similar which you can in a few ways:
- Volunteering - Employers love volunteers, as it's a great way of showing you've gone the extra mile outside of the general stuff you have to do. Even volunteering roles that are not relevant to the job you're applying for will still boost your employability by a substantial amount. You can find volunteering opportunities through your university, a lot of the time they are looking for students to help out on open days or other public events where they need the manpower. If you can, volunteer in the general area/industry of the desired job but don't worry too much if it's not.
- Linking other experiences - Everything you have done up to this point can be positioned as relevant experience. Even hobbies can work in your favour to give you bonus points, you have to do is figure out how each experience made you better for that role. For example, you're applying for a project manager role but your only job up to this point is a part-time retail position. Well, you will have picked up lots of skills and traits from retail that can be applied to project management (problem-solving, teamwork, sales, time management, etc). So if you're struggling for finding experience then think outside the box and pick up jobs, hobbies, and anything that you can link to the new role.
- Portfolio - Anything you have written or created during college or university can be used to build a portfolio made up of examples of your previous work. Again, it's your job to make it come across as relevant and presentable, but you will likely have a huge back catalogue you can draw from. Employees always appreciate being able to physically see what you have worked on as it's solid proof you can do what they need you to.
Building up your skills is another great way to increase your employability. There are two types of skills you will want to show off - soft and hard:
- Soft skills - These are personal traits and habits that are essential to either working independently or collaborating with others. These include communication skills, leadership qualities, the ability to work in teams, personal drive, creativity, dependability and empathy.
- Hard skills - Generally, these are characterized by rules that remain consistent over time and across various businesses, cultures, and industries. For example, having the skill to speak fluent Spanish isn't something that will change over time or is different from business to business. It's also something you can usually prove through completing a course or having an official certification you can either reference or link to in your CV.
The best way to pick up more and/or build upon skills you already have is by DOING. Spend that spare time doing online courses, getting yourself out there and building your confidence with certain skills will go miles. Practice makes perfect!
CV & online presence
So the last key is now being able to sell yourself effectively through your CV and how you appear online. The latter is simple, get yourself on LinkedIn and job search websites such as Indeed and create a profile that displays all your relevant experience and skills. You should also consider what social media profiles an employer might be able to find with a little digging and make sure they're clean as a whistle. You can build any new profiles from your CV to make sure everything matches up.
Speaking of which, nailing down your CV is an important step. Here are a few tips on how you can make it the best it can be:
- Content - Make sure you include contact information, a personal profile, skills, work experience, education and references.
- Tailor your CV to the job role - The easiest way to do this is by reading through the job description, highlighting key terminology and requirements and then bringing those into your CV. For example, if the job you're applying for has a heavy emphasis on teamwork, then reword your sections to reflect this.
- Format - We'd recommend going for the simple but effective approach. Use standard fonts and sizes with headers for each section. Have your name and the job type you're going for in a large bold font at the top of the CV (e.g. Sam Taylor - Project Manager). You can use a bit of colour but remember to keep it professional and legible. A lot of companies will use ATS (applicant tracking systems) bots to filter large amounts of applicants quickly so keep it bot friendly by having a simple format with no images.
- Length - If you can keep it to one page then great but if not, preferably no larger than two pages. An employer will have to go through tonnes of applications and will throw out any that are unnecessarily long. Keep it punchy.
- Document name - Name the file your name + job title you are going for. Avoid naming it "CV" or having the draft or version number included in the name.
- Gaps in your CV? Fill them - Employers are not fans of big gaps in your CV so come up with something that fills that time. There's no need to lie, you will have been doing something, even if that's just travelling and seeing the world.
- Spell check - Make sure to properly read over your CV checking for any mistakes. You can always use software like Grammarly to help you with spelling and grammar.
- Save as - Usually, the employer will state what format they want the CV in but if in doubt, save it and send it as a PDF.
Keep in mind the three key pillars when you're applying for a role and your employability will no doubt shoot through the roof!
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