Taking a new step on a career path is exciting. It means thinking about what you’re good at, passionate about and what you want to achieve. But it can also be daunting. How do you find the right opportunity? And when you do, how do give yourself the best chance of grabbing it? To help you answer those questions, we’re sharing our top tips for taking your next step. Spend some time reading the sections below and click the safe links we’ve added if you’d like to explore anything further.
IDENTIFY TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
We know looking for a new job can be mentally challenging so maintaining a positive or ‘growth’ mindset is important. Taking steps to remain positive is not only important for your mental wellbeing but also for maintaining focus and a routine (both crucial for effective job hunting). We suggest making a list of the things you’ve achieved and are good at in your professional and personal life. Start on this alone, in your own time. Then ask the people who know you best for their thoughts (colleagues, friends, or family). You’ll be surprised at how quickly your list will grow! Keep it to hand and look at it every day. Not only will it keep your mind focused on the positive, but it will also give you inspiration for your CV or Cover Letters and provide a mental bank of great things to talk about in interviews.
Doing this will also help identify your transferable skills. These are the skills most employers are seeking, regardless of role or sector. They can be general or specific but are a combination of your knowledge, attitudes, strengths, and experience. You could be a great organiser, delivering work on time (or on budget) so project management would be a great transferable skill to acknowledge and develop. Communication skills are near the top of every employer’s wish-list so if you’ve got great written and verbal skills, think about some examples of how you’ve communicated well and share them in any application you make. Being able to identify (and develop) key transferable skills will give you a head-start!
APPRENTICESHIPS, TRAINEESHIPS & KICKSTART
An Apprenticeship is a great way to boost your long-term career prospects as they combine practical training in a job with study (think earn while you learn!). You’ll learn in the workplace, develop skills, and gain the knowledge you need to excel in your chosen industry. Plus, you’ll gain a formal qualification on completion which, depending on the level of the apprenticeship, could be the equivalent of a GSCE or even a bachelor’s or master’s degree!
In England, you can apply for an Apprenticeship if you’re 16 or over and not in full-time education (find out more via the links if you’re in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland). Try searching for Apprenticeships in your chosen field on the UK Government’s online Apprenticeship portal. If you don’t feel you’re ready for an apprenticeship, a traineeship is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last from 6 weeks up to a year, though most traineeships last for less than 6 months. Find out more here.
We are recruiting for more Kickstart interns until March 2022. These paid positions are for 6 months, working 25 hours per week. We have positions available in Radio, Publishing, Sales and Advertising. If you are 16-24 on Universal Credit and can be referred by your work coach you can apply for our roles- just search Kickstart in our vacancies. Full training is provided on the job, with the opportunity to meet people across Bauer Media- so far over 50% of our Kickstarts have stayed in the Business in full-time work and apprenticeships!
NETWORKING & PROACTIVE APPLICATIONS
Think of your search for a new opportunity as a contact sport, a game you have no chance of winning if you don’t make contact! There’s a whole world of opportunity out there if you develop that growth mindset and get proactive with making introductions. If you know a business employs people with your interests, skillset, or experience (in the kind of roles you want) then get in touch! After all, it shows initiative and dedication on your part so don’t just apply for jobs that are advertised. Now you’ve identified transferable skills and have some positive stories to share about yourself, why not call your favourite company to find out who makes hiring decisions and drop them an email. How you reach out and make contact doesn’t matter, what’s important is that you do! Another great way to expand your network is to search on Eventbrite for free events in your industry or area of interest.
If you haven’t already, think about creating a LinkedIn profile too. Around 41% of the UK population are here so it’s a great place to present your best professional self. Creating a profile is as simple as writing a headline (who you are, what you can do) and a summary (your story so far and what you hope to achieve). You can add skills to your profile and enable the Open to Work function to let employers know you’re ready for a new opportunity. Search for companies you’d like to work for, connect with and message new contacts, join groups or write a post to share your passion or knowledge. Take inspiration from Chelsea Miller, an interior designer turned UX designer who posted a video that went viral and led to hundreds of connections and career opportunities (needless to say, she found a job pretty quickly).
While you’re thinking about developing your online professional profile, be alert to the potential impact of your existing digital footprint. A good action to take before any new period of job hunting is to review your online presence to ensure your personal feeds present you in the best light.
In many ways technology has revolutionised how we identify and apply for opportunities. But the traditional CV remains the standard way for you to introduce yourself to potential employers. Even business who have online application forms include fields where you can copy information from a CV so it’s useful for you to have one on file. You know you’ve achieved a lot (think back to that list we started with), but what should you include? What are you proud of? What have you overcome or accomplished? What ideas have you contributed? Thinking back to key milestones that are important for your CV is not easy and takes time.
There is no single, correct way to format a CV. Just as you are an individual with your own experience, knowledge and skillset, a CV should be an individual showcase of your professional history and achievements. However, with the average hiring manager reviewing each CV for only a few minutes, it’s crucial it highlights your attributes in a clear, concise, and attention-grabbing way (across no more than two pages ideally). Having a CV that you can easily adapt for each application is useful too, so follow these links for some tips and download our suggested template here.
A CV alone is enough for some applications, but a complimentary Cover Letter is still a standard and sometimes requested way for you to provide formal context to your suitability for a role and business. As with a CV, it’s therefore best practice to have a template on file that you can adapt and change per application. You should think of a Cover Letter as highlighting two things; first, your suitability for a role regarding your skills, knowledge, and experience and second, why you are applying for the specific role. The best Cover Letters outline not only why you’d make a great candidate based on the job description, but why you are excited about the opportunity and the organisation. We recommend keeping three Ps in mind:
Because every Cover Letter should be different, carry out basic research into the role and the organisation. Read the job specification and visit the company’s website and note their cultural values and latest news. Google the company and click ‘news’ to discover announcements or initiatives to reference. Building up sound knowledge of the organisation not only helps you to tailor your Cover Letter, but also demonstrates your passion for the job and sector. Again, you can download our recommended template here.
You’ve identified transferable skills, widened your network, and reached out with a CV and Cover Letter so now it’s time to think about how to present yourself in interviews. Whether face-to-face or virtual, there are a few things we suggest you think about to give yourself the best chance. If you’ve got time, read more here.
Most first-stage interviews take place online via digital platforms or video conferencing so here are a few things we suggest you think about before you click the link to join the meeting!