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School leavers: How to find your first job

We understand that revision can always be a stressful time. So first of all, take a moment to congratulate yourself on getting through your exams.

Now the thought of leaving school and looking for work can often feel a little daunting. Luckily, this is the perfect time to discover your passions and focus on which career is going to be right for you. By having a little determination and reading our advice below, you’ll soon be on your way to successfully finding your first job.

Everyone has to start somewhere

It might seem that in order to actually get your first job, you need an endless list of experience. However, a positive attitude and willingness to learn might just be enough to get you a foot in the door.

Speak to recruiters and be honest about your situation. They will not only be able to offer advice, but you may find they have a job that requires only a little or no experience. They’ll also recommend jobs with internal training programmes, helping you to feel confident even on your first day.

It’s also worth considering an internship as your first job. These offer you the opportunity to pick up a number of skills within a working environment. Although a lot of internships are unpaid, they offer a wealth of experience. Not only will a professional advise you, but it will also help you decide if this is the right career for you. Whilst it’s not always guaranteed, internships will often lead to a full time position afterwards.

Get the ball rolling

Of course, it can never hurt to gain experience whenever possible. So if you think your CV is looking a little blank, then why not showcase some of your skills at home. For example, if you’re looking to work within a creative role such as a Copywriter, Photographer or a Graphic Designer, then how about writing a blog or creating a portfolio?

There are plenty of free websites such as Wix and WordPress, which can help show off your skills in a professional manner. Creating your own portfolio will impress potential employers by showing your initiative and creativity.

Similarly, if you’re looking for your first job in retail, then why not consider volunteering in a charity shop whilst starting your search. Volunteering can be great for helping you to build on your interpersonal skills and cash handling. It also enables you to familiarise yourself with a working environment, so when the right job does come along you’ll find yourself a lot more prepared.

Stand out from the crowd

Recruiters will receive hundreds of applications a day. This means your cover letter needs to help you to stand out from the crowd. We advise highlighting the position you’re interested in and listing the most relevant skills and experiences and how they can benefit your employer.

Please don’t just copy and paste your cover letter and reel off any old list of skills that are irrelevant to the job. In doing this, you show a lack of interest and commitment to the position and your cover letter will be disposed of immediately.

By stating clearly why you think you are right for the position and listing any relevant experience shows that you’ve taken the time to read the job description and show a genuine interest in the position. You should follow this up with an attachment of your CV.

Now the great thing about a CV is there is no one right way to put it together. A CV is a personal document and is therefore different for everyone. However, you should always adapt your CV for every job you apply for, so your skills and qualifications match what the employer is looking for.

Start with the basics, by including your personal details and contact information – this is essential. Then, include your education and qualifications. This will be your main section, so you’ll need to make it sound as impressive as possible. After all, you’ve just spent the last few weeks working hard, so employers want to hear about your achievements.

Have you also just remembered that work experience from two summers ago? Write it in! Employers want to see your employment history and work experience. But, also remember to be concise and look for ways to highlight your skills that are relevant to the position.

On average, a CV should be no more than two pages so please don’t ever feel the need to waffle on. Always remember to check your spelling and grammar afterwards and never lie on your CV. This could lead to you losing your first job further down the line.

You’re on your way!

So although job searching can be tough, try not to be discouraged. Pursue opportunities such as volunteering and unpaid work that will offer out lifelong experiences. This will then be a valuable asset to your CV and help launch your prosperous career.

Ready to start your job hunt? Search through vacancies on CV-Library today!

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