Top five tips to help you prepare to start your career.
By: Vicky Webber Date: 9 December 2015
Now that you have reached the final year of your studies, whether you are at school, college or university, you are probably thinking about your celebratory summer holiday and all the free time you will have once exams and assignments are over.
As exciting as those things are, you also need to think about your next steps once education has finished, yes, thinking about the big wide world of work. I know it feels like it is months away, but time soon passes and if you wait until your exams are over you run the risk of holding yourself back. In order to secure the best talent next summer we, like many firms, have already started our recruitment process. If you want to get your first choice of the roles available you need to start too. The application form is just one thing you need to think about, and to make the most of your application I thought I would share my top tips – gathered from reading a lot of applications and CVs – of how to prepare for the first step into your career.
Whilst many employers don’t expect you to have relevant work experience if you are joining them as an entry level candidate, this doesn’t mean you should have no work experience at all.
There are two types of work experience I look for; part time work such as a Saturday job, or a newspaper round, and relevant work experience, such as a week’s unpaid work experience in a similar role to the one you are applying for. Both add value to your application, one is a demonstration of your ability to manage your time well and the other shows a genuine interest in the job you are applying for.
If you don’t have either then your first step should be applying for part time jobs or voluntary work experience.
As employers we will expect to see details of your predicted grades on your application forms and CVs. If you don’t provide them we have no way of assessing your ability.
We might decide to make a ‘conditional offer’ of a job providing you get the grades predicted. This means it is important to be honest about your predicted grades because the offer could be withdrawn if you don’t meet the expectations.
Firstly, it is important to have your own email address as using someone else’s can complicate matters.
Secondly, you should make sure your email address is suitable and professional! Many schools, colleges and universities will provide you with an email address, this is ok to use but remember once you leave you will no longer have access to it, so having your own personal account is also useful.
When creating your account think carefully about what you want to use it for and the impression it might make on prospective employers. Things like emz_babez@... Or footy_boy_alex@... are unsuitable and unprofessional. Good examples are emma_smith@... Or edwards_alex@, if your name is unavailable then add some numbers to it or your middle initial. Remember, sensible and professional.
Social media profiles
It is becoming more likely that companies will look at your social media profiles during the recruitment process, and therefore you should be mindful about what you are posting and saying online. The best thing to do is to make sure privacy settings are as tight as possible so only chosen people can see your personal profiles. If you intend on using social media for job searching then consider whether you set up a separate account purely for this. LinkedIn is the best network for job searching, as your profile can act as your CV and you can follow companies and connect with prospective employers.
I notice more and more how grammar is forgotten about when it comes to emails and communication with prospective employers. Perhaps it is the reliance on auto-correct functions which is to blame. Don’t get me wrong, I rely on auto-correct when it comes to spelling and grammar, but I always double check what I have written too. Notice how I use I, not i when talking about myself? Remember to always double check what you have written before you send it, relying on auto-correct is no excuse for poor grammar, if anything, it shows laziness and a lack of attention to detail.
By all means, keep planning the summer holiday and the other exciting things which lie ahead, but do bear in mind the importance of preparing for the future so you are ready to enter the working world.