Out of the box

Lola’s Top Tips – Getting out of the box and finding that first job!

Following Tom’s last blog on employability skills for first year students at the University of Essex, there’s been a lot of talk in my house recently about one of my younger masters getting a job. Having graduated in the summer with a decent degree he was hopeful that a perfect job, or at least an internship would present itself in his inbox, so that he could go out and suitably impress potential employers with his newly acquired product design skills. Alas, as we inch closer to the end of the year it seems less likely that this is going to be his reality.

As I sit and listen to all the family banter from my basket, I do think I could teach him a few tricks (after all he’s not an old dog!) about getting ahead of the game here; or at least to start “getting outside of the box” when it comes to getting a job. So…. here are a few more musings from “inside my box” – or whatever I happen to be in at the time ….

Develop the skill of talking to anyone …

We dogs don’t discriminate – we will bark/talk to everyone if we think we can get something from them.

University helps you develop team working skills, and how to put together good presentations, but it often doesn’t give you the chance to develop the ability to sell a product, an idea or yourself. You need to look for other ways to increase these skills – take every opportunity to practise by talking to people in business as much as possible, get actively involved in a local project, a sport or get some part-time employment.

And on that note – get some work experience while you’re trying to find the perfect first job …

Working as a waiter in a restaurant, in a bar or as a sales person in a shop allows you to develop the ability to speak to different demographics, learn customer service and sell to people. Employers will look for you to demonstrate these types of skills on your CV, but they will also benefit you when it comes to your interviews. Learn how to sell yourself as a person.

Find an expert ….

If there is a career path you are interested in, search for someone who has experience and can guide you along the right path or recommend what your next steps should be. Ask everyone you know to help here. Gain knowledge and experience from people around you … you’ll be surprised how much people want to help.

Travel the world … but not just for a holiday this time …

Really make yourself and your CV stand out by having work or volunteering experience abroad. This is a great experience to highlight in a job interview, or simply a good story to share that shows your personality.
There are some really great organisations who provide experiences for young people all over the world to secure work placements abroad. Not only will you build your CV or possibly learn another language, but you will be create memories that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Wow, that’s a lot of work to do … but getting a job is, as the main master in the house keeps saying “a full time job” – there’s a life out there to be lived and jobs to be found. Good luck. I’m off back to my basket now – that box is just too small!

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