When you start looking for a job, it’s important that you let any potential employers know what you can offer that makes you stand out from the crowd. Essentially, you are marketing yourself for the role you’re applying for. Your best opportunities to show off your skills and attributes are your CV, cover letter and interview.
Taking part in extracurricular activities, sports teams and hobbies can provide you with skills that employers want in their employees such as teamwork and good communication. You will also be able to give an interviewer real life situation examples outside of a school environment, which could set you apart from other applicants.
Market your current skills and experience with CV+, the online CV builder.
Talk to a family member, friend or a teacher if you are worried about knowing how to market yourself. The National Careers Service can also offer support by phone, email, web chat and text between 8am – 10pm daily. Visit their website for more details:
You might have already put together your first CV to apply for weekend or summer jobs, but if you haven’t then it’s worth creating one now that you can update whenever need to. Then when it comes to applying for jobs, you have it there ready to go.
Your CV should contain details of your education and work experience but can also include your interests and activities. Start with your name, address and contact details so employers can get in touch with you. Next, write a compelling personal statement, explaining why you think you’re suitable for the role, and then list your education and work experience. Take a look at Michael Page’s graduate CV template for ideas on layout.
Writing a cover letter
If you’re applying directly to an employer, you will normally be asked to include a CV and cover letter as part of your job application. A cover letter is a brief introduction for you to express your interest in the role and highlight the skills and experience you have that make you a suitable candidate.
Think of it as the personal side of your application – your CV is a list of facts, your cover letter is an opportunity to engage with the recipient and convince them that you’re ideal for their role.
Write it in formal letter format and address the person handling the job if you know their name. Express your interest in the role, state what you have to offer and show you’ve done your research on the company. Only mention relevant skills or experience and end by expressing your interest in further dialogue with the hiring manager. Keep your cover letter brief, clear and neat. Get someone to proofread it for you to ensure there are no spelling/grammar mistakes which could reflect badly on you.
Practice your basic interview question answers
Interviews are getting increasingly creative, but the basics still have to be covered. Expect your interviewer to ask you questions such as ‘why do you want to work here?’ and ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?’ and make sure you prepare good answers.
The best thing to remember is that employers want evidence of how you would handle different situations – always try to link your answer to a real life example. As a starting point, prep a few situations you know you could talk about, such as a demonstration of leadership skills or your greatest achievement.
Always go into a job interview armed with a few questions of your own to ask the interviewer at the end – you won’t fail to impress with your thirst for knowledge!