In an ideal world, every student would know before they start college or university what job they wanted to do and what career path they wanted to follow after graduation can not need career advice.
They know the type of course (or courses) they’d need to pass to give themselves the very best chance of landing a job with the types of employers they want to work for.
But this is not an ideal world and people change.
Who you are as a person at 16, 18, and 21 is often very different. As we get older, we explore the world around us more and this opens our minds to new opportunities and new ways of thinking.
So, in this article, I’ll be sharing with you the information and insights I provide to my career-seeking clients who are either in and fresh out of education.
Who am I?
My name is Richard Bunkham and I’m a qualified jobs coach with 15 years’ career coaching experience and over 25 years’ recruitment experience behind me to date.
If you’re a student just leaving college or university and you want help to prepare for the world of work, I may be just the person you need right now.
The three main support services I offer to my clients are career coaching, interview practice and preparation, and a LinkedIn profile consultation service. To apply for a free 15-minute telephone consultation, please click here.
Make sure to bookmark my popular site blog with regularly updated content.
The six careers advice tips I would give any 16-21 year old
Start by identifying your skills and career path
To be in the running for the types of jobs you’d enjoy and to build the career you want for yourself, you first have to know yourself and, specifically, your strengths, your interests, your opportunities for growth, and your weaknesses.
At the same time, look at the current trends within the sector you want to work in. You may give yourself a big advantage by taking additional courses which allow you to become a subject matter expert in areas of growing demand from employers.
Think one, five, and ten years ahead about the types of roles and responsibilities you want in the future.
Define your career path and what you want to be doing now so you apply for the right jobs today and in the years to come.
Planning a strategic job search
For students at the very beginning of their careers, it’s particularly important to try to get into the industry you want to work in as fast as possible.
The longer between the end of your student days and your first day of work in the sector you’re targeting, the greater chance that you will need to top up the knowledge you have in order to successfully apply for a job because what you learned in study may become out of date.
At the same time, you should also focus on finding the employers you’d enjoy working for.
Make it your mission to research the companies advertising for staff to see if:
- you like the way they do business and
- the opportunities they offer for ex-students and graduates align with the career path you’ve outlined for yourself.
In the way that many employers have “necessary” and “desirable” requirements of the people they’re interviewing, set out your own list of “necessary” and “desirable” requirements for a prospective employer and, if they don’t pass these tests, don’t apply.
Create a compelling CV to attract employers’ attentions
There is intense competition for the best jobs and careers and, once you’ve found an employer you might want to work for, then you need to make sure that, when they read your CV, you stand out from others in your field of expertise.
So, with most CVs now being opened on computer, think about layout.
When the PDF containing your CV opens, normally only the top half of your resume is visible.
Use this area of your CV as your shop window where you get the main points about yourself over – give them enough to like so that they read the rest.
Write a covering letter to get you shortlisted
Over the last year or two, I have helped many clients secure an interview by creating a compelling, engaging, and interesting covering letter/email for them.
Provide the information a hiring manager or recruiter wants to read in your letter/email – specifically what makes you suitable for the job and what you can do for the company.
You should think your covering letter as like the headline in a newspaper whose role is persuade the reader to continue reading.
Showcase your skills on social media to create a personal brand
Hiring managers and recruitment agencies have now by and large got rid of their own internal candidate databases. Instead, they turn to social media networks like LinkedIn because they can find the people they’re looking for from the hundreds of millions of professionals using these platforms who update their profiles regularly.
Make sure, when a hiring manager or recruiter finds you, that what they find is the best representation of yourself and what you have to offer. And, just as important, make sure that your headline and the content in your profile makes you easy to find by the employers you want to work for.
They’ve seen your CV, your covering letter, and your LinkedIn profile. Now is your time to impress as you face the hiring manager or recruiter at interview.
Many people, especially recent ex-students and graduates get nervous at the thought of being interviewed. But did you know that the interviewer is under just as much pressure as you to make the right decision?
Before you go in, think of all the questions you might be asked. If any STAR technique questions are asked, have your answer ready. Demonstrate your knowledge of the company, show the value you’ll bring to the organisation, and convince your interviewer that you want to build a career there.
How do I find career advice FAQ
Who can I talk to for career advice and support?
If you’re still in education at college or university, you could start with their internal careers advice and support service whose sole purpose is to provide career advice for students.
In addition to discussing with you the career opportunities commensurate with both your skills and the course (or courses) you’re taking, they can provide you with information to read on top-up vocational and academic courses so that you have all the qualifications you need to compete for jobs in your chosen line of work.
Links to useful online careers advice sites for students
The following websites provide students and graduates with career advice:
- Amazing Apprenticeships – experts on apprenticeships and vocational education.
- Apprenticeship Finder – find an apprenticeship in England Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Barclays life skills – preparation for the world of work.
- CV Library – search for jobs and careers in your local area and has live vacancies across all industries
- icould -personal stories of young people’s career choices.
- National Careers Service -provide information, advice, help guidance on learning, training and work.
- Which? University – independent career advice for students and parents.
How do I seek career advice from you?
It’s easy to get in touch. For help and advice for students and graduates on choosing the right career, creating a winning CV and cover letter, mastering online search to find the right employers, and how to prepare for upcoming interviews, contact me.
We do charge for our services but, unlike with the hard-working careers service team at your current or former college or university who have 100s or 1,000s of students to cater for, our help is one on one with the aim of getting you the job in a crowded applicant field.
To book a free 15-minute consultation with us, please click here.