How to start your first Job Search

Finding your first job after leaving School or University can be really daunting. Most employers look for some kind of experience but how can you ever get that experience unless someone gives you a job in the first place? There are actually more opportunities available to you than you might think and there are many support agencies dedicated to helping and guiding you on your way.

CV: Before you start applying for jobs, apprenticeships or training schemes, it’s important to have a good, clear CV showing your Name, contact details, a profile section – this is where you tell employers all about your character and your personality. You should also include a summary of any work experience you might have gained (even if part-time or voluntary) and details of your qualifications. Also include a section detailing your achievements and interests. If you need support with creating a CV there are many online resources offering templates for download or the agencies mentioned below will help you to do this. Once you have created a CV it can be helpful to upload it onto a few of the online job boards so that recruiters and employers can contact you directly about suitable vacancies. The most popular sites are Total Jobs, S1 Jobs and CV Library or My Job Scotland for Public and Third Sector roles. Good Moves is an excellent site for roles in the Charitable and voluntary sector.

Interviews: Try to get someone you know to help you practise mock interviews. This might be a family friend who has interviewed people in their own job or alternatively, there are lots of online resources which guide you through the interview process, including sample questions and tips. Manage your job search as though it is a Project. Keep a track of all the roles you have applied for, research the company you are going to meet and the interviewer if you can. Follow-up on applications, sometimes this is enough to differentiate you from others and bring you to the top of the pile.

Work Experience: Whilst you are seeking a full-time role in your chosen area, consider some part-time work in any area to show that you are willing to work and keen to gain general work experience. It is much better to be able to tell a prospective employer you have spent the last 3 months doing part-time work in retail or in a voluntary role whilst seeking a full-time role, rather than admit you have been doing anything.

Keep Going: It can be easy to get disheartened and feel as though you will never find a job but try and remain positive. If you are feeling negative and expecting to be rejected for a role even before the interview is finished, this will come across in your demeanour. Try to be positive and enthusiastic even when you might not feel it as employers want people like this in their business. Keep talking to friends and family, find out what they are doing, where are they working who is hiring? You never know where your first/next job might come from so it’s important to be open to opportunities at all times.

Look after your job once you get it: Once you get a good job, look after it!! Don’t forget how hard it was to get it in the first place. Keep looking for opportunities to learn and progress within your current role. Make sure your time-keeping and attendance are good and keep communicating with your employer. If you are struggling with anything, ask for help and support. Build your network using online tools like Linkedin and keep meeting people and growing your circle. Try not to jump from role to role if you and help it as this becomes very difficult to explain as you progress through your career and companies may be wary.

Useful Sources of Support: In West Lothian, an excellent starting point is the My World of Work Website run by Skills Development Scotland and offering advice and guidance to help you choose the right path to get you from where you are now, to where you want to be. You can visit the Skills Development office in Livingston and meet with someone who can support you.

Another excellent resource for young people seeking support with their career in West Lothian is the Positive Destinations website which gathers together information on all the various routes to employment, apprenticeships and training for young people. You can also approach companies directly by sending your CV and a covering letter to companies you would like to work for.

Finally……….. Good Luck !!!