The latest NEET figures show that one in eight young people are still not in education, employment or training. While there are many reasons for this, often, it can be simple things during the job application process that hold young people back. LifeSkills created with Barclays is a programme that aims to help young people build their employability skills and help them when they are applying for jobs. Below are some of the most common job hunting mistakes we see and tips on how to avoid them:
1) Thinking quantity over quality
When it comes to sending out CVs, it's all about quality over quantity. Although it may be tempting to rush, attention to detail is key. First, make sure what you've written is relevant. Take your time to review the job spec and tweak your CV to highlight your most relevant skills or experience so it shows you're perfect for what they are looking for. Then, proof-read; since this is your first opportunity to present yourself, typos can make or break an application. Ask someone to check it to make sure what you've written makes sense and is easy to read.
2) Being over familiar
It may seem obvious, but remember that the way we communicate with each other is not suitable for talking to a potential employer. While showing your passion and personality is important, try to avoid being over familiar. If you're new or unaccustomed to the working world, the language we use can seem alien, but always try to err on the side of caution if you don't know the person you're applying to.
3) Open and inappropriate social media profiles
Almost one in four (23%) young job seekers aren't aware that potential employers look at the social media presence of applicants before interviews.* My hard and fast rule is; if you wouldn't want an employer to see it, don't post it. Of course if you don't want to stop sharing the content you currently do, you should investigate how to make your profile private. This can come with drawbacks as in some professions, such as marketing, employers may expect you to have a large and active social media profile. If you're not sure whether what you're tweeting is appropriate for your potential boss or not, LifeSkills has a Tweet or Delete game which can help.
4) Not understanding the company you're applying to
We have gigabytes of information available at the touch of a button, so there's no excuse for not researching the company you're interested in working for. One of the worst things you can do is come across as not understanding the company or that you haven't bothered to explore what they do. LinkedIn can help you research your interviewers and obviously the company's website is a must-stop destination. Knowing how you'll fit in can give you a new perspective of your role and give you some inspiration for asking some insightful questions of your own.
5) Neglecting your networks
Not making the most of your contacts can mean you miss out on opportunities that aren't advertised on job sites. Staying in touch with former teachers and colleagues not only provides you with references, but also potentially information on new openings and opportunities. Research in the US has found that of 3.6 million jobs, about 80%, were never advertised*. So make sure you contact companies directly to find out if there are any vacancies, if you're lucky, this could mean you get news of jobs before anyone else.
For more information and advice on how to avoid these pitfalls during your job search, visit the LifeSkills created with Barclays website at www.barclayslifeskills.com
*LifeSkills Youth Barometer, September 2014