Would I employ myself today if I was faced with my first CV? There's no doubt it's a difficult question and according to new research just a quarter of bosses would be happy to give themselves an interview if they were handed their first job application today.
What this statistic flags to me is that employers do understand the pressures young people are under when it comes to securing full-time employment. There is no doubt that it is much harder to stand out in today's job market. A study out today even suggests that due to a rise in applications for each entry level positions, which have doubled in the past two years alone, a CV will only be looked at for eight seconds before it is either progressed or discarded - a phenomenon that could be called the 'Tinderisation' of recruitment.
As employers, we know how tough it is out there, but that doesn't stop us wanting the very best people for the job, particularly as these new recruits could one day become the leaders of our businesses. We want to see evidence that these young people have got what it takes to negotiate the complexities of today's workplace.
Making that eight seconds count...
Research amongst 2,000 teenagers released today shows that young people are increasingly anxious about their first job application and most are turning to their parents for support on writing that all important CV . Here, I give my advice to parents and young people on how to make that eight seconds really count.
Show personality, character and drive:
For many years there has been a focus on academic achievement which has resulted in more candidates having strong academic records. However, new research shows young people should also see their CV as an illustration of their personality, not just as a long list of their achievements. An employer isn't simply looking for someone who can get the job done; they are looking for an employee to become an integral part of their team - someone who isn't afraid of a challenge and has the determination and drive to get ahead. CVs should show real strength of character.
Ask yourself, what can I add?
If you can see where your skill set would add value to a company, you're doing a recruiter's job for them. At Outsourcery, we value candidates who have not only researched our business, but thought about their own strengths and how they could be applied within our organisation.
Make the most of opportunities:
It goes without saying that exam results are and will continue to be important, but what today's new study proves is that it's what a young person does outside of school that will really give their CV an edge. I know from Outsourcery's own recruitment processes that if we have a candidate come to us with a plethora of A*s but nothing else on their CV, versus a candidate with fewer qualifications but that shows evidence of going out of their comfort zone in other ways, not afraid to take on new challenges or try new things, we'll go for the second candidate every time. Make the most of the extra-curricular activities and opportunities available and show you're not afraid to put yourself out there.
Piers Linney, Co-CEO of Cloud Services Provider Outsourcery, entrepreneur and Dragons' Den investor, is supporting National Citizen Service (NCSYES.co.uk), the country's flagship youth programme for 15-17 year olds.