What is the correct CV layout to use?

Trained at work

If you are looking for a CV layout that is easy to follow and can be applied to almost any profession, then look no further – we explain the sections to include, the order to present them in and what information to leave out. With literally thousands of different types of CV layouts out there, … Read more

A trendier work wardrobe

How to accept a job offer

For many of us, finding two things that even vaguely go together, let alone make us look work-ready, is quite the challenge – especially since, let’s face it, there is nowhere near enough time to get ready in the morning no matter how early we get up. But with a tiny bit of creative flair, … Read more

Navigating the CV application minefield

Find job opportunities

Writing a CV is hard enough without having to even consider all the different requirements of each employer. Some requests are quite standard, whilst others are easy to miss or forget. Twenty years ago things were much simpler and all you would need to do is supply a CV with your entire career history – … Read more

Job resources for the recent graduate

Job seeker with device

As a recent graduate you will need every resource at your disposal to get a foot in the door of employment. It’s never easy to get a job after leaving education, and without valuable work experience you could be turned down by employers looking for a more established worker.

But there are lots of resources you can use to help your job search become a much smoother experience. Here’s a list of popular and effective job resources for the recent graduate.

CV templates

As a recent graduate you will be faced with the difficult task of writing your very first CV. The first thing to consider is the design and layout, and which sections you will need to cover. But before you go online and look for guides on how to write a CV, let’s take a look at how we can create a design.

There are two ways you can design a CV. The first is to do it by yourself on your laptop at home. This is the hardest way as you don’t really have much of an idea of how it should look or of what should go in it. The second option is much easier, and all you have to do is visit one of the many sites on the web offering templates such as www.cvtemplatemaster.com and download a free CV template. Once you’ve written a CV you simply have to copy and paste your information over to a template of your choosing – what could be easier?

Let the professionals take care of this very difficult task, and free up your time to focus on the content of your CV. You can even download a template which has been specifically designed for school leavers here.

CV writing guides

Now that you’ve chosen what you want your CV to look like, it’s now time to write one. This stage is harder for you than it will ever be as you have to somehow try and fill out sections on work history and skills even though you’ve never had a full time job.

Start with part time work and voluntary positions if you were fortunate enough to have one at this stage. You obviously won’t have had a full time job yet so you need to focus on any kind of experience you’ve had, including school work experience placements.

If you’ve worked in a coffee shop, bar or restaurant on an evening or weekend, then this should definitely go onto your CV. The same goes for voluntary positions you may have held at local charity shops or country parks. Even though you weren’t paid it is still work experience and you will have learned valuable skills that can also be added to your CV.

Using a template with prefilled sample information will help any recent school leaver or graduate to recognise what they have got to write about rather than what they don’t. Writing a CV for the first time feels like you have barely anything to put down – but this just isn’t true! You just need to know where to focus your attention.

Voluntary work websites

Recent graduates naturally struggle to complete the work experience section of a CV, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a lack of experience. You can go out there and gain that valuable work experience and bolster your CV very easy. This will make it more attractive to prospective employers.

There are some fantastic websites that help your search for voluntary work much easier. You can of course visit a local charity shop and enquire if there’s anything available, but if you want to cast the net further to find something more suitable, then visit Do-it.org for more information. This website has a very simple way of searching for voluntary positions near you, and they only require your postcode.

Voluntary work is very underestimated, and the focus on the lack of pay is often what puts people off considering it. But as a recent graduate with very little or even no work experience it can be invaluable. An employer would look very favourable on a CV if it has voluntary work as it shows the candidates willingness to work hard and to help people in need.

Knowledge of skills

An employer will be looking for a certain base level of skills from a recent graduate. Can they communicate effectively? Do they have a good grasp of how a business runs? Can they interact well with other co-workers and customers? Do they have the right work ethic in the workplace?

There are some great websites like Prospects.ac.uk that allow you to take a quiz so they can determine the types of careers that suit your skills and interests.

Job boards and social media

The quickest way to search for a job is through job boards like Reed and Monster. You can search for jobs in your area through specific job titles and find lots of opportunities. Websites like Indeed also offer a huge list of recent graduate jobs, which widens your search even more.

But it isn’t just through job boards that you can find opportunities, and with the recent surge of social media sites like LinkedIn you can begin to create your online reputation and portfolio. You can connect and share with other like minded individuals and learn all about your potential new career. Fully immerse yourself within the industry and contribute as often as you can and begin to build up a professional reputation.

Through social media you may be able to spot a few opportunities from time to time and make things happen. Without an online profile you are not going to be seen by anyone, and being headhunted by an employer will never happen. Although it’s quite rare to be contacted directly by an employer through social media, it does still happen. Not only that, but you can attach a link to your profile on your CV to bolster your credentials even further. Just make sure you only post things which are appropriate and that you stay on top of your profile and keep it up to date.

How to give a great interview

One of the things in life that we practice the least is job interviews. We may only have a handful in our lifetimes and it’s not until we are experienced career professionals that we begin to understand the most effective interview techniques – but this is too late.

Ask anyone that’s now a manager or supervisor and has years of work experience to their name if they’d like to go back in time and practice their interviewing techniques more when they first started out. The answer will be a resounding ‘Yes’!!

For your very first job interview you need to understand the basics and have a clear grasp of the types of questions they will ask and how you could answer them. But before we get to the questions it’s important to conduct some research first and prepare in advance.

Now that you are more prepared it’s time to consider what common questions will be asked and how to answer them. Although you are not able to predict exactly what will be asked, you can however prepare a list of answers for the most common in the hopes that you get at least one or two. Even if they don’t ask you any of these questions you’ve prepared answers for in advance, it will still give you a better understanding of how to answer difficult job interview questions. Click here for a list of common job interview questions and how to answer them.

Finally, you should consider staging a mock job interview with a friend. This is one of the best ways to practice a job interview and it will boost your confidence when you finally step inside the real interview. Nerves are usually the biggest issue anybody has when it comes to interviews, but the more you practice the easier it gets.

Practicing with a friend or family member is a great start, but you can also practice with other people online and also get valuable feedback and help. Here are 8 mock interview websites to help you nail your job search.

5 reasons your career has stalled

Preparing a CV

A career is always about moving forward and keeping pace with the rest of the world. Technology has taken over our lives, both in an outside of work; and if we don’t keep up with the latest trends and continue to generate ideas, we are likely to be left behind. A career that has stalled … Read more

What to bring to a job interview

What to bring to a job interview

In this article, we look at what to bring to a job interview, covering the essential items that you should always take with you. So you’ve put your best shirt on and polished your shoes, and now you’re ready to leave the house for your interview. It’s a big day, and one filled with lots … Read more

Good questions to ask in an interview

Questions to ask in an interview

If you asked anyone what it’s like to have a job interview they will tell you how nerve racking it is, along with how many and what questions you’ll get asked. However, what most people forget to tell you is how important it is to have a bank of good questions to ask in an … Read more