Employability is largely subjective and consequently there isn’t a recipe to follow to ensure success – however this doesn’t mean it has to be hard to come by! There are plenty of methods by which to boost your chance of standing out. Lilli Hender from OfficeGenie.co.uk, lists some of the best ways in which you can kickstart your career, starting with you.
It’s likely you’ll be in possession of more than a few of the ‘soft skills’ employers look for: integrity, perseverance, the ability to communicate well, and so on. You’re expected to have the basics but their importance shouldn’t be overlooked: work on being someone you’d like to work with nine to five, five days a week. This can entail anything from trying to improve your interpersonal skills, to practising focussing on a set task for a set amount of time.
There will be other, more quantifiable, skills you’ll need too. Almost every job will require standard-level Microsoft Office skills so if you’re not up to scratch with Excel, or can’t make a good-looking PowerPoint presentation, begin here.
There is a whole world of software out there (coding is big right now so Codecadamey is a brilliant place to start) that you may need to be familiar with. After researching what you need for your sector, have a look online for some courses – YouTube has a wealth of tutorials to help you through before you reach for your card!
If you want to hop up the career ladder’s rungs, work experience is vital. The best place to start looking for a placement is locally: you’ll save money and add to your local economy and community. Ideally, you’ll want a paid placement but the sad truth remains that many companies still haven’t got behind paid internships.
A placement will offer you real-world experience – and show potential employers you’re keen to get involved! – which is invaluable. At the very least you’ll refine your tea-making skills and receive what should be (if you work hard and effectively) a stand-out reference. Some work-experience placements can even lead to full-time employment with the company.
Arguably you can never be fully prepared for an interview but every bit of preparation helps. After you’re finished with the essentials (thoroughly researching the business and re-reading your CV), ask a close friend, family member, or tutor to take part in a practice interview.
A quick google search will inform you some of the most common interview questions: popular ones include ‘What are your strengths/weaknesses?’ and ‘Why do you want this job?’. Remember, interviews aren’t meant to be easy! The idea of a practice interview isn’t to create a script, rather to get you thinking of potential answers and help you feel more at ease. In terms of the interview itself, Goldman Sachs has some handy tips.
The final (and best) piece of advice when it comes to making yourself more employable is to remember to make time for yourself. To approach serious things like employment prospects, it helps to have a healthy frame of mind.
Make sure you don’t put aside your friends, hobbies, or whatever it might be that helps you feel good about yourself. These make great topics for the ‘about you’ section of an interview but more importantly, happiness and confidence go a long way. You’ll not only have better job prospects if you invest in yourself, but a better outlook on life more generally.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lilli Hender writes for OfficeGenie.co.uk: a desk and office space marketplace. She writes about workplace wellbeing, productivity and first career steps.