Trying to get a new job can be a daunting experience, especially if you are looking for your first ever one.
It’s hard to know what you need to do, and what employers are looking for.
Worry not, AAT has conducted research with 1000 UK employers to find out what they look for when they are taking on new members of staff. We’ve used their answers to bring you this list of four things you can do to make sure you have the best chance of being successful in your job hunt.
1.Get the right experience
Having experience is how you show that you know how to do all the tasks related to a job. Employers want a new member of staff who is going to be able to do everything they need as quickly as possible; if they see you’ve got experience of doing a similar job they can be more assured that you will be capable of carrying out relevant tasks.
Experience was one of the things employers said was most important to them. In fact, more employers told us that they would prefer to see experience from an apprenticeship than a relevant degree qualification on a person’s CV. Those employers who said they would prefer to see experience from a relevant apprenticeship said they prefer it because it proves that you have demonstrated your skills in a practical setting, and also that it means that you have a better understanding of the world of work. So, if you’re just starting out in your career, or thinking about changing careers, consider whether an apprenticeship route might be more valuable for your future to help you get that important experience.
2. Make sure your CV is correct
Before you even get through the door to the interview stage, you will have to get through the initial application stage. For many jobs this often involves submitting a CV. Therefore, you need to make sure yours looks as good as possible.
The presentation points on your CV the employers told us are most vital are that it has a clear layout, is no more than two pages long, uses an appropriate font and font size (no Comic Sans), uses clear language, and has correct spelling. Making mistakes on your CV can be easy to do, but hard to spot. One of the best ways to make sure you have as few errors as possible is to ask someone else to proof-read it for you. There are also guides on CV writing that can help you.
3. Develop the skills and attributes employers are looking for
Employers will also look to see what personal attributes you have. Amongst the ones they told us are most important are interpersonal skills – how well you get on with people, how well you present yourself – are you dressed appropriately for the office or any meetings you may have? Being punctual is also crucial. If you are late for the interview without a good reason, you could spoil your chances of getting the job at the first hurdle.
4. Watch out for your social media presence
A large amount of the world’s population now uses social media. It’s a fun diversion and a useful communication tool. However, it is essential to make sure that you are using it in the right way. Almost half of the employers we talked to said that they look at prospective employees’ social media profile when deciding when to hire them. 69% of those who check social media said they have decided not to hire someone because they didn’t like the look of their social media presence.
Getting through the job application process, but then not getting hired because of something you’ve posted on your social media in the past, could be an annoying way to lose out on a job which you might otherwise be perfect for.
Follow the advice from these four points, and the thoughts from the employers we spoke to, and you should be able to make more progress to getting yourself the job you want. As a bonus, we’ve also created this quiz to help give you a better idea of whether your CV is as good as possible.
Jude Obi is AAT's Assistant Media Relations Manager.