In today’s competitive jobs market it can be really difficult to get a job if you have limited or no work experience. However, there are ways in which you can gain skills and improve your job prospects. Here are some tips on how to do this (Note: the headings below link directly to these relevant sections)
Understanding what Employers Expect
It is important to spend some time understanding what employers are looking for in their employees. Every employer is looking for 3 main things:
- An appropriate level and type of education ('Knowledge requirements')
- Evidence of well developed 'Soft skills' or ‘Career Skills”: click here
- As much related experience as possible
Your CV should focus on these three key areas and you should organise it so that your academic and personal achievements are given priority. This will prove to an employer that you have a strong work ethic and good attitude. So don’t focus on what you lack and instead focus on your other qualities instead.
For advice and support on creating a CV that sells see: CV Preparation
In a recent study (from CPL recruitment) the importance having the right attitude in an interview situation was highlighted as a key factor in getting the job.
Voluntary work is a good way to learn new skills, gain work experience and get involved in your local community. The value of the experience of volunteering and what it brings to your CV is a great reason to volunteer. As a way of getting a start on a particular career path, volunteering is a great way to get experience. It often becomes a foot in the door into the sector and it will most certainly help those interested to gain specific knowledge and understanding of a given organisation. People often gain paid employment as a result of volunteering.
Another big advantage of volunteering is skill set – volunteering strengthens your skill set and equips you for the world of work – people skills; communication skills; team building skills; practical skills - all can be developed by volunteering.
To find Volunteer vacancies in Ireland go to www.volunteerireland.ie this site lists opportunities from 20 Volunteer centres nationwide. Another useful website for volunteering is www.activelink.ie
Government Support Programmes
There are a number of government employment schemes that are available for unemployed people who are in receipt of a social welfare payment. Certain schemes are also open to those who are not in receipt of a payment (e.g. Work Placement Programme). The aim of these initiatives is to encourage jobseekers to up skill, engage in employment opportunities and gain experience.
For example one such scheme JobBridge became operational on 1st July 2011. Also known as 'The National Internship Scheme', JobBridge provides internship opportunities of 6 or 9 months in duration, for unemployed individuals. The internship placements are with organisations across the private, public and community & voluntary sectors.The aim of the JobBridge Scheme is to provide those seeking employment with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience, maintain close links with the labour market and to enhance their skills and competencies through a quality internship opportunity. It is expected that individuals who participate in the National Internship Scheme will enhance their prospects of securing employment in the future.
To view information on employment support programmes: click here
Developing Contacts – Network!
Get out there and start networking by developing contacts with anyone who might help you find job leads. This includes friends, family and neighbours. You can do this by directly asking for work or you can ask for information and advice.
Once you are clear about what you are looking for you can start to research available positions. There are many places to find jobs, and you owe it to yourself to be aware of the different sources of information in the current marketplace. CareersPortal provide a guide to where to find vacancies here.
Using social media such as www.LinkedIn.com is another useful way of hearing about work opportunities and professional development opportunities.
For more information on the above including current vacancies see our Jobseeker section
Author: Guidance Counsellor: Bernadette Walsh www.careersportal.ie
12th October 2015