It can be tough finding work when you don’t have much experience. Lots of places want applicants to have a few years experience coming in the door, and how do you get experience if you need experience to get experience? How do you get a leg up, or a foot in?
Fill out your CV, but don’t fill it with lies. Make sure to include any voluntary work you have done, and any extra curricular activities. Ever attended a youth group? Make sure it’s included. If you haven’t done any volunteering or group work then consider getting involved in something in your area. It looks great on your CV, but it’s also lots of fun and can lead to great opportunities at home or abroad. Contact us to find out what we can do for you. There’s lots of groups and volunteering opportunities with us or in sunnier places available to you.
Make sure your CV is formatted properly, has no spelling or grammatical errors and looks professional. The style of CV that’s preferred by employers has changed over the years, so make sure yours is up to date. The Letterkenny Youth Information Centre at Donegal Youth Service can help you with this for free.
- Be on time. Actually, you should be early! You want to make a good impression, and being punctual is an easy way to do that. Make sure you know where you’re going and give yourself plenty of time. Arriving breathless, and with sweaty palms is not a key to success.
- Shake hands. Make sure to shake hands with your interviewers and make eye contact with them. You want your handshake to be firm, not finger-crushing, but not weak like spaghetti either. You need to find the Goldilocks of handshakes. Practice with friends and family, they will be honest if you’ve broken their hand.
- Fix up, look sharp! Wear smart clothes, and make sure to iron them. Consider what kind of job you are applying for and how what you wear might matter. The windswept look might look great in some situations, but maybe not in a job interview. Looking windswept is hard to avoid in Donegal, so arrive with enough time to whip out the comb and tame the mane and make sure there is no evidence of your breakfast on your face.
- Do some research about where you are applying. Interviewers will nearly always ask you what you know about the company. Remember to learn a bit about their products or services, and show interest. So if you have applied to a garden centre learn the difference between a bush and a shrub (or is there a difference?). This might seem obvious to many of you, but there are some horror stories out there about people making things up on the spot and ending up making fools of themselves. And definitely not getting the job. Which brings us to our next point:
- Be honest. If you are asked something you don’t know just be honest and admit it. It’s much better to be open about a gap in knowledge and commit to learning more about it later, or expressing interest than to waffle through and pretend you know what puffed sleeves on an exaggerated peplum midi means. If you’re going for a fashion retail job, you should read up on some current and upcoming trends.
- Practice some common interview questions with your friends! It can be fun and it’s also a great way to prepare for how you might answer questions during the real deal. And finally, remember to breathe deeply. Remember it’s just an interview, and that you’re not on trial. Just prepare as much as you can and do your best. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the job, just consider each interview practice.
- Call into the Letterkenny Youth Information Centre for more advice and tips for successful job hunting. Donegal Youth Service also have projects designed to help young people improve their confidence, provide free training and support them to work towards their individual goals. Please contact us for more information.
Donegal Youth Service are a countywide youth organisation responding to the needs of young people. For more information about any services please contact (074) 91 29630, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also pop in to 16-18 Port Road Letterkenny. Donegal Youth Service are a registered charity. Charity No. CHY 15027.
* This article was originally published in the Letterkenny Leader which is a free bi-weekly newspaper available around the county. Donegal Youth Service have a regular column. Pick up a copy today!