Level 1: Career Advice
Level 2: How to find a job
How to find a job is a big subject! Here are a few pointers that you might find useful, especially if you are new to the job market – maybe you’re a high school or a university graduate.
Level 3: Prepare a resume
How can I prepare a resume when I’ve never had a job? Good question!
Lots of people who have just graduated from high school think that all they have to put into a resume is name, address, phone number and details of education. Actually, even if you’ve never worked before, there are many things you can put in a resume to give you an advantage over other job seekers.
Let’s start with the purpose of a resume. Basically, it’s to give an employer the best possible picture of you – to make you stand out from the thousands of others that are also trying to find a job. Do a few lines with your name and phone number do that for you? Of course not!
So here are a few things to think about:
Structure: Most resumes are divided into three or four sections:
Start with a summary: talk about who you are, what sort of job you’re looking for, whereabouts the job should be, and something about your personal qualities. For example you could say that you’re imaginative, creative and enthusiastic; that you have great attention to detail; that you’re good with people; that you like working in a team. Get the idea?
Then talk about your experience: Did we say work experience? No! Any experience of life is worth talking about. For example, if you organised a family reunion for 100 people, what does that say about your abilities? That you are a good organiser, have great communications skills and are able to handle many tasks at the same time. So you could be a good project manager, right?
What if you regularly help your brothers and sisters with their homework? You’re good at explaining things and you’re patient. So you’re probably good at communications and teaching.
What about school projects? Have you ever done a science project, perhaps as a member of a team, that you’re proud of? Talk about it!
Then there’s education. Don’t just give the name of your school or university. Provide your grades – if not all of them, concentrate on the subjects you did best at.
And finally hobbies. OK, maybe not drifting and shopping, but try and find some things that interest you, like travel, reading, movies, drawing or collecting things. The more you include, the more you will come to an employer as a real person, not just a name on a piece of paper.
You resume needn’t be more than a page in length, but what makes you special should shine out of it. Remember – you’re in a market in which employers are buying. Your resume is your sales document!
If you’re not sure you’ve got it right, don’t be afraid of showing it to friends and family. After all, they all want the same thing: for you get your first start on a happy and successful career.
Level 3: Practice for interviews
If you’ve never been to an interview before, this can be tough!
The first thing to do if you’re called to interview is to prepare. Think about the kind of questions an interviewer might ask you, and try and work out how you would handle them. For example, here are a few typical interview questions, and ways to handle them:
Tell me about yourself: well, the last thing you should do is say “it’s all in my resume”! The interviewer is trying to get you to talk, so talk. Try and work out in advance a short speech that summarised who you are and why you’re there. For example:
“I’m 18 years old. I graduated from high school a month ago, and I’m really interested in customer service. I love explaining things to people, and I learned a lot from my Dad, who works for a mobile phone company. I spend a lot of time helping my friends to useful things with my phones, and my favourite company is Apple. I just love their products! There was one time when I was with my Granddad in his car and we got lost in the middle of nowhere. I used the maps feature on my phone to get home safely. Ever since then my Granddad has been a smartphone convert too!”
What have you done with your answer? You’ve told the interviewer what you’re passionate about. You’ve used humour. You’ve told a story. You’ve shown that you come from a close family, and you’ve given the interviewer an idea of one of your skills – explaining things – which is ideal for customer service.
Why are you interested in working for the organisation? If you haven’t taken the time to do some homework on the company or organisation you’re talking to, it’s hard to answer this question! So before the interview, get on the web and do some research. Who are they? What do they do? Where are their offices? Who is the boss? Do you know anyone who works for them?
If you know anyone at the organisation, speak to them in advance and ask them what it’s like working for them. Then you can prepare another little speech showing you’ve done your homework. You might say:
“I’m very interested in dealing with the public, and it seems that you have a lot of opportunities to do just that. I have a friend who works for you, and he says you’re a great company to work for. I’m really interested in a career in your field, and I like the fact that you are a multinational company. One day I would like the opportunity to travel in my work, and perhaps you can give me the opportunity to do that.”
What have you told the interviewer with this answer? You’re keen and ambitious; you’re interested in a long-term career; you’ve taken the trouble to find out about the organisation. So you’re using your answer to sell yourself!
What do you expect to be doing in five years’ time? This is a very common question, and the cheeky answer might be: “your job”! Again, think of an answer that puts you in the best possible light. For example, you might say:
“I’m not sure, but I hope to be doing a job that’s valuable to the organisation, that uses the skills you will help me to develop, and in which I will feel rewarded and fulfilled.”
That’s an honest answer, because you probably don’t have a clue where you will be in five years. But you want to be doing something useful, to be happy and fulfilled. So say so!
These are just a few of the types of questions you might be asked, so why not talk to older friends and family members who have been through interviews and can tell you about their experience?
Another tip: why not ask the interviewer some questions? He or she might well end the interview by saying “do you have any questions?” So prepare in advance two or three questions you might ask. For example:
Can you tell me about the training you will provide in the job?
What are the promotion prospects in the job?
What are the organisation’s plans for the next few years?
By asking questions, you can show that you’re not just interested in any job, but in the organisation you’re talking to.
Finally, you need to think about dealing with nerves.
Everyone’s nervous when they go to an interview, especially if this is the first time and they really want the job. So here are a few ideas on how to avoid looking like a nervous wreck:
Dress well: make sure your clothes are freshly laundered and you look neat and tidy.
Don’t speak too quickly: when people are nervous, they often speak to quickly or not at all! So practice speaking slowly, without “ums and ahs”.
Prepare mentally: try and visualise the interview in your mind. Imagine yourself arriving at the interview, meeting the interviewer, smiling, saying hello and answering the questions. Go though the scene again and again, and gradually you will lose your fear.
Look confident: even if you are full of nerves, try not to show it with your body language. Don’t slump in the chair. Sit up straight. Make eye contact with the interviewer but look away occasionally. Make hand and arm gestures, but make sure they’re not too wild!
Listen: listen carefully to what the other person is saying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand what they are saying.
Always remember: you’re human, they’re human. They’re not there to eat you!
And finally, don’t worry if you make a few mistakes, especially if it’s your first interview. You will get better with practice. The better you get, the closer you will come to your dream job!
Level 3: Job Searching
The first thing to realise when you’re looking for a job is that nobody will give you one without some effort on your part. That’s why developing a good resume and preparing for interviews pays off.
Once you have the resume, you can start searching. Depending on your situation, you might be registered with the HR Development Fund as unemployed. If so, they might send you notifications of available jobs, and even call you to meet employers.
Here are some other things you can do:
Send your resume to on-line job boards like bayt.com.
Look out in the newspapers and in the social media for job fairs
Check the newspapers and social media – Twitter for example – for job advertisements
Talk to friends and family about companies they know, and ask them to give you details of their recruitment departments – and especially the name do the person responsible. Email your resume to them with a short introductory message
If there’s an organisation you would particularly like to work for, use Google find their websites and check out their job opportunities. Lots of organisations provide information on vacancies and how to apply for them.
When you send your resume to someone, don’t sit around waiting for a reply. They might have thousands of applications like yours. Follow up by phone or email.
Above all, don’t give up. There are thousands of job opportunities out there for people like you. There has never been a better time to find a job than today.
And whatever you do, make sure you send your resume to TAHEED!