• Bring up to date CVs
  • Research companies attending in advance
  • Be open minded & explore all options
  • Be ready to talk about your strengths
  • Prepare & practice, tell them your skills & experience
  • Allow yourself plenty of time
  • Follow up contacts immediately
  • Know your diary don’t lose a chance for an interview
  • Be clean & tidy, look in the mirror
  • Shake hands introduce yourself to employers
  • Be enthusiastic about their company
  • Remain calm don’t be overwhelmed
  • Be positive

Looking for your first job can be difficult…

…as everyone knows the dreaded cliché “you can’t get a job without experience, can’t get experience without a job”. But fear not! There are ways of bulking up your CV with some great experience to make you as employable as can possibly be…without yet being employed.

  1. Become a prefect or Student Rep

This is a great way to get yourself noticed amongst the senior staff in the school as well as gaining invaluable experience in a position of responsibility. Depending on your schools policies, you may need to be elected into these positions requiring you to network amongst your peers to persuade them that you are the best person to represent them, by displaying your excellent communication skills as well as approachable nature.

  1. Join a sports team

Playing for a sports team displays more than just your level of fitness. Teamwork and dedication are valued in all job roles, and being part of a sports team will require these skills by the bucket load. You’ll also develop a healthy taste for competition.

  1. Volunteer

Whether working at your local charity shop, helping out at the animal shelter or fundraising for your selected cause, volunteering shows you are an all-round good citizen, and are willing to commit your own valuable time to something other than personal gain. Aren’t you lovely!

As well as being a good egg, you will gain some priceless experience working as part of a large organisation, and will be given responsibility from the start. Some schools even offer a qualification for completing a certain amount of hours volunteering, so ask your teachers if this is available to you.

  1. Peer Mentoring

Not all schools and colleges have peer mentoring programmes available, but they are a fantastic way of exercising your ‘emotional intelligence’, which is basically a fancy way of saying that you are good at listening to people and giving advice. Supporting younger students with any issues that they may approach you with will impress employers as you display your ability to empathise with others.

  1. Drama, music & the performing arts

The main skill that you will develop in the performing arts department is confidence. It takes a lot of guts to get on stage in front of a crowd of people and act/dance/sing your heart out, and just a supporting part in a production can help bring even the shyest of wallflowers out of their shell.




References can play a major part in getting a job at the end of the application process.

Top tip

References don’t have to be from employers – any mature professionals who know you well can provide you with a character reference.

Job-seeking without any employment references can be extremely frustrating. Many companies tend to be wary of the unknown – recruitment can be an expensive business, so a candidate whose character can be vouched for will often be favourite.

Perhaps you have only recently arrived in the country, or maybe your previous references have moved on and are now out of contact, it may even be that you are planning to embark on a radically different career and therefore have no suitable referees to contact, but, whatever the reason, it is important be honest with any prospective employer. If you are, at least there is a chance they will look kindly on you and make you a job offer anyway.

The problem is that without a referee to explain whether or not you are suited to the work, the employer may lack crucial information about whether you would be good for the job. This may be especially problematic if you are applying for a position of responsibility – working with children, or in health & safety, for example.

Assuming that a reference is necessary (and in the majority of cases it will be) you should at least try to secure some character references. If these are from mature professionals (such as doctors, teachers, managers, etc) they could carry enough weight to satisfy an employer. You should also explain your situation to your local job centre as they may be able to intervene on your behalf to explain that you are planning to start a new career, etc.

If you are still struggling then perhaps you have to resort to applying for a less responsible position in the same field. This is obviously frustrating if you feel you are capable of more, but at least you will have a reference you can use as a key to the next level.