The Importance of Getting Work Experience on Your First CV
Being a young person, it often can seem that the prospect of getting a full time job and having responsibilities is far enough away in the future. However, regardless of career paths one thing that unites all employers is that as well as qualifications, they are specifically interested in seeing what work experience each applicant has on their CV. Therefore, this article shall focus on the importance work experience brings to being successful in the job market. We shall look at specific areas such as voluntary work, part time work and getting references in order to show the benefits work experience brings to future jobs.
A good place to start on the journey of getting work experience on your CV is to get involved in voluntary work. Voluntary work is both rewarding and fulfilling on many levels as it involves giving of time and helping others whilst you also gain many skills and the experience of working with others from many different backgrounds and cultures. Voluntary work in recent years has also been incorporated into school curriculums which makes it easier for young people to engage and have the skills and experience before they venture out of school.
Many schools/ establishments offer voluntary activities that have certificates attached once the child completes the activity. Examples of the sort of voluntary initiatives schools run include the Duke of Edinburgh Award which encourages 14- 24 year olds to participate in a number of activities that will increase their skills and knowledge. In recent years Catholic Schools have offered the Caritas Award to students who dedicate time to helping out in their Church for example or something like visiting the elderly in a home or bringing food to food banks for those who need it. The benefit of engaging in these sort of initiatives is that it shows employers that early on you were aware of those around you, perhaps those less fortunate and decided to give your time to make a difference.
Universities and Colleges also offer opportunities for young people to volunteer and gain life experience which will be useful when they go into the work environment. Being involved in different clubs/ societies adds freshness to a person's CV and shows that they have been committed to a particular youth club for a certain length of time. Not only is it something for your CV but it helps you to meet other people who may not necessarily be studying the same course as you therefore you become used to mixing with different people which is what it will be like in any job.
However, volunteering does not necessarily mean that you can only take part in an institution as we have discussed above, charity shops such as Oxfam and Marie Curie employee people from all different age groups to help run the shops and give of their time to help for a greater cause/ charity. Often charity shops do not look for any work experience therefore it is the best place to start on the employment ladder as although it does not offer a salary, it does offer a tone of life experience such as how to work the till to stacking the shelves. This sort of thing brings transferable skills that can be brought into the next job you take.
Part time work is the next step in getting work experience on your CV. Possibly the best time to get a part time job is at Christmas when most shops are looking for extra staff to help during the busiest time of the year. One of the positives of Christmas Temporary jobs is that if you are good at your job you can be kept on after the Christmas season is over. Company's such as Marks and Spencer's, ASDA and Boots conduct good training to ensure that all workers are confident in their roles. The interview process usually isn't as rigorous for Christmas temps as it is for other part time jobs throughout the year. However, interview processes build up your confidence and make you more aware of what to expect next time round and are valued experience on how to conduct yourself in an interview.
Part Time jobs can also be, with some time planning, kept on whilst studying which means that you have an income the matter how small and can fund yourself on things such as nights out and buying material goods as well as food. Having kept a part time job going whilst studying for a degree shows a future employer that you had good time management and that you were committed throughout your degree to both your job and your degree. Multitasking is a key skill most employers will be impressed by on your CV.
Finally, after you have voluntary experience and a part time job the icing on the cake of your CV is references. References make your CV look more professional and show that you're not the only one who believes what you are saying and that other professionals can in fact vouch that you are a good person for a future employer to employ. References can come from many different people that have known you at some point in your life. For example, many people put down their guidance teacher from school on a first CV as this is someone who has known you throughout your time at secondary school. Another good referee is a previous employer who can give an accurate account of what you were like and what skills you possessed during your time working for them. A maximum of two references is usually more than accurate for a CV stating both the referee's names and phone number / email address.
Work experience of any kind helps to make your CV stand out and show employers what skills you already have as well. If you follow a basic CV layout to display your information it will entice your employer even more that you are a potential candidate for the job!