Getting a job and employability

Employability refers to your ability to gain employment, maintain employment, and obtain new employment if required. In simple terms, employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work. Employability is having a set of skills, knowledge, understanding and personal attributes. Here at Blackburn College, we have designed a range of useful booklets that will hopefully help you to develop your employability skills.

CV 

A Curriculum Vitae is an outline of a person's educational and work history, usually prepared for job applications. Another name for a CV is a résumé. 

A CV is the most flexible and convenient way to make job applications. It conveys your personal details in the way that presents you in the best possible light. A CV is a marketing document in which you are marketing something: yourself! You need to "sell" your skills, abilities, qualifications and experience to employers. 

There is no "one best way" to present a CV; it’s your document and can be structured as you wish within the basic framework. See the attached booklet for details on how to develop a CV and for examples of different types of CV.

Interviews

The purpose of an interview is for the employer to find out whether you’ll be suitable for a particular role and whether you will fit in well with their company.

An interview is a good way for employers to find out a bit more about your personality as well as your skills. If you’ve been invited for interview, you’ve already passed the first obstacle, so well done! Interviews can be a scary prospect but with good preparation and a few helpful tips they can be a lot less daunting. Have a read of our booklet to gain useful information on how best to perform at interview.

Job Search

When you are looking for jobs, you need to decide on the type of job vacancies you are interested in and should then set aside a regular time each week to look for these. The more time and energy you put into searching for work, the more likely you are to be successful and get the job you want. There are lots of ways to find job vacancies. See the attached booklet for information and advice on where to look for job vacancies and how to go about conducting your job search. 

Application Forms

Completing an application form is the first piece of work you will do for your potential employer so you really need to make sure you spend time getting it just right. You need to make your application form stand out from other applicants. Many employers prefer application forms to CVs, they are easier to compare as each applicant completes exactly the same form. If you’re filling in an application form, you still need to work out the best way to present your skills and experience. Completing an application form can take just as much time (if not longer) as writing a CV and covering letter. See the attached booklet for hints and tips on how best to go about completing an application form.

Volunteering/Work Experience

Gaining work experience is a valuable way of increasing your confidence, gaining new skills, meeting new people and making yourself more employable in the future. 

Volunteer work is undertaken for a variety of reasons. Some students and graduates want to make a positive contribution to society, while others want to gain the skills needed to pursue certain careers and enhance their CV’s. 

Many employers now value work experience the same as grades. It is really important that you think about gaining work experience either through voluntary work, work experience as part of course or through a part-time job if you want to give yourself the best chance of getting a job after completing your studies.

Taking a Gap Year

A gap year involves taking time out either before going to university or after. You can travel, work or volunteer in another country or in the UK. It's important to make productive use of your time out, with a focus on developing your skills and gaining valuable experience to further your career.

Taking a gap year can help you to gain relevant work experience, improve your employability and existing skills, learn new skills and stretch yourself by trying a new challenge or experience!

Before you commit to a gap year, make sure you do your research, take time to plan and prepare, don't think of your gap year as a break from your career, use your time wisely to make contacts and consider your existing skills and how you could use them.

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