Small details can make a big difference for school leavers

By Mark McDonald, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers (Dublin North)

Mark McDonald
Mark McDonald, Career Coach Tel: +353 86 3812 555

I had a brief conversation with the parent of a school leaver at a recent CV seminar which we hosted. The parent explained that her son had just left secondary school and was looking for a job to supplement his college fees and expenses.

The young man in question attended an interview for a job in a department store. His CV had stated that he carried out fundraising on behalf of the Samaritans. One of the interviewers asked how much money he had collected recently to which he replied “several thousand Euro”.

The interviewer remarked that he was impressed with this and stated this fundraising activity demonstrated that the school leaver was both trustworthy and diligent.

This small piece of information mentioned on his CV had proven itself to be note-worthy in terms of the job interview.

If-you-play-team-sportsYoung people looking for what may be their first full-time or part-time job can make use of information regarding their hobbies and interests in their CV’s. Someone short on relative work experience can still demonstrate skills and talents and display the value that they are able to bring to a role.

Our fundraising school leaver was able to demonstrate his maturity and trustworthiness based on his activity on behalf of the Samaritans.

Young people hoping to gain employment can use many aspects of their background to demonstrate certain skills and attributes. If you play team sports, you can illustrate your ability to embrace a team philosophy. If you have captained a team, you are demonstrating leadership qualities. If you have been involved in amateur dramatics, talk about what you did i.e. acting, directing, producing, scripting, set design, lights, sound, or any other role required to get the show on the road.

Are you a first aider or a member of the Red Cross etc? If so, make sure your CV shows this and demonstrates how you can be calm in a crisis.

Charity work or volunteering can tell a lot about the type of skills you can offer as demonstrated by our young school leaver.

Do you have a particular area of interest and if so, are you a blogger on that topic? Again, this is an ideal way to demonstrate maturity and commitment.

If you have just finished, or are still in, secondary school, why not mention any projects you have completed as part of your studies?

If by chance you fall into the category of a young person with minimal work experience, look at other aspects of your life to date and extract the elements that add value to you as a potential employee. Don’t be bashful about your achievements and use them as an indicator of the type of skills you possess.

As time goes on, you will build up more and more experience, but, for now, you have to mine the best you have available. And, remember, if you don’t talk it up, no-one else will do it for you: as we have said here on many occasions, the onus to showcase your talents rests squarely on your shoulders.