Job hunting is stressful at any age, but when you are a school leaver it is extra daunting.
Kian finished his GCSE’s last week and now his thoughts have turned to finding a summer job. Well, when I say his thoughts, it is something his Dad and I both think is important for a number of reasons.
a) We cannot afford to fund his summer holiday activities
b) It teaches and instills a good work ethic
c) It looks good on his CV
Both his Dad and I had weekend jobs by the age of 12 and whilst I understand times have changed and the laws for employing minors have become a lot stricter, it has always frustrated me that my teens cannot own their own money. We were lucky with Abbey that she could have a paper-round but with the rise of social media and viewing the news online there is no demand for that these days.
Legally Kian is now allowed to work despite being still 15 as young people can leave school on the last Friday of June of the school year in which they are 16. He has also received his National Insurance Number through the post which employers ask for on their application forms so I am hopeful he won’t be rejected because of his age.
The real struggle with job applications these days is there are mostly all online and, my goodness, they are enough to put anyone off applying for a job. We sat together and filled out the Tesco careers application and despite the fact I have 16 years experience with the company, even I couldn’t pass the application process.
When I worked for them, we invited people in for interviews based on their experience or how their personality came through on the application form – now they are rejecting people on a series of multiple-choice questions where the answers are all plausible and not even laying eyes on the applicant. Even my old colleagues admit that half of them wouldn’t be employed by Tesco if this application process had been in place when they applied.
Writing a CV or filling in an application form as a school leaver no previous work experience to speak of is also a challenge. The main thing employers are looking for are skills and giving examples that are applicable to the role in question. For example, IT skills (naming specific programs), problem solving, public speaking and interpersonal skills, not to mention a friendly and welcoming demeanour, are all desirable qualities to have.
Hobbies and Interests can be also be a hit and miss whether to include them. I know from experience that impact sports can put employers off as they fear injury which could mean time off work so it is best to focus on something that helps get your personality across.
So, if you need me, I will be the one supporting my teen as he applies for his first job in the big wide world and fingers crossed he finds something sooner rather than later.
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