It's fair to say the job market is thin on the ground and that is not likely to change any time soon. So competition for jobs is going to be intense, particularly for young people. If you have little or no experience how can you learn more about the work you are interested in, develop skills and showcase your values to an employer?
1. If you are unsure which career path to take, try and research up and coming career areas/jobs of the future and see what comes up. Some I have seen recently are Health and Safety, Information Security Analyst, Bicycle Repair, AI Specialist, Healthcare Practitioner. And, don’t forget careers that will continue despite pandemics, economic uncertainty, and globalisation such as teachers, maintenance engineers, electricians and plumbers, social workers, internal and external auditors, merchant seamen and IT specialists.
Then start investigating these roles more carefully to find out if they look interesting and your qualifications are a good fit.
Check out prospects.ac.uk for lots of information about different types of careers within the sectors.
Also remember that the economy will shift to a more positive position eventually so your inital career idea or plan may only be postponed short term.
2. What training or free courses could you enrol on to enhance your future employability – do you have a specialist interest such as digital marketing or performing arts. Have you checked the job ads you are looking at – could your application be improved if you had an IT qualification, a health and hygiene certificate or something that shows you are interested in that business sector.
Showing an employer you're serious about their business interests will show them your curiosity to learn and that you are committed to wanting to work for them.
Here are some links to free and paid for learning:
https://www.open.edu/openlearn/ - this is a great resource for free courses that will support career aspirations, for example if you are interested in renewable energy there are several free courses to increases your understanding in this field.
https://www.futurelearn.com/search?q=free+courses – this brings together courses from different universities – everything from counter-terrorism to starting a coding club
https://www.mooc-list.com/ - this provides a list of all the Massive Open Online Courses available.
3. Do you have a passion that could become an income provider? Could you develop a part time business such as street performance, illustration, gardening. This would show a potential employer your ability to be self-motivated, creative, and entrepreneurial and problem solving skills.
4. Can you showcase yourself as an individual? Are you on LinkedIn? Do you have something to say about a particular issue such as sustainability? Could you become a student member of a professional institute to hear the latest in a specific industry such as Sales and gain a better understanding of the industry by interacting with other members. Often student membership is free. Again this shows your commitment to building a career in a specific area.
5. Can you find a number of employers who would give you some short period work experience, even for a couple of days. You could specify what you would like to learn and have a planned list of experiences you would like to achieve. Do not assume that people do not want to help. If you don't ask - you don't get!
Lots you can be doing! But how does all this activity translate into being valuable? This exercise in itself shows amazing learning, motivation, determination, research skills, confidence, collaboration and making connections.
So include it in your CV and summarise the activity in your personal statement/profile, then include it under the headings of interests and work experience
Include it in your covering letter so that employers can see that you have initiative, determination and passion
During your interview use these experiences to support your answers with examples such as - what has been your greatest achievement? What do you do in your spare time? Tell me more about what you have been doing since leaving school? Explain how your newly acquired skills match what the employer is looking for.
Finally, use it to make new connections and relationships so that you can reach out for help, advice and support.
Now you have the tools to equip yourself with skills and experiences you'll have gained without even having a job - so now you can make sure you catch the eye of your new employer!