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How can I find a job?

It's a tough job market out there, especially for young people. So how do you find a job? We tell you where and how to look for work.

Girl looking through binoculars

What do you mean binoculars aren't the best way to find work?

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Where should I start?

The local Jobcentre is a good place to start. Because it doesn’t cost an employer anything to advertise (unlike newspapers or the internet), a high number of employers use job centres to find new staff for both part time and full time jobs.

The traditional way to find out about jobs is to look in your local newspaper or industry magazines (or their online equivalent). Most regional papers will have their jobs pages on a certain day each week, whilst the national newspapers generally have set days for certain types of vacancies.

Many jobs advertised in this way result in hundreds of people applying for the same post, so you need to write a strong covering letter and create a good CV.

Talk to people

Getting stuck in front of a computer is too easy to do. Suddenly you’ve wasted half a day on Google. But jobs, like everything, are based on human relationships. You need to find ways to meet people and tell them you’re looking for a work – if they like you, they might be able to take you on or pass on the word. Volunteering is a great way to do this.

Why is a CV so important?

The purpose of a CV is to get you an interview. It’s the first impression your potential new boss will get of you, so it needs to be good. Your CV is one or two pages that show your work experience, education, skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and your interests and hobbies.

The most important thing when writing your CV is to check your spelling and grammar and make your achievements relevant to the role you’re applying for. Employers see lots of CVs when they’re recruiting, so careless mistakes – like spelling errors – mean they just end up in the bin.

Can’t I just use a recruitment agency?

Agencies will often have access to a large number of jobs that may never get advertised. Some specialise in particular types of work, such as sales, IT or catering. Others will be more general and cover several roles from administration and customer service positions to driving and warehouse jobs.

Bear in mind the agency earns a fee from the client if you get the job. So put as much effort as you can into making yourself the ideal candidate and they’ll do the same in return.

You can register with as many agencies as you like – no agency should charge you a penny, even if they find you a job. For added security, look for a trade registered agency.

Which is the best jobs website?

There are endless websites advertising jobs, so the trick is to find the ones most relevant to you. If you subscribe (either through an email list or an RSS feed) you’ll always know when a new job matching your criteria is added to the site.

The larger job websites let you add your CV so employers can search for potential candidates.

Popular sites include:

Monster

Totaljobs

Reed

Fish4Jobs

JobcentrePlus

Can I find work through social networking sites?

Social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo are prime job-hunting locations. On a simple level, if you make people aware you’re looking for work they’ll let you know of vacancies they hear about. But if you’re friends with any of your current colleagues this might not be a wise option; it’s best to be discreet about your quest for a new job until you have the offer signed and sealed.

Make sure there’s nothing on your profile to harm your chances – like that picture of you sprawled on the pavement at 3am – by double-checking your privacy settings. More than one in five employers admit to checking an applicant’s Facebook or MySpace profile before making a job offer.

Other sites, like Linkedin, are specifically aimed at professionals who want to connect online. Join groups relevant to your type of work to do some online networking to find out about jobs. Or search Yahoo Groups for similar networking opportunities.

I just keep getting rejected, what am I doing wrong?

Repeat: It’s not me, it’s the economy. Don’t take it personally if you’re getting rejections – it’s happening to everybody right now. If you’re sure you’ve done everything you can (great CV – check – good covering letter – check – applying for everything that comes up – check) then you can’t blame yourself or sit around all day waiting for a response that might not come. Go and do something more fun instead – just remember to take your mobile so when you get called to that interview, you don’t miss out.

Photo of binoculars girl by Shutterstock

Next Steps

  • Youth Direct lets you search for apprenticeships, graduate jobs and volunteering opportunities using your location.
    • Got a question about friends, dating, love or family life? Ask one of our trained advisors. This service is free and totally confidential.
    • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
    • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

Updated on 25-Mar-2014

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