When you're looking for a job, it can be hard to know where to start. Especially if it's your first job, or you've had a career break. So we've compiled a few really useful resources, to help you take those first steps to finding a great job that gives you the satisfaction and career development that you need.
What makes you tick?
If you haven't had a job before (or even if you have!) you may feel unsure about what exactly you want to do.
Why not start with the things you're already interested in and good at? Try this skills check or this strengths tool* to assess where your talents lie. If you're currently unemployed or on benefits, and you'd like support to help you get into work, our Economic Development Service may be able to refer you to free local training.
If you're already clear on the general path you'd like to follow, take this opportunity to explore careers in a bit more detail, including typical entry requirements, salaries and working patterns, daily tasks on the job, and likely career progression.
Finding the right advert
You've probably heard people say that looking for a job is like a full-time job in itself! But there are lots of things you can do to make the task easier.
Make sure you read this guide on finding advertised vacancies, to ensure that you aren't missing out on jobs which are available. Do bear in mind that many online job boards collect the wording of job adverts from other sites, and won't give you an idea of what an organisation is really like. To make sure you have a clearer idea, always visit that organisation's website too, and apply for the job directly from there.
Maybe you're new to local authority working, and just don't know what the job title means. Most adverts include a contact to call or email, to find out more about the job, and the type of skills they are looking for. Talking to a real human being can tell you a lot more than just reading a job description or person specification. So don't be afraid to make that call, even if it's only to be sure that a role isn't quite right for you.
There's nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect advert, and realising that you don't have time to apply before the closing date! To avoid this, set up a job alert, so you'll be notified as soon as a new vacancy comes up.
Making your application
Do you find application forms a bit intimidating? If so, you're not alone! Check out this guide on how to fill in job applications to improve your technique and confidence.
Remember that, particularly in a large organisation which may have a standard - and very long - form for all applicants, not all of the sections may be critical for the job you're interested in.
Focus your time and effort on the questions about the skills and experience required for the job. You shouldn't just cut and paste sections from your CV here. In most organisations, you won't reach the shortlist for interview unless you demonstrate in detail how you meet each requirement. So read that job description and person specification really carefully, and use it to structure what you write.
Getting ready for your interview
Got an invitation to go for interview? Don't panic! Follow these tips to help you to prepare. It's a great idea to look at common interview questions that employers ask, and practise your answers. You can even do a mock online interview*- and get feedback on the areas you need to work on.
* These services are free, but you'll need to sign up for a user account to access them.