I’d like to take the next step: what do I do now?
If you’ve decided it’s time to take the next step in your career, well done! Now you need to make sure your CV is up-to-date, and that you’re prepared for any interview questions or assessment centre activities.
Boosting your CV
It may feel like you don’t have much to add to your CV if you’ve only had one job since leaving education! But if you focus on the results you achieved and skills you demonstrated in that role, you could stand out against other candidates.
Steer away from jargon about your job responsibilities and instead talk about tangible results and examples – such as ‘I helped ensure a project finished on time and 10% under budget’.
Get more advice on writing your CV
What are your skills and behaviours?
Do an audit of your skills and behaviours, and consider how you’ve demonstrated these in your current job. For example, if you managed relationships with suppliers, this is a great example of communication. Or perhaps you were part of a team that came up with a new way of working during Covid-19 – this is not only a great example of problem solving, but also adaptability.
Consider too, how these skills or behaviours relate to the job you want. Or how can they help you decide what your next step might be? Then, think about how you would show these skills in an application or interview.
Below are some examples of how you might have demonstrated five of the key skills and behaviours that employers look for in applicants:
Communication: Perhaps you delivered a presentation, ran a weekly meeting to decide on tasks, talked to customers about a project, or went back to your old school to talk about your job.
Problem solving: Perhaps you overcame a tight deadline, worked with limited resources, worked with another department to find a solution, or found a different approach to a challenge.
Team working: Perhaps you were given a special role to liaise with different departments and worked together to come up with a new rota, or you helped out a new starter on the team.
Adaptability: Perhaps you learnt a new software programme, made a shift to a new working pattern, or coped well with a different type of working– such as online meetings.
Emotional awareness: Perhaps you listened to a colleague who was struggling, volunteered to help those less fortunate during Covid-19, or supported others in dealing with a difficult situation.
How to find a job
You’ve prepared your CV and you’re ready for your next move… what next?
- Research the market: What roles are out there that match your skills? Find out if there’s a job site that focuses on your chosen area or industry. Look at the terms they use and try to match them in your CV or application form. Start’s a good place if you want to find out more about different roles on site at HPC.
- Choose a role (or roles) and apply: Look carefully at what the job ad and role description are looking for and think about how you show that on your CV or application. Check whether you need a covering letter. If so, use this to highlight your key skills and experiences. Get more tips and advice here.
- Get ready for an interview: Remember to give examples of what the organisation is looking for. Talk about your successes in your first job – and how you demonstrated key skills they’re looking for. Get more interview tips here.
- Talk to your boss: Whether you're successful in finding a new role or not, it’s worth talking to your manager about your career ambitions in your existing role. They may know of openings at your company or opportunities to develop your skills.
- Put yourself out there: One way to find out about new opportunities is to expand your network or to ask around. Some organisations offer employee networks where you can meet people with similar interests. Or you could join a group that represents your industry. LinkedIn is also a really good platform for finding companies that you’re interested in.
If you already have a job, you don’t need to rush into any quick decisions. So have a think about what type of move you might want to make next. For instance, whether you want to work for a big company, where there might be options to further your qualifications with your employer’s financial support. Or perhaps you want to go the other way, and work for a small business – where you might be promoted more quickly and gain more hands-on experience. Or perhaps you want to set up something on your own!
Working on a large infrastructure project, like HPC, is an opportunity to meet with other employers. And make connections with other young people who might know about any upcoming opportunities in their workplace. So try to make use of any networking opportunities that come your way.