These are the skills you have learnt in one environment, that are applicable to a number of other areas. For instance an advertisement might specify you will need to use the phone. Even though you may not have been involved in answering customer queries, you will have experience using the phone. Your task now is to explain to the employer how quickly, politely and enthusiastically you are able to answer his or her phone on the job. Many young people will have been involved in answering work related calls for a parent. Your task is to explain how the skill you already have is relevant to a work environment.
There are many personal attributes employers want. Things such as the ability to get on with colleagues, work independently and as part of a team, problem solving, good sense of humour and the willingness to learn. In other words, the kinds of things we do every day whether we are in the paid workforce or not. Be creative and show how you can apply your current skills in a work environment. How do they benefit the employer?
Sometimes the advertisement will tell you what the employer wants. “Join our friendly team”. It’s not enough to say, “I’m friendly”. A student may say “My classmates enjoy working with me for group work. They say we get our work done quickly and happily when I am a member of their group. We usually get good marks too.” This way you are showing that you are a good team player, results oriented, and a pleasure to work with.
A young mum might say: “I’m usually the person who greets the newcomer to our young mum’s group to help put her at ease, and show her where everything is. They say my welcoming smile and cheerful manner made them want to return the next time.”
Don’t underestimate your current skills and knowledge. Think carefully. Think creatively. How can you show you’re the right person?
Sue Travers is a Life and Career Coach. She works with young people and
adults looking at life values in relation to career decisions.
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