Looking for a job can be overwhelming, exhausting and sometimes even soul-destroying. The internet is a massively valuable resource, but with so much information out there it can be easy to get lost. Luckily, there are a host of organisations dedicated to helping young people get started in whatever career they aspire to. For your own research, here are our top tips for finding your way to the right places online.
HAVE FLEXIBLE EXPECTATIONS.
If you limit your search, you’ll get limited results. Have confidence in what you want, but be prepared to be surprised about what you’ll find. If you’re having little success addressing employers directly, try looking for social enterprises and organisations who could help develop your career. Dream jobs don’t come easy!
- For example: If you’re looking to get into politics then you might be seeking highly competitive internships and placements with politicians. If you broaden the search, though, you’ll come across political blogs such as Left Foot Forward, where you could get some journalistic experience. You’ll learn more about the sector, and get proven communication skills to boot.
WHO’S WHO, AND WHO ELSE?
They say no man is an island, and the same is true of employers. Any company or organisation worth its salt will be connected to any number of others. On home websites, check out all supporters, partners and funders. You’ll find a network of mutual interests, and soon you’ll have a greater number of avenues down which to take your search and strengthen your knowledge.
- For example: As a science student, your dream could be to one day work for Rolls-Royce. There might not be an easy way in, but you’d get some great experience at the super-sciencey Big Bang Fair, which was set up by Engineering UK. Engineering UK’s corporate partners include Siemens, TFL, IBM, BT…and Rolls-Royce! Showing potential employers that you’ve noticed these links will be sure to impress.
Sometimes the best information about an organisation isn’t on its own website. Find testimonials, anecdotes and feedback from others. What is it like to work for that employer? Are you interested in this sector, or another one you haven’t looked at? Chat rooms and message boards can be goldmines for tried-and-tested wisdom from experts and others.
- For example: You’ll always work better with people who can share your ideas. Virgin Media Pioneers offers a network of enterprising young people, where you can share your passions, skills and experience. Search for your interests and you could find the perfect business partner or mentor to help you get going.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOOK LOCALLY.
If you want to work in a particular area, then arts centres, festivals, showcases and community programs can give you the connections you need. Look for any projects to support young people in your area, you could be perfect for each other!
- For example: Any employer looking for local creative talent will want to advertise in the nearest arts centre. Go along for a visit, and check out any and all leaflets, programs, networks and communities specific to your area. Even speaking to people will help out, and make you a familiar face. In the Directory of Awesome you’ll find a calendar of arts festivals, which are basically big noisy centres of opportunity.
Some organisations are especially keen to hire people from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds. There are loads of groups to help put you in touch with the right employers – browse the ‘Social Mobility’ section of the Directory of Awesome to check them out.
- For example: Young people from ethnic minorities can face much more challenges than others when applying for jobs. Sponsors for Education (SEO) can act as an intermediary between you and the companies you think should take notice. As well as getting you into a job you love, you’ll find a network of support and mentoring.
KNOW YOUR GOOGLE.
There’s no way of getting around it – anyone who’s anyone is plugged into Google. It’s an invaluable tool for finding what you want, but can offer as many frustrations as benefits. If at first you don’t succeed – try something different. Exercise your vocabulary to narrow your search, but remember to keep it open for possibilities. Become a search engine poet! There’s a handy site showing how to use Google effectively here.
All of the organisations mentioned here (and many others!) can be found in our super-awesome Directory of Awesome.