Experts say the new year is a good time to start your search for a change in profession as workers return to work feeling motivated after the Christmas break. However, with so many individuals feeling the same, what does it take to get noticed? Kayode Damali, 2018 well-loved, cheeky BBC Apprentice and Top 10 of the Most Powerful Young Entrepreneurs in the World’ offers tips on what you can do to get ahead.

‘My career journey from working at Charlton Athletic Football club in merchandising to featuring on the 2018 BBC Apprentice to entrepreneur with a recently launched educational and professional podcast, The Right Route, in collaboration with national leading in training provider Qube Learning, I can now say I now know what works effectively to securing a dream job.

After Christmas, many people feel a negative weight of returning to a monotonous cycle that leaves them feeling uninspired and lacking in enthusiasm in their workplace. And, faking it can only last so long! It’s important to remember that though it can be an exciting time a considered approach is key to making sure you take the right route -

Where to start - Don’t accept a job because it’s looks like a glossy escape from the doom and gloom of your current situation, really think about whether you can see yourself working there in years to come. The grass is not always greener, and a hasty decision could mean you end up looking for another role soon after.

The Job search - Before making contact, really read the company website, make sure you know what the business ethos is, what their company values are, who their clients are and ask yourself ‘would you be a good fit, would it suit you?’ Social media also means you can sneakily check out the people, their employers and make contact on LinkedIn.

CV top tips

  • Your CV is what will get you that interview. It’s the chance to showcase your experience, skillset and show a business how they can benefit from hiring you. Your summary paragraph is the opportunity to hook them in right off the bat, let them know what you have to offer, what it is that makes you stand out and remember, though predominantly work focused they will want to know about you and how you fill fit in.
  • Make it relevant. Employers needs will be different so ensuring your CV is topical to them will help encourage their interest in you. There is no point in sending one general email to all potential employers, this could get you are discounted very quickly before they even know what kind of professional you are. Personalisation and relevance are imperative, it shows you have done your research and taking the time to get to know them and their brand.
  • Don’t lie! Always be honest There is a high risk you will get found out and sometimes your time out of work is what makes you interesting. Were you travelling? maybe volunteering? You are who you are and that is what makes you a one-off.
  • Include personal information about you. What do you love? I don’t mean your pet or favourite food! Potential employers are always keen to hear about what you do outside of work - do you have a sports team you play for regularly, are you a champion of chess, where is your top travelling location and why, tell them something attention- grabbing.

Interview 

  • Being prepared will come off positively, knowing the job spec, the people interviewing you and having questions ready for them will show you have made the effort.
  • When discussing your work, have examples that you can talk them through as this is the chance to showcase your knowledge and experience.
  • Some interviewees like to throw a ‘weird’ question out there, for example ‘what would you do if you were trapped inside a giant’s pocket?’. They want to see how you react and are keen to know what your escape strategy would be.

Finally, whatever your experience, whether it be heavier on work experience, an Apprenticeship or Traineeship over academia such as college or university, remember both are valuable. Be proud of who you are and what you have to offer, show courage and confidence in your abilities and this in turn will result in professional and personal success.

Kayode’s candid approach to education and work highlights that people don’t have to follow the ‘norm’ and believes “one of the biggest skills you can have is being able to communicate with people from all over the world”.

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