How to look your best... on paper!
I recently started working at Young Women’s Trust as the new Participation Officer. I’ve been here for just over a month and have already started working on lots of exciting projects – all with a focus on involving young women directly in our work.
I’m particularly excited about a new service called Work It Out - Help With Job Applications, which is designed for young women looking for work, or wanting to change jobs.
Starting a new job can be scary and intimidating. You’re not sure how to dress, what to say when you answer the phone, whether your new colleagues will like you… there’s a lot to think about. But you’ve got to be hired first, which usually means an interview (sometimes two!) and even before that there’s an application process – which might be filling in a complicated form, or penning the perfect cover letter and making sure your CV is bang up to date.
I am lucky enough to have friends, family and even former colleagues who I can call on to help me with job applications. I ask them to look it over before I send it in, and they encourage me to ‘big up’ certain achievements, remind me of things I’ve done, or encourage me to leave out less relevant experience (does anyone really need to know that I once made an office washing up rota complete with clipart?!)
Many young women who want to work, or want to get out of insecure employment and into a more stable role don’t have this network of support or the opportunity for someone else to cast a critical eye over their applications. Even when they are unsuccessful they are rarely offered feedback on why they didn’t make it through to interview stage. Sometimes there’s not even a ‘”Thanks but no thanks”, just a wall of silence. This can become disheartening, and also means young women can end up making the same mistakes time and time again, becoming trapped in a cycle of rejection.
Young women we work with tell us they have applied for up to 200 jobs without ever hearing anything back (Read Kerri’s blog about her job hunt here). There are lots of resources online which offer advice on writing that ‘Killer CV’ or ‘Flawless Application’, but not many opportunities for specific feedback that’s tailored to an individual. That’s why we’re so pleased to be launching the first test phase of Work It Out - Help With Job Applications - a brand new Young Women’s Trust service.
Work It Out - Help With Job Applications aims to help young women to write better job applications. An HR expert will offer personalised feedback - sending detailed notes about the strengths and areas for improvement within her application. It could be used for a job which a young woman is about to apply for, or for an application they recently sent off, but weren’t successful with.
We have offered the service before to candidates who have applied for entry level jobs at Young Women’s Trust, and those who took it up said it was invaluable for them (Read Gemma’s feedback story here).
The test phase is only running from 15th June – 13th July 2015, we will then assess the service to see if and how it could be developed. Please take this opportunity to use the service, and tell any young women who could benefit from this kind of feedback.
All the information is here: www.youngwomenstrust.org/help-with-job-applications
UPDATE: Work It Out - Help With Job Applications is now a permanent part of our Work It Out Service which aims to help young women feel more confident and ready for work.