“What gets you from Here to There” - Mapping your employability journey
Your weekly blog on the whats, whys and hows of amazing Employability
Becoming employable and finding employment is a journey and like any long trip, you need to break it down into manageable steps:
The first step, when setting out, is to know yourself and to find out what employers want and what you have to offer in return. Then, on your journey, you will explore various possibilities and find out what’s really “out there”. This helps you plan your way forward and develop your career goals through concrete milestones. Finally, don’t forget to pause and reflect on what you have learned and adjust your ‘route’ if necessary.
Here’s how the ‘road map to employability’ looks, step by step:
A skills scan, such the one on the college moodle platform, can serve as a good starting point. You will find statements relating to categories like time and self- management or critical thinking and problem solving, which make you think about what abilities you already possess, and the ones you still need to develop for yourself.
Skills scans typically contain statements like “ I am aware of the things that cause me to waste time and am able to avoid them when I have work to complete” and have options to think about such as: “No – I really need to work on this” / “Not completely sure –I could still improve / or “Yes – I am really confident I can do this”*
After every work placement and at regular intervals, review your skills scan and see where you have grown in confidence and knowledge or what you still need to work on.
Support along the way
Establish an Employability Support Crew (see last week’s blog post for how to do this) to give you advice and guidance on your journey. This includes establishing a social media presence on a professional networking site such as Linked In.
Make an appointment to see a Careers advisor, either at your college (Careers&Welfare@tmc.ac.uk) or via the National Careers Service (nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk) who can give you impartial advice on the options available for you.
Whilst studying, take part in work-related activities such as live briefs or competitions, and attend employability events. This all helps to build your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers. At The Manchester College, we will also give you advice and help you build your skills during the timetabled Employability Hour.
45% of employers say experience is a significant factor when recruiting young people (Source: UKCES). Therefore, work experience is an essential part of your employability journey and chances to be part of the real world of work are definite milestones on the road to finding a paid position. Make sure you do a placement in a company or organisation related to your chosen career, however. If you are deciding between careers, choose work experience which will give you some important transferable skills, like dealing with customers (communication skills) or working as part of a team. After your work placement, reflect on your skills again and ask your employer to give you a reference so you have something concrete to use in a job application process. Update your CV and social media profile with the experience you have gained. You can also ask for short recommendations on your Linked In profile or get your skills validated by your contacts.
Reviewing your progress
On any journey, it is important from time to time to review the route that you are on and make adjustments if necessary. Sometimes there are other routes you can take, other opportunities that present themselves to get your destination more quickly. Developing a critical eye for your own skills and experience is necessary in order to progress. Ask your Support Crew for help with this.
So, whatever your career goals, get started today on building your employability skills. Remember: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – (Chinese proverb).
*adapted from Brunel University traffic light skills audit