If you’re not in work at the moment but you’re looking for a job, there’s a lot you can do to boost your chances of finding work. Employers want to see that you have used your time to develop yourself and gain new skills and experience which will help you in the workplace.



Spend time thinking about the type of work you would like to do. What jobs are a good fit with your skills and interests? You can find out about lots of different jobs on the National Careers Service website. You can also look on social media sites and find people that are already working in the industries you are interested in. Look at what they are doing. Does this appeal to you? What skills will you need?

There is a lot of support available to help you prepare for work – find out what is available locally and take advantage of it! This may be support to help you identify your strengths and interests. It could be help with your job search or CV. Or it could be free courses to help you develop your skills.

Volunteering is a great way to gain work experience, practise your skills and try out different things. It may help you to find out what really interests you.  What have you always wanted to try? There will be lots of different volunteering opportunities in your local area.  Use this sheet to keep track of what you find.

Employers like people who have a positive attitude. It can be hard looking for work, but keep going! Being pro-active in looking for work will show employers that you are enthusiastic and determined. Focusing on your strengths and goals will help you stay motivated and upbeat.  Click here for a list of places you can look for jobs.

Setting goals can help you make progress in getting a job. Start developing your action plan here.


A positive attitude towards past experience is really important – if something went wrong, what lessons did they learn? How have they picked themselves up and moved forward?


Recognise opportunities – even unpaid ones – and take them.


Employers say that qualifications aren’t always the most important thing for them. They want people who are keen to learn and develop new skills.  What skills can you develop that are useful for work?

Employers want people who have “soft skills”. These are the basic personal skills that help people to get on well at work, for example, good communication skills and the ability to work well under pressure. These skills are often called “transferable skills” because they can be used in lots of different types of jobs. What examples might you give to an employer to show you have these skills? Could you develop your soft skills by helping out in your local community or starting a blog?

Employers also value “hard skills”. Hard skills are specific skills that you can learn. Different jobs require different hard skills. One example is being able to fit a plug socket. Another example is the ability to measure a patient’s blood pressure. Look at job adverts that interest you. What hard skills do you need to have? What courses will help you to develop these skills?

Employers say that there are three hard skills that they particularly value and that are important in most jobs. These are maths, English and digital skills. These skills are also important when you are looking for work and applying for jobs. Find out more about improving your skills.


Watch this short film and find out what advice employers give to young people looking for work. Listen out for examples of practical things you can do to develop your skills and make yourself more attractive to an employer.


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