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Looking for Work: Matt's Top Tips

Written by Matt Allman Posted in Work, Careers

Looking for Work: Matt's Top Tips

If you have decided to start looking for work you may be busy giving out your CV and attending interviews. We all get frustrated when we hear nothing back after hours of walking around giving out CVs. You need to stay positive and keep motivated, don’t lose focus or give up.

We all know it’s hard for people getting a break in the job market, especially in a recession, but there are jobs out there. Hopefully these tips will help you in handing out CVs and preparing for interviews. These tips have helped young people I work with, so I hope they will also help you.

Giving out your CV

  • Be Realistic: It is hard to find work, so be realistic when it comes to opportunities and salaries. The job you get at 16 may not be a job for life but it will give you the chance to gain work experience, a reference and earn money. If you really can’t find a job, then why not do some training while you are young and it’s free or apply for apprenticeships?
  • Record and Revisit: Keep a record of where you go so you can revisit it. You may be the only person who returns in a few weeks, which could play to your advantage. Employers like this because it shows willingness to work and some interest in their company
  • Speak Up: Be prepared to answer employers’ questions on the spot. Speak up when answering them, don’t mumble. You can ask them questions as well. The most common question is “what type of job are you looking for?” Explaining to employers why you like their company and what you think you can offer them leaves a lasting impression; they are more likely to remember your CV
  • Dress the part: You don’t always have to wear a suit when handing out CVs as more casual clothing or a uniform is acceptable in some lines of work. But jogging bottoms, a hood covering your face or a peak – these won’t impress most employers, sorry.
  • Attitude: Be polite. Remember your first impression counts, so don’t crumple your CVs or leave them and then walk away. Stand tall, smile, be confident and show this employer you are worth considering. If they tell you they are not considering applicants at the moment, then politely leave them your CV or go back another time. Show them your positive attitude and present yourself well.


  • Prepare for an interview:  Be prepared. It’s important to look smart and get there on time.  Rehearse questions and answers, try and get someone you don’t know so well, for example someone at a local youth centre, to do a mock interview with you and provide some real honest feedback
  • Listen, think, reply: When asked a difficult question take a moment to stop and think, “what are they actually asking me?’’
  • Don’t be afraid to ask: If you do not know a word or understand jargon then say so. Sometimes companies have their own words for things and forget that not everyone knows them. You could say something like, “sorry, I am not aware of what this means but would like to learn more about it if I am successful in this interview.” This shows you are honest, happy to develop your knowledge and learn about the job
  • Check the place out: Look at the company’s website beforehand, looking particularly for recent achievements and developments. If asked “Is there anything you want to ask us?’’ you can demonstrate your interest by saying something like, “yes, I see you are opening a new restaurant, please can you tell me more about this?” If it’s a shop, you can go in beforehand to get a feel for the place
  • Be open-minded: So you may not get the job, but do they need apprentices? What about part-time staff? Would they consider a volunteer or having you do a trial day?  Opening yourself up to employers demonstrates that you are keen to work. If you get a foot in the door and prove yourself you never know what could happen. Take any feedback on the chin, learn from it and use it to develop yourself
  • Explain: Interviewers often ask you what you mean when you answer their questions, don’t be defensive. They are trying to find out more about you, what you think and how you will be good at the job, so be prepared to explain your opinions.

Good Luck.  Here’s some inspiration for those hard days.......

"You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over."  Richard Branson

About the Author

Matt Allman

Matt Allman

Matt Allman is a Personal Adviser for TCHC. He has extensive experience working with young adults including young people leaving care, young people/children in care, young offenders, disabled young people, behaviour management, mental health, participation and children’s rights.

Matt has been praised by his peers for his ability to work with young people of all ages in all types of situations. He is dedicated, patient and  persistent while assisting young clients to achieve their goals.

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