Entering the world of work for the very first time can be an exciting, if somewhat scary, prospect.

Having been cushioned by the definite rules and regulations of the school day and the routine of terms and holidays for more than a decade, it can feel overwhelming to strike out alone. And you might not have the first clue about what you want to do and what you want to achieve in the world of work.

Don't fret. Help is here. In its 11th year, National Careers Week 2022 (NCW), running from 7th to 12th March, is a not-for-profit venture celebrating careers guidance, with a host of free resources available to support those coming out of education. This year, its emphasis is on hope, with the tagline Empowering Positive Change through Careers Education. For a list of events, take a look at the  National Careers Week 2022 Calendar.

As the past two years have been so full of uncertainty for a lot of young learners and earners, this careers guidance and careers education week highlights the positive aspects of breaking free from what you have been used to and finding the independence you need to start your working life.

Make the first move

You might see the acronym, CEIAG, being bandied about. This stands for Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance, and is a system preparing students for a life of work by providing impartial advice, confidence and the skills required to make informed careers guidance choices. To gain a clearer view of your options, check out the government website at Dept for Education CIAEG for further information, as well as the TopCV government skills toolkit.  

With an increase in the number of young people in the UK not in education, employment or training - commonly known as NEET - estimated to be 689,000 as of Nov 2021, according to the Office of National Statistics, it is certainly time to change the picture. This figure equates to 10.1 per cent of those aged between 16 and 24, a rise of 0.9 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Crafting your CV into a credible document is one of the first steps to take. Following the advice from TopCV's experts on Writing a CV with no experience can steer you in the right direction of how to go about creating that vital first CV.

Identify your interests and skills 

Making a list of the pros and cons of any role you might be interested in can focus the mind. Setting it down in black and white offers clarity and helps you drill down into what you really want. Just a slither of an idea can be honed in on and expanded.

Think of your key skills. Are you incredibly organised? Did that Saturday Shop Assistant role you took on during the school holidays emphasise your genuine urge to help customers? Or was it the dogged determination you showed slogging round the streets on your bike at silly o'clock in the morning delivering newspapers?

All these soft skills can come in really useful when you don't have a huge amount of experience to show. A survey from the Global Talent Trend Report 2019 with LinkedIn members found that 92% of talent professionals and recruiters agreed that robust soft skills are increasingly important, with 89% feeling that 'bad hires' showed poor soft skills.

Kick-start your potential

Resources on how to get your foot on the career ladder are ever expanding, from websites offering advice to trusted professionals such as teachers and career advisors. Making enquiries among friends and family members shouldn't be dismissed either. Adults with experience of different roles can offer valuable insight into varying careers and the skills required.

And don't believe for one minute that you have to get a degree to land a decent role. According to the ONS, one in eight people aged between 22 and 29 landed graduate jobs without degree-level qualifications. Roles in sales, HR, and retail or wholesale management are the most common graduate jobs that work for non-graduates.

Now what?

If you're still unsure where your path will take you, or even which route to go down, there are always apprenticeships or further online courses to consider. You could also think about taking an online test which could determine which type of role is suitable for you. These work by asking pertinent questions and then offering options at the end as to which jobs might be the most suitable.

One of the most popular careers guidance sites with school leavers is Morrisby, a platform with research tools to help students discover the world of work and what's available. You can take a free career aptitude test that only takes five minutes and involves answering 25 questions, with an instant answer at the end which suggests which industry is the best fit for you.

And remember, if you choose a career and two years down the line you're getting fidgety, with an ever-impending idea that 'it's greener on the other side', then the opportunity is there for change. Back in the day, a job for life was the norm. Now the workplace is much more flexible and switching companies or roles is not frowned upon as it used to be.

So delve into National Careers Week 2022 and see what awaits you out there.

The recruitment experts at TopCV can help you with careers guidance and support on any career queries you may have. Check out their blog or get a FREE review of your CV.

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