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​Prospects: Career Prospects

28/03/2016 Sophie

Around this time last year, it was revealed that young people are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed that the rest of the population, the largest gap in more than 20 years. The unemployment rate of 16 to 24-year olds was 14.4 per cent, even though the overall unemployment rate stood at 5.7 per cent for the total working population, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Here at Digital Futures, we believe that apprenticeships represent an exciting opportunity to acquire new skills, gain valuable experience, earn while you learn, and ultimately secure full-time employment. But when it comes to applying for an apprenticeship or any other kind of work, you will need to stand out above the crowd of fellow candidates.

With this in mind, here are five ways to improve your career prospects:

1. Improve your language skills

Although English is understood the world over, you can boost your employment appeal significantly by speaking another language. You don’t necessarily need to be fluent, as a basic level of proficiency will still demonstrate confidence and willingness.

“Companies are operating over so many international boundaries, so the more languages and experience with different cultures you can bring to a company, the more you can help expand its global reach,” says Oliver Watson, managing director for UK, North America, and the Middle East at recruitment firm Michael Page.

2. Gain experience abroad

As Oliver Watson alludes to, the world is quickly becoming a single marketplace. As a result, job candidates with experience in different countries and exposure to different cultures will go straight to the top of the application form pile. In fact, an Erasmus Impact Study found that internationally mobile students are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared with their non-mobile counterparts.

One way of gaining experience abroad is through the British Council’s Study Work Create programme, which enables you to discover travel and work opportunities abroad. You can even receive advice about qualifications, costs, and practicalities.

3. Use your initiative

A common interview question is being asked to give an example of when you used your own initiative in the past. Employers want to know whether you are capable of working on your own, finding solutions to problems, and completing tasks with minimal assistance.

So, if you want to improve your career prospects, it makes sense to use your initiative with aspects of life closely related to work. Along with developing your own skill set, you will also have examples to impress potential employers with.

4. Take on more responsibilities

Yet another desirable trait that employers will be looking for is the ability to handle responsibility. This is often tough to demonstrate though, as young people aren’t routinely thrust into positions of power.

However, by working part-time, participating in exchange programmes, volunteering for a charity or mentoring other people, you will be able to show employers that you are an attentive, level-headed, and accountable individual. You might not get paid, but if you land a job on the back of this experience, it will be well worthwhile.

5. Apply for every opportunity available

Even if you have applied for numerous opportunities in the past and received rejections for every single one, you should never give up. Remember that you have got nothing to lose and if you don’t apply, you won’t achieve your dream career.

The process of applying for internships, placements, apprenticeships, and jobs will only increase your abilities and acumen too, so view it as a form of self-improvement. Favourable outcomes will eventually come to fruition if you have maximised you potential for employment, so just be patient.