Advice for Candidates

Candidate Help & Advice

Choosing a new career path is one of the most important decisions you can make. No matter what your level of experience is, ensuring you choose the right position, at the right company, with the right salary is just as important as any other life-effecting decision.

Did you know the average full-time hours actually spent at work during a week are 39.5* so its important that you choose your career wisely. Whether you are just starting out, want to progress up the company ladder or want to move on and build your experience, your priorities should be to research and get as much good advice as you can and carefully evaluate your priorities – only then should you even think about dusting off and updating your CV.

General advice

This isn’t meant to be a definitive guide to the ‘perfect job search’ but hopefully it will help you with the fundamentals and guide you to other resources that may be helpful depending on your circumstances. The two main things to remember:

Know what is out there and make sure you’ve researched exactly what opportunities and career routes are available to you. Organisations like offer free independent careers advice for people at any level over the phone, online and by e-mail. Sometimes a career you’d never thought of branching into could turn into your ideal position.

Know yourself and keep in mind other circumstances that may affect your decision: location, debts, personality, future ambitions. Take a step back occasionally - especially if you are offered a job - and make sure you are making decisions with the broader picture in mind.

If this is your first job search the trick is to be prepared...

Be prepared to work your way up the ladder: Start early. Getting experience before you even begin to look for full time employment in this day and age can be just as important as your qualifications. For example, a prospective employer may be sat with hundreds of CVs from candidates with a marketing degree – but not a marketing degree PLUS part-time holiday experience at a local ad agency with a glowing reference. Be sure that you stand out from the crowd.

Be prepared with a well structured and up-to-date CV and answers to any interview questions that may come up: Once you have your foot in the door make sure you’ve done your research. Look at their website. Do test interviews with family or friends. Use the internet. In fact, the government have a web link on their site Directgov to help create your first CV (but its also useful for revising an old one).

Be prepared to keep your options open: have a look around, talk to as many different people and organisations as you can.

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