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Skills for entering the job market

Thursday 6th May celebrates National Skills Days. To celebrate, we hear from Zack Fortag- a 19 year-old business owner who runs a social enterprise in London. His business helps young people to find opportunities. Here he shares his top tips for young people entering the job market in the digital world and what key skills they need. Zack Fortag business owner

At Ahead of Time Academy, our focus is to help young people who struggled in the traditional education system and to give them opportunities that lead them to employment or entrepreneurship. We believe all young people can achieve greatness.

In the past year our organisation has worked with over 5,000 young people across the UK. We have held lots of events and provided young people with employment tips and contacts. One of our aims is helping young people prepare for the world of work. ,

To do this we produced a series of courses which help young people learn how to write a CV or a cover letter. We have also covered how to prepare for an interview and the appropriate steps in applying and securing a job. We’ve held employer events, where we sent the candidates CVs and connected them digitally. Through this, several candidates were offered further interviews, and as a result, gained employment.

Adapting to the virtual world

One of the recent challenges we have faced, as have others, was adapting to a new way of working due to the impact of Covid. Employers now more than ever are looking to hire younger people who are technologically sound and can work remotely. This  is a new working landscape to what it was a year and half ago. We managed to overcome this by working closely with employers and recruiters to adapt and respond to the new working world.

Employability skills

There are a lot of skills you need when trying to enter the job market. One key skills is persistence - when you apply for jobs in the industry you’re interested in, you must take the time to follow up with them, or even something as simple as connecting with the employer on LinkedIn could make a HUGE difference between getting a foot in the door and not. Another key factor is your CV. After reading through lots of CVs, I would always say keep it brief and relatable. My tip is to express your hunger and passion for the role. When you get to the next step of getting an interview, the skill you should try and show is confidence and portraying good body language.

Now with the new digital landscape, most interviews are on Zoom. My top tips for this are to dress smart, keep eye contact, try have a simple background and to make sure it is a quiet space. Once you have secured the job the best advice I would give is to work hard, keep listening and taking in all advice you can get.

With the employment market changing in the past year so dramatically, more business owners and employers are conducting interviews online, so it requires a different skill set to boss an interview. I think more companies are going to move forward without the costs of an office, so more and more jobs will be through remote homework. There has also been a huge increase in youth employment due to the pandemic which has been why our work has been so crucial. Hopefully with the pandemic easing up the economy can get back up and more young people can gain employment.

You can reach me on social media: @zackfortag

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