Stand Out - Support when you need it most
I came across UpRising’s Stand Out programme at a turning point in my life, after spending several months applying for jobs without success in the spring of 2020 – which was probably one of the most difficult times for job searching anyway. I had just dropped out of an academic programme, started a zero-hours contract job, but was furloughed 3 weeks after - my confidence levels were really low. I felt finding a job was a skill which was superficially mentioned by career services at university and didn’t understand what I could to do to get any job at this point. I signed up online to the programme and almost immediately, it completely changed my approach. Here are some of the things I learned from Stand Out!
Where are the jobs? I can’t find them or they are already taken...
Before I did Stand Out, my job search felt very static, looking at opportunities in a few well known places, as well as my university career service. I remember talking to different people doing all sorts of interesting jobs and I was always thinking – ‘Wow! Where do they find all these jobs?’. The classic job boards such as Indeed.com or Glassdoor and even LinkedIn only had limited opportunities available – or so I thought - and whenever I found something different, there were tens or maybe hundreds of applications already sent, and that always put me off applying.
Then steps in Stand Out! While doing the programme I attended sessions which mapped out the different places and more niche websites with jobs available in varied sectors, as well as alternative ways in which you can land a job. After finishing the programme, my job search felt different. It was no longer a static search in the same places where everyone was trying to find a job, but a more dynamic and proactive experience. Stand Out definitely answered my question of where and how to find the jobs I am actually interested in!
CVs and Cover Letters – how can I make them better?
I know the job search is more than just knowing the right places to look for jobs. You can always be in the right place, but have little chance of succeeding just because you don’t know how to make the best out of your CV or cover letters, especially in the early stages of your career when you don’t have that much experience. Before Stand Out, I knew that my CV wasn’t perfect – as if such thing exists – but I couldn’t exactly point out what I didn’t write as well as I could have.
Taking part in the programme, I learned from the experienced team at UpRising and wonderful volunteers what I can do to make my applications stand out and make sure that I can put the best version of my CV and cover letters out there. One great thing I learned on the programme was to get rid of the sense of shame I felt about part-time jobs which I thought weren’t ‘professional’ enough. The team at UpRising taught me to look on the bright side of everything I did and use any experience in my advantage. An honest recruiter will probably understand that not everyone will have 5+ years of relevant experience in their early twenties!
Community and Networking – it's a people’s world!
As I mentioned earlier, I think looking for a job is a valuable skill that isn’t taught enough in our education system. However, even for the most skilled people, sometimes circumstances mean that you can find the ideal job, write the best application you can, even attend an interview, perform really well and still not get the job. This experience can be really difficult and that’s why I think it’s so important to have a professional community to encourage you all the way.
Stand Out provided that for me and throughout the programme I learned why it is important to connect with people. By attending sessions on networking, I learned that professional opportunities can come from the people you know. It is so true that some people are more privileged and are part of networks which will help them, but I have learned that networking is a skill that can be learned – Stand Out provided me a space to learn and practice that and by bringing together professionals from varied sectors, the programme is a chance to grow your network and surround yourself with people who genuinely want you to succeed.
Sign up – It’s FREE and can help you get the job you want!
Stand Out was a game changer for me. Besides the skills I learned on the programme, I was surrounded by a positive community and it gave me a better chance of succeeding in this very difficult market.
If you feel stuck applying to jobs, have no idea where you are going in your career or want practical support in your job search, sign up to Stand Out - it’s completely FREE and there aren’t many better ways to spend your time if you are job searching right now or in the future! For me, this has certainly been the case.