Finding a job can feel like a challenge when employers expect you to have a lot of experience and you are still building it up. The good news? You already have personal skills and strengths that employers want.
What skills can you boost without qualifications?
There are quite a few. Here are some examples:
- Problem solving
- Positive attitude
- Resilience (the ability to get back up when life knocks you down, and learn from mistakes)
Which of these sound like you? And which do you think you could do with boosting a bit more?
You can build all these skills over time, whatever situation you are in. They are skills that employers love you to have. They're a great way to show you are the perfect fit for a job or opportunity even if you don't have much work experience yet!
What skills do you already have?
Ask a friend you trust what the five best things about you are.
- Are you a good shoulder to cry on? That's teamwork.
- Do you always lift their spirits? That's positive attitude.
- Do you always have a plan for fun when your friendship group is bored? That's leadership.
- Are you the one to smooth things over when friends have an argument? That's communication. It can also be a sign of great teamwork and leadership, because there's more than one way to be a leader!
- Are you the one who remembers everyone's birthday and makes them a cake? Do you have an exams revision schedule and stick to it? Amazing. You sound really organised.
- If a problem crops up, do you panic or do you try to come up with a few solutions and pick the one that makes most sense? That's problem solving.
You can see why employers love these skills. They will help you fit into a new job, take instructions from your manager, do your best and be excited about learning new things (and even learning from your mistakes, because it's okay, we all make them).
Think about what you've achieved in life so far. School projects, work experience, part-time jobs, hobbies and interests... how did you make things go well? What did you get praised for? What are you especially proud of? Asking yourself these questions will give you insight into your strengths and skills.
When and how to talk about your skills to employers
CV personal statements and cover letters
When you make a personal statement at the top of your CV, or when you write a cover letter for a job application, you will often mention your skills and strengths. So it's good to know what they are!
Job descriptions will say what skills the employer is looking for
When you look at any job vacancy or opportunity like an apprenticeship, you will often see a section called something like "what we need" or "requirements". It will then list out some of the skills you might need to be a great fit for that opportunity. Make sure you echo these skills and show how you have them in your cover letter and (fingers crossed) interview!
You can often figure out what skills are needed in a job from the duties and responsibilities mentioned in a job vacancy description. For example, an office admin assistant job might say you'll be organising the stationery cupboard and answering calls. You can guess that your communication skills and your organisational skills are going to come in useful in this role! Even if you haven't done lots of office admin jobs before, you can still impress the employer by showing how you used your communication/organising skills in volunteering, work experience, part-time jobs or a passion-project you are especially proud of.
Talking about your skills in job interviews
You might get a job interview by phone, online video call, or a face-to-face interview in an office. You will often be asked "give me an example of a time when you displayed communication" (or whatever skill they are looking for). So make sure you can give examples of how you've used your skills and personal strengths in the past!
Boost your skills with free training
Lots of organisations offer young people free skills training courses. They are a great way to boost your confidence (and your CV). Sometimes these courses take place online.
Manchester Mind Skills Training
Manchester Mind run a number of free courses to help build skills and confidence over the year, delivered by their qualified and friendly Manchester Mind trainers.
Free skills training events in Greater Manchester
Look on Eventbrite and you'll see free training opportunities (both online and in venues) for all kinds of skills in Manchester. Why not take a look? Get inspired by freebies to help you boost everything from digital knowhow to your personal confidence and employability skills.
We haven't checked out every course listed, but you can see what's listed and decide if it sounds like a good fit for you.
See upcoming events
Youth Employment UK Young Professional training
Wherever you live in Manchester and beyond, you can sign up to free online Young Professional training. You'll get weekly tips and insights to boost your skills, and also hear about youth-friendly employers and opportunities.
Young Professional training
Boost your skills with volunteering
Volunteering is a great way to build your skills and learn new ones. EXTRA BONUS: You can also add volunteering to your CV to impress employers! Volunteer Centre Manchester usually has lots of different ways for you to broaden your horizons, learn new skills and get involved.
Volunteer Centre Manchester
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Know Your Options