When 16-22 year olds are transitioning between education and employment, it can be a confusing and worrying time for them. They may already be feeling vulnerable and uncertain when it comes to taking the initial step onto the corporate ladder so will naturally look to older, more experienced people for guidance – such as parents, teachers or recruiters.
Although young people face many of the same pressures growing up that we did, the growth of social media has intensified them. In a world that has become extremely fast-moving and competitive, young adults are afraid to fail.
The pressure to do well at school, be popular, confident and able to find a job quickly is made harder with tweets, Instagram posts and Snapchat stories of seemingly perfect lives.
Young people who are not in education, employment or training for a substantial period are less likely to find work in later life, and more likely to experience poor long-term health (Audit Commission 2010). Therefore, we all need to help our young people feel confident and ready to take on the challenges life will inevitably throw at them.
- Use positive language
Never use the word “fail” in the same context as a young person – they are learning and finding their way. Words can impact hugely on self-confidence, and referring to a young person as a “failure” will destroy their self-belief. Using positive language will inspire them to take risks and motivate them to succeed.
- Embrace their individuality
Reassure them that everyone fits somewhere, is just about finding the right path that they are supposed to be on. Encourage them to focus on their strengths, acknowledge their weaknesses and be proud of what makes them different. A good customer service personality, can’t be taught through education – it’s nurtured through life!
- Encourage them to explore all options
Understand that University isn’t always the best option for everyone. Instead, encourage them to explore other avenues, research different career paths and what they involve, and look into personal qualities required for a job as much as qualifications. There are training roles out there that can be obtained with good GCSE/A Level qualifications which may suit the young person more.
- Celebrate their soft skills
How you carry yourself counts for as much as what there is to show on paper, sometimes more. A good education will only serve alongside the right personality. As important as exam results are, making sure communication skills, self-awareness and other ‘soft skills’ are strong will give a better footing in the long run.
- Help them to be their best self
Give them the foundations to self-sell. Building a CV without experience can be tough so support them to get involved with extracurricular activities will not only promote self-confidence but will show future employers that they have an inner drive.
When young people are confident, they are more likely to be assertive, positive, engaged, enthusiastic and persistent. All key attributes for succeeding in the workplace. What our young people need is the recognition, career advice, and support so that their job search efforts have a chance of success.
If you know someone who hasn’t yet secured their first job, please send them our way. We have a huge variety of job vacancies waiting for the right candidate – many who are looking for school leavers. Take a look online or give the friendly team at Ambitions a call on 614841.