How I built my CV outside of my 9-5 and how you can to!
As a young person myself (well youngish!), I found it tough to separate myself from my peers at the start of my career, as most young people do. Even most ‘entry-level’ jobs will request some form of experience, which seems ironic, how exactly do you get that experience?
Throughout school, Rugby was my passion and the only career that I could see myself doing. But shortly after my 18th Birthday I, unfortunately, ended up in a wheelchair with a career-ending broken neck.
After my recovery, I, like many other job seekers, had a reasonably strong education but almost no working experience. I could talk about rugby with a leadership or success spin but so could so many other candidates. I knew that I needed to really excel and prove myself, both inside and outside of the working environment, so here is what I did:
I decided that sales was a good career choice for me as I’m confident and it represented a tangible way to quickly separate myself from my peers. I then applied for every sales job I could find and approached every recruitment agency with the criteria that I wanted a job in sales. I didn’t care what it was selling, where it was or what it was paying, I’d do it.
Subsequently, I obtained a temporary role completing surveys via cold calling for Salon International, which my friends found hilarious! But following this, I quickly obtained a permanent telesales role selling pay-day loans.
I was determined to be the best and every evening I researched and practised new sales techniques to ensure that every call I made was perfect. Within my first month, I was one of the top 3 salespeople within the company and this success only increased until I was ‘head-hunted’ by a finance firm in Moscow – I had finally got my big break!
What you can do
At the start of our careers, no matter the sector or role, it’s really difficult to get your big break. In my experience, it’s vital to gain practical experience as quickly as possible and the money will come later.
My biggest advice is volunteer, volunteer, volunteer.
If, like me, you want to work in sales, I would recommend spending some of your free time fundraising for a charity. If you’re door-knocking or cold calling, even if it’s only for a few weeks over summer, it will really boost your CV.
Alternatively, if you are passionate about marketing, websites like ‘Fiverr’ or Facebook selling pages are a great place to scout out clients and offer your services. My advice would be to offer your time for free, in exchange, you can build a portfolio of work to showcase your talents.
Even if you’re already a marketer, look at what parts of marketing aren’t covered in your day job and gain this experience via volunteering. Again charities are great, they’re a good cause and their goals are normally financial, meaning that you can quickly use stats to evidence your work.
Confidence is also a big area that many young people struggle with, which is understandable, you’ve not done this before and most people you meet will be more experienced than you. My biggest advice is to start networking, even if you may not need it for your day job, it’ll have huge value.