I spent a very interesting day today up at Saints Peter and Paul’s Catholic Sports College in Widnes at a Year 10 Careers Day organised by Heather Heaton from Today Starts Now. (@todaystartsNOW)
The day was simple – sit at a table and we will wheel in 14 to 17 year old students who can ask you about your business and how they could work for you. In fact it was even easier than that as most of them had no ideas what to ask, especially as I simply sat at a table with a business card in front of me.
As I said to one group, “There’s a bloke, sitting alone at a table, and all he has in front of him is a business card. Either he’s going to be very dull or very interesting. Right now it could go either way, and as I have no props I’d better start by telling you what we do”. After that the host started introducing me as “the bloke who pays people to go on Facebook all day” and after that a bit of a queue appeared.
Naturally I was obliged to then explain that it’s not all about going on Facebook, there are other things that make up the day to day job, but with Google putting more weight towards ‘social signals’ this could well be the way things need to be in the future.
All the people who work for us start out blogging, so getting a decent grade in English is essential, as is actually enjoying the process of writing. The often tedious task of ‘essay writing’ for English isn’t so much about what you know about the subject, although that inevitably forms part of the marking, it’s more about whether you know how to string a sentence together. Then whether you can follow it with another and then make those into a paragraph. With a couple of paragraphs in place can you find a start, middle and end to what you write and can you make it compelling to read? If you’ve got this far down the blog then you can see the point I’m making…..
The teachers actually know more than you sometimes give them credit for – they are trying to drill these disciplines into you knowing full well that once you leave school no matter what you want to do, you will have to write things down. Listen to them; they DO know stuff which will be useful to you once you leave.
And for those of you who declared that ‘going on Facebook would be my ideal job’ please understand that whilst I do pay people to have Facebook open all day, it’s not all about ‘LOL’ and sharing people falling off skateboards (although that does have its place!) but it’s knowing how what you do on Social channels helps the businesses we work for make money.
And there’s the bottom line; it’s all about the money. No matter which business employs you once you leave school, they are all in business to make money. Your job is to help them do that by providing a service which adds value to their customers and helps them make money. You do that by getting the job with them in the first place and to do that you need to have an interview, which is normally preceded by sending in your CV.
And so we get to the nub of the issue. Your CV will tell a prospective employer volumes about you, so make sure it has decent grades on the there. Whether you like it or not many businesses today simply judge candidates on their CV before they ever meet them. You could be the best in the world at what you want to do but without a good CV you won’t get the chance to show them.
Today however I was pleasantly surprised. What I saw was a group of interesting, engaged young people who are likely to do very well. There were some great questions asked, some engaging conversations and genuine interest shown.
As someone who had never even heard of your school before the start of this week let me tell you that you all made a great impression on me. I walked away from the day feeling honoured to have been asked to attend and impressed with your courtesy, manners and enthusiasm. I was even asked about apprenticeships for two years hence and of course the answer was yes, talk to me once you have finished school.
If you are a yardstick for the youth of today, and having seen so many of you today I see no reason why this shouldn’t hold true, then I have no doubt that the future is in good hands.