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Finding a job if you’re aged 18-24

Youth unemployment has become an escalating and persistent issue in the UK, with the 18-24 age group most negatively affected in economic downturns. Most recently, the Coronavirus pandemic has seen a greater increase in young people out of work, compared to other age groups amid the UK population. The latest employment statistics published by BBC, show that the number of people aged 18-24 claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker's Allowance doubled in the UK, from March to June 2020.

The main causes of unemployment amongst 18-24 year old’s includes lack of experience and job-related qualifications, rise in retirement age, lack of graduate jobs, gaps between education and employment and employer’s perception of young people. But what can young people do to avoid being part of the 11.2% of 18-24 year old’s in the UK that were not in education, employment or training (NEETs) from January to March 2020 (ONS, 2020) Here’s some of our suggestions.

Complete a work placement

One of the main reasons why young people struggle to find paid employment is because of lack of experience. Gaining any form of work experience will help you to build your skillset and improve your CV.

Sector-based work academies (SBWA’s) are a great way of getting practical, hands-on experience as well as training to gain exposure in an industry. SBWA’s usually last up to six weeks (just enough time to see whether you like the job and organisation) and often offer guaranteed interviews leading to permanent roles within the organisation.

The Prince’s Trust specialise in helping young people find jobs, improve confidence and support with self-employment. They offer some great opportunities to gain insights into your chosen sector through their “Get Into” initiatives.

For more information on SBWA’s and gaining access to other work experience initiatives, consult with your Community Coach at Business 2 Business.

Continuously amend your CV

Never have one generic CV that you use to apply for all jobs. Instead, use the job description and carefully match the requirements of the role and incorporate this into your CV. For example, if the recruiter has stated that they are looking for someone with great interpersonal skills, then include this in your key skills section, personal profile or how you demonstrated this in previous roles. Personalising your CV to individual job applications will highlight that you are a relevant match for the role and increase your chances of getting an interview.

Our employability courses can give you the tools to successfully customise your CV and complete job applications successfully.

Do an apprenticeship

As the cost of completing a university degree has continued to increase, apprenticeships have become an attractive and cost-effective alternative. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to literally earn whilst you learn. It enables you to network with local employers, obtain recognised qualifications and provides access to real development opportunities. Your Community Coach can also help you search and apply for apprenticeship opportunities and prepare for interviews.

Be open to volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your community, meet new people, improve your health and help others.

It’s also a welcoming addition to your CV, particularly when you are short on paid work experience. Volunteering has become an increasingly valued activity, with many employers empowering their current workforce to support local charitable initiatives. Although, you may initially overlook volunteering as it’s usually unpaid, it can be fruitfully rewarding and really help you develop your skills and experience. Your Community Coach can help you seek volunteering opportunities.

Clear up your social media pages

Many hiring managers will openly admit that they will often analyse candidate’s social media profiles before deciding on whether to recruit them. When actively applying for jobs, be prepared for recruiters to view your social media content and think about what you want to convey.


In the first instance, review your privacy settings and ensure that potential employers cannot see any unwanted photos, comments or posts.

If you do actively comment on social media platforms, do your due diligence checks and comment respectfully.

Do not

Never post any content that criticises previous employers or colleagues.

Remove any content that associates you with any illegal substances, extreme political views that could be interpreted as being discriminative or offensive.


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