Using DofE experience to make young people more employable
Whether a young person is doing their DofE and about to choose their next sectional activity, or coming to the end of their DofE journey and thinking about the sort of job or career they’d like to have, here’s five ways they can use their DofE skills and experience to help make themselves more employable.
Plan ahead for their CV
Even if they’re not looking for work at the moment, keeping notes now could prove useful in the future. Encourage your child to note down anything they can put on their CV and build up a bank of stories they call tell potential employers. For example, when they’ve solved a problem, dealt with a tricky situation or demonstrated good organisational skills as part of their DofE – these can all help with future job applications and interviews. Then, when they’re ready to apply for a new role, they can use our CV template to help them showcase these skills and experiences, as well as their academic achievements, and make that all-important first impression count.
Encourage them to clean up their social media
Before they send out their CV, encourage them to think about what future employers might find if they researched them online (as so many do these days). They should search for themselves on Google (including an image search). They should check their privacy settings on Facebook to make sure the public can’t see all of their posts, and they should do the same for all their other social media accounts. They should also delete any unused accounts. They might want to create a LinkedIn profile, which can be a useful tool for job hunting, networking, and professional development. Here, they can add their DofE volunteering to either the ‘Experience’ or ‘Volunteering’ section on a CV. They could also add their DofE Award to their headline to help them stand out.
Don’t leave any gaps
If they have an idea of the industry they want to work in, they could do some research to find out what skills companies and organisations are looking for. What does your child already have, and where are their weak points? They should start by thinking about all those skills they’ve gained or developed by doing their DofE that are related to the type of job they’re aiming for. Once they’ve worked this out, they should look at the skills areas they’re still missing and how they can fill those gaps. They might want to progress to the next Award level to try out some different activities or become a DofE volunteer to learn new skills, such as fundraising, event organising or accountancy/treasury.
Try new things
The best way for your child to find out if they would enjoy something is for them to give it a go. They could investigate opportunities that are related to the field they want to get into. The DofE's Volunteering section is the perfect opportunity for them to do this and is a low-risk way to get a taste of something they may later want to follow as a career. Plus, it proves a lot of things to potential employers – that they’re generous with their time – and is an ideal way to fill a CV. If they'd like more information on how to include DofE volunteering in their CV then point them to our article.
Once they have an idea about the type of job they want to apply for, they should start to build on their industry knowledge. They can take a look at the LifeZone for inside tips from leading businesses, including what attributes they look for in recruits. They could follow related content on social media and keep an eye out for articles in the news which talk about that industry – the more knowledge they have, the better.
For more useful tips on how to describe the skills they’ve developed through their DofE on their CV and applications, and how to talk about them at interviews, visit the LifeZone.