jason lancaster
By Jason Lancaster, Vice Principal on 4 October 2017

What do employers look for?

That’s a question we’ve all asked at some point, particularly when we’re thinking about applying for a new job. Of course, every employer is different. I can’t claim to be an avid follower of Alan Sugar’s Apprentice, now back on our screens. However, I’m not sure he’s absolutely typical of what you’ll find when you start brushing up your CV.

We tend to assume that great subject knowledge is all-important but I think you might be surprised.

Here are a few things I’ve been asked about learners over the many years I’ve worked with all sorts of employers, small and large.

• Do they turn up on time?

• Will they fit in with my team?

• Will they be OK on the phone to my customers?

• Are they smart and tidy?

• Are they so shy I won’t know they’re there?

• Can they manage a range of jobs?

• Can I trust them to get on with the jobs I give them?

No one does all of these things brilliantly all the time and we’ll each have a few skills we really struggle with. The trick to getting better at them all is to practice them day in day out.

If you’re on a full-time course at Northampton College, you can practice these by getting into the habit of producing good work and handing it in on time, throwing yourself into those scary group activities, presenting in front of the class (I promise it gets easier!) and turning up for all your lessons on time.

Of course, you’ll also be able to practice these while you’re out on your work experience placement.

If you’re on an apprenticeship, you can do all of the above as well as pushing yourself when at work to say ”hi” to the other employees and making sure you manage your workload carefully.

Either way, practice makes perfect!

(I hope you appreciate that I didn’t end this blog with “or else You’re Fired!”)