These days a lot of people leave school and go straight into a hostile and competitive job market, whilst others find themselves out of work later in life and unsure how to land a new role. This means that it’s important to build up the skills and personal qualities that will help you survive your job hunt. While youngsters without much experience can find it particularly tricky to secure their first position, people trying to change career or re-join the job market after a period of unemployment can need a little extra support, too. Before we get onto the tips, it’s important to remember that taking a little while to find the right position is perfectly normal – so don’t give up, because there’s plenty of work out there when you know how to look.

Learn how to talk yourself up

This is not about exaggerating your achievements but learning to communicate them effectively. Simply listing the things that you’ve done and qualifications you have isn’t enough: you need to show prospective employers how these things translate into skills that will help their business, and let your personality shine through. CVs are often dull documents, but they don’t have to be. A good tip here is to ask someone you trust to describe your skills. They’re likely to be less critical and give you some helpful phrases to make your bio pop.

Think differently about interviews

As soon as you start thinking about interviews as helpful conversations rather than tests of your ability, something changes. Instead of being a daunting trial that you need to beat, it becomes an opportunity to find out whether you’d like the job and be good at it. If the answer is no and you don’t get the job (or decide to refuse it – that’s a valid option if you think you’ll be miserable), then it just shows that the position wasn’t right for you. This won’t necessarily help you land a job sooner, but it’s a great way to remove some of the stress from the process.

Develop essential basic skills

Whether you’re looking for a general role in a field such as admin or customer service, or something more specialised, you’re likely to lose out if you can’t demonstrate certain basic skills. Notably, these are IT and communication: if you’re lacking in either of these areas then you need to brush up, quickly. For IT, there are plenty of online courses and evening classes that can teach the basics tasks like word documents, spreadsheets. For developing soft skills, like communication, there are lots of self-help books to read as well as articles online with tips and advice.

Build up resilience

The key to emerging on top is ensuring that you get back up again after every knockback. This is what’s called resilience, and you can build it up by accepting that it’s okay if things don’t always go your way. We realise that it can be easier said than done when you have bills to pay and mouths to feed, but it’s a great way to take control of your search for a new job.