It can be frustrating watching you son or daughter apply for jobs and get knocked back, when you know how good they would be. It is hard to intervene though. It may be that you just don’t know the best way to help, or what employers are really looking for from entry level candidates, or it may be that your child does not want you to get involved. Furthermore, even if they beg for your help and you know that you would be able to do it better, you will not be helping them out at all by writing out their CV for them. This is because job applications are hugely personal and, therefore, have to be completed individually. Having said this, there are a number of ways that you can help with each stage of the job application process.

Scrabble tiles forming the words application with other tiles surrounding it

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CVs and Cover Letters

Structure- If you want to help your child with their CV or cover letters, you can start by making sure that they understand how to structure them. By doing this you are not editing the basic information they contain but making sure that everything they want to say comes across clearly. To find out more about how to structure a starter CV or Cover letter, see our student’s guide.

Skills- The best way you can help your son or daughter with their job applications, is to help them understand their skills. This is one of the areas which students have the most trouble with and it is essential for both CVs and Cover Letters. To find out more about young people and skills, see our Building Skills section.

Proof Read- The final way to help your child perfect their CV or Cover Letter is to proof read it. Large companies, where jobs are competitive, will often throw out any job application with a spelling mistake or typo, even without reading it. Proof reading, therefore, is a great way to improve your child’s chances without taking over the whole application process.



Research- When interviewing for a job, candidates should have a good idea of what the industry is they will be working in, what role the company plays in that industry, what the company’s ethos and founding values are and what exactly their role will be in the company. This may seem obvious, but it might not be for those attending their very first interviews. Therefore, you should make sure your child understand the importance of researching before an interview. You could also help them with their research, show them which things they could mention and where to find the information they need.

Preparation- Another way to help your son or daughter with their interviews is to help them with preparation. This might mean letting them know what sorts of questions to expect, helping them prepare answers for these questions, or even going through a mock interview with them. You should be aware, however, that, with interview, getting more involved than your child wants you to is not a good idea. It just make them more stressed or more nervous. Therefore, gauge from them the extent of the help they want. If you want to know more about what young people can expect from interviews, see the student guide to Interviews.

First Impressions- On the day of the interview itself, you can help your child by making sure they make a good first impression. Ensure that they are dressed sufficiently smartly but remember that different companies have different rules on dress. For example, wearing a suit to an interview at a bar would look out of place and a bit immature. Also make sure that they know where they are going, the name of the person they are seeing and the time of the interview, so that they come across as highly professional.

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