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Job -hunting

There are certain things you can do that will dramatically improve your chances of getting back into work.

Quite often it’s not just about what you can do, such as your experience or your qualifications. Employers regularly tell us that as well as job specific skills, they’re just as interested in qualities that are hard to train, such as reliability, punctuality, honesty and enthusiasm.

So how do you prove these things if you’ve been out of work?

Voluntary work, working interviews, work trials and job placements all give you a chance to show your enthusiasm, reliability and ability to do a job.

This can really pay off because as well as taking people on by advertising in newspapers, employers will often recruit from their volunteers, or from those who are willing to do an unpaid work trial. These can be one of the best ways of showing that you’re serious about finding a job. 

Working for agencies can be a great way to build experience too, and is often the main route to work in sectors such as manufacturing, production and warehousing.  

Try and make yourself indispensable to the agency - that means being available for work at short notice and being prepared to do anti-social shifts. It can help you stand out and could be rewarded with long term work.

When you do get an interview, make sure you’re enthusiastic and show that you want to work for them specifically, not that you just want any job.

And if you’ve been out of work for a while, explain what you’ve been doing. Talk about training courses, voluntary work and helping out in your local community, and don’t be embarrassed to say if you’ve been bringing up children or managing a health condition. 

Top ten tips

  1. Ensure your CV is up-to-date and tailored to the job you’re applying for.

  2. Get someone else to check your CV, don’t rely on spell checker. Sloppy mistakes could mean your CV ends up in the rejected pile.

  3. If you’re not sure how to write a CV, contact your local National Careers Service (link) who can help you produce one.

  4. Prepare for an interview by doing some research on the company – they’re bound to have a website

  5. Be enthusiastic and interested in working for them

  6. First impressions count – always dress appropriately for an interview.

  7. Make eye contact with the interviewers and smile.

  8. At interview, give examples of positive things you have done or been involved with.

  9. Prepare some questions you can ask at the end of the interview – think training opportunities and over-time, not holidays and perks.

  10. Thank the interviewers, give the impression that you really want the job and that you look forward to hearing from them.