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Actively and Desperately Seeking a Job
Preparing For Work
Trying to look for a job is not always an easy task. Limited skills, qualifications or confidence can set us all back in the fight for a chance of becoming employed.
There are so many steps to applying for work before being considered for an interview, and it certainly can be quite off putting.
But what is the alternative? Applying for job seeker benefits, living off your redundancy money or relying on your partner to bring in the wages are not always long term solutions. Being employed will bring in hard earned cash, job satisfaction, self respect and perhaps a social life too.
In today's economy, finding work is a struggle. There may be hundreds of applicants for the job you want, or you may be limited to what you can apply for. Lack of experience in that field or living in an area where jobs are of short supply can make things hard.
So, what can you do to improve your chances?
1) Try not to feel down
When you have no job and no money life can get depressing. Getting stuck in a rut is hard to get out of, especially if you just don't want to get out of bed in the morning.
Try your best to plan the next day ahead (write down a list if you need to). Set your alarm to get up early in the morning, even if you feel there is no point. If you are going to be at home all day, structure it. Plan your meals to be at set times and prepare them in advance. Spring clean your home, throwing away clutter and things you no longer need. You need a fresh start. Being positive is vital for your frame of mind, and this is just the beginning.
2) Write your Curriculum Vitae
Your CV (or resume) is something you'll have to send to potential employers. Make sure you have it prepared before you start job hunting.
If you feel you have little to put on your CV, include any jobs you have done in the past with relevant skills to the jobs you want to apply for now. Make sure your past employment is in order with most recent first. Include information which will interest employers and make you look interesting.
Remember, they have hundreds of resumes to get through, so this is the time to sell yourself.
3) Start buying your local newspaper
Check the weekly job pages regularly to see what is available. Circle the adverts you find interesting and those you have the skills to do. Go back and list them in order of preference and telephone for application forms.
If there is someone you can speak to for further information on the job then have a chat with them. Make yourself sound friendly and keen and make sure you leave your name. That case, when your application form appears on their desk they will remember you.
Your application form will include some of the same things as your CV: Education, qualifications, skills for the post, past employment and referees.
4) Go down to you local Job Center
There should be somewhere where you live where you can go to apply for jobs or speak to an adviser.
If you are unsure of what you are capable of doing someone here will be able to guide you. You may be offered some careers advice and help in what courses you can do if you need to update your skills. Or someone may help you to fill out applications forms or write your CV. Don't be afraid to ask if there is help there.
5) Do some voluntary work
When you need a job and money volunteering maybe the last option on your mind. But by doing voluntary work you will be doing yourself a favor.
Having big gaps between jobs can look bad even if you lost your job through no fault of your own. By showing a potential employer you are active and busy makes you look like an ideal and reliable candidate.
Choose what volunteer work to do wisely if you can. If you need a few skills in administration then ask your local library if they need help. For social skills, what about after school clubs?
Do something of interest to you and something you will benefit from doing too. Your local authority may give you contact details of groups and organizations.
6) Check the search engines
Always search for employment on the Internet. Use keywords to check what is available. Look at as many job sites as you can. If you are interested in working for a certain business then check their website, but if there is nothing available don't lose heart.
Limiting yourself to one area of employment or skill will make looking harder, as they might not crop up that often.
7) Pick up the telephone
Use a directory and go through it with a fine tooth comb. Be brave and ring some places to ask if they have any vacancies. Ask for a specific post so you sound direct and confident rather than vague, and looking for anything going.
You may also want to go into places in person and ask directly. Look smart and presentable. You might be given an application form and be remembered for appearing so interested.
8) Join a temping agency
Temping agencies are great for getting your foot in the door. They give you the opportunity to get work on your level of capability (because you'll do a skill test on typing, data entry, Microsoft Word, Excel, etc) and perhaps a chance of eventually applying for a permanent position within that company.
They are also good if you don't enjoy the job they give you. You will either be there for a short time, or you can go back to the agency and ask to be placed somewhere else. Don't do this too often though as you need to be seen as reliable, plus temping means temporary. Try to hold on to the job as long as possible.
You can join as many different agencies as you like. Some jobs may be shift work so you can work at two places at once (working your hours around the jobs).
Temping agencies offer work in all fields from office work to care work.
9) Go back to school
This may not suit everyone, but if you want some new qualifications going to college may be an option.
You can go into full time education, but you may have to pay. Look at any help you can get if you're eligible. Some courses give you bursaries and some offer help to parents with children in full time education. They will look at your individual situation.
Evening courses suit those who don't fancy sitting in a classroom full of teenagers. You can train to set up your own business (aromatherapy, hairdressing, language tutor), or get a new skill to get a job you'll enjoy.
You can also apply for distance learning courses at home. You'll get sent booklets to complete in you own time, but it'll be basic training.
10) Work for yourself
If you can't find a job then work for yourself instead. Many single mothers who struggle with childcare set up business from home, but for the unemployed this may be the way forward.
Freelancing or working for yourself doesn't always need qualifications - remember, there is no employer turning you down because you don't have a bachelor degree.
There are many options to choose from. Try selling Avon or other health products, hold Ann Summers or Herbal Life parties or sell products online.
Use your skills in your community. Try gardening, handy work or maintenance, cleaning or window cleaning.
Become a childminder or babysitter, dog groomer, PC repairer, music tutor, freelance writer or SEO expert.
You have a skill in something, so make money from it.
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