Re-entering the jobs market can be a bewildering experience at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic.
Money Mail has spoken to market experts to help you get back on the ladder as quickly as possible …
Daunting: Re-entering the jobs market can be a bewildering experience at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic
WHERE TO LOOK
Cast your net wide. Generalist job sites, such as Indeed, are fine for an initial exploration, but don’t simply search these each day.
Mark Ferries, of the Government’s National Careers Service, says employers often advertise on specialist websites because it is a more targeted way of finding workers.
If you are looking for a job in a particular industry, register with a recruiter or job site that specialises in that area.
In some industries, up to 85 per cent of vacancies are not advertised. To find these, you need to network.
Social media is increasingly pivotal in the jobs market and online communities can help direct you to a job that is not being advertised. But still keep an eye out in the wider media.
Registering with more than one agency can increase your chances of finding a job.
Call and ask if they deal with vacancies in the field you’re interested in. Examples of major recruitment agencies include Adecco, Reed and Venturi.
Jobseekers can filter searches for agencies by industry and location at agencycentral.co.uk. Do not use any agency that asks for money as they should be getting paid by the employers.
Keep in regular contact and let them know what specialist skills you have and your availability. Ask for feedback if you’re not getting results.
LinkedIn is the main platform used by recruiters, so get a profile if you don’t have one.
Barney Ely, managing director at recruitment firm Hays, says: ‘It is a living, breathing version of your CV’, which employers can access.
He says your page should have a professional photo, but ‘to really stand out’ make your profile interactive by including work-related videos and posts.
You should also include keywords in your profile that are related to the industry you are hoping to work in to help recruiters find you.
Employers are increasingly looking at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so make sure what they see there about you is not off-putting.
DON’T DO IT ALONE
There is no shame in asking for help either from personal contacts or charities, whatever your age.
The National Careers Service can provide one-to-one consultations to anyone within 12 weeks of their redundancy date, before or after.
Its advisers can signpost you to relevant industry training programmes, job boards, recruiters and regulators, as well as answering any other questions.
I shook for two days… then sprang into action
Advice: Christina Patterson
For me, it was like falling off a cliff. It was only after I left the office that I started shaking. I didn’t stop for two days.
First, there’s the shock. Then there’s the shame. Then there’s the panic. Your head is a jangled mass of thoughts. Failure! Fear! Bills!
This, at any rate, is how it was for me when I lost my job seven years ago, at the age of 49. It had taken me a long, long time to get a staff job as a writer and columnist on a national paper. I was single and didn’t have a family; work was my world.
Losing a job is a bereavement. You will rage, you will panic, you will grieve and you will worry, because losing a job is no picnic at the best of times and we can safely say that a pandemic isn’t one of those.
Allow yourself a few days of grieving, then kick into action. Get up at the same time every day. Exercise, eat well and try to develop a good sleep routine, because you are now in training for a marathon.
You will need to look at your situation, or get other people to help you take a look, with cool eyes.
Are you in an industry that’s likely to recover and need your skills again?
If not, will you need to get new ones? Who can help you? Is there any free online training?
Get on with claiming benefits! This is no time to be proud.
When I lost my job, I learnt how my journalistic skills could be of use to other companies. For example, I wrote a report into the state of global dementia research for a charity.
I sometimes work for people half my age. I earn less than I earned before, but the kind of job I did before has pretty much gone. And now that I’m freelance, I have my freedom.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to lose a job. But it is not the end of the world.
- Christina Patterson is the author of The Art Of Not Falling Apart and host of the podcast Work Interrupted: Rethinking Work in a Pandemic.
Networking will help you access jobs, let people know that you’re looking and help you find out more about a particular career or company.
This can be done via friends and family, social media or more formally via job fairs and industry events.
Help people help you by making it clear what you are looking for and offer something in return. If you’re given another name to contact about a job, do it.
If someone gives you their business card, write down something memorable about them on the back of it. This will help you to pick up the conversation later.
IT’S A PANDEMIC!
Target Jobs says you should allow extra time for employers to get back to you at the moment. Interviews are likely to be conducted by video.
Sell yourself: A CV should be no longer than two pages, most recent job first. Bullet- point key responsibilities and achievements
Practise these with a friend and record them on your laptop.
Check the background and light levels your interviewer will see; uncluttered is best. Mr Ely says all firms have been affected by the virus, so find out how before you get to the interview.
PART-TIME & TEMP
This can be a good option if you need a new job straight away due to financial pressures, or just want a stopgap while you wait for companies to start hiring again.
Most of the UK’s major supermarkets, delivery firms and some other retailers are on a hiring spree and applications are being fast tracked, with reports of overnight hires and next-day inductions. But it will reduce the amount of time you have for your job search.
THE DREADED CV
A CV should be no longer than two pages, most recent job first. Bullet- point key responsibilities and achievements under each role.
Make it clear you lost your latest job due to Covid-19, if applicable. Education can be included if you’re early on in your career.
Tailor each one by looking at job descriptions for roles you are applying for and mirror them in your CV. Ask friends and family to read it over. Read theirs and pinch any good ideas.
Redundancy can be a major blow to self-esteem. Emma Mano, head of workplace wellbeing at mental health charity Mind, says: ‘It is important to recognise that losing your job might not be a reflection on yourself. This is a global pandemic.’
Why you’re never too old to be an apprentice
Apprenticeships are typically viewed as a way into work for young people — but there is no upper age limit to applications and they can provide vital retraining for mid-life career changers.
Case study: Dilek Houghton
Dilek Houghton says her IT apprenticeship has been a ‘great way to kick-start’ her career after she took time out to raise her young children.
Dilek’s previous work was in administrative roles. She found out about an apprenticeship with AstraZeneca.
The 37-year-old, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, is now halfway through the four-year scheme, which includes a fully-funded degree in digital and technology solutions at Manchester Metropolitan University.
‘It’s a great way to kick-start your career. All you need is the passion and right motivation.’
But Lee Jones, 38, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, warns some firms do put up an age barrier. The father-of-two is working for a parcel sorting warehouse, but wants to become an apprentice electrician.
He says he has applied to six schemes over five weeks but hasn’t heard back, while some providers have an age cap of 25.
Now could be the perfect time to take advantage thanks to a Government scheme to encourage businesses to take on 100,000 new apprentices in the next six months.
Last month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that, from August to January, any firm that hires a new apprentice aged 16 to 24 will receive £2,000, while those that hire new apprentices aged 25 and over will be paid £1,500.
All apprentices are paid a minimum of £4.15 per hour in their first year. Those aged 19 or over will be paid the national minimum wage after that.
Apprentices should receive 20 per cent of their training ‘off the job’, which also discourages firms from recruiting them as a cheaper option to full-time staff.
The Government says 91 per cent of apprentices stay in work or go on to further training.
But Ofsted inspection results for the nine months up to June 2020 show 42 per cent of apprenticeship providers in England were rated as either inadequate or requiring improvement.
The Government says two-thirds of apprentices go to providers rated as good or outstanding and says the disparity is due to the fact that there are a large number of new providers, which don’t necessarily have a large intake.
It adds that it has introduced a register for apprenticeship providers to regulate quality.
Despite the incentives, many employers are making apprentices redundant due to the pandemic, according to Darryn Lewis, of Find Apprenticeships.
But he adds: ‘Many training providers have adapted to offer remote training to be able to support the majority of learners and keep their courses running.’
The Advanced Learner Loan scheme can cover childcare or travel costs. The National Apprenticeship Services hosts networking events, while the website apprenticeshipguide.co.uk provides case studies and insight into both current and upcoming schemes.
A full list of Ofsted-approved apprenticeships can be found at download.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/roatp.
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