As part of National Stress Awareness day, we know how stressful it can be to find a job, especially if you’ve experienced long term unemployment or have a health condition.
We asked Kayleigh Ashley, our Employment Adviser on Work Routes in Coventry what her advice would be on how to cope with job search stress.
1. Applying for roles can be stressful. What’s your advice about coping with job search stress?
Job searching can sometimes feel extremely miserable, especially when it’s all your doing, and don’t seem to be getting the responses you want from the employers quick enough.
As long as the job roles you are applying for are relevant, and realistic to your skills and abilities, you are doing the right thing, so stay positive, motivated and continue to apply.
Give yourself time and have breaks from applications, be prepared and be confident with what your offering, as it can all get on top of you sometimes leading to doubt, frustration and sometimes you can end up talking yourself out of applying at all.
2. What’s your best tip about updating a CV?
Your CV is what introduces you to the employer, it’s where you get to talk to them and tell them a bit about yourself, your skills, experience, developments and professional interests.
It is extremely important to ensure your CV is up to date and relevant, summarising those key points required to the role you have applied for, through your Personal Profile, Work Experience and Key Skills.
Always spell check your CV before saving, keeping your CV no longer than 2 pages long.
The first thing any employer will read is you’re Personal Profile, remember that, as it will help you remember including the key touch points required. The layout of a CV should include:
Name/Contact: Adding your address is an option, but you must always have an up to date contact number and a professional email address, to enable them to contact you.
Personal Profile: Express your interests within the sector, summarise relevant experience and key skills which makes you the applicant for the role.
Key Skills: Highlight your relevant skills, transferable skills, and give examples of your abilities.
Work Experience: Describe and tell them your work history, highlight duties that are similar to the duties required, show good team work and discuss progression if any. Be confident with this as it is what you have actually done.
Training/Qualifications: Show them your knowledge and what you have learnt
Interests: Keep them relevant, show why you enjoy the role you have applied for
References: Never name your referee’s on your CV. This can be provided either on an application form or at an interview stage
3. If someone has been out of employment for more than 5 years, what would your best advice be about getting back into work?
The best thing to do is pick up some voluntary work within the industry desired whilst you look for work so you can develop up to date work experience which can also improve your self-confidence.
This could also lead to paid job opportunities with the employer you are volunteering with, or making connections with. Explain any training courses or developments you have completed within the gaps to show you have been actively improving on own skills. Ensure to update this on your CV.
Remember to be confident with your own skills and abilities.
4. If someone doesn’t think they’re qualified for any roles, what advice would you give them?
Some jobs require specific qualifications, which if this is the case you could do an Apprenticeship, gaining the experience and the qualification required at the same time, or complete some relevant courses to develop in the field and gain more opportunities of employment. Transferable skills from other roles or life experiences can also land you the job.
Always look at the job role and person specification, and match those skills up with your own, both in work and out. If you have not worked in the sector look at what else you have done that may be similar and give examples of what, where and how.
I once supported a lady who had an interest in working within the Care industry but didn’t apply due to having no Health & Social Care working background or qualifications, and didn’t think she would ever be successful.
However, together we identified she had cared for a family member for over 2 years and had life experience within the field. By explaining this in a Cover Letter, expressing her interests and adding her willingness to learn onto her CV, she was offered a role within a Care Home who provided her with free training, gaining her qualifications. The employer identified her caring nature within her interview and she got the job.
5. What’d your best advice about keeping your spirits up while looking for a job?
Engaging with employers directly face to face, via telephone calls or direct emails, is always the best way to apply for jobs.
It allows you to present yourself more, using your professional customer service skills and means a lot more to the employers as some can build that rapport with you allowing opportunity over others just sending an application form.
Make sure you stay positive and believe in yourself, because if you don’t, your only teaching others not too as well. If you are low in confidence, perhaps pick up a confidence building course, and have help highlighting the best of you.
If you’d like more help from Kayleigh or an employment adviser in your area and access to the free workshops or training courses mentioned, please sign up to our Work Routes programme or by phoning us on 0800 015 5332.