Searching & Applying for Jobs: A Beginners Guide
Most jobs are advertised and recruited for in similar ways. Hunting for jobs is a lot easier once you understand the recruitment cycle.
Nowadays, many employers are single-parent-friendly and can offer flexible working hours or job sharing. You will need to decide when you will be able to work and think about things such as childcare arrangements and work life balance
How do decide what job I might want to do?
If you are going back to work after a period of unemployment then you might need to spend some time thinking about what kind of employment you would like. Have you worked in a role in the past that you want to get back into or do you want to try a completely different type of job?
Think carefully about what skills and experience you have and what kind of job this would be good for. Remember that you will have developed many useful skills as a parent such as time management, conflict resolution and multi-tasking!
If you have been away from work for a while, you may find that skills requirements and qualifications have changed, so do some research before making any decisions.
How do I search for jobs?
Jobs are advertised in many places. Search in as many ways as you can to make sure you don't miss the best one for you:
- The jobs section of the local papers to see what sorts of jobs are out there and what skills and experience they are looking for and what the salaries are like. Also there are many local independent publications that specialise in particular genres and consequently job markets, such as the arts or food for example - look out for them in local cafes and community venues.
- Recruitment websites (eg www.indeed.co.uk ) advertise a huge range of jobs. You can get some of them to email you particular job offers eg admin jobs in Manchester paying over £9 an hour.
- Jobs fairs are a great way to meet employers and easily make contact with a variety of organisations and recruitment agencies.
- Employment agencies will take your CV and help match you up with employers looking for your skills set.
- Jobcentre Plus have access to many vacancies around the UK. Try looking at the Government's Universal Job Match website.
- Send your CV to an employer / company where you would like to work. When they next need a member of staff, they may contact you instead of going to the effort of advertising the job.
- Your contacts and friends can be very useful. Ask them to keep let you know of any jobs they think you could do. Also use your social media to spot opportunities.
Applying for a job
Most employers have an Application Pack which you'll need to ask for. This is sometimes sent by post, but often by email, or you download it from a web site. The pack will tell you more about the job, a b (exactly what skills and qualifications the company wants), details of pay and hours and information about how to apply for the job, usually with an application form or a CV.
- Applications forms – These will differ for each different employer and will have to be completed individually each time you apply for a different job. They ask for information on your education and employment history and have a section for you to write a supporting statement about how your skills and experience match the person specification.
- CV (Curriculum Vitae) – This is a two page summary of your education and employment history which, with a few changes each time, will be the same for each employer. You can produce a general CV in advance of applying for a job and just tweak it depending on the job requirements so it good to keep this up to date. Why not try our free online course CVs for Beginners
How do I make a good impression at an interview?
Most employers will choose 4 - 8 of the best applicants to meet them in person at a formal interview. This is where you will meet the employer and be asked a series of questions about your suitability for the role and you might have to do a presentation or perform a task. It is your opportunity to sell yourself and your skills so make sure you are well prepared and are ready to show them why you are right for the role. In addition it is also a chance for you to 'interview' your prospective employer to see if it's actually a role that you would like to take on. For some useful tips see our article on Successful Interview Techniques