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Preparing to find a job

Preparing to find a job
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Preparing to find a job? Feeling like it’s time to return to the work place after years of childcare? Or maybe it’s just time for a change of job or direction. Either way, it may be that you haven’t had to get out there and sell yourself for a long time and you may find that things have changed a lot since the last time you searched for a job. These tips can make your job hunting more effective.

Plan and dream

If you don’t know what you want to do, then start by making a list of every possible option. Include every job or area of work that interests you to start with, even if it seems far-fetched. The next step is to work through the list and conduct some research as to how you could make each possibility a reality. Look at what training or funding you might need, and look into how others have achieved the same thing. As you do so, it will become clear to you which of the areas that you have listed appeal to you the most, and how practical it will be to make them work in reality.

Preparing to find a jobBe positive

Another means to work out which type of job would suit you is to list the things that you are good at.  Try not to think just in terms of ‘formal’ skills, such as IT, first aid or cookery. Try to think instead about what lies behind these abilities – for example, you may be very logical, you may be calm in a crisis or you may be creative. Listing these types of attributes can help you to identify the type of work in which you would excel.

Refresh your CV

The days of filling in an application form are long gone. Employers nowadays expect a well-presented CV as well, and some have dispensed with application forms altogether. This is your chance to catch an employer’s eye, so make sure that you get all your experience and qualifications down on paper.

You need to make sure that your CV is not just a list of exam grades and job titles. For each experience that you list, make sure that you use also use a few words to explain the skills that you developed as a result. This applies not just to paid work, but also to voluntary and charity work and even to hobbies and leisure activities. If you have run a marathon or raised a fortune for charity, this can tell prospective employers a great deal about your determination and commitment, so make sure that you spell it out to them.

The same goes if you have been at home bringing up children for a while. Don’t worry about the gap that this produces in your work record. Just be sure to make clear what you were doing, and include a section which describes the skills and attributes that you have developed as a result of bringing up your family. Multi-tasking, managing crises and logistical skills are all highly relevant skills in today’s workplace and if you have spent time at home with small children, you will have these in abundance.

Preparing to find a jobIf you are really struggling with your CV, it is may be worth investing in a professional CV writer to ensure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible light. An internet search will bring up lots of options; find someone who can produce good references form satisfied customers and who has some knowledge or experience of the areas of work that you are interested in.

Build your network

And yes, here’s yet another thing that has changed. Obviously, it makes sense to catch up with all your old contacts and let them know that you are back in the job market or looking for a change. But these days, you really make the most of contacts through social media. Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Pinterest are all useful tools for making contact with people that you have met or heard about and for maintaining that contact until you find a way to make it work for you. Linked In is particularly useful as it allows you to advertise any new skills learnt from education, training courses, or temporary jobs. It also enables you to let relevant people know that you are available for the right opportunity.

Say cheese

And one more tip – do post a good photo of yourself on social media sites if you possibly can, research shows that it really does make a difference to the impact of your profile, so long as it shows you looking well-groomed and professional, of course. By the same token, when meeting contacts or prospective employers in person, be aware that research shows that people assess your competence in just one quarter of a second, based upon your appearance. So give a lot of thought to how you present yourself and invest a little money if necessary in order to present a polished appearance and give yourself the best chance of landing that idea job.

 

 

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About Paula Hendry

About Paula Hendry

Paula Hendry is a freelance consultant in the field of social work. She has been a social worker for twenty five years, and specialises in mental health. Paula has two children and writes in her spare time (which is virtually non-existent.)

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