There are some simple steps you can take for yourself and tasks to try out on your own.
They’re pretty straightforward.
What do you have to lose?
Start building your own ladders
By knowing what you’re looking for and having your personal statement prepared, you can make your own luck and build your own ladders towards your goals. You may not be approached in the street but you could bump into someone useful or a friend might mention something or you might see an ad in a shop window. Be on your guard for an opportunity. Make a note of where you might look or ask around.
Get on with IT
There is almost no job out there that won’t need you to use a computer at some point or another – and you’ll often need to use one during the application process. So, if you’re not confident with IT, now is the time to grow your skills. You cannot break the internet and the basic skills are easy to pick up with practice – just get on with it.
C is for Clear and V is for Vision. To prepare for producing your CV, return to your shortlist of 5-6 skills and qualities (see Step 7 above). In no more than one short sentence, give the best example of when you used that skill or displayed that quality. Remember, this is for an employer, so think about what will impress them most, bearing in mind the job you’re going for.
More than the sum of your past
List all the dates of your schooling, education and training, then summarise them on no more than five lines. Now list your job history just summarising the experience you have and highlighting the roles and tasks you had to do that demonstrate you have the skills and qualities you will need for the job(s) you’re applying for now.
Be clear, have vision... Your CV
On a single page (if possible, but two pages is fine) type:
Use your IT skills to format it well and email it to yourself. Ask people to look it over and tell you how it could be improved. (Use our simple template to map out what you want to include).
Devil is in the detail
Look hard at the job description before you apply for work. Be sure you have the right skills. If you don’t, think about how you’ll reassure the employer you can do the job and if you struggle with that, consider if it’s really the right job for you right now. Find a job description for your dream job and do the same. If you’ll need training, think about starting it as soon as possible, even if you have to do other jobs in the meantime, especially if the Job Centre is on your back about coming off benefits.
What do you want from an employer? You know what you’re working towards in the future, so prepare a few questions of your own to ask them at interview. This shows you mean about doing well in the job and also helps you decide if they’re the right employer for you (even if you don’t feel you can be too choosy right now).
Disclosure for closure
Practice what you’d say if an employer asked you to explain a health issue or a criminal record that might make them think twice about employing you. If you have no skeletons in your closet, think of weaknesses a tough interviewer might quiz you on. Write down three points you can make that will reassure them that it will not be a problem for you – or them – or get in the way of you doing well in the job.
Put yourself out there
It can be daunting to say to the world ‘come and find me’ but it shows confidence and it helps employers find you.
Jobseeking is a sales job and any person who works in sales will tell you that success is about accepting you will be turned down. Treat every ‘no’ as a ‘not this time.’ Understand why they didn’t want you and prepare to deal with it next time. Remember, not every job is right for you and a ‘no’ may actually take you a step closer to the right one.
The 20 Next Steps for Jobseekers feature in the book I'm Ready - 7 Signs that show you're right for the job. Described as 'vital, real and embraceable' where 'a profound belief in people shines out of every page', its story of a group of jobseekers who work through the seven signs and the 20 steps listed here will inspire unemployed people and their friends and supporters about how much everyone has to offer.