Thursday, 1 July 2010


Well, it's getting tough in the world of work and probably set to get tougher. Unemployment numbers are forecast to be the highest ever in the coming year - oh dear, when will there be any good news I wonder?
But if you've lost your job or need a better one because your conditions, hours or pay are all being undermined by the recession, then you have to have a plan.
Start with your CV - is it up to date? Does it look good? Is it no more than 2 sides of A4? Does the language and tone reflect your abilities and success to date? Give yourself a few minutes to read How to Write a Successful CV (by the University of Kent). There are plenty of How to's out there - you only have to Google CV's, but I like this one because it will subtley upgrade the tone of your CV- looking at "action words", what to put in (and what to leave out), layout and spelling and grammar problems. Yes, it's aimed at graduates, but I can't see why it shouldn't be good advice for all of us.
Of course not all prospective employers will accept CV's, but that's not a good reason to forget yours! I keep mine up to date with details of courses taken, professional development and achievements. It acts as a record for me and is invaluable when filling in job application forms; I don't have to sit for hours trying to remember dates, past employers' names, addresses etc!
CV's are good for speculative job applications and you may be asked by employers that you contact by 'phone to just quickly send one in, so it's not good if it takes you days to hack it all together!
Next step is to plan where you will search for vacancies. Regularly check the websites of your target employers as well as looking in the newspapers and journals that you know they advertise in. Search the internet for your job in the area you would be happy to work in - you never know what it may bring up. Talk to all your friends, neighbours, relatives and ex colleagues - make sure they know you are available and hunting seriously for work.
Most importantly - clean up your online image! If you have a "I hate my boss/job" type of blog, then delete it! Check all your social networking site entries and clean up! It is quite common now for employers to Google their prospective employees - you need to be squeaky clean! If you get an interview, prepare properly and make sure you thoroughly research the company and have some intelligent questions to ask. Prepare answers and examples for any questions they may ask - have a look at Job Interview Questions About You it gives some "best answers" to all the tricky ones.
Have a plan B. Try to be realistic about your job prospects, but stay optimistic (difficult!). Go all out to apply for every job you'd like, but fill your time with interesting and useful tasks; read a book by an author you don't know, get to know your own area- walk, talk to people, go to your local library, start budgeting, try a new hobby, get fitter (cheaply), sell your junk on Ebay - but just keep busy.
Ask yourself "what if?" every now and then. What if I train for a new career? What if I try to start a small business? What if I call up the local Further Education College and get a prospectus of courses? What if my hobby could make me a living? What if I took a part-time job and learned a new skill at the same time? What if I could grow my own fruit and vegetables? What if I came up with a service that I could offer in my neighbourhood?
Keep thinking and exploring ideas and make your job search or possible new career direction your "new job".
Good Luck!

No comments: