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I'm hoping I have found the right place to write this review, I wanted to review the company but cannot find them on the site and, for some reason, my product suggestion will not go into my pending suggestions list!
Working Links are a company that aim to to assist people in finding employment, whether they are unemployed or seeking a change of career. According to their website, since 2000 they have helped over 150,000 people find employment in the UK.
I came across Working Links when I asked my local Job Centre if I could use their printer to print off an application form. I was told that they could not let me do this but if I visited my local Working Links and signed up they would allow me to use theirs. As the people in the Job Centre are SO helpful, they gave me the wrong address for my local branch and I had to search around for them, but it was worth it!
On arriving for the first time, I was asked to fill in a short form and take a seat as I would have to have a quick consultation before I could use their facilities. As soon as I had sat down, a woman came over and introduced herself to me and took me to have a quick chat.
During our chat, she asked me how long I had been unemployed, what I had been doing to find work, my qualifications and what type of work I was looking for. I told her I was looking for admin or nursing work and she said she had a course that I could go on if interested.
The course would start the following week, I would attend a 10 minute interview and, if successful (which apparently most people are), I would attend a three day nursing course for free. At the end of this, I would be guaranteed an interview in a nursing position. Also, if I came to see her after each session with my bus tickets from that day, she would give me my bus fare back! It sounded too good to be true! But I was still excited!
Two days after joining up with Working Links, I was offered my current position. I went into the branch to tell her that I had been offered work and would not be attending the course, and to thank her for her help. She seemed very excited for me, asked a lot of questions about my new job and congratulated me on finally finding work!
She also gave me a weeks worth of bus tickets so that I could get to work and back each day until I got paid, at the end of that week she called to ask when my first pay was due. As I had another week to wait, she sent me another weeks worth of bus tickets through the post to keep me going!
Furthermore, she informed me that I would receive a bonus for finding a job, which should be used to help with travel costs or clothing for work. As promised, a week later £50 was put into my account by Working Links!
I cannot thank Working Links, especially my consultant, enough for all of the support that they gave me during the couple of weeks that I was signed up with them.
===Please sign up===
If you are looking for work and find that your Job Centre don't seem to be helping enough, or at all which was my case, please find your local Working Links and sign up with them. They are so helpful, each consultant seems to love their job and love helping people and this is what makes the company so great!
When visiting the Job Centre and asking for help, it is like you are annoying the staff by asking questions. Working Links push you to ask questions and constantly offer help. On one occassion, I told my consultant that my boyfriend was waiting for me and would have to hurry as we had to walk home for a certain time. She gave me 2 bus tickets so that we could both get home on the bus, rather than walk for 45 minutes!
I have already said it but I cannot thank them enough, they are a great company and I highly recommend them to everyone. I only wish that the Job Centre had bothered to tell me about them earlier, as I feel they could have helped me when I was really struggling.
Their website it http://www.workinglinks.co.uk/default.aspx . Here you can find out a little more about what they do and search for your nearest branch.
I hope this helps :)
& I wish I could give them 10 stars!!
Earlier in 2009 I was made redundant from my job & started the process of looking for another. This was the first time in my working life I was without work.
Things have changed considerably in the job market since the last time I looked for work & the stark realities of recruitment agencies have now been brought to my attention.
Since leaving school I have worked in the Motor industry, starting off as a humble apprentice mechanic (they call them technicians now) & over the years working my way up to an Aftersales manager at a number of busy dealerships. I looked for another challenge around the mid 1990s & got a job as a regional manager for two car companies, one foreign & one British, jobs that I really enjoyed.
All those previous job vacancies were filled during 'boom times' when unemployment was low & competition for work wasn't too bad. How things have changed, each job now has a large number of people applying making it even tougher.
HOW IT ONCE WAS
Previous jobs I had applied for rarely needed a CV, I remember going for an interview straight from the garage where I worked in tatty clothes, no CV, no smart suit & tie, no assessments or biometric tests, just me explaining about myself & what I was capable of doing. Right there & then I was offered the job. Fantastic, if only it was that simple now.
You are not going to get far these days without an up to date CV, you may get asked what is a CV for? Many would say it's to help you get a job. Its not, a CV will help a prospective employer get a first impression of you & may lead to he or she making further enquires & the possibility of an interview.
Your CV is like a market stall, you way you 'set it out' is so important. Imagine having a market stall with goods of little interest to attract buyers, they would all walk past & spend nothing. You want something that generates interest & has everybody browsing at your stall first before they look elsewhere. Your CV is in a similar situation. The average employer will only look at the first two pages of a CV for around 20-30 seconds that is all you get to capture their interest so the CV has to be good.
It's now 2009 & employers can pick & choose the best people they want. I now had to construct an up to date CV, there are no shortages of websites advising you on how to do this, my local job centre offers classes on the subject on a regular basis.
Keep it brief (two pages), keep it factual, give contact details, just go back ten years etc, there is loads of advice out there. However, my last CV from the mid 1990s was made up by a friend of the family who could work a computer in those days; she had much experience of building CVs at the time so I basically copied the format of her original one.
The problem was it was six pages long & my last job details would have been on page three; no employer would get that far so this CV went to the recycle bin. Start again & this time I made it two pages long with my personal details at the start, below that my key skills & then my last position giving brief but important details. This was followed by my previous job & a brief education list followed by brief hobbies & interests.
This style of CV came from a template I was given after I volunteered to attend a job search seminar locally. The seminar was set up for young people leaving school with out any qualifications & no job experience. The day I attended nine other delegates failed to turn up so I was given a 'one to one' session from a very experienced gentleman with many years experience in recruitment & HR.
I made up the CV which he approved of & he asked me to keep a copy of my six page one after I attended an interview as it gave the prospective employer more detailed information on me.
I have one copy of the CV on my lap top as many will be requested via websites, but you have to be prepared to send hard copies to companies & I was advised to print them off on good quality paper. Some agencies advise using coloured paper. Apparently when the prospective employer gets deluged with CVs & files them away, a coloured version will always be reselected first. However I was told at the seminar to stick to plain white & nothing else!
The first recruitment company I spoke to advised me to make up an achievement list, they said take three or four items you have achieved over the years & list them down with some details.
I immediately thought of the green flag I won in the 100 yards sack race at school & my Tufty badge & certificate I earned when I was six for crossing the road safely. Surprisingly that wasn't what they were thinking!!
After I sat down for a while I did think of four major achievements I carried out as part of my job. I listed them as problem, solution & result. The finished document can be tagged onto a CV if sent in the post or listed on as a request in the main CV.
THE JOB ADVERTS
Oh those job adverts!! I applied for two jobs within two days with two different descriptions & salaries only to find out it was the same job! I applied for another job from an agency only to find the same job advertised with three other agencies & all with different salaries!
If you do get one that makes sense look for the abbreviations that agencies having the knack of inserting in their ads, the sort of thing I mean is like OTE, FMCG, DOE, CRM, OEM, KPI, CPD, SAP, ABDP, FM, IFM & DAS, confused? Well at the end of this review I have listed an S.W.A.M.L. (That is a Scottish Westie abbreviation master list) just to help you.
Quite cunning some of these job ads, they will state that the salary 'exceeds minimum wage', yeah but by how much? If it exceeds by 5p an hour their description is correct but it's still a poor wage.
Where are the best places for the best jobs? I found the local press disappointing, obviously it's the best for local jobs but vacancies left a lot to be desired. There was a greater choice via the Internet but it does mean finding as many job agencies as you can & save their home page on your Internet browser.
Many will email you daily with vacancies dependant on your requirements but many are duplicates of the same jobs.
This surprisingly was seldom asked for during my job searching period but it is important to fill these in carefully if presented with one. One of them was computer based & could be filled in on the computer, don't rely too much on your 'spall chacker' as quite often mistakes made are not picked up & you don't want to fire off an application form with badly spelt words.
One form had to be filled in by hand although it came off the computer; many companies still look at hand writing as an important aspect in the process of looking at candidates. My last company absolutely insisted on a hand written letter when applying for the job.
Fill in your applications forms carefully & don't put false details in as you will get caught out, make no mistake. I know one chap who inserted information about his last job in the Middle East in a high ranking position which never existed, three months after getting the job he was sacked when they found out it was all false.
PERMANENT, TEMPORARY OR CONTRACT?
You don't always get the benefits of permanent work when you choose temporary jobs but at least if you get lumbered with a bad employer it's only on a temporary basis. My partner used to do temp work & found it hard going, if your not a car owner, being sent to all corners of a busy city can be time consuming & expensive if your wage is quite low. You were also under a lot of pressure to learn new systems & peoples names & roles for what could be a job lasting a week.
Contract work has now got the benefits of permanent work as regards holidays but little else. Don't expect pension contributions, private health care & other benefits. Once the contract is finished that's it, many companies are now hiring contract workers as in many cases it is more cost effective for them in the long term. Apparently contract workers usually find replacement jobs quite quickly & can be often the ones who are hired first before permanent staff.
But according to a market analysis by Ochre House, full-time interim managers who have dominated the contract and temporary market in recent years are in danger of being ousted by a growing wave of redundant professionals.
They found that over 70% of organisations recruiting senior personnel on a fixed or short-term basis would prefer someone coming from a permanent role.
For me there are a large number of recruitment agencies that specialise in motor industry jobs. In the motor industry alone there are at least 120 different job descriptions such as:
Car designers, engineers, production line installers, assembly workers, test drivers, technicians, technical trainers, assessors, painters, panel beaters, delivery drivers, inspectors, warranty administrators, parts warehouse staff, finance managers, automotive accountants, logistic managers, sales managers, sales staff, marketing managers, consultants, valeters, workshop foreman, parts staff, auditors & so much more.
This was my first port of call & in particular the most well known agencies who have been in business for decades & specialise in motor industry recruitment. As I was about to find out, just like any other industry there is good & bad. Within a period of two weeks I contacted 28 separate agencies not all dedicated to the motor industry, some had a rich & diverse portfolio.
The good agencies would accept your basic details & CV on line & immediately confirm they had your details & make the effort to contact you on a daily basis with updates. Some would even call me to get additional information. These companies were very helpful when you first become unemployed as they give you some hope during a depressive time & also give sound advice.
However, many didn't even acknowledge receipt of your details & then I had the laborious task of phoning & emailing them to ensure they had my details. It was then you begin to realise you have little hope of employment if I was to put my faith in them.
They didn't reply to emails, you would phone & they would say they will get someone to call back, they never did. One company I registered with sent me an email to confirm receipt of my details but insisted that I phoned them back to complete the registration.
When I phoned them about an hour later they said they had no details yet (!?!) but would call back later in the afternoon, they never did. Two days later I phoned them & the person I spoke to made it pretty obvious he had better things to do than speak to me but carried through the process all the same.
Some recruitment companies send you an email every day with the latest jobs but there lies the next problem. They would send you a message stating "Good news, we have 12 new jobs for you", so you click on to their site, log in & discover that the 12 jobs are all exactly the same job but it has been listed by 12 separate recruitment agents using the main one as a 'Trojan horse' site.
Often I would log in to a recruitment site & filter down the vacancies to my needs, they would list over 1000 jobs but when you worked your way through them, they were duplicated so many times spread over so many pages. It was so frustrating!
One of the better agencies 'called me in' for an interview locally & tried to establish my key skills (not basic skills) to see if that would increase my chances of a decent job. They were basically doing what I had to do when looking for work & establish the various roles my previous job had & look for individual jobs linked to some of the roles.
The problem was they promised a lot & I left the meeting all charged up, that was the last I heard of the agency! I was informed by an ex agency worker that agencies have their priorities...............the employer. They want to get as many names on their books as possible; it's as simple as that.
It must be hard for them at present being deluged with unemployed people looking for work but I will name & shame the ones that messed me about.
Parsley Black: Still waiting for confirmation of my CV being registered despite repeated emails & calls since April!
Perfect Placement: Communicated a number of times with job offers but I had to chase them for follow ups, they would leave you hanging on for days before getting back to you.
Reed recruitment: Promised a lot but failed to deliver, poor communications.
PG Automotive: I would apply for jobs & the criteria asked for by the employer would be exactly what they required, but this agency refused to submit my application & despite asking why, they would never reply to me. I was later informed that many agencies are asked to submit a certain number of candidates; if they get deluged with too many they simply ignore the extra ones.
Michael Page Associates, they would email me asking for an updated CV as they had two jobs that would interest me, within minutes I sent them my CV & never heard from them again despite numerous email requests.
Steele Dixon: The best of them all, good communications with advice but lacked choice of jobs.
ASSESSMENT, PSYCHOMETRIC, APTITUDE TESTS OR GRAPHOLOGY?
Within a couple of weeks my first job offer came up through an agency in London offering me a workshop controller's job at a dealership close to home. This was a job I did 20 years ago & the wages weren't great but 'beggars can't be choosers' & I needed the work. The agency admired my CV but then stated it would also work against me. The more qualifications you have the more it puts off some prospective employers as they think you will use them as 'stop gap 'measure until something better comes along. How frustrating you spend a lifetime trying to better yourself & gain as many qualifications & experience as you can only to find you are over qualified for a job you once did!
However my name was put forward & looked forward to the phone call asking for an interview...............it never came.
Second job came up the next day with an unknown car maker, I emailed my CV & details & a week later got a phone call from the recruitment agency handling the application.
Would I be prepared to go the next stage & have an assessment carried out I was asked. I agreed to it & was booked for the week ahead 600 miles from home. They wouldn't be contributing to my travelling expenses but a swift call to the job centre confirmed they would.
It was only then I found out who my potential employer would be, along with the details & benefits of the job. There weren't many benefits as the job was on short term contract but it was all I needed during these harsh times, once the contract expired hopefully the UK would be out of this recession.
Knowing that I had to sit assessments I spent a couple of hours on the Internet getting as much information as possible. These assessments can be tests to determine the kind of character you are & how you work in an environment as a team or on your own. Given what I was reading this assessment would tell a future employer more about who I really am that I would know myself. All of sudden a dark cloud was hovering above me.
The day came when I arrived at the companies HQ outside London along with 9 other candidates. I then found out that over 60 people are being assessed for the two jobs available!!
We were all ushered into a training room complete with security tags & name badges & got right to work. Assessment number one would last two minutes & you had to complete it on your own.
You had to pretend you on a sinking ship in the Southern Pacific Ocean & that you have a life boat big enough for four people, however there are five of you.
They list 15 items you can take with you & you need to list them in priority. Some are pretty obvious such as food, water, shark repellent & some are pretty useless such as a mosquito net (there are no mosquitoes in the South Pacific Ocean), transistor radio, shaving mirror etc.
Once you have listed them, you then join up & form a team of five people & spend the next few minutes making up the list again between yourselves. Here is where opinions differ & you end up with a completely different priority list.
Whilst you discuss the list, you are being carefully monitored; do you defend your list & try to get the others to reason with you? Do you listen to them & agree? You don't know what they are looking for as regards your personality.
What they are actually looking for is each individual's persuasiveness, enthusiasm, active listening, participation, quality of expression, analytical thoughts, determination, originality of ideas & sensitivity.
However after the tests were completed & they marked them, they come to the conclusion that if we all had to survive a sinking ship on the basis of our lists................we would have all drowned!!
Assessment test two was another group effort, you had to construct a basic business plan together selling T-Shirts at Brighton beach, price the goods, work out how much you would sell over the summer, how much profit you would make & how you would market it. This would be done form basic information they supplied.
Once completed the presentation via a flip chart was then conveyed to the five strong management & recruitment team. Once they found a weak spot in your plans they would carefully 'tear it apart' & discredit your efforts, despite the fact they only gave you the minimum information & 15 minutes to complete the task. Blimey, I doubt if Richard Branson or Alan Sugar would have achieved this!!
Once finished you felt that you had just gone two rounds with Mike Tyson, after this, the Apprentice with Alan Sugar felt like a picnic!! We were informed that the lucky ones would get an interview in two weeks along with a psychometric test. Whoopee, the joy in everyone's face with the thought of a gruelling psychometric test was a sight to behold.
In a way I was hoping this would be the last I would hear of this job & it was, I didn't get the chance to go any further. At one point I questioned the assessment as regards the role of the job, was this assessment set up to impress the employer for the benefit of the recruitment agency & to justify the fees they charge?
Some other likely assessment tests can include the 'in tray exercise' where you are given a set time to sort out a selection of emails & prioritise them into groups such as immediate action, deferring action, delegation, etc.
This assessment would determine your analytical abilities, sensitivity, lucidity, common sense & your ability to work under pressure.
Another example of an assessment is a situation where a MD has been intentionally removed from the guest list of an important event & he is deeply offended. You have a set time to draft a letter of reply which tests your judgement, conciseness, tact, honesty, imagination & powers of expression.
There is a website set up for candidates to upload their assessments to allow others to see & compare & to also prepare them for what they might experience.
These are used when a prospective employer is looking to see if you will 'fit in' with a particular organisation. The questions asked are used to identify you reactions to situations where there are no right or wrong answers. In this situation you are tempted to fake your answers but you are always advised to be honest, remember you don't what they are looking for.
These are designed to assess a wide range of abilities & usually include numeracy, literacy & diagrammatical reasoning or critical thinking. They can show up if you are either good or excellent, or for that matter bad or truly awful!!
You normally get a set number of questions & a ridiculous short time to complete them, in these cases you are advised to complete as many as possible rather than skim through the lot & make more mistakes. Tests like these don't have negative marking such as points deducted for wrong answers.
What are they? These tests identify particular skills, typically words & figures but also diagrammatic reasoning that measures spatial awareness, logic & basic aptitude. It's the sheer unfamiliarity that leads many candidates to under perform so it's really advised to carry out on-line dummy runs before hand. Experts advise doing regular puzzles such as Sudoku help in these situations! Oh yeah?
Here is some small samples of a psychometric test taken form a book called Ultimate psychometric tests by Mike Bryon, it looks quite easy but just imagine you have about 50 of these & a limited time to complete them.
1: Find four letter words using the end & beginning of two of these three words. Windfall mask incapable
Island miscellaneous thwart
2: Swop two words to make this sentence read sensibly.
Book publishing is big business, the industry is worth £4 billion and more than 12000 books are published in the UK a year and each third of which are exported.
3: Suggest an answer that is the opposite of the example.
Example Unfaltering. Choose either, Courageous, Irresolute, Inflexible or Adamant.
4: What word is the past particle?
The broken marriage was a great disappointment to all.
5: Without a calculator, pen & paper
List the factors of 60
6: Again without a calculator, pen & paper
Find 12.5% of 3 hours & 40 minutes
7: No calculator or pen & paper
What is the percentage decrease between 220 & 215.6
8: Which barometric reading would you expect on a rainy day?
970mbar, 1010mbar or Cannot tell
9: Which is the least dense?
Ice, Water or Oil
10: How many colours in a rainbow
5, 6, 7 or 8
This is popular in Europe but thankfully not properly recognised in the UK. Graphology is the study & analysis of hand writing in relation to human psychology. It has been controversial for more than a century & although supporters point to evidence of thousands of positive testimonials as a reason to use it for personality evaluation, most studies have failed to show the validity claimed by its supporters.
NUMBER OF APPLICANTS
Make no mistake here, when you apply for a job you make think you are the right person for the job as you have all the right skills. It can come as a shock when you find out how many other people are also applying for the same job with ether the same skills or higher.
Most jobs in 2009 have at least 10 applications, many including one recently advertised van driver's job in North London attracted over 200 applications. I saw a trainee sales administrator in London posted one day on a recruitment website & within 24 hours it had 542 enquires!!!!!
It really is 'dog eat dog' out there, no matter how good you think you are there is someone else applying for the same job who may just be better skilled. It all adds to the pressure, that better skilled person may not put him or herself across so well as you or just maybe better presenting themselves to a would be employer.
If you survive an assessment / aptitude test, personality test or psychometric assessment you may just get a second chance of an interview.
Some companies will conduct a brief phone interview first to try & build up a picture of you & them ask you along to a proper interview.
One job I applied for required two phone interviews & one normal interview, there comes a time when you are starting to run out of things to speak about!
The problem with interviews is that you don't know what to expect. For my last job I endured a two hour interview with two people, one HR manager & my future department manager.
They would 'fire off' questions to you very quickly & see how you react quite often not giving you the chance to think about the answer in between. I was asked to give a detailed explanation on how a vehicle's automatic transmission works without diagrams or notes, whilst I am struggling to put a coherent description in place I am being interrupted by the HR manager asking where I last went on my holidays & then questioning why I went there. After the two hour interview I was physically & mentally drained & convinced I blew my chances of a job, however I got it in the end.
Interviews can be 'one to one' or front of two or more people; in one case I was interviewed by five people. Here are do's & don'ts about interviews from advice given by many employment agencies.
Do turn up smartly dressed even if the company has a 'casual dress' policy. Clean, well pressed suit, skirt (unless you're a man), smart shirt / blouse, tie etc. Don't overdo the jewellery, dressing up with like a rap star on a shopping expedition or wearing ear rings like bar maid Bet Lynch won't impress the interviewer. Gents, hide the medallions!
I turned up at a group interview with another candidate who was dressed very smartly in a two piece dark suit, however his sandy coloured desert boots, his sunglasses with 'bling' written all over them & a bright tie that needed a dimmer switch may have proved too much for some!
Do some research on the company you hope to work for, find out about their products, their goals, their market share etc. In fact find out a much as you can which thanks to the internet is much easier these days.
Do try & remain calm, I often get very nervous before hand but when you actually arrive at a reception area for the interview I usually find the nerves steady up.
Do try & look confident, not easy considering the job means so much to you that you are a bag of nerves in the first place. Try not to look too confident though.
Do shake hands but only if they offer first & look the person in the eye, eye contact is so important as is a firm handshake but don't crush their hands.
Do take notes & have some questions pre written, no one would mind if short notes are taken through at interview but try & avoid what looks like you are writing the entire volume of 'War & Peace'!
Do take spare copies of your CV with you just in case they haven't got any. Also ensure you know your CV back to front & all the dates & information is correct.
Don't arrive late, be early & twiddle your thumbs rather arrive late; it doesn't set a good example.
Don't ask question on subjects that have just been covered as it appears you haven't been listening.
Don't 'um' & 'er', Nothing is more off putting to an interviewer than answering a question with an 'um' or an 'er' in each sentence no matter how nervous you are. Practise answering questions in front of a mirror beforehand & cut out all the 'ums' & 'ers'.
Don't prattle on, they want significant information about your career history not your entire life story.
Don't ask about salary until the very end of the interview if at all, some companies will inform you however many won't until they assess your credentials.
Don't give them the impression you are desperate to work for them even if you are, if you have been made redundant they know you want work, don't keep reminding them.
QUESTIONS QUESTIONS QUESTIONS
You may get asked some awkward questions which if you are not prepared can be difficult to answer effectively. Listed below are a number of difficult questions I have taken from various agency websites. It is easy answering some of them when you have time to think about them, but just imagine being asked a number of these & having to give a meaningful answer right away. The secret is to be prepared.
Tell me/us about a time you delegated a project effectively.
Tell me/us about a time you prioritised the elements of a complicated project.
Tell me/us about a time when you made a bad decision.
Tell me/us about a time when you turned down a good job.
What are people's greatest misperceptions about you?
If I was to call your manager, what would he/she is the one thing you're relied on for the most?
If you had to do it all again what would be your career choice & why?
If I/we were to talk with people who know you best how would they describe you?
Are you the best person for the job?
Professionally what is your strongest point?
Professionally what is your weakest point?
Why do you want to work for us?
What can you do for us that someone else can't?
How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our company?
Your CV suggests you are over qualified for this position, what is your opinion?
What three important trends do you see in our industry?
Why aren't you earning more at your age?
DISAPPOINTMENTS & REJECTIONS
It's very rarely that you get the first job you try for; you need to be prepared for rejection. I tired for a job with a closing date of a Friday in May, by then over 15 people had applied for the job. On the Monday morning I received an email stating that the vacancy had been filled & thank you for my enquiry! I later found out it was filled internally, but for two weeks you are hanging on with the hope of a possible job.
Next job I applied for I sent my covering letter & CV to the agency only to have it sent back two days later when I was informed that six ex employees of the company had applied for the job & they would get priority. Arghhhhh!!
It's bad enough losing out to a job after an interview but when you don't even get the chance of the interview it becomes demoralising.
It's easy to say but don't give up hope, you have to keep trying, if you can't find a job in your own field of work why not try something else. Training courses are available & if you are on job seekers allowance you'll get these courses free of charge.
A LONG PROCESS
Each time I applied for a job the whole process could take weeks, the job is advertised & after about 2-3 weeks you may then be asked to attend an interview, another week to ten days has passed until your interview & then after your interview you are left waiting for a result. It's now six weeks on & they inform you that your application isn't successful.
However, by then I had applied for another job & the whole process started again. As 'one door was closing', another was opening. The problem here is that three months on you have nothing to show for your efforts.
A different strategy was required, I starting applying for jobs with much smaller salaries & positions I wasn't 100% comfortable with. Some weeks I would apply for five to six separate jobs & still only get the minimum response from agencies.
We would like to think that when we attend an interview the company handling the interview would be as professional as possible....not so!
One job interview I attended the interviewer was 15 minutes late & he was more nervous than me! On another interview the interviewer was very laid back, so laid back that he was almost unconscious.
He didn't know the salary, he issued me with the wrong working hours, he forgot to ask me a number of important questions & he filled in the application incorrectly. It doesn't inspire confidence.
On another occasion I applied for a temporary job lasting two months, the advert stated that I had to apply for an application form either by email or post. I choose email & fired it off; you would think the person at the other end would just send you back a brief reply such as 'application form in the post'.
Not so, after eight days & three emails asking for a form & receiving nothing in return, I posted them a letter asking for an application form. When it eventually arrived they forgot to send the application form, they only sent a covering letter.
However, this time I had a phone number, so after repeated attempts I eventually spoke to someone at the company who agreed to send on the form without as much as an apology.
When the form eventually arrived 10 days prior to the job starting date it stated that I wouldn't be considered for the job until I could prove I wasn't trying to obtain work illegally. To do that they requested I posted them my passport (copies not accepted), utility bills & two passport sized photos with different images of my face. They also wanted my bank details before I even got an interview! I binned the letter; I didn't have the confidence in the company to look after my passport let alone complete the application process.
One employer clearly said to me that he would personally contact me within seven days to let me know either way if I had the job or not. He went on to inform me that his company is very professional & we wouldn't mess people about. Four months on I'm still waiting for that phone call!!
Another company gave me a 35 minute phone interview & expressed an interest in me stating that they would like to offer me a proper interview even giving me the choice of location. When I never heard anymore I contacted the agency who stated that I wasn't a strong enough candidate to be offered an interview!! A real confidence boosting experience that one!
In the end I got two jobs, one temporary & one starting early next year, the latter I got as a 'tip off' from an old colleague. It came as a relief in the end after months enduring appalling levels of service from job agencies.
ABBREVIATIONS OFTEN FOUND ON JOB ADS
AAD Automotive Aftermarket Division
ABAP Advance Business Application Programming
APQP Advanced Product Quality Planning
ARM Adjustable Rate Mortgage
ATA Advanced Technology Attachment
ATL Above The Line
B2B Business to Business
B2C Business to Customer
BIT Business Improvements Techniques
BMS Battery Management Systems
BMS Building Management Systems
BMS Broadcast Message Server
BTL Below The Line
CAD Computer Aided Design
CAE Certified Automotive Engineer
CAE Computer Aided Engineering
CAE Common Appliances Environment
CATIA Computer Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application
CBT Compulsory Basic Training
CFD Contract For Difference
CFO Chief Financial Officer
CIM Continuous Improvement Manager
CMA Certified Management Accountant
CMA Corporate Market Analysis
CMOS Complimentary Metal Oxide Semi-Conductor
CNC Computer Numerically Controlled
CPC Cost per Click
CPD Continuing Professional Development
CRM Customer Relationship Management
CSCS Construction Skills Certification Scheme
DAT Direct Access Training
DBA Database Administrator
DOE Depending on Experience
ECS Electronic Clearing Service
ECS Electronic Controlled Suspension
EDI Electronic Data Interchange
EDI Education Development Initiative
EEO/AA Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action
EHS Environmental Health & Safety
EIB European Investment Bank
EMC Electro Magnetic Compatibility
EMC Executive Management Committee
ERP Enterprise Resource Planning
ETS Educational Testing Services
ETS Engineering Technical Services
ETS Emissions Trading Scheme
F&DT Fatigue & Damage Tolerance
FAE Fuel Air Explosives
FD Finance Director
FM Facility Management
FMCG Fast Moving Consumer Goods
FMEA Failure Modes & Effects Analysis
FTSE Financial Times Stock Exchange
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GHG Greenhouse Gases
GMP Good Manufacturing Practices
GP Gross Profit
HEVS Hybrid Electric Vehicle Systems
HVAC Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning
IC Intelligence Community
IFA Institute of Financial Accounts
IFM International Facility Management
IMT Information Management Tool
IMT Industrial Market Trends
ITIL Information Technology Infrastructure Library
KPI Key Performance Indicators
LEP Local Employment Partnership
M&E Monitoring & Evaluation
MET Mean Effective Temperature
MI Management Information
MIS Management Information Systems
MMS Multimedia Messaging Service
NPD New Product Development
NPI National Provider Identifier
NPI Numbering Plan Indicator
NPI New Product Introduction
NPI Negative Polarity Item
NVQ National Vocational Qualification
OEE Overall Equipment Efficiency
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer
OSS Operations Support System
OSS Open Source Software
OTE On Target Earnings
P&L Profit & Loss
P2P Peer to Peer (Software)
PBE Personal Banking Executive
PBE Peak Business Equipment
PBE Programming by Example
PBE Paint Body Equipment
PBE Production Budgetary Estimate
PBE Place Based Education
PCM Pre Calendar Month
PDE Process Development Engineer
PHP Hypertext Pre-Processor
PL Procedural Language
PLC Public Limited Company
PLC Programmable Logic Controller
PM Plant Maintenance
PP Production Planning
PPAP Production Part Approval Process
PPC Pay Per Click
PSCM Purchasing & Supply Chain Management
PTA Power Tools Accessories
PTFE Polymer Textile Fibre Engineering
QAI Quality Assurance International
QHI Quality Health Indicators
QHSE Quality Health Safety Environment
QHSEE Quality Healthy Safety Environmental Engineer
RF Radio Frequency
RNC Radio Network Interchange
ROI Return on Investment
RSS Really Simple Syndication
S&D Systems & Development
SAP Systems Applications Products
SAS Statistical Analysis System
SCADA Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition
SCM Supply Chain Management
SD Sales & Distribution
SD/MM Successful Direct Marketing Methods
SD/MM Service Delivery Maturity Model
SEO Search Engine Optimisation
SFM Search Feed Management
SHEQ Safety Health Environment & Quality
SHESQ Safety Health Environment Security & Quality
SLA Service Level Agreement
SME Small Medium Enterprise
SMM Social Media Marketing
SMS Short Message Service
SQL Structured Query Language
SRM Supplier Relationship Management
TAC Technical Allocations Centre
TDD Telecommunications Device for the Deaf
TDD Test Drive Development
VBA Visual Basic for Applications
VHC Very Highly Commended
VHC Vehicle Health Checks
VSEO / VSO Video Search (Engine) Optimisation
If you are looking for a job or thinking about moving company, you need to get wise as to how the job market works today. Never has the phrase, "it ain't what you know but who you know that counts," been more relevant. Long gone are the days when job hunting involved waiting for the weekly job supplement in the local paper and sending off a couple of applications. The current job market is more competitive, unpredictable and faster moving than ever before. To keep track and come out a winner, you're going to need a combative and multi-faceted approach; here's how!
It might sound unpleasant but you have to think about yourself as a product or commodity. What is the essence of you? What are the qualities that you want to project? What is your brand identity? You need to be able to define yourself in very specific, marketable terms. Always bare in mind the interviewer 'tie-breaker' question. Faced with two candidates, equal in every respect, why should I choose you?
Your CV should be polished. Make sure information is up to date. Where necessary, customise it to appeal to a particular employer by placing more emphasis on the things that count. Don't just say, 'I did this and then I did that,' but explain the payoff. eg - saving the company $250,000 or reducing absenteeism by 4% etc. If a photo is required, it is worth paying to have it done professionally and not use a happy holiday snap.
Now you are ready to start job hunting; there are basically two strategies and you should use both. The first is the volume approach; the second is targeting.
Play the numbers
Job hunting is a numbers game. Imagine how stupid it would sound if you said, 'I applied for a job once but I didn't get it so I never tried again,' If you extrapolate that idea, the more you apply for, the better your chances. Don't get emotional or downhearted by rejections. Nearly all extremely successful people can relate stories of people who turned them down - even The Beatles! One of the best ways of doing this is to register with recruitment agencies. Don't stick to one but enrol with many. The majority are now free so you really have nothing to lose. Look for websites that post vacancies and write replies to all that you think you have a chance with. Dare to go for a higher job than the one you have.
This is the age of social media so get networking. Business based platforms such as Linkedin are fantastic for this purpose and you can
place your profile there, express your interest in job proposals and get connected with literally thousands of people. You can join groups linked to your profession, post and join in discussions. This too can get you noticed but make sure it's for the right reasons. Don't go shooting your mouth off but make constructive, informed comments. This portal is part of your marketing platform. It takes a little time to set up and maintain but it will be worth it. Networking in this way works at the volume and targeted level.
Write a blog
Not any old blog but one that is job related and demonstrates your skill and knowledge. You need to submit around 10 posts per month for it to be credible but it's another useful self-promotion device and one which you can add to your CV or enquiry letters.
Send speculative letters/e-mails
Often the best jobs are not even advertised, so identify the companies that you would like to work for and send them speculative enquiries. Don't just ask if they have any jobs but explain that you have always wanted to work for their company and would welcome the opportunity to visit and talk about prospects in general. Many will say just send your CV but some will meet you.
Set up a research project and ask to interview people
Think of the issues pertinent to your job or profession. Plan a small research project that you will write up. You can ask people if you can interview them online or in person and of course, you can send them your paper afterwards. This is a great step towards by-passing normal recruitment channels as you can build a direct relationship with your target employer and demonstrate your value.
Let it be known, ask around
Question: How do you get your company profiled on national TV?
Answer: Listen to and talk to the cleaning lady!
Strange but true; I know of such an example where a language school owner was talking to her cleaning lady who also cleaned for a TV executive who just happened to be looking for a school to profile on his show. Well, one thing led to another. Never underestimate anybody or the incredible power of good luck and co-incidence.
Work hard, be lucky!
Remember, the harder you work, the luckier you'll be. Dust down that CV, define your brand, put yourself about, don't wait for things to happen but take the initiative and you'll be surprised just what a lucky job hunter you'll become. Good luck!
*First published on Helium*
If you?re looking for a job, there are plenty of places where you can start your search. I?ve got a huge list of suggestions: Employment Agencies - for both temping and permanent work. You?ll need to take in your CV, references, proof of ID (passport or driving licence and a bill with your address on) your P45 if you have one, bank details and NI number. Be prepared to spend up to 2 hours in the agency if they require you to take any tests whilst you?re there. Employment Agency websites ? It?s now possible to apply on line, which is much quicker and easier than visiting every agency in person. You?ll still be required to visit the agency to register in person and take tests if they find a job that you want to apply for. But in the first instance it will save you loads of time and you can register online with every agency in your area in a single morning! Local newspaper employment pages (and their websites) ? Weekly local papers usually have a huge jobs section, whereas the daily papers have a ?jobs night?. Either way, make sure you get your application letters in the post as soon as you can, for the best chance of being considered for the job. Local radio ? I have to admit that it surprised me the first time I heard a recruitment advert on local radio, but you do get them! In fact, I was speaking to one company director who assured me that radio was not only cheaper than advertising in the local newspaper, but that the advert reached a wider geographical area, was cheaper, and was run multiple times (rather than a one-off newspaper advert). Not only this, but of the huge number of applications he received after his radio advert, he found that most of them fit the job specifications very well, and was able to make several job offers. So switch your car radio to your local station, just in case! Job Fayre
s ? You?ll see these advertised in local and National papers, and probably on your local radio station too. A job fayre is basically a whole selection of employers who?ve been gathered together in one place to make it very easy for people to apply for jobs with them. Usually these fayres are absolutely rife with employment agencies, but they can still be very useful places at introducing you to particular companies or fields of work that you haven?t considered before. They usually take place in the early summer, to catch the recent graduates, school and college leavers, so look out for adverts for any that might be local to you. Send out letters ?on spec? ? If you?re interested in working for a particular company, or in a particular industry, then send a general letter of application including your CV, in case they have any vacancies coming up in the near future that you could be considered for. Sending out spec letters seems to have fallen in popularity in recent years, which is a shame as it?s certainly worth a try. Friends and acquaintances ? In this day and age it?s often not so much what you know as who you know. The best job I?ve had so far was never advertised, but I had a friend working there who put my CV forward. One quick interview later and the job was mine, and this happens every day in companies up and down the country. So let your friends and family know that you?re looking for work, and make a point of asking them to let you know if they hear of anything suitable, it might just jog their memory the next time they?re looking at a job vacancy pinned up to the work noticeboard! Work Experience or volunteering ? There are some jobs that are ridiculously hard to get into. The television industry is one example. The best thing to do in Television is just get your foot in the door and get your face known around the company so that y
ou?re the first to hear about any jobs as and when they come up, and are already a known entity when you apply. Of course, it?s absolutely essential that you make a good impression if you do any work experience in a company, slack off or mess about and you?ll never get taken on permanently. However, applying for work experience can get you a real job if you can afford to work for free for a while. I used to work for Channel 5 and was shocked to discover that for every job advertised, they received literally thousands of applications. However, when a job came up in my office, a girl who?d spent the last couple of weeks doing work experience in the department next door handed in her CV that afternoon, and was offered the job almost straight away ? with never an advert being placed! Specialist Job Websites ? You could try www.stepstone.co.uk or www.jobserve.com or www.monster.co.uk or www.fish4.co.uk/jobs as all of these (and many others besides) have job vacancies across the country in their databases, and sometimes abroad too. You?ll usually have to register to gain access to these websites, but then you can normally apply online for any job you?re interested in. Company Websites ? Perfect if you?re desperate to work for Microsoft, or the BBC, as large companies like these often list vacancies on their website. However, even if there are no relevant vacancies listed, fire off a CV and covering letter anyway, just incase! Specialist Agencies ? These are, more often than not, for IT specialists. They can be found all over the country, you?ll find dozens if you do a simple google search. However, hunt a little harder and you might find a specialist agency for your own profession, they do also exist for medical staff, office staff, factory and warehousing staff, food workers? I even came across one agency that specialised in p
lacing schedulers in television companies! Specialist agencies are perfect for the professional, or if you know exactly the kind of job you?d like to do next. However, if you?re less concerned about the type of work you accept, they may not be for you. Specialist Journals ? For actors this would be the Stage, for media workers its Broadcast and there are a whole clutch of titles for IT specialists which are usually jam packed with job vacancies for specialists in their field. Of course, if you?re a specialist in any particular field yourself, you?ll already know which journal is the best for jobs. However, if you?re looking at moving into a particular field of work, you?d do well to hunt out the relevant journal and take a look through every edition as soon as you can for any entry level vacancies that may be advertised. I?m sure there must be more ways of looking for a job, but I think that?s a pretty comprehensive list I?ve included above. There are still some very important aspects that you need to consider when applying for a new job, however. First of all, if you?re out of work get a temporary job. It doesn?t matter what you do, even if you?re getting paid minimum wage for cleaning the toilets down at your local. It looks much, much better when you?re applying for a permanent job if you can tell them that you?re working in a temporary job at the moment. An employer who thinks that you?ve spent your time sitting on your bottom, doing nothing whilst you wait for your perfect job to come along might well jump to the conclusion that you?re lazy. So make sure that for any period when you haven?t been working, you can give full details of how you?ve been filling your time in a constructive manner. Of course, this doesn?t have to be a temping job? Employers love to employ staff with well-rounded life experience, so if you can tell them that you?
ve been travelling, volunteering or doing something else that?s equally worthy in any non-employed time, they?re likely to look on this favourably too. Though of course, if you do temp, then you?ve always got the added benefit of the cash that this will bring in! Next, you need to make sure that your CV is absolutely up to date and totally correct in every way. Nothing makes a worse impression than poor grammar and spelling on a CV or covering letter. Remember that this is your only chance to make a first impression, use it wisely, my son! Also very important is to keep your CV down to no more than two pages. Difficult, I know, especially if you?ve had lots of jobs in your time. However, it really is important that you keep the information provided on your CV strictly relevant. Employers simply don?t have the time to sift through pages and pages to find the facts that they?re looking for, you need to make it as easy as possible for them. This includes not trying to do anything too fancy with you CV to make it stand out. Stick to ordinary, white paper and an easy to read typeface ? they can?t offer you your perfect job if they can?t read your CV! Of course, you must still include all relevant details in your CV ? including your name, contact details, age, previous jobs, qualifications and places you?ve studied at, hobbies and personal interests, referees? I don?t think I?ve forgotten anything there! Though if you have the space you might also like to include a SHORT paragraph outlining your strengths and weaknesses (though this is more often included in any covering letter). Don?t underestimate your abilities ? apply for any job that interests you. Even if you never hear anything else about it, all you?ve really lost is the price of a stamp, and you might gain the job of your dreams. Of course,
there is a flipside to everything, and it?s important that you don?t apply for any jobs that you?re not actually qualified to do. You?d probably find a job as a lorry driver a little difficult if you can?t drive, for example, so applying for those jobs would just be a waste of everybodies time! Consider applying for vacancies outside of your local area. Can you commute a reasonable distance everyday? Have you thought about relocating to a different part of the country if you find your ideal job? It?s certainly worth a thought at any rate. Once you?ve been offered the interview for your dream job, the most important aspect is to think very carefully about the first impression you?ll make when you walk through that door for your interview! Hair needs to be clean, and if it needs a trim then get it done. Dress appropriately ? which normally means a suit or very smart casuals for both the ladies and the gents. I?d advise dressing smartly even if the job you?re going for doesn?t require it (you don?t see many binmen in suits, for example!) If you know you look immaculate (or as close to immaculate as you?re ever going to get) then your self confidence will increase, which can only make a good impression on the interviewer. Take a briefcase to the interview with you, or if you don?t have one then a very smart folder or shoulder bag will be fine. In this you need to keep any relevant documents, a notepad and pen and a list of any questions that you?d like to ask the interviewer. Preparation is vital. It can?t fail to look good if you?ve researched the company before the interview (most of which can be done on the internet, nowadays) and can ask questions which are obviously based upon this research, just keep them relevant. Think about the questions they might ask you too. For instance, I?ve been asked some bizarre questions at interview such as ?if you were an animal,
what species would you be? ? my answer ? a dog, I?m fiercely loyal, dependable, easily trained and I respond well to rewards? Luckily, I?d been warned that this questions was a particular favourite of the interviewer, so was able to respond with more than just a startled rabbit expression on my face! Think about the impression that your answers will give. For example, if your interviewer asks you the old chestnut ?what are your weaknesses? for heavens sake, don?t tell them that you are without fault, and don?t give them a real weakness either ?actually I?m really rubbish at getting out of bed in the morning, so I?m always late for work? probably won?t do you any favours? The trick here is to name a weakness that?s actually a strength. My own particular favourite is explaining that I can?t stand sitting doing nothing, that I get frustrated and have to find some work to do, even if that means helping out another department ? thus showing how hardworking I am! Other answers could be that you?re addicted to list writing, that you have to have order in your working life and can?t abide a messy desk ? thus demonstrating how well organised and dependable you are. I?m sure you?ve got your own favourite too ? perhaps you are quiet until you get to know new people (aren?t we all) or you?re an utter perfectionist who can?t stand the thought of letting work leave your desk that isn?t absolutely correct in every way? If all of that fails, and you don?t get the job then don?t lose heart ? it?s always possible that somebody else was just better qualified than you, had more experience or just got on better with the interviewer ? none of which you can do anything about! And there are always those companies that advertise all jobs as a matter of course, even when they?ve already decided to employ within the company? Well, I think that?s all the help I can give you in
looking for a new job, so I hope it?s been of some help. Good luck!
I’ve come across few people who can honestly say that they enjoy looking for a job. Being unemployed can lead one to feel useless, financially insecure and without hope. Speaking from personal experience, I can vouch for the sense of desperation that being unable to find work leaves one with. Although I have not yet aimed to find a long-term permanent position (as I am still training for my planned academic career), I am sure that those who have - and do - can relate to my experience. Whilst there are many different approaches that one can adopt towards seeking employment, I have come to realise that there is one universal strategy that is helpful – that of remaining enthusiastic, hopeful and generally maintaining a positive attitude. Of course, it’s easier said than done, and believe me I’ve had days when I’ve thought that I was never going to find work. It’s easy to take rejections and non-replies to applications personally, but it is so important to put these disappointments behind you and instead focus on the next application. So where should I start? ---------------------------- Well, if you’re reading this then it’s most likely that you have access to the Internet – which is an immensely useful tool in itself. As a starting point, I suggest making a visit to the government’s Jobcentre Plus website: www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk Here you will be able to do many things such as gaining access to help and advice on finding a job, claiming benefits and locate information about organisations which work alongside the Jobcentre Plus in order to get people back into work. I’ve found the most useful component of this site is the ability to search job vacancies anywhere in the UK. Once you find a job which interests you, you simply note down the reference number and then telephone Jobseeker Direct on 0845 6060 234. At the end of the line will be someone who will not
only be able to provide you with further details about the position, but will also be able to offer information about how to apply. Agencies ----------- Besides the government’s own organisation, there are also a growing number of recruitment agencies – branches of which can easily be located in most major city centres. For example, I know that both Sheffield in the North and Birmingham in the Midlands have a vast array of agencies which often advertise some of their vacancies on boards which they place on the pavement outside their offices. I find www.reed.co.uk to be an easy-to-navigate and efficient website, although admittedly I have not found any employment through their services. Local Paper -------------- Perhaps one of the most simple and low-tech ways of identifying new job opportunities is by obtaining a copy of a local newspaper, for example, the Birmingham Evening Mail has hundreds of jobs advertised on a Thursday. Word of Mouth ----------------- It might seem obvious to some, but asking friends, family and people around you if they know of any positions vacant can be an extremely effective way of finding work. Putting Yourself Forward ---------------------------- There’s probably some specific recruitment term for this strategy, and if anyone knows it I’d appreciate some feedback – but for now I’ll stick with my own terms. Basically this approach involves using your initiative and contacting a company/organisation/individual and telling them about your skills and experience (usually compromising of a CV and covering letter) where there is no particular advertised position. Although you might think that there is no point in applying for a job that does not effectively exist, it is actually quite a popular method and I have personally found success by using this technique. Shop Windows ----------------- If you
are sick of being indoors and spending hours on the Internet, get yourself into town and look out for posters in windows. After scouring the net and the local paper, I was amazed to see how many jobs are advertised solely through a shop/office window. Don’t be blind to these opportunities!
I have been out of work since 8th January. It was not me choice to leave my place of work at the local Spar shop as i was accussed of stealing. They were very wrong and i tried to take them to court for wrongful dismisal. They obviously knew they were wrong as they did not send my solicitor the so-called video tape of me stealing, sent me a cheque for a weeks pay and wrote up an agreement so i wouldn't take it any further. Being 17 at the time, i didn't have much choice and didn't really want the hassle. I also wouldn't have recieved much compensation. Anyway 2 months on and i still have not found a new job. Because i need a part time job to fit in with college hours its much harder. I have been looking everywhere: THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER The jobs are advitised every Wednesday. There are many jobs but mostly full time and require experienced staff. THE INTERNET World Wide but can be the best choice if you want to move away. There are so many sites that it should be easy. THE JOB CENTRE A place for local jobs. Computers to view for yourself. Staff to help you find what your looking for. WINDOW ADVERTS These can sometimes be really good but can be hard to find. Application forms are handed in but replys are not given. MY APPLICATIONS Since i have been out of work i have applied for 3 jobs - Sainsbury's, Allsports, Woolworth. Sainsbury's - They got back to me within 10 days but i was unsuccessful in getting the job. The funny thing was, that they said i could not re-apply for 6 months?! (Don't know why) Allsports - They didn't even get back to me! Thanks! Woolworth - They took about 2 weeks to get back to me and i didn't even get the job. I hope that you all have jobs, cause its definatly harder than it looks!