Getting Into Work

You may have been away from the workplace due to caring or you are looking to get your first job and unsure of the support available to you. Below is more information that can support you in making this step into the workplace.

The National Careers Service is for everyone and they provide information, advice and guidance on learning, training, career choice, career development, job search, and the labour market. It can be accessed online, by telephone, and face to face. Why not start with their Skills Health Check and then have a look at some Job Profiles or book an appointment with an advisor.

You may also want to think about asking your friends and family if they see any opportunities to get in touch. Ask old work colleagues if they have seen any jobs or know of any coming up. Your old workplace maybe somewhere you could start off if you have worked before, if not any volunteering that you may have done might be somewhere to start. There is also a website called Timewise  where you can access ideas and guidance on how to find work to fit with your caring responsibilities, as well as access to flexible jobs and employers.

Take a look at the BMet website who offer free courses to support you to get into work if you are claiming benefits.

You could also sign up with organisations who have information about local job opportunities like

Job Centre Plus

If you are new to work or getting back into work and claiming benefits, then the Jobcentre Plus is a place where you can go to get help with a wide range of information and services like how your benefits might be affected if you are working, help to find a job, interview skills and much more.

Very often carers do not have a named Work Coach and if carers want to engage with a work coach they can call 0800 169 0190 and make an appointment at their local office. Your Jobcentre Plus work coach can tell you about the support you can get to help you combine work with your caring responsibilities. You can give them a call or look online and book. They can tell you about the Work Preparation Support for Carers which provides help and support for you to make a successful move into work, including access to training and advice on job hunting and applications.

You might also be able to get help with the cost of replacement care while you take part in training or attend interviews.

Starting work does not just mean paid work, it can be volunteering. This still involves all of the processes that you have been looking at but it could be something to get you back into the workplace which will build your confidence and skills. Have a look at Do-it where they have a variety of different volunteering opportunities and in some cases can lead to paid work.

CV stands for “Curriculum Vitae” and is a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications, and previous occupations, typically sent with a job application. It is sometimes referred to as a “Resume”.

Having a CV is a vital step in gaining employment.  Volunteering, taking part in groups/activities, managing your own home, playing team sports, and similar types of experience count as work when you’re writing a CV or completing a job application.  Emphasize the skills you learned while caring, the challenges you overcame, and so on.  These skills can be transferable skills like organisational skills i.e. organising when a cared for has appointments or medication, reliability, able to handle pressure, communication skills, listening, prioritising and budgeting.

Your CV needs to be short and sharp as employers spend no more than 30 seconds looking through a CV. The Princes Trust helps people aged 11-30 with CV writing and advice about getting a job. There are plenty of websites that can help, try starting with cvhelp or speak to a work coach at the Job Centre.

Don’t forget that caring develops your people skills, your creative problem solving, your ability to multi-task, your time management and budgeting like no job ever could.

The national career service can also help you with filling in application forms and writing cover letters. A cover letter is a document that you may want to attach to your CV introducing yourself. Think of it like this, your CV is your “menu” and the Cover Letter is your “main course”.

There are places to go for interview help. The jobcentre guide website is a good place to start, and if you like the interactive approach then you can YouTube interview techniques or interview skills, and a range of videos will give you helpful advice.

When attending an interview think about your appearance and what would be suitable to wear. If you are applying for a retail position, for example, visit the store before you apply to see what the staff is wearing. It will give you an idea as to how you should dress. If you’re simply stumped as to how you’re going to find an outfit, there is help at hand which provides unisex support while smartworks offers a female only service.

There’s even help to get an outfit cleaned.

If you have successfully been shortlisted and invited to an interview, congratulations.

Think about your body language when you are in an interview, keep your head up, maintain eye contact, have a firm handshake, and be confident. Employers look for certain qualities when a candidate walks in the door.

Remember to think about your caring role and all of the transferable skills that you have learned. If you have mentioned these skills in your CV, then bring them to light in the interview. You are there to showcase your skills and what you are able to offer them as an employee

Do some research about the company and find that they may or may not have a policy in place for carers. Be Positive! This can help you in deciding if you wish to disclose to an employer at interview stage that you are a carer. There are no hard rules in informing an employer that you are carer but what you want them to see are the qualities you have that match the job description and what you will bring to them as an employee. Think positive!

If you are not successful following the interview, always ask for feedback, this is vital to help you understand the reasons why and any areas you can improve on.

If you are unsure about what help there is for you concerning money, then there’s a very helpful website that answers that very question! Or you can look at the money advice service website for help around money advice. Also, remember your local jobcentre plus will be there to help If you are unsure as to what you are entitled and you can do this by booking an appointment.