I am unemployed and bored. I’m tired of applying for jobs and not getting any replies!

Now is not the time to brood or become that couch potato. Get up, review, revise, refresh and get out there! Set yourself some new goals and move forward, there are still opportunities there – it is time to look in some new places.

This is a photo symbolizing the job search in ...
Image via Wikipedia

I heard from someone recently who is getting very tired of the whole process of applying for work.  He still wants to work, but he is just fed up of making applications that don’t get replies.  He is bored staying at home every day.

His routine is now to stay up late watching television and then get up at noon, the next day, just to hang around the house.

It is all too easy for this to happen when you don’t have the stimulus of a regular job. On top of that, constant rejection, or worse the feeling that you are invisible, can lead to depression.

My friend may need quite an intervention to get him moving again.

What about you?  If you feel yourself slipping into a similar state, you need to act and quickly

First, you need to be quite firm in establishing a new and healthy routine.

Go to bed and get up at the same times you did when you had a job.  This doesn’t apply to those who had a long commute obviously, so use some discretion, but generally stick with your previous sleeping pattern, if you can. If you are not sleeping talk to your pharmacist about trying some of the gentle herbal remedies that are around to help with sleep.  If that doesn’t work then you should talk to your doctor

Make a new routine for yourself during the day and set yourself some new goals.

How about going to the gym or taking a long walk in the morning before you even tackle anything to do with your job search.

Then allocate a certain period each day for work at home on your job search but please do not spend all day on it! Spend some of each day on a hobby that has nothing to do with your job search.

Now is the time to review and refresh your job search material, CV etc.  Could you ask a friend to review it for you?  If you have access to a coach, then work on it with your coach.

This might be the time to widen your job search field. Could you do some work with a coach to identify new opportunities?  Think about things you have enjoyed over the years, what have you not yet considered as a work opportunity?

In any case review your progress so far!  If you have got to interview stage in any of your applications, what feedback were you give?  If you didn’t ask for feedback, is there still time to make a phone call and talk to the recruiting manager?

Having set a time for your search at home, now think about opportunities to meet up with friends or contacts outside the house.  Make a point of getting out and meeting people at least once or twice a week.  These meetings won’t be to ask for work, but to keep up with people and find out what is going on around you.

If you belong to a professional association, now is the time to go to meetings! It is important to keep up with what is going on in your field.   Make some time during your days at home to keep up with developments on the internet – it is usually much cheaper than buying magazines.

Think as well about investing in a training course; either to refresh your present skills or to gain new ones. It could make you more valuable and give you some new contacts.

Think about taking on a voluntary role.  It is very good for self esteem and it helps to be able to show potential employers that you are using your time productively.

Now is not the time to brood or become that couch potato. Get up, review, revise, refresh and get out there!  Set yourself some new goals and move forward, there are still opportunities around – it is time to look for them in some new places.

I am Wendy Mason. I work as a Personal Development Coach,

 Consultant and Writer.I have worked with many different kinds of people going through all kinds of personal and career change, particularly those

  • looking for promotion or newly promoted,
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • moving into retirement.

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change. I offer face to face, telephone and on-line coaching by email or Skype

Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 to find out more. 

Identifying transferable skills; a core ingredient of a successful career change

Today’s guest post is from Sian Case of Nail That Job.  With a small and friendly support team, they can help you at every stage of your job search journey.

I’m a recruiter and trainer of recruiters who also supports job seekers from a wide range of industries to present themselves effectively to prospective employers.

I think that most job seekers are aware that they have transferable skills but are rarely confident about identifying or describing them clearly. This is vital when you are looking for work in new fields and have to convince a recruiter that you can achieve tasks in unfamiliar settings.

Let’s start with a definition: transferable skills are effective behaviours and application of knowledge and understanding that you have learned from all your life experiences so far. You are used to displaying them in one particular context and are perfectly capable of transferring them to new contexts.

I often recommend the STAR technique, described in Wendy’s blog on CV writing, part 2:
Situation – describe the situation/issue you were dealing with
Task – what, specifically, did you have to do?
Action- what action did you take?
Result – what was the outcome/impact for your organisation/team/customer/end user of your service?

I’ve found that a useful way to identify transferable skills is to apply the STAR format to 4 or 5 examples of achievements from life experiences, not work experiences. I’ve heard some cracking achievements described from time spent on travelling, childcare, supporting elderly/vulnerable relatives, voluntary work, organising social activities, running sports or interest societies, local community campaigning, etc.

The key learning from this exercise is to discover just how many core work skills, (e.g. prioritising, decision making, managing stress, planning and organising, influencing skills, leadership experience, team working, budgeting, etc.) you learned in a non-work context and currently use those skills daily in paid employment. It also demonstrates to a potential employer that you understand how to assess, describe and evaluate the transferable skills you have to offer and that you are still learning.  You have the capacity to build your skills further in new contexts in response to new demands.

I’d really encourage all job seekers who are looking to change direction significantly to build at least one core skill into your CV that you first practised in a non- work environment. Try it and see how it enhances the issues of flexibility and versatility on your CV.

Sian Case

Email:  sian@nailthatjob.co.uk  Phone: 01789 740948

Website  http://www.nailthatjob.co.uk

  • >Transferable Skills (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing Your CV Part 2 Making Choices (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing your CV! Part 3 Pondering on CVs; language,confidentiality, competencies and referees! (leavingthepublicsector.net)

Writing your CV! Part 3 Pondering on CVs; language,confidentiality, competencies and referees!

This post is concerned with the particular issues faced by those moving between public and private sectors when completing their CV. It comments on language, confidentiality, competencies and references.

This post is concerned with the particular issues faced by those moving between public and private sectors when completing their CV.

I’m going to comment on language, confidentiality, competencies and references.

Language

A recent post here set out the reasons why public sector jargon needs to be avoided in CVs and job interviews.  Keep your language clear and simple.  When in doubt ask a non-public sector friend to read it and give you honest advice on clarity.

Confidentiality

Some public sector staff work in areas where the issues of confidentiality are real and significant.  But in all honesty most do not!  If you do, there will be clear guidance available.  You should consult your HR department about what you can say and how best to overcome the barriers to you getting a new role.

Most public sector staff do not work under the same restrictions.  The reality is that you can record on your CV the kind of work you have been doing.  Of course you should avoid information; under a security classification, relating to an individual member of the public or a fellow staff member, likely to embarrass the organisation or  Government Minister for which you have worked.

Most people will be able to describe their work in sufficient detail for a CV.  But see the comments made in the next section about how you do it.

Competencies

In my last post I included a list of skills and personal qualities (competencies) that employers are likely to look for. The list was by no means an exhaustive.

When you complete your employment history, try to show how your approach and your achievements demonstrate the competencies you quote.

For example, putting together a team and then driving through an initiative to improve the service to customers while reducing costs illustrates a number of competencies.  It can be understood quite easily by those outside the public sector.

Experience of project and programme management again can be understood outside the public sector and can be used to illustrate planning, organizing and delivering benefits when applying for roles in small to medium-sized organizations that do not have large projects for you to manage.

Those who have worked very close to Ministers managing legislation have had to use planning and organizing skills.  They are also likely to have demonstrated tact and discretion. If you have worked in difficult and sensitive areas  including policy discussions with Ministers (where influencing skills, relationship management, tact and discretion were needed, as well as the ability to be flexible and adaptable) this should be included but with discretion.

Think in terms of the competencies as you write descriptions of the work you have done.  Think in terms of organisations, tasks, problems solved and people influenced.  Describe the tasks you have completed in terms that others will understand and focus on what you delivered and how you delivered.

References

Some government departments will only offer bland references as your employer.  You will need their reference.   But it may only be a confirmation that you worked for them in a particular grade over a particular period of time.

Most large private sector employers know this – for others you may have to explain.  But you will need something more.  Try asking your line manager or someone in your management line if they would be prepared to give you a personal reference.   Also consider approaching retired senior colleagues and others who have left organisation.

It helps as well if you can provide a personal referee who holds a senior position in the private sector.  This is where people you have met during work in a voluntary capacity may be useful. Otherwise, consider people who you have met through clubs and associations.

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about asking for a reference, most people feel flattered to be asked But you should always give people the opportunity to say no and make quite clear that you will understand if they feel they simply don’t know you well enough to help.

I would welcome your thoughts on all this and I am very happy to answer questions.

  • Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing your CV! Part 2 Making Choices (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Watch your language – it’s a different world out there! (leavingthepublicsector.net)
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Writing your CV! Part 2 Making Choices

Your CV is an opportunity to show an employer what you will bring to their organization in terms of your key expertise and transferable skills and how you will make a positive difference to their success. Here I provide advice on completing your CV.

Curriculum Vitae
  

In my last post I suggested that the following information should be in your CV:

  1. Contact details – name, address, post code, telephone number, e-mail address
  2. A short summary with Keywords for recruiters
  3. Skills and personal qualities (Competencies)
  4. Employment history and experience
  5. Qualifications, professional memberships and achievements
  6. Education and training
  7. Any special skills e.g. driving licence
  8. Interests and hobbies if relevant
  9. Referees

I mentioned as well that there are different styles of CVs.

  • A ‘traditional’ CV that lists everything in date order starting with your education and qualifications, followed by your employment history, interests etc.
  • A ‘more ‘informal’ CV starts that starts with a pen picture of yourself which highlights your skills and experience relevant to the job.
  • Variations and combinations of the two above

Here I’m going to provide you with some advice to help you complete 1 to 9 above

1. Your contact details, name address etc should be simple to complete but have a care on your email address.  This is the time for a simple and straightforward email address – not for a the jokey one that includes your nickname

2. Your summary is an opportunity to show an employer what you will bring to their organization in terms of your key expertise and transferable skills.  It should show how you will make a positive difference to their success. This is a part of your CV that should change in response to the requirements of each particular role.

Begin with previous experience but do not supply too much detail. You can have an intro along the lines of: “With 5 years experience in customer management…”. Only if it is very relevant to this particular job application be exact here – details will come later.

Use key words to focus the reader’s attention on the key skills that you want to highlight: for example, “multi-disciplinary team leadership”. This will put emphasis on more reasons why you may well be the candidate for the job.

When you have established an outline of your background and your skills it is time to look at the future.  You can state what you’re looking for and where you would like to go.  Alter your goals here marginally depending upon the job you’re applying for; for example, “seeking to further develop my career in the field of project management”.

3.” Skills and personal qualities” are usually a list and the kinds of skills that employers look for include

  • Leadership and management
  • Effective communication
  • Problem-solving and Decision Making
  • Creativity
  • Customer Focus
  • Interpersonal abilities
  • Influencing and persuading others
  • Teamwork
  • Planning and organizing
  • Computer literacy 

Highly regarded personal qualities include

  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Professionalism and work ethic 
  • Positive attitude and energy

If you can make a claim to these qualities – it is reasonable to include them here!  Add any others you think may be relevant.

4. In describing your employment history, concentrate very much on the last ten years and what you have delivered.  This is where you draw on your STAR stories.  For each element include your job title and how long you were employed in the role, then set out briefly;

  • Situation – Describe the situation/problem you were faced with
  • Task – what did you have to do?
  • Action – what action did you take and why.
  • Results – highlight the outcome

Experience previous to the last ten years should be very much summarized unless it is directly relevant to the role but do not ignore key successes.

5. When setting out your qualifications and achievements include most prominently what is most relevant.

6. On qualifications etc, again go for what is most relevant

7. On special skills, stay with what is relevant and here you could add information from your STAR stories that relate to voluntary activities.

8. I would advise avoiding adding hobbies and interests unless they are directly relevant to the role.

9.. I don’t include the details of referees unless they have been asked for.  But I do add a note to say that they are available and can be supplied on request.  When you do provide contact details for referees remember to warn them to expect an enquiry.

I would welcome your thoughts and I am very happy to answer your questions, if I can.  My next post will discuss particular issues for those moving between public and private sectors when completing their CVs

Related articles
  • Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Reading between the lines – what a CV can reveal about a job applicant(premierlinedirect.co.uk)
  • >Transferable Skills (leavingthepublicsector.net)

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics

Once you have written a basic CV you can then make as many copies as you like and send them to anyone you wish. But more importabtly you can then adapt this basic template to meet the needs of any particular job advert. You can send a copy of your CV when you’re applying for a specific job vacancy or when you’re just writing ‘on the off-chance’.

Curriculum Vitae

First of all ‘CV’ stands for ‘Curriculum Vitae’ which means ‘story of your life’!  But in this context it means a brief written account of your career so far. The intention is to sum up all the basic information that an employer needs to know in one short and easy-to-read document.

Once you have written a basic CV you can then make as many copies as you like and send them to anyone you wish.  But more importabtly you can then adapt this basic template to meet the needs of any particular job advert. You can send a copy of your CV when you’re applying for a specific job vacancy or when you’re just writing ‘on the off-chance’.

What information should be in a CV?

  • Contact details – name, address, post code, telephone number, e-mail address
  • A short summary with Keywords for recruiters
  • Skills and personal qualities (Competencies)
  • Employment history and experience
  • Qualifications, professional memberships and achievements
  • Education and training
  • Any special skills e.g. driving licence
  • Interests and hobbies if relevant
  • Referees

The order may vary depending on the opportunity you are applying for.

There are different ‘styles’ of CV?

  • A ‘traditional’ CV lists everything in date order starting with your education and qualifications, followed by your employment history, interests etc.
  • A ‘more ‘informal’ CV starts that starts with a pen picture of yourself which highlights your skills and experience relevant to the job.
  • Variations and combinations of the two above

The more informal CV is now fashionable, traditional CVs are more likely to be required for academic institutions etc.

I’ll be writing more about this in my follow up posts.  But I’d welcome your thoughts on writing CVs and your questions.

  • Wendy worries about Dave, replies to his latest letter and promises new posts on CV writing. (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Gaps on CVs – what do they mean? (emeraldstarfish.wordpress.com)
  • Some Basics – How to write a good CV (ewaslawinska.com)
Wendy Mason is used to working with people moving out of the Public Sector! She is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger.  Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when you are going through personal change. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439.
You can find her business blog at http://wisewolftalking.com/

Wendy worries about Dave, replies to his latest letter and promises new posts on CV writing.

Being made redundant is stressful for the individual concerned and those around them. Life changes for the partner or spouse too and this can take a toll. It helps if you can talk about this together.

Woman writing a letter.

Wendy is a bit worried about Dave, particularly his reluctance to network.  She hopes that her recent posts have encouraged him to give it a try.

She isn’t surprised that Dave is feeling a bit depressed and that things are difficult with his wife. Being made redundant is stressful for the individual concerned and those around them.

Life changes for the partner or spouse too and this can take a toll.  It helps if you can talk about this together. And sometimes you may need outside help from a counsellor.

Keep an eye on how things are developing between you and if they are getting worse have the courage to ask for help!  Much better that than to lose the relationship. 

Dear Dave

Thanks for your last letter.

I hope that my recent posts have encouraged you to try networking.  I’m sure it really will help in your search for the right kind of work.  I’ll be very  interested to hear how you are getting on.

In my next couple of posts I’m going to concentrate on CVs and how you can use the work you have done on your STAR stories to show your competencies.

Yes, I do think potential employers will be interested in both your Civil Service jobs and the voluntary work you have done.  But it is up to you to work out how to explain what you have done in a way that shows other people what you have delivered.  Potential employers want to see evidence that you can deliver what they need. I’ll help you with this!

That is one of the reasons why you need to establish your own CV template that you can then adapt to each job application.  If you read the adverts carefully you will usually find each advertiser is looking for something a little different.  If it isn’t obvious from the advert then it may be when you do your home work. 

If you are serious about your application, it is worth finding out more about each organization you are applying to be part of.  You should be able to find out quite a lot using the internet.  Then work out what extras you may be able to offer in terms of your particular experience.  As I say above this needn’t just be related to paid work.

Anyway, when you have read my next couple of posts, I hope you have a go at producing the first version of you CV.  I’ll be very pleased to review it for you.

 Mean while, if you have any further questions please get in touch.  

As I’ve said before, if there are other things you would like me to write about here please let me know

With very best wishes

Wendy

Related Posts

  • >The Latest Letter from Dave and we have a dilemma – to network or not to networK? (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • >Transferable Skills (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Job Search and the Internet – Using Social Media to Network (leavingthepublicsector.net)
Wendy Mason is used to working with people moving out of the Public Sector! She is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger.  Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@leavingthepublicsector.net or ring ++44(0)7867681439
You can find her business blog at http://wisewolftalking.com/

Job Search and the Internet – Using Social Media to Network

Using Social Media; Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are now essential tools in job search

My last post promised that today I would deal with your online presence.

Those who have worked in particularly conservative parts of the public sector may find even the thought of having an online presence uncomfortable.  But in reality, you probably already have one.

If you put your name and your previous employer into Google or Yahoo, you might be surprised by what emerges.

I put Wendy Mason,Wisewolf (the name of my company) into Google five minutes ago and came up with 4,240 references in 0.17seconds.  But then I do work with social media (Blogs etc) so I’d have a problem if it wasn’t like that.  Your own presence should depend upon what you have done and what you aspire to! But it is much better to manage it yourself than just to let it happen.

First of all, I’m assuming you know the basics of using the internet.  In job search it is great for looking up potential employers and for research before job interviews. You can also sign up with various recruitment agencies on line and upoad your CV.  But I’m most interested in how you are going to use social media (LinkedIn, FacebookTwitter and the rest).  These are not just for the young, they are efficient and effective ways to stay in touch with a whole lot of people and to find new opportunities.

I going to stick to writing about LikedIn, Facebook and Twitter because they are the sites I believe most useful for Job Search for the UK candidates who make up most of my audience.  They are also the social media sties with which I have the greatest familiarity.

LinkedIn – this is the most significant professional networking site.  It has existed since 2002 and has over a 100 million users worldwide. It is a directory of individuals and companies and is used mainly for finding and keeping in contact with business contacts, former colleagues etc, job searching, hiring and company research.

You can join for free then you complete your profile. In doing so you can put in as much or as little information as you wish and you can decide how much of that information is public. For job search it helps if you complete your profile as fully as possible and make it  public.  But, of ocurse, with all social media, you should have regard to the dangers of identity theft and think very carefully before publishing a personal phone number, your birthday etc.

If you wish you can upgrade your account which brings extra facilities like the ability to send more messages.

What to include in your LinkedIn Profile when you are unemployed can be an issue. But you can make clear that you are “open to opportunities.”  This is important because LinkedIn is routinely searched by recruitment companies who are looking for good candidates to invite to apply for particular vacancies.

Once a member, you can join various groups – there are a number related to the public sector but please look beyond them. You can join and then take part in discussions, ask questions and provide answers – it all raises your profile and your credibility.

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service.  You write messages in 140 characters just like writing a text message on your phone. In fact many people send posts to Twitter from their phones.  You can write about anything and people and companies use it in a variety of ways, including to job search.

You join for free.  Users post updates on Twitter that are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them – followers.

I love Twitter (you can follow me as @WWiswolf).  When you are working at home alone on your job search it can provide that moment of light conversation and information that you found during breaks at the tea-point.

But Twitter is now also a serious tool in job-search because employers and recruiters post job openings.  Many job seekers now use Twitter to help their job search.

Somewhere on Twitter you will find like minds but you can also find lots of advice on Twitter about job search itself. Try following Alison Doyle

Facebook can be used for job search but it needs to be used with care. Facebook is most commonly used for staying in touch with family and close friends. You need to set your privacy options very carefully if you don’t want everything you post on Facebook to be seen by a prospective employer. Chance remarks on Facebook have already cost people job offers and have caused employees to be fired.  You can find some good advice on using Facebook for Job Search again from Alison Doyle at this link

Using social media in your job search needs to be part of you overall networking strategy.  Remember that it is likely that everything you post on the net could found by potential employers if you don’t make it private, so keep the messages and your profile consistent.  But I don’t think any serious job seeker today should ignore the help that social media can provide.

If you have any questions or need any help, please get in touch – I do provide a telephone coaching service in social media if it might be useful to you.  In any case I will be very interested to hear about your experiences on line!

Next week, I’m going to start working with you on your CV

Related articles

  • Job Searching on Social Networks (jobcontax.wordpress.com)
  • Job Seekers: Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes on LinkedIn(millerlittlejohnmedia.com)
  • Bashful Britons Shy Of Using LinkedIn And Facebook To Look For Work (blazingminds.co.uk)
  • Why you need to network! (leavingthepublicsector.blogspot.com)

 Wendy Mason is used to working with people moving out of the Public Sector! She is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger.  Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@leavingthepublicsector.net or ring ++44(0)7867681439

You can find her business blog at www.wisewolftallking.com