Job seeking advice
The Government's Worktrain website, as well as helping you look for a job, also lets you look at the training opportunities available.
You may also want to have a talk with someone at the Department for Education who will be able to tell you about the opportunities and courses available in your area.
Further opportunities may be viewed at www.greatsocialcare.co.uk, a nationwide job-board promoting careers in social work, residential care, and social housing. Established in 2005, this service has over 100 recruiters regularly posting their vacancies, with around 1500 vacancies currently online. They also offer a free CV broadcast service to job-seekers
Looking for a Job
There are many ways of finding a job and whilst the local paper will keep track of the current vacancies on offer in your area, the Internet means you can look for jobs up and down the country at the touch of a button. If you don't have Internet access at home, a trip to your local library will normally reveal Internet access available to borrowers. There are also a wide range of Internet sites to look for jobs.
You should also visit your local Jobcentre plus office to look and discuss your future job requirements.
Make your CV work for you
Quite often your CV will be the only opportunity you'll get to impress a prospective employer so that it's vital that it stands out and helps you sell yourself effectively.
How to write it
Think about your skills, experience, achievements and qualifications and how they will suit the vacancy you're applying for. Make sure that you don't just use the same CV over and over again, tailor it for specific jobs and you have a better chance of explaining why you should be considered for that job. Look at the job advert and highlight the key words they are using to sell the position. Tell them which ones apply to you. If the ad asks for someone capable of working under their own initiative give an example of how you've done this in the past.
A CV should really be no more than 2 A4 pages long, so you have to make sure you write in small pieces with every word contributing to the overall message. Keep it brief but relevant. Make sure you double check your spelling and grammar, nothing can ruin your chances as quickly as making mistakes on your CV.
What to include
You should always start your CV with your personal details, home address, telephone number and even your email address if you have one. A brief summary of education and qualifications should be included, perhaps highlighting and relevant strengths in key areas. You should highlight your employment history (last job first) again underlining any positions, achievements or projects that would be particularly relevant to the job you're applying for.
Remember to list you hobbies and interests, as well as any courses or training you may have done. Most companies require two referees so include including the referees' official titles, addresses and telephone numbers.
Don't forget the letter
Never send a CV without a covering letter. With space on a CV being so limited, a covering letter may be a good opportunity to make your CV stand out even more.
Your letter can be used to pick up points which modesty or space prevented you from including in your CV (i.e. to highlight your key strengths relevant to the job). A good introduction letter can save you from having to rewrite the CV each time you want to target your application to a specific advertisement.
A CV or an application is only the first step in convincing a prospective employer that you're the person for the job. The next stage is the interview and it's important you get it right first time.
Preparing for the Interview
Treat the interview as a two way process. Prepare some questions to ask at the interview. At the first interview it would be wise to restrict your questions to the details of the job and the organisation. Salary and benefit discussions are best left until a second interview or a job offer is made.
Think about your skills, qualifications and experience and ensure that you can talk confidently about what is written on your CV. Particularly ensure that you can talk about those skills that are relevant and valuable to the position you are going for.
Research, research, research
Find out as much as possible about the company prior to any interview if they've got a website have a look at it. If you aren't provided with enough information in the application pack, phone the company and request an annual report. Find out more about the products or service they offer and how the role you are applying for may impact on their business.
Making the right impression
Make sure you get off to the right start by dressing appropriately. Make sure you know where the office is before the day of the interview, plan your route so that you'll arrive with plenty of time. If the interview is in an unfamiliar location and you aren't sure of the route, use the route planner on the AA website www.theaa.com to calculate how long it will take to get there. Allow for possible travel delays.
What to expect.
Interviews come in many forms it could be a panel interview, one to one interview, a group interview or it could involve a series of assessments or tests such as a psychometric or aptitude tests. For more information on these tests visit the British Psychological Societies web pages.
There are many different interview styles and each interviewer will have their own personal style. Some interviewers will fire questions at you while others will start off with an open question such as "tell me about yourself" leaving you to do most of the talking. The majority of interviews will be somewhere between the two. Be prepared for any style of interview and remember that they are not trying to catch you out, they want you to be the perfect person for the job.
Do's and Don'ts
It is important to sell yourself by telling the employer details of your relevant skills and experience that you have to contribute to the organisation.
Try not to monopolise the interview by giving overlong and rambling answers let your interviewer talk. Find out what the key parts of the candidate specification are so you can show how you meet them by using experiences from previous roles.
Ask questions that show you understand the nature of the role, ask how the job contributes to the success, efficiency and profitability of the organisation.
Show that you have done some research on the company.
Never give negative information or bad news if you are not asked for it and never criticise a previous employer or jobs. The key is to turn negative information into positive information.
Be honest about why you are looking to leave your current job.