… and it’s time to get your hands dirty!
It’s starting to loom over me how little time I have until I have to move to Brighton to begin my journey through university. I really wanted to finish some of the other aspects of my blog and produce my next bit of real content, and not just sketching out my intentions. Instead I have had to redirect my energy towards finding a job for either the short-term or long-term in Brighton and its surrounding areas.
In my job search I came across a fantastic local charity called People Matter, who offer professional resume and C.V. writing for free! As well as providing such an excellent service, they also offer three complimentary workshops. They are:
- Sources of Job Leads – speculative approaches, using personal contacts, networking, etc
- Applications to Employers – on and off-line applications and cover letters
- Interview Techniques – for both beginners and intermediate job seekers
On top of that all they offer unlimited one-to-one advice sessions with accredited advisor’s.
They are a charity set up in 1997 by the local church communities in Eastbourne. Their ethos is “We exist so that no one loses the opportunity to work due to lack of advice, support and practical help”. They are also funded by local councils and other charitable trusts.
So now I introduce to you the infamous JobCentre Plus. Essentially it is a provider of social security benefits, it has many other services. It also provides a in-house Labour Market System, which offers job vacancies via a variety of methods; including those required by handicapped individuals. It is a great system in theory but it falls very short of the mark.
It is however, plagued by “zombie” job posts, which stay on the system for weeks and months after the job has been filled . It is frustrating to hear staff members boast about having “over 200″ jobs in your vocation when in reality at least 150 of them are dead ends.
It has been this way since they incorporated networked kiosks and made the database available online. This is mostly like due to the way jobs are filled and it all happens faster. Gone are the days of the reliance on postage, you can have your covering letter and resume in the hands of potential employers within seconds.
Coupled with the increased number of applicants, it means that most likely the employer will see hundreds of applications pour in and will work on a first-come-first-serve basis. Sadly employers who post those vacancies have no legal or otherwise need to tell the JobCentre that a vacancy has been taken.
It is sad that ideology Full Employment developed with The Welfare State has become nothing more than a “cash cow” for the masses. It doesn’t offer very much besides sign posting and bureaucratic “nannying” besides the cash benefits. Services such as People Matter make an absolute mockery of the JobCentre in terms of providing the unemployed with functional skills on job seeking.
Whilst searching the internet for job advice about how to shift the focus from having a functional resume that is career based resume to a more balanced functional one, I noticed that a lot of people recommend a website called LinkedIn. I had heard the name passed around before but I had wrongly perceived it as a social bookmarking site, much like Digg.com.
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, academics and all those weird types in-between. It’s concept is very like Facebook but essentially it is like a Yellow Pages of professionals. I wanted to use Facebook with tailored privacy settings so that I could support both a very personal social network and a more professional network. It’s ethos is more like the original Facebook. No nonsense and only for serious interactions
One of my major gripes about Facebook is the sheer amount of mundane and pathetically self-interested rubbish that gets posted. I don’t care if you walked your dog and I definitely don’t care how many slices of cucumber you had in your sandwich. There is room to share you interests and to update others on your activities but it’s not part of the core experience.
The only issue I have with LinkedIn is that it is not an entirely free service. The basic, free, package is more than enough for my needs. I don’t exactly have a trailblazing career filled with mountainous pinnacles of personal achievement. Still I think the service is a great way to keep a public, professional profile of yourself available.
Personal and Other
I started using an email signature with my correspondences with both personal and profession contacts. It’s a nice little touch that I believe helps people realise that I am a sentient being capable of reasoning. I have been very careful not to include anything that is profane or otherwise overtly offensive. I think people sometimes get so wrapped up in the modern job market with the thought that businesses and employers just want humans who have had their individualism stripped away and replaced with a completely homogenised and unquestioning psyche. This is not true! Employers are human beings much like yourself and they are self-serving creatures just like you and I. Okay, I admit it, it isn’t always true as there are some evil demons lurking in the world of employment but still think of all the other people like yourself who have to run the same gauntlet. Some fail, some succeed and most likely you will meet those who succeed.
I mean really, would you want to work for an employer who would not hire you on the basis that you are take a personal interest in expressing yourself in a non-offensive and intellectual way?