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    • TPS10
    • By TPS10 28th Sep 17, 9:11 PM
    • 2Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Job hunting and at my wits' end
    • #1
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:11 PM
    Job hunting and at my wits' end 28th Sep 17 at 9:11 PM
    Hello everyone,

    I'm not sure where to start in relation to my career problems so this could take a while, for which I apologise in advance.

    To put things into context: I just turned 28 a month ago. And three months prior to that, at the beginning of May, I left the company I'd been with for three years - it was my first job after graduating 18 months ago prior to when I got that role.

    The role I was employed to initially do with them - a role in motor cover membership that was primarily admin but also working with databases and reports and a bit of marketing and document production and staff training - got made redundant in March last year. I stayed on with them one more year in a call handling function. It didn't fit me at all, primarily because of some learning difficulties I've had since childhood, but I pride myself on productivity and I stuck at it. But things didn't work out over that year to the point I was fighting to keep my job and suffering with depression and anxiety over it, crying every morning on my way to and from work, and my GP signed me off for six weeks as a result in March.

    Only after legal intervention did I eventually come to an amicable settlement and settlement package with the company, and as mentioned above left them in May this year, and I've been having CBT from my GP to treat my anxiety and depression that I was left with from my last role, and it has helped immensely even though I'm not even midway through the treatment yet. I can feel the old me that was confident and believed in myself and what I can do and what I'm capable of slowly returning day by day.

    In the last year, before I even left my last company, I'd branched out towards content writing. I did creative writing at uni with English and got a 2:1, and wanted to get back to writing but just turning it to my advantage and using it in a more professional business remit - I did a two month freelance gig, writing all the content for the relaunch of a digital agency's website (my sister knew the guy who owned and founded the agency) and that was a good foot through the door and experience for me. I'm doing guest writing for a well known website at the moment (albeit unpaid but again, good exposure and experience). I have also resumed studies for an accredited digital marketing course I started whilst in my last role, and am doing Google's Digital Garage courses to get certified and to get my skills set up to speed.

    In the time since my last job ended, I have been getting interviews, and I have been job hunting daily, 9-5, with almost military precision, as I was under no illusions I'd immediately get something straight away because that's not real. I have been networking and making regular contact with recruiters I've met along the way and built a good rapport with. I am well aware that I'm still relatively new to the industry I would like to eventually move into (content writing and digital marketing) so I have kept my options open and gone for stuff utilising my previous admin/membership background too.

    The interviews I've been on since May are now into the double figure mark. I always go in with a positive strong outlook, shake hands with everyone I meet, and send a thank you email after because that's common courtesy. Every feedback I've gotten from recruiters or employers says how pleasant I was, how well I interviewed and projected myself, how strongly I performed on any tasks set as part of the interview, and how strong my CV is (I regularly fine tune it, and I never use the same CV for every role I go for. I always tailor each application and I always do my research around the company I'm going to see, even going beyond their website or LinkedIn page). (I just realised how arrogant some of that might sound. It really wasn't meant to)

    But the rejection reasons I've had are ranging from 'We think you'd do a great job but that you'd get bored with us' to 'You're too commercial for this environment'. It's getting to a point now where I feel like I'm doing everything I can and more to get myself working again and building my career but that it's not enough or that I'm not good enough.

    As mentioned above I did get a reasonable settlement package from my last role. But I have kept a water tight grip on my finances, and pride myself on not claiming JSA. I've been on it before after I graduated and I did all that was asked of me when I was on it. But I promised myself I'd never go back to them again because I was ashamed to say I was claiming it, and hated the stigma attached to it and more so now, from all these horror stories you read about, the fact they'd almost certainly try and push me towards a job, any job regardless of if it was a good fit for me or not that would undo all the good work I've done to get myself back on my feet mentally in the last three months, because they only care about numbers and not human beings. I'm two years off turning 30 and I need a career that will fulfill me and use my talents and to get myself established now, because I'm tired of panicking the second friends or family friends ask me what's happening with my career.

    But I also know full well that funding myself to get to and from interviews and paying my upkeep to my folks (who have been so loving and understanding and supportive like you wouldn't believe this last year) and my phone bill each month that my source isn't infinite.

    I've spoken to my folks tonight about my disappointment with the latest rejection and they've said they won't put any pressure on me because they're concerned for me and care about my mental well being and want to make sure I'm not in a job that's a repeat of what happened last time. And I agree with them. And I realise I could be in a much worse situation than others right now and that this period of my life won't last forever (at least I hope it won't). But I need a breakthrough and I just don't know what else I can do to get things positively moving for me again where my career is concerned.

    Thanks for reading if you got this far, and again sorry it's so long, but any advice would be appreciated.
Page 1
    • xapprenticex
    • By xapprenticex 28th Sep 17, 9:15 PM
    • 1,385 Posts
    • 1,324 Thanks
    • #2
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:15 PM
    • #2
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:15 PM
    Can you add a very brief version of the above stating what you are actually asking us?

    Otherwise we have to read all of that to know what you are asking and some of us are not going to read that much text.
    • annandale
    • By annandale 28th Sep 17, 9:28 PM
    • 928 Posts
    • 2,000 Thanks
    • #3
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:28 PM
    • #3
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:28 PM
    Double figures isn't that much to have a job at the end in the current climate. All I can say is keep jobhunting, the more you apply for the better chance you have of getting something.

    I would consider claiming JSA in your situation, all they are going to ask is that you jobsearch which you are already doing.
    • TPS10
    • By TPS10 28th Sep 17, 9:29 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    • #4
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:29 PM
    • #4
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:29 PM
    OK - summation. Left last company after three years (previous role with them for first two years made redundant, stayed for another year in a role that I wasn't suited to and which made me ill. Left them in May after negotiating an amicable settlement package and reference). Also been having CBT from GP for depression and anxiety I had from last role, slowly recovering and getting better.

    Have been getting interviews and job hunting daily since I left them, now in double figures of how many I've had. I'm doing everything I can and more, always told I interview well, CV is polished etc but only getting rejections. Would like to move into content writing and digital marketing but only a year's experience in that so far so also looking into roles with an admin/membership background that I have experience in.

    Funding myself with my settlement package I was paid to get to and from interviews but sources are not infinite despite me keeping tight grip on finances. Too ashamed to claim JSA and don't want to knowing what they'll do to me. Family very understanding and supportive as want me to be in a career that will suit me and my abilities and not send me into a nervous breakdown again. Basically need help or advice.
    • xapprenticex
    • By xapprenticex 28th Sep 17, 9:34 PM
    • 1,385 Posts
    • 1,324 Thanks
    • #5
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:34 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:34 PM
    In terms of financial support, the issue is your ego.
    • decbel
    • By decbel 28th Sep 17, 9:59 PM
    • 1,494 Posts
    • 1,618 Thanks
    • #6
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:59 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Sep 17, 9:59 PM

    Apply straight away if interested. Even if not that interested perhaps apply anyway. Background checks take 5 weeks.

    Possibly a few weeks work if nothing else comes along late November/possibly into January.

    Royal mail worker.
    Last edited by decbel; 28-09-2017 at 10:02 PM.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 29th Sep 17, 1:50 PM
    • 2,392 Posts
    • 3,397 Thanks
    • #7
    • 29th Sep 17, 1:50 PM
    • #7
    • 29th Sep 17, 1:50 PM
    In general, it sounds to me like you don't know what you want to do, and that uncertainty is subconsciously coming across in interviews, leading to the rejections. Don't forget that employers will want enthusiastic, passionate, motivated, [insert relevant buzzword here] type employees, even if it's a low level admin or burger flipping job, and the fact that your heart doesn't appear in it is probably coming across somehow.

    Furthermore, unless you omit creative work from the admin applications and vice versa, the admin/membership type roles are probably scared off by your creative aspirations, thinking you'll jump ship when something better comes along, while the difficultly breaking into the writing/content generation industry at a paid level is well documented, regardless of the mental health of the prospective entrant.

    Finally, not to rain on your parade, but tailored applications and research into what the company does is not exactly going 'above and beyond' - it's expected, and something everyone should be doing - your rival applicants probably are. It's not arrogant to say you're doing that, but it is somewhat irrelevant - it's a given.

    All the best - I struggled for a couple of years after graduation whilst deciding what I wanted to do, and had a similar number of unsuccessful interviews. Once I finally decided what I was interested in, and could demonstrate that at interview, the jobs began to be easier to come by!
    • maurice28
    • By maurice28 29th Sep 17, 3:23 PM
    • 189 Posts
    • 131 Thanks
    • #8
    • 29th Sep 17, 3:23 PM
    • #8
    • 29th Sep 17, 3:23 PM
    Firstly, I sympathise with how you are feeling. I've just turned 33 but I remember when I was made redundant from my first job out of uni after 7 months. It took another 5 months to get another job and by then I was seriously down. But you also have some positives going on, such as having a settlement from your last workplace and supportive parents/a secure place to live.

    I think you should reconsider JSA. Again, having claimed it myself I understand how you feel about it, but if nothing else it will keep your National Insurance contributions going and really, who cares what anyone else thinks about it?

    To (hopefully) more helpful advice - I work in the general sector you are looking to get into. I'm currently a Marketing Manager in the higher education sector, but have worked in various content generation roles in the last 10 years.

    You're doing the right thing tailoring your CV and application but as a previous poster said, everyone else will be doing that too.

    When going for writing roles, what will set you apart is your writing. Do you have a portfolio of work? This could be taken from your previous job, or your recent website work. Try to write as much as you can - start a blog, submit articles to websites, write reviews etc. As you've said, it won't pay anything but it will give you a bank of content to show your writing ability.

    Have a printed version of your portfolio to take with you to interviews but invest in some USB sticks as well, and put all your content on there. Realistically, the interviewers won't have time to take in your portfolio in detail there and then, but leave a USB with it on and they can browse it at their leisure later.

    Remember, you're by no means old at 28 but you may be going up against candidates in their early 20s. They will probably have varied digital footprints and social media/online content which they can refer to show their writing. Just make sure you have the same, and it will help underline what sounds a good approach you already have to interviews.

    Sorry, that ended up being quite lengthy, but hopefully it helps!
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 29th Sep 17, 4:34 PM
    • 1,543 Posts
    • 1,659 Thanks
    • #9
    • 29th Sep 17, 4:34 PM
    • #9
    • 29th Sep 17, 4:34 PM
    I understand some of your frustrations. I began job hunting in February and only got an offer 2 weeks ago. I don't remember it being this tough in the past. I applied for hundreds of jobs and mostly didn't hear back. It got to the point I just didn't know what more to do. It really knocked my confidence. So hang on in there, it will happen eventually and try not to take it personally, these people don't know the real you.
    I think its sensible to think about what you want to do. Focus on applying for jobs you want not just anything. You need to be happy there. I'd encourage you to claim job seekers. Its not much but you worked and paid your taxes so use what's available to you. The job centre can't force you to take a job. Worse case is your benefit will be stopped.
    Maybe add to your CV by taking some free courses or volunteer in an area you have never tried to see if you like it and to keep you motivated.
    Something will turn up its just a matter of time. Its your turn soon!
    • felix-the-cat
    • By felix-the-cat 5th Oct 17, 6:25 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    As others have said, do claim JSA. You will get your NI paid, which is important. And I may be unusual, but I have found the JobCentre staff helpful and friendly (as long as you are polite), not bullying and unpleasant. It's not all "I Daniel Blake"!

    Having said that, I sympathise. I've been out of work 8 months and get knocked back every time I get another rejection. And I may thump the next person who says something will turn up!
    • Sncjw
    • By Sncjw 5th Oct 17, 7:38 AM
    • 1,570 Posts
    • 954 Thanks
    If you sign in you would have had your ni stamp paid which helps you when it comes to getting your state pension
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 5th Oct 17, 8:19 AM
    • 4,937 Posts
    • 21,830 Thanks
    If you sign in you would have had your ni stamp paid which helps you when it comes to getting your state pension
    Originally posted by Sncjw
    It's only important if you haven't paid any NI at all in this tax year. If there's been any payment at all this year, however small, that counts as a qualifying year for your pension.
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