Transitions Stakeholders’ Advisory Network meeting on Measuring Outcomes and Social Impact – Thurs Nov 13th 2014
October 14, 2014
Contributions of refugees: lifting barriers to inclusion
August 9, 2015

Advice from Transitions candidates to other candidates on jobsearch strategies

Try not to use the same website over and over again.

Taylor your CV to each job. Think what the employer needs and provide to that need.

About how to organise your jobsearch, especially if someone is a Jobcentre Plus customer

Do not leave job hunting to the last minute, try to space it out in the two weeks before you visit your advisor.

About how to engage in a panel interview

Be prepared. After each question pause and thing of example, and answer the question. Try not to waffle.

How to spot and deal with cross-cultural misunderstandings in the whole process of applications and selection between employers and candidates.

I am from a different cultural background for example in treating managers, and those above me in the organisation. I have learnt in this country to speak up and let your voice be heard.

About assumptions you perhaps made around how employers in the UK view Qualifications and Experience

Most employers want to know if you can handle the work therefore they value experience. Be prepared to talk about it. If you do not have experience explain what you have learnt and widen out by talking about your qualification and how it would apply to the job.

About recruitment agencies

It is very hard to find agencies that would secure you employment from my personal experience. Therefore try to be selective.

About explaining overseas qualifications and career gaps

Personally I would put what I have been doing in the gap whether I was claiming JSA or attending a course.

About explaining what refugee ID documents entitle people to

If you have a foreign name try to include in your CV that you have a work permit and you do not have restrictions. This way your potential employers would let go their fear that you may not have a right to work in the country.

Wish I had known that…

Only two more years left to be a decade since I have started searching for a professional job related to my qualifications and previous work experience. I was a qualified Community Development Worker and coordinated Children and Young People Programme at national level for a big non-governmental organisation. I came to the UK for further study. I have been living in London and it is the only ‘battle field’ where I have fought with many employers to get skilled job as a skilled refugee (immigrant). The battle was not easy – time consuming and very challenging that put all my experience and qualifications and my ability under question. I was frustrated and depressed because I was unemployed and homeless refugee.

In the first two years of my endeavour I felt alone and a helpless person. In fact, jobcentre plus was at my side and by giving me jobseeker allowance and a sort of advice and information. The information and advice was very limited, most of the time checking a Claimant Commitment form i.e. plan what you need to do to find a job, keep a record of what happened and prove to your adviser that you’ve been looking for work. It helps to get jobseeker allowance but not a job. I applied for many jobs but almost all my applications were rejected. I was invited for an interview but only for few jobs. The respond from all organisations was the same. It starts with ‘we regret…’ not ‘we are pleased…’ and then it ends with …at this moment you were not successful’. After spent 18 months within this situation I started working in a Supermarket as a Cashier. I lost my confidence, my communication and interpersonal skills. But, I have continued the journey or fighting.

I have got more friends in the battle, individuals and organisations such as RAGU, Time Bank and Transitions which are committed to help people like me in providing information, advice and training. They admitted that the battle is not easy. But, they told me not to give up and they advised me to know the situation of the battle ground (the UK labour market), my circumstances (to asses my skills and knowledge, communication skills, culture and interpersonal skills) my plan, strategies and instruments (which job, where to find, how to find, CV and covering letters).

By their help particularly, by the help and support I got from Transitions I learned more about the battle ground and I changed my plan and strategies and my instruments as well. Of course, I am still not where I wish to be professionally and still I am fighting but I am working.

I wish had I know when I started searching for a professional job about eight years ago, I would contact organisations like Transitions and assess my overseas qualification and work experience which I brought from abroad, my knowledge of English language and the UK culture, my understanding about the UK labour market and my CV and interview skills.

Then, I would reflect on past experience and plan (SMART) what to do based on the result of the assessment by using the help and support of the organisations and individuals.

Accordingly, I will write down what I want to achieve within short, medium and long terms. For example, taking short term courses like QCF with work placement (voluntary work), within 6 months or a year in order to get the UK qualification and work experience and to improve communication (language) skills including IT skills or to look for long term study if it is possible. After training or (while on training), looking for paid job. (When I started searching for a job my main aim was getting work related to children and young people and their families. But, I was requested to show NVQ qualification even if I have more than ten years of experience in working with children and young people or community development. That is why I mentioned QCF as important part of the options.)

What will I do to achieve this?

  • Take training (QCF)
  • Participate in Work placement (voluntary work)
  • Update CV
  • Searching for job
  • Networking
  • Interview practice

Support I need

  • Register with an organisation (e.g. Transition) to get information, advice and other support
  • Participate in workshop to update CV and to practice interview and application form techniques
  • Getting feedback from supporting organisation or career adviser
  • Searching for job and apply

Other support

  • Looking for organisations which can provide training
  • Networking through social medias, contact friends and other individuals
  • Jobcentre for support
  • Searching for information on different organisations’ websites, employment agencies, newspapers, leaflets, libraries, etc.

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