The current unemployment figures for the UK is 2.67 million according to figures published this week.
There is something about this figure that bother me.
Older unemployed people who do not sign on are not included in this figure despite the fact that they are job seekers. I know because I’m one of them.
I was made redundant 19 months ago. I was entitled to 6 months unemployment and that was it. I can’t claim any benefits despite paying tax and National Insurance all my working life. The main reason is that my husband earns over £12k a year. We are fortunate that we now have paid off the mortgage and my redundancy money shores up our income. I, along with many other older unemployed, have decided not to go through the indignity of signing on every two weeks for no income and to be condescended to by the oiks in the (no) Job Centre.
I was asked to attend an interview at the Job Centre to discuss my job search when my Job Seekers was coming to an end. The young lady suggested that I might want to look for work other than management and team leading. I asked what the hell she thinks I’d been doing for the previous 6 months. I showed her my list of sites I look at to search for jobs, a list of jobs I’d applied for and a list of the rejections. She suggested that I update my CV and tailor it for each job… well duh…. I’m sure she thought she was speaking to some school leaver instead of a reasonably educated woman who could do her job with one hand tied behind her back!
It was after this interview that I decided that I was not going to sign on any more. I have full NICs so there is no need to.
So what have I been doing since…
Well until last October I religiously looked EVERY day for jobs, I have bookmarked, Jobsite, Direct Gov, Reed, Total Jobs, JobsWales, LinkedIn, NHS to check each day and I have a bookmark of 30 others that I checked every few days.
If I found a suitable job I wrote a cover letter, made sure my CV covered everything in the advert and updated the hidden key words on my CV. Most of time I didn’t hear any more but occasionally I’d get an interview. The last one was in September 2011 and after missing out on that one – literally – they had one more interview after mine and I had been the one at the top until then, but the last one had more recent experience. This knocked me back somewhat and I couldn’t get motivated after that.
So, I decided to have a break from the job search – I still had the daily emails from several sites and I still looked at those but didn’t actively look online. It was a relief at first, no more feeling undervalued, useless or demoralised. However the feeling didn’t last long. I really am bored and miss having my own income. It makes spending difficult as everything from Christmas to holidays has to come out of meagre savings. Not to mention the need to interact with ‘real’ people and put my skills to good use.
Well a couple of weeks ago I decided to hit the trail again, CV updated and reread, LinkedIn updated and feel invigorated for the task ahead. It’s not going to be easy as I now have to explain away the gap of the past 19 months. The first thing an agency or company asks is ‘What have you done recently?’ Mmm well entering competitions and taking photos doesn’t quite cut it, does it???
I find it difficult to get past agencies. You apply for a job that is below your skill level and still get turned down. For example recently I applied for an admin job. Nothing in the advert put me off and I have the skills to do the job. Within an hour of applying I had a rejection email saying I didn’t meet the current criteria for the job. Incensed I called the agency to speak to the consultant who sent the email. As usual – whenever you call an agency – the consultant was out of the office. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Can I speak to ***
Agency: She’s not in the office.
Me: Oh, well she’s just sent a rejection email to me so who was responsible for looking at my application.
Agency: You’ll have to speak to ***
Me: Yes but you said she’s not there, so when can I speak to her?
Agency: I don’t know and we don’t discuss rejections anyway..
Me: What…?? So NO one can tell me why my CV that fits EVERYTHING in your advert doesn’t fit your criteria?
Me: What’s your managers name? Are they in the office?
Agency: we can’t give out that information.
Me: **&&%%++$$ I’ll find out for myself. bye..
I called back after looking finding the name on LinkedIn. Spoke to the senior consultant who told me that I lacked experience in Admin work.. what the hell does he think a Team Leader and Team Manager does then!!! No wonder people give up!!
The latest is a trip to Cardiff on Monday to meet a chap who called me yesterday from an agency that have set up their office recently. He said he saw my CV online and thinks he will be able to match me to his client base. I don’t think there’ll be a job at the end of it, it’ll be a case of go to the office to register and go through my CV so they can make up their monthly figures (gosh I’m so cynical… but hey ho!).
So if you’re reading this (and got this far Thanks!) and know of anyone that wants a People Manager in South East Wales or Bristol just pop a comment below.. Oh and did I say I’m open to most types of job?? Admin, retail, MI..run it by me..