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  • Can’t get anyone to employ me

    I gave up work to care for my Mum and now I need to return to work no one will employ me. I am 55, I am doing volunteer work to get me back into the work place, I am an administrator / receptionist but am applying for all sorts of different jobs.

    Posted by pennypops
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    • Reply by Stuart

      Hi Penny,

      Thanks so much for your response.   I can completely understand you not wanting to move into the care industry given the circumstances.   Your health and mental health have to come first.

      It sounds like you are doing all the right things, and great news you are getting invited to interviews – which implies your CV is doing its job well!      Also, volunteering and staying up to date on courses are great tactics to stay highly relevant to employers so it sounds like you’re doing all the right things.

      On the interviews, being confident is a great first step which it sounds like you are from the feedback you are receiving…   It also sounds like you are being hugely pro-active so you may well be familiar with all our interview advice – https://restless.co.uk/career-advice/job-interview-tips/

      One of the challenges most people tell us is getting real, actionable feedback from an interview – as many recruiters try to avoid giving specific development feedback to candidates they decline, for fear of upsetting them and getting involved in a lengthy debate.  This is particularly frustrating as it offers no clues as to how to improve.

      Even if overall, an interview went really well, there will always be things to improve and sometimes that can make all the difference on a marginal decision next time.  It might be a step too far, but I don’t know if you have a trusted friend who might be willing to do a ‘mock’ interview with you on the promise that they will be 100% open with their feedback?

      Given how proactive you are being, and the fact that it seems you are taking all the right steps – it may simply be that time and persistence are all that’s required, and the right opportunity will turn up very soon.   January is just around the corner and is a buoyant time for the job market, so hopefully it will be a good month for your job search too!

      Wishing you the best of luck and do let us know how you get on…


    • Reply by pennypops

      Dear Stuart,

      Many thanks for your reply.

      Because I looked after my Mum for so many years and she had several medical issues, and I then cared for my eldest sister for 2 years through her rain tumour and chemotheraphy, it would e very detrimental to my mental health to have anything to do with the care  industry, unfortunately this is all I keep being told to do by career and return to work advisors

      I have a new and up to date CV which was compiled and checked and regularly updated by a reputable CV company.

      I have also been volunteering in a charity shop to gain experience of a different job.

      I sometimes get interviews, but don’t progress further, despite being told that I am confident and know what I am doing.

      I have updated my skills by doing several courses

      I am no longer sure what else to do.

    • Reply by Stuart

      Hi pennypops,

      Thanks for your message!   Sorry to hear your job search is not going to plan.   You most certainly are not alone…  I know its hard, but try to stay positive and the right opportunity will come up soon enough.

      If you’ve been caring for your mum, you will have plenty of transferable skills that you should be proud to shout about.  You may not be considering it (or may not want to), but I’m sure the care industry would be crying out for people with your skills. Even far beyond care roles, if you sit down and think of all the other skills you will have developed e.g. resilience, planning, dealing with difficult situations….   you might surprise yourself at how broad a range of transferable skills you can talk about.

      Where are you having the most difficulty at the moment?   Are you having luck getting to interview stage?   Or is it at the application stage and you are not receiving the responses to your applications that you hoped for?    If that’s the case then sometimes it can be helpful to mix up your application approach….

      Have you seen the advice section of our site on cover letters and CV’s?  https://restless.co.uk/career-advice/cv-writing-tips/. We’ve got a specific article on common CV gaps and how to explain them in case it might be helpful for ideas of how to talk about the time you spent caring for your mum….  In our opinion, there should be loads of positives to talk about.  If you haven’t seen it, it might be worth a quick read….

      With regards to your wider CV and cover letter,  I know it can feel like a real chore having to update them – but if you’re not getting the results you deserve, it can be really helpful just to try something different as it might simply be falling outside of specific criteria that the recruitment teams (or even algorithms) are using to screen CVs.

      I do hope this is helpful, I would be very interested in hearing from others in the community of any tips or tricks that they have found to help.


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