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Career Advice

Top Tips to get the most out of the Job Centre

The Job Centre…

For many proactive job seekers these words don’t fall very nicely off the tongue. Firstly there is a certain stigma attached to being unemployed and the stereotype of the ‘sign-on-here’ culture. Secondly, once you have the pleasure (or otherwise) of having to sign on, it is often demoralizing to not only have to face unemployment, but also the feeling that you are literally just a number – in a very long list. Having said that, the job centre may be able to offer you more support and help than you are initially aware, so TheEmployable thought it best to bullet point a few pointers that may help you out along the way.

Prepare
Before you go for your first signing on meeting make sure that you prepare a CV (they may want a copy), research the type of jobs you would like, and have a think about the type of jobs you feel you are suitable for. Also, prepare yourself mentally for the fact that jobs are not going to magically be offered to you, or even possibly be available. Sadly, you may have to keep going back for at least a few weeks, maybe months, so accept that this is process that you may have to, not like doing, but at least must respect.

Start as you mean to go on
Unfortunately, and this is true for many people, they think that they are better than the circumstances they are in and also better than the other unemployed people that they meet at the job centre. Wrong. Although you may have better skills and experiences than many of the other job seekers, they may have more suitable skills and experiences that are required for the jobs that are on offer. Therefore focus purely on yourself, go in with a positive attitude, and don’t go in with a chip on your shoulder about the whole affair.

Ask
Sadly, and I speak from experience, the customer service you get from the jobcentre advisors that you see can vary greatly. At worst, they may just grunt “sign here” and that is that. However, try to stay positive, as you cannot control someone else’s attitude, so try to stay focused on your own professionalism. If they do not offer you information on available jobs, courses, training, or employment news that you think might be relevant – just ask. Ask if they have an updated list of new jobs, ask if they are aware of any free courses that you can attend, and ask if there is anyone else that can critique your CV, cover letter and general employability. By simply asking, you may be surprised to find that there are certain services available to help you along the way.

Consider
If you are having little to no joy with the type of jobs you feel best suited to, it may be worth considering if there is anything else that you could do as either a stop gap, or as a long term career change. By at least considering this, you may be surprised to find that your job horizons widen and the more flexible or open minded you are, the more chances you have of being ‘found’ for the jobs that become available.

Don’t just get stuck in the rut
Admittedly, this is really hard to do, as there are not too many proactive job seekers, who  enjoy the regimented and often disheartening trip to the dole office. However, try not to get stuck in a rut, where you forget to consider the other points above. Although trying to keep a positive mindset can be really tough, it may help make all the difference if your unemployment continues for more than a few weeks or months.

We hope that these tips at least help you out along the way, and wish you all the very best on your employment and job centre journeys. Hail the Employable!

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