Looking For Work
Help is available if you’re looking for work for the first time, thinking about returning to work, or want to change your career. It may be a long time since you went through the process of looking for a job, filling in application forms and attending interviews.
If you are new to work or out of work, whether it’s voluntarily or through redundancy, it can take time to find another job, regardless of your age. Preparing for employment can improve your chances of finding paid work.
There are lots of recruitment agencies, websites and careers advisers that can help you. You can look for a job or an apprenticeship and train while continuing in your current job. What you decide to do depends upon your circumstances, self-confidence, access to resources including digital resources and your interests. Many people change career several times or more during their working life so it is important to remember that your first choice may not be your final choice of job or career.
The National Careers Service provides careers advice and information to people of all ages. You can access free support online, over the telephone and face to face. They provide free resources such as:
- a profile builder
- a skills assessment to help you to identify your skills, strengths and gaps
- careers information including 800 job descriptions and salary expectations
- advice for furloughed workers
Local employability support
Jobcentre Plus can help you to find a job, get back in to work, or set up your own business.
Connexions Personal Advisers can support those with a learning disability or difficulty to make positive choices about their future with information about college courses, apprenticeships, 6th form in schools, employment and a range of other options depending on their needs and interests.
Newcastle Futures offer Tyne Online for people who are confident and have basic IT skills
Northern Learning Trust help with advice, support and careers guidance.
Your Homes Newcastle support their customers to find employment. They work with partners to offer:
- help with job searches
- support with CV writing and job applications
- interview preparation to develop your confidence
- jobs, paid placements, and apprenticeships at YHN
- regular jobs and training newsletter
Mental Health Matters runs two employment support projects for 18 + and adults across the City..
Wise Steps helps people in Tyne and Wear to change their lives through work. They provide one-to-one advice, training and support to help people make those first positive steps towards work.
An interview is a conversation between an employer and you about your suitability for a job. The employer asks you questions about your work experience, career, personality and life and you answer honestly with relevant information and insights that will help them select you. There are several types of interview, depending on the job and sector:
- One-to-one interview The most common type. You are interviewed by just one person (usually the boss) and it’s a simple question and answer session.
- Panel interview This is where you’re interviewed by more than one person at a time; expect two or more interviewers to be in the room with you.
- Competency interview The most advanced interview type. You’ll be tested on different situations e.g. ‘tell me about a time when you showed good teamwork’.
Interviews do not need to be scary or intimidating if you have done some research about the employer, you match their skills requirements and you want the job. Practice your interview technique with friends, family or through one of the organisations in the Skills Hub.
Smart Works is a no-cost clothing, styling and coaching service for women who have been invited to a job interview. They offer a 1:1 coaching session with an experienced coach. Clients visit for a two-hour appointment where they are styled by a dressing team. They take away a full outfit for their interview (theirs to keep).
Suitability supports unemployed men get back to work, by providing free suitable clothing for interviews, and one-to-one support to help them feel more confident to succeed.
An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of an apprenticeship, you’ll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.
It can take between one and 6 years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which one you choose, what level it is and your previous experience. It’s funded from contributions made by the government and your employer. Depending on the level, some apprenticeships may:
- require previous qualifications such as an English or maths GCSE
- give extra training in the English or maths skills needed so you’re at the right level
Local and national newspapers carry job adverts, usually on a particular day of the week. Most newspapers also have a website on which job adverts will be updated more regularly.
The internet is a good way of getting details of many vacancies. If you’re not online at home, you can use the internet for free at your local library and Community Hive. There is free WIFI available in Newcastle. Find out more about Computer support and IT classes available in Newcastle.
You can use these websites below to search for a particular type of job in locations local to you. You can specify things like range of salary and whether you want to work full or part-time:
- Gov.uk for government jobs
- NHS Jobs
- North East Jobs
- VONNE has voluntary sector vacancies across the North East.
- Department for Work and Pension seasonal jobs portal features summer, seasonal and temporary roles for jobseekers of all ages
- Skills Hub is a new platform for job seekers and employers. Vacancies are wide ranging and include: front of house and waiting staff at some of the region’s leading bars and restaurants, chef opportunities and kitchen assistants to hoteliers, as well as receptionists at well-established accommodation brands in the city.
- Guardian jobs in the North East
It is worth remembering that 73% of employers do not advertise vacancies externally. They advertise internally by using existing staff or people who have used a speculative approach and the employer has kept them on file. Try sending your profile with a covering letter to employers that you have an interest in working for, even if they are not currently advertising a vacancy.
You should also use your personal network. Amongst your friends and relatives there will be a vast range of knowledge about sectors and work opportunities.
Improving your job prospects
If you’re unemployed or thinking about a change of career, it’s a good time to review your experience work profile. Think about the skills you have to offer and if you need some extra training for the job you want.
Update your online profiles
It is worth thinking about your skills, abilities and experience and setting this out in a profile online. This may be on a job website such as North East Jobs, a recruitment agency or Social Media such as LinkedIn.
That way, when someone asks who you are, how you would add value to their organisation, you can answer straight away. If you are making multiple applications, then it is important to have some written profile statements you can use regularly. Personality traits are easier to have stock answers to than skills and abilities. However, it is worth thinking about words that apply to you – sometimes it is worth asking a former boss, colleague or friend what they would say were your strengths and weaknesses to get you started.
Most employers will send you an application form or direct you to an online form rather than asking you to send them your CV with a covering letter. You will be given a person specification with essential skills, knowledge, abilities and personality traits that the employer is looking for. You will need to be able to answer this in writing and your answers will be probed further at interview.
Improving your skills
If you are looking for work and you feel that your skills need updating or that you would benefit from learning new ones, there are several ways to do this. Adult education courses, specific work training, and volunteering are all ways of improving your job prospects.
The Skills Toolkit has free digital and numeracy courses.
Education and Training
You’re never too old to study, whether it’s purely for enjoyment or to learn new skills to help you to get into work. See our section on Lifelong learning for details of the different organisations that provide learning opportunities from basic English and maths to information technology and business management courses. There are many employers who would be interested in your understanding of, for instance, safeguarding, safety online, dementia and many of these courses will be free online or face to face.
If you are looking to get back into paid work or maybe to change your career, volunteering is an excellent way to gain valuable skills and experience in your chosen field. See our section on Volunteering for further information and useful contacts.
Support for carers
If you are looking after someone and want to combine paid work with your caring responsibilities, there is a variety of help available. Newcastle Carers provide support to help young and adult carers back to work. Job Centre Plus can help you return to work. You can also apply for Carers Allowance.
Support for parents
You can get help paying for childcare if it’s provided by a:
- registered childminder, nanny, play scheme, nursery or club
- childminder or nanny with a registered childminder agency or childcare agency
- registered school
- home care worker working for a registered home care agency
You an also get support if you have:
- children aged between 3 and 4 for free for 15 hours a week
- your child is under 16 (or under 17 and disabled)
Financial and practical support available to unemployed people
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Support for people on low incomes
- Food banks
- Free and low cost meals
Problems at work
If you are having problems in your current job, at risk of redundancy or feel that you are being discriminated against, you may find these pages on InformationNOW useful:
Accessibility – Shaw Trust work with employers on making the work place accessible.
Other useful websites
- Careershifters use their online tool to discover new career options to move into fulfilling work
- Skilled People (partnered with Restless) search for jobs for people over the age of 50
- LinkedIn online networking for professionals. You can search job vacancies, post your CV and upload a personal skills and experience profile. Potential employers may find you based on your skills.
- The Skills Toolkit has free digital and numeracy courses
Last updated: September 16, 2021