‘I’m earn­ing less but I feel more re­warded now’

The Jewish Chronicle - - Fea­tures -

we were OK for a few months be­cause for­tu­nately it didn’t take me very long to find work. I was of­fered the job in May. If it had gone on for months and months it would have been aw­ful.

“I de­cided I didn’t want to stay in the ad­ver­tis­ing world, but be­cause that’s my back­ground, I steered to­wards the re­lated field of mar­ket­ing. I had a cou­ple of ses­sions with a ca­reer coach who as­sessed my val­ues and be­liefs which was very help­ful. It was then that I started reg­is­ter­ing with a cou­ple of re­cruit­ment agen­cies in Edg­ware. The re­cruit­ment agent rec­om­mended I get in touch with the ERC.

“I was im­pressed from the start. They got me to see an ad­viser straight away. We had a good chat. Be­cause I had an ad­ver­tis­ing CV he helped me make it more gen­eral. The ERC has a stan­dard CV tem­plate.

“He also ex­plained about the sem­i­nars, which have ti­tles like Tools and Tech­niques for To­day’s Job Mar­ket. The peo­ple who run the cour­ses are very high-pow­ered and re­ally pro­fes­sional. It was bril­liant, so use­ful. I was with a com­plete mix of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds. It gave me con­fi­dence and it made me feel like I wasn’t on my own. They got me my con­fi­dence back.

“After that I went for two jobs and got the one at Hen­don Prep. I ab­so­lutely love it. I’m like an old hand now. Fi­nan­cially it’s not quite where I was, but in terms of be­ing a hap­pier per­son, it’s worth it.”

SUE CASH

Sue Cash, 48, was an ad­min­is­tra­tor for a Jewish char­ity when she was made re­dun­dant in July 2008. With sup­port from her hus­band and a life-coach friend, she has set up her own per­sonal as­sis­tance busi­ness, at www.ce­as­so­ci­ates. co.uk, of­fer­ing sec­re­tar­ial ser­vices. She lives in Ken­ton, north-west Lon­don with her two chil­dren, aged 10 and 19, and her hus­band, who is a po­lice­man.

She says: “The of­fi­cial rea­son for my re­dun­dancy was that my job de­scrip­tion had changed. They wanted skills that I didn’t have to do the job. Thank good­ness my hus­band works full time and his job is safe, but we had to make var­i­ous cut­backs. I had to say ‘no’ to lots of things, like the chil­dren go­ing on Mac­cabi camp.

“It was my first ever ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing un­em­ployed — I have worked full time since I was 17 — and go­ing to the Job Cen­tre was the most de­press­ing thing.

“My hus­band helped me work out what it was I wanted to do and my life­coach friend re­ally helped me with ideas like go­ing to net­work­ing meet­ings. They’re a very good way to meet dif­fer­ent peo­ple and pro­mote your busi­ness.

“She also helped me think about how to charge and how to ad­ver­tise my­self. I have now got two reg­u­lar clients and I do other one-off projects like big mail-outs.

“I’m earn­ing much less than I was but the busi­ness is grow­ing and I’m much hap­pier. It’s very ex­cit­ing and re­ward­ing ev­ery time I get some busi­ness. And I can fit it around ev­ery­thing else that I want to do — like pick­ing my son up from school.

“I found the help the ERC gave on cov­er­ing let­ters, in­ter­views and fill­ing out ap­pli­ca­tion forms — al­ways a night­mare — very use­ful as I’m still ap­ply­ing for part-time jobs, and each time I pitch to a client, it’s like an in­ter­view. And they were re­ally good at help­ing you be pos­i­tive, which was cru­cial. ”

Be truth­ful. Any in­ac­cu­ra­cies will come back to bite you.

Al­ways spin things in a pos­i­tive light. Don’t dwell on weak­nesses and turn the neg­a­tives into pos­i­tives.

Use ev­ery­one you know as a pos­si­ble route to a job. Don’t be shy about net­work­ing. Peo­ple don’t mind be­ing ap­proached and like be­ing help­ful.

Al­ways ac­knowl­edge peo­ple’s help and be po­lite. If they can’t help right away, they may be able to an­other time. Use ap­pro­pri­ate peo­ple. Con­sider writ­ing a func­tional CV (which is or­gan­ised by skills) rather than one that is chrono­log­i­cal.

ERC (Em­ploy­ment Re­source Cen­tre) is at www.er­centre.org tel: 020 8346 4000

Sue Cash: set up her own busi­ness

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