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