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Having trouble finding work

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lonedad | 22:06 Sun 30th May 2010 | Career Advice
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Hi all, I think I need a mentor or someone who isnt so involved and with a clear head.
Alot has gone on in my life over the last two years and during that time I have only been employed for 6 months of it. Im a single parent to a two year old and had to give up my business for various reasons after my daughter was born. After most of the mess in my life started to fade away last August, I found a part time job (after 6 months of looking) in a call centre. I didnt really like it but I stuck to it because I just wanted some cash. In February this year, I was released from the job as I had took a fair amount of time from work as my daughter seemed to be permanantly poorly and I had also took 2 weeks off the previous November with Swine Flu (1 week for my daughter and then I got it).
Ive been searching for work since then and have been knocked back time and time again. Ive gone for everything possible. At the last count, I have applied for 62 jobs in total. Ive applied for jobs that I know I can do standing on my head but they say Im not good enough (B&Q and KFC for instance). I dont know what it is. I have a very good CV which a goverment run job club have helped me with, I present my letters out well, if I do get an interview I turn up well groomed and smart and early.
The one thing I have definately noticed is the experience thing. To even be a cleaner they want experience. I have a wealth of experience in the Transport sector both as a driver and a co=ordinator/planner but I havent seen a part time job in a transport office and certainly havent seen one that starts at an hour that would be reasonable to a single parent. I also do not have a licence anymore as its been suspended. I wont go into the story behind that as we will be here all day and I was already belittled when I posted here about it in the past. All I will say is that I didnt lose it because of drink driving.
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Question Author
I have some customer service experience and even some experience in a charity shop but even that doesn’t seem good enough. No one seems to want to take a chance anymore and train them up. If they do its usually a telesales job which I just wont do. Yes, I am serious about finding work and will even clean toilets but I refuse to do telesales.
All I want is a part time job that allows me to be a parent and to bring some cash in. I don’t want to be on benefits, I hate it and Im not proud that Im on them. I have never had a problem finding work in the past so I don’t know what to do.
I would like to go to college and train there but I keepbeing told I need a placement but no one will give me that. I cant even get an apprenticeship as Im 33.
Is there anyone else in this position or have been in this position that could offer any advice as Im really getting demoralised at this. Even the people at the job club cant understand why I cant find work.
I dont know the answer. Sometimes it can be that you have a young child but then if its part time I dont see a problem. But I would like to say how I admire that you are a single parent that still wants to work. good on ya. Hope you find something soon xxx
Question Author
Thanks 4getmenot. I did think that was the reason myself but surely the vast amount of people who go for part time work are parents.
I had an interview the other day where the interviewer kept asking about the reasons behind me being a single parent. You could tell straight away that he wasnt going to employ me. They act as if Im lying.
I didn't think they were allowed to ask you about your children/child care - do you have to put this on the forms? If they don't know about it they can't use it against you. Good luck and well done for trying so hard.
The interviewer shouldnt even ask such things. I;m out of work looking for full time, was made redundant after 14 years, have had a few interviews and they slways ask, whats your living arrangements and I tnd to think as soon as I say new house, now living with partner they must think 'yer next step babies' so what if it is! they shouldnt think that way.
Question Author
Theres so much discrimination. Im looked at as if im a freak when I say Im a single parent. Ive felt like not mentioning it but they always ask why im looking for part time work.
Its the whole experience thing thats annoying me and employers messing me around. The amount of pre employment tests, assessments etc etc that ive done for a poxy minimum wage 16 hour a week job is unbelieveable. When I came out of the RAF I had none of this. I walked into a £30k a year job after a 5 minute interview
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Sherrad - Yes Ive had a few application forms asking about childcare arrangements etc. More notably from Asda who wont even take my calls now even after passing their assessment!!
sometimes I get the 'you're too experienced' which so annoys me, if I can do the job employ me!! I'd see if there is any other way you can explain why you want a part time job without saying you are a single parent and see if they act any dfferently
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The over qualified speil is getting old for me. Ive had that a few times.
Im thinking about removing certain things from my Cv such as my management experience and high blue chip sales experience. Going for a job at boots with that lot would probably scare a manager. A mate asked me "would you employ someone who could probably do your job as well as their own?". He has a point I guess.
Have you tried registering with an agency, either in a specific line of work you are already experienced in, or for something like demonstration/promotional type of work? Not the same as a full time job, but interesting as it takes you into different places.
Are you any good at gardening? A friend of ours was unable to find a job and started doing gardening jobs, hedge trimming, lawn-cutting and so on and, even at the start, earned quite a bit more than the minimum wage. You could choose the hours to suit yourself.
Question Author
Yeah Im with Pertemps and Manpower. Im also with a job club. Pertemps are pretty crap to be honest as they dont have alot of part time work. Manpower keep pushing me to be a temp, an odd day here an odd day there. I need something a little more secure that will give me a definate wage for about 14 weeks due to the benefit systems regulations. Thats how I ended up in that call centre and I was so unhappy.
Question Author
JMR - Yes, Ive looked into that as well as a few "odd job man" jobs and the thing standing in my way was having no licence or transport to ferry around the tools id need. Again, it wasnt a stable wage and even the jobcentre tried toput me off it.
I am looking to do some more volunteering and have been in contact with a volunteer centre by me.
Darn it...I forgot about you not having transport. When my pal started out he just used his customers' machines/tools until he got some money together. What sort of place do you live in? I don't want to know where you live but are you in a village/town /city?
Question Author
In a small two bedroom flat which adds to the misery.
do you have referees?

you may want to recheck them...you may find one of them is being unflattering in their refeneces
Question Author
The only time if given references out are on application forms where they say they wont contact them until after interviews. Im actually struggling on the refrence side. My last job in the call centre probably wont be great due to the tile off i took for the swine flu illness and then the job before that was in 2007 and I was self employed. I didnt even have an accountant because my dad did my accounts. So my only other reference would have been around 2005 but they have now folded. The only other job was when i was in the RAF and getting a reference from them is like getting blood from a stone.
perhaps thats part of the problem then...

i would suggest while you ar elooking for work, try and get some unpaid trainee/work experience/volunteer work...it only need be a week or two...but be utterly brilliant so when you ask for a ref they will be happy too.

you could try a few days at a charity, but also approach thetype of jobs you want and be straight with them...say you want some on the job experience and you are prepared to do a few weeks free in order to get it...you may even find they give you a job at the end of it...but if not, not get things to add to your cv and soem decent refeences
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Thanks joko, thats a very good point and sound advice. Ill look into that now. Thanks again!!

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