Women shaking hands

The secrets to getting a job

Plenty of us feel like the job market has left us behind – but employment expert Janine Alcantara explains that we can easily get back on track

An employment expert has shared the secrets to getting a job and being a stand-out candidate when we apply.

Janine Alcantara, who founded Employment 4 All, said it doesn’t take much to turn our fortunes around. Good news if we’ve been searching for a while without any luck.

Her organisation works with employers who are keen enough to bag our skills to think of small ways to help us get a foot in the door.

Don’t be afraid to ask!

“We have a lot of employer partners,” Janine said. “We say to them, ‘Okay, this is your normal practice. That’s fantastic if you’re not in a cost-of-living crisis, if you’ve got a smartphone, if you’ve got wifi. But for those who haven’t got that, can you amend your processes?”

Janine Alcantara

Janine, pictured left, is not afraid to ask for things like trial shifts, travel fares or free lunches for her jobseeker clients. After all, these are things that are pretty simple for employers to provide but they can make all the difference to someone on a tight budget.

Look the part

Another of her secrets to getting a job is finding organisations that can help us get kitted out with a smart new interview look.

“We refer a lot of people to an organisation called Suited and Booted,” she said. “They work with designer shops that donate what they didn’t sell the season before and men can go there where tailors will fit them out with suit, tie, shirt, socks – everything from top to bottom.

“As for women there’s a wonderful organisation called Dress for Success. It’s all brand new items, there’s a stylist and I had one of my young care leavers say the other day, ‘Gosh, I’ve never felt so good. When I looked in the mirror I was like a proper lady.’”

One thing Janine is keen to point out is that there are lots of organisations out there that want to help us find a job that works for us. The trick is knowing what to ask for, and who to ask.

It’s a good thing, because this is a tricky time to be jobseeking. She’s found that lots of us have lost confidence as a result.

CV secrets

“Many people years ago went down to a company, met a manager or sent their CV in,” Janine said. “They got a nice letter back saying thank you, we’ve accepted you or we haven’t accepted you. Even if they didn’t get a job there was some acknowledgement.”

But she says that increasingly we don’t get those letters any more, and our CV is scanned by computer rather than a manager.

“So people feel that they’re not even worthy of a rejection letter,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of people who thought they had jobs for life suddenly found their business was closed down,” she says. “You hear people saying, ‘I’ve applied for a thousand jobs and had no response.

It’s not you!

“You need to have multiple CVs for different roles, but most people don’t know that. They just have the one that has all their bits and pieces on it. But if they don’t have the same skills and trigger words that match up with what the employer is looking for then it won’t come to their attention.

“Don’t think it’s you when you’re not getting the responses from your CV. You’re not the problem, it’s just that you have to match. 

“If you’re using a Jobcentre, ask your work coach. Can I be referred to a work and health programme? Because there are programmes out there that can help people into work. Don’t suffer in silence.”

Janine’s top tips

  1. Look at the job description and tailor your CV. It’s really important to understand that it’s an algorithm and it’s not you that’s been rejected. It’s more that there’s some points in that algorithm that you didn’t fit
  2. It sounds like a very basic one but make sure your phone number and email address are correct on your CV
  3. Keep it simple in your email address, that means forget the ‘hotgirlbabe’ or ‘Adonis’ or anything like that!

For more hints and tips on getting that job, try the free Quids in! Job Readiness Quiz.

Image: George Milton / Pexels

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