Fill your application gaps
From finding a job you actually want to apply for in the first place through to your appearance at the interview, job hunting can be a difficult process to get right, especially if it’s been a while since your last search.
Then there’s the dreaded application form. Fill in it correctly and you’re one step closer to getting the job, but get it wrong and you’re just another applicant on the ‘NO’ pile. From not enough work experience to long gaps between jobs, there are plenty of reasons why you might have the odd gap here and there, but what can you do about it and how can you make sure you stand out to potential public sector employers?
No, we’re not talking about heading down the gym, we’re talking about adding some extra skills to your CV…
No matter what role you want in the public sector, there’s always a relevant training course you can take to improve existing skills or even learn brand new ones. And not only will it get you noticed by employers, but it’ll make you better at your job. The words win/win spring to mind… Remember, there’s no such thing as too many transferable skills, so the more extra work you’ll do, the more you’ll see it pay off in the long term.
Volunteering is ideal for filling in work history gaps, whether you’re new to the working world or just haven’t been part of it recently.
Giving you useful work experience with some transferable skills thrown in for free, volunteering also allows you to give back to your community. So whether you want to work for the local charity shop, help out at a retirement home, or just get involved in a community project, there are a variety of volunteering options on offer that are bound to suit you, and maybe even your career plans.
For example, if you’re looking to become a teacher, why not volunteer as a teaching assistant? Want to get a taste of being a police officer? Join up for being a PCSO (police community support officer).
Got a busy schedule or a day job that fills your week? Don’t worry you can still join in the fun. Volunteering can offer flexible hours to suit your schedule, so you can fit in anything from a few hours a week to entire days, without having to give up your day job or your life.
Back to School
You may be all grown up now, but if you’re after some new qualifications, it’s never too late to sit behind a school desk again. If the qualifications section of your application form is looking a little bare or even irrelevant, going back to school could be the answer, from standard GCSEs and diploma courses, right up to degrees, masters and specialist subjects.
Too busy to enter the classroom? Don’t worry, you can always try distance learning, allowing you to learn from the comfort of your sofa and in your own time; ideal if you’ve got family commitments or a busy work life.
If you’re thinking about heading back to class, always keep in mind your career aspirations. While any extra skills are good, making it relevant to your career is bound to impress employers. Want to learn German? Great! Don’t think you’ll ever use it in your plans to become a nurse? Then maybe have a re-think…
Sell, sell, sell
So you’ve filled in some gaps in your application form and you’ve got an interview. Well done!
While you pick out potential interview outfits and plan the route, remember not to stress about any remaining gaps, particularly in employment history. Employers understand the jobs market is a fickle place right now, and they must have seen potential to invite you to the interview in the first place.
So, if it’s been a while since your last job, don’t panic. If you’ve taken some (or indeed all) of our advice, you’ll have plenty to talk about. Learning some extra skills in your free time or going back to school shows that you’ve not only put your time to good use but you’ve also got the commitment to thrive in a career in the public sector.