That’s right, I applied for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). I only needed to go in and sign on every fortnight; where is the inconvenience in it?. However, due to new laws regarding ‘government hand-outs’ it was actually quite an ordeal.
Let me explain; in order to secure JSA one needs to prove they really are out there pounding the pavement looking for work. Not only keeping a “My Work Plan” journal that your coach assess every week but you also have to complete 21 steps (for myself this was each week) to ensure you receive your JSA. What can these steps be?
- Logging onto a job site and searching
- Applying for a job
- Enquiring about work experience or employment
- Organising/attending interviews
So there is quite a bit involved with getting your £56.80 a week.
What can I say about my first interview with the Job Centre?
As you would stereotypically expect there were a few tracksuit clad people stood outside the entrance, some young parents and one young man professing he had a great business plan but no evidence with him to prove it. On the whole the experience was far better than that of the previous day. I was greeted by a friendly woman who took me over to an ‘over 25s coach’ who discussed the criteria I’d have to meet to qualify for JSA and explained my next meeting would be with a member of the 18-24 team.
Afterwards she asked to take a look at my CV, she gave me a few helpful hints; add a header or a footer so that if the pages get separated they can be re-paired; just list the number of GCSEs you have grade A-C (i.e. 8 GCSEs grade A-C including English & Maths); and that the average employer will only spend 30 seconds reading a CV before they decided whether or not to discard it.
She then said something I didn’t agree with”you need to depersonalise your CV”. Now while I appreciate her input it seems inherently wrong to me that a CV should be impersonal; by all means avoid the overuse of the word “I” but by every means make it personal. How else will you stand out from a crowd of other job seeker?
The newly formed cynic in me is fairly certain that her main priority is to get me in any form of employment, even if that means asking “would you like fries with that?”. Unfortunately for the people at job centre I wasn’t just looking to settle for any job. I hadn’t left further education to take the first dead end job I was offered.
But in order to satisfy the job centre I re-wrote my CV.