Job-Seeker’s Interview #6 – Contessa
Want to find out what The Job Seeker’s Interview is all about? Click here to learn more
In the meantime here’s what our latest interviewee said…

1. What’s your name?


2. Where do you live?


3. How long have you been looking for a job?

3 months

4. What’s the story of your job search so far?

I chose to accept a voluntary redundancy offer after 22 years with a public sector careers and skills agency. I was in a management post and expected to be able to apply for similar jobs in public, private and third sector organisations, with a lower pay scale, and less beneficial terms and conditions.

5. What has gone well?

I have applied for 20 jobs through a mixture of on-line recruitment sites, directgov and specific company websites. I have also sent speculative letters to companies I am interested in and companies who are advertising jobs well below or well above my pitch in the hope that they will consider me for associated teams with the range being built up. I have received positive feedback from about 1/4 of speculative enquiries and been ignored by the rest. Support from Jobcentre Plus has been very sensitive and reliable. I also went to a private consultancy agency to support my redundancy paid for by my ex-employer. This was also very helpful.

6. What could have gone better?

The ratio of applications to interview selection rates has been poor. So far I have been invited to 2 real job interviews and 2 informal chats. The lull in hearing back from employers is also excruciating. They keep you hanging on til they have what they want from the candidate pool. One employer invited me to an open discussion meeting to meet prospective clients. From this session they would be shortlisting for interviewees. The next day I received a letter with no stamp. I went to post office to collect it and had to pay £1.56 to find out that the invitation to the pre-selection session was a mistake and they wanted to revoke my invitation. That hurt!

7. What has helped your job search so far? How did it help?

The careers guidance and employability community have been mega helpful but I think that is partly because I feel part of this network and am open to suggestions for tailoring CVs, targeting the hidden job market, etc.

8. What job search support would you value most?

There should be a quick way to transport basic information on to all application forms. Because I am fortunate and have lots of experience to draw on it takes about 3hrs per application to complete. Then there has to be editing and job specific examples and highlights to draw out, by the end of this I am exhausted. I would really value a differentiated support service for 1- job search 2- CV and application 3- interview coaching 4- coping with rejection and success- next steps

9. What experience (or advice) would you like to share with other job seekers?

Do not give up! Do not compromise your skills, experience and personal qualities in haste! Consider every step of your approach to any prospective employer and if any aspect makes you feel uncomfortable take a moment to reflect on this and ask yourself if the next step is really worthwhile. If not then move on. There is nothing worse than motivating yourself to apply for a job you are less than enthusiastic about – except perhaps landing that job and doing the business every day!!

10. (If you had a magic wand) What would your network of job seekers do for each other?

They would offer constructive feedback and support every step of the way and encourage people to celebrate their successes.
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Thanks for joining-in with your answers Contessa,
…or with a name like that should I say Ma’am 😉
I’m confident your experience will provoke a great deal of thought,
Starting with us, it already has!
[Image courtesy of Jim (jaytay) on]
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