Read: Anchor's Easy Job-Hunting Guide

Looking for work

Last year the retail sector suffered a blow. 85,000 jobs were cut amid branch closures and restructures, a 37% increase on 2017 when 62,000 jobs were lost.

Both high-end and high-street retailers fell victim to the trend, including House of Fraser, Toys R Us, Mothercare, Prezzo and Byron.

According to the Office for National Statistics 1.38 million unemployed people were looking for work in the UK in December 2018; Finding a job in 2019 then could be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

So, how can you best navigate your way into a vacancy in a shrinking retail sector before hopelessness sets in?

If you feel disheartened by the prospect of a zero hour contract, annoyed with unresponsive employers, anxious about a future lack of income or simply low because you lost your job and it wasn’t your fault, perhaps some of the following tips can tips can help you. 

Firstly, keep trying - don’t give up. Its’s important to remember that job hunts take time. Persevere and you will prevail.

Next, check the careers pages of companies you’d like to work for. Anchor Foster Care for example has a jobs page where we list our active vacancies, foster carer roles included. You could have a look at your favourite brands too and see if they do something similar.

Also, use online job boards such as Indeed or the Department for Work and Pensions website. You’ve probably done this already. But, have you made your job board CV ‘live’ or ‘public’? If you do, agencies and employers can contact you in addition to you contacting them. As agencies often have a slew of roles that you may not know about so it’s good to let them contact you also. 

You can also submit your CV to independent recruitment consultants. Upload your CV to a recruiter website or pop in and see them. Usually recruitment consultants are obliged to meet candidates before they can put them forward for roles, so stopping by for a visit could improve your chances of success.

And speaking of good ideas, LinkedIn is brilliant for would be employees. Well-known brands, businesses and other organisations like us post jobs directly on the platform. An amazing searchable listing is also on LinkedIn connecting job hunters directly to employers. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Log in frequently and directly on the platform also, and remember to update your LinkedIn profile as it can showcase your achievements. A top tip is – employers do look at user profiles, so make sure yours sells your experience well to stand out from the crowd.

Check all of the social media platforms for vacancies as well. Posts in your news feed, or on the ‘home pages’ of businesses, brands and charities are all places where vacancies are listed. Anchor Foster Care also regularly recruit via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can even check old posts (just not too far back) to find vacancies that are still open. Search ‘jobs’ in the search bar on Facebook or carry out detailed searches on Twitter or Instagram. Try #jobsinkent for example to bring up a list of posts about jobs in the Kent area. Change the tabs at the top in Twitter to switch between the latest and most popular posts.

Double your network effort on Facebook through 100’s of groups dedicated to every subject. Join local, freelancer, volunteer or specialist subject groups and check regularly for updates about vacancies. 

In addition, speak to friends. Check local papers and attend networking groups. Open up about yourself and your hobbies and keep in contact with anyone who strikes your interest. You never know when they might be looking for an experienced cashier with jewellery making knowledge!

Alongside your search, take time to retrain, upskill, volunteer, switch to part time work in a related or non-related industry or even intern. Not only will you keep busy but you’ll also utilise and learn new skills until you find the job that you enjoy best. If you switch career and join Anchor Foster Care for example, we offer a number of training courses to help foster carers be the best they can be.

Finally, it’s a good idea to prepare for potential interviews and you can do this before you even begin a job hunt. How? List your key skills and then check them against roles you’re interested in to see if you could apply for them. Remember some skills are transferable so you don’t necessarily have had to have done the exact same job previously. The process of writing a list will also help you when evidencing you’re application. In interview you can also draw on examples from your list to help prove that you are the right candidate.

Note your skills and achievements from your professional and personal life. What transferable skills do you have? Have you worked in a particular sector, or are your skills ‘soft skills’, like being organised, diligent and resilient? At Anchor we look for a range of skill sets that show you can support a young person. Perhaps you could be suited to a role as a foster carer?

It’s important to know you’re strengths as you’ll be able to draw on these areas when you go for an interview. How do your skills in these areas match up with the role you’re going for? Can you give examples at interview that demonstrate your abilities in these areas?

Interview skills

Now you’re ready for interview. Before you submit an application form check it thoroughly. Ensure you have filled in every area, using any job description or person specification to help you. Research the company thoroughly to get an idea of the people who make up the team already, and prepare questions for the big day. 

Walk into the interview confident that you have prepared well and know that the job is what you want, because you have researched it well, and you can do it, because you have analysed your experience before applying.

While you’re waiting to hear back about your success keep yourself busy by applying for more jobs. Maybe you’ll luck up and be offered two roles! 

Anchor Foster Care is a well-established not-for-profit, independent fostering agency with teams in Kent, East Sussex, South London, East Midlands and North of London.

With 8100 foster carers still need across the UK, now is the time to turn your life around and start again. See our website for our fostering related vacancies including social workers and foster carers:

To become a foster carer you don’t need to own your own home, be married or under 60. You just need to show resilience, be caring, be in a good health and available.

Start fostering today.