Ducks

As you may already have noticed, my previous long-standing employment came to an untimely end in December 2005. I'm going for a career-change, developing existing computer skills.

There are many different opportunities for job-seekers in the UK, and many of these apply outside the UK as well. There are also various work disciplines but here I am focussing on the IT market, specifically web design and web development.

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It is essential to prepare a CV, or resumé, and keep it up-to-date. Working so long for the same employer, I never had one of these until a few years ago. Being involved with a training organisation, I took some advice on style and presentation. You can see a PDF version of my web CV here, or my CV index page) here. Click on the Adobe logo on this page if you need to download the Reader.

I established a study programme using the stage 1 and 2 course materials. I wanted to get some training behind me before applying for jobs. There's a balance to be struck between study and work. If I get work soon then study will take longer. If I apply for work later, I may run out of money to live on. As it was, I began looking for work towards the end of Month 4. Unfortunately, during Month 5 I had a temporary eye problem and this took 2 months to remedy and recover from. Back to Top

I first looked for online jobsearch agencies. Some allow the jobseeker to perform searches of their database, and some allow you to save those searches and receive email notifications of jobs that match the search (job alerts). Sometimes the search criteria are very few, which results in a large number of matches. It takes substantial effort to wade through the results and eliminate the irrelevant ones. Most jobsearch facilities allow entry of keywords. If the location search criteria are not specific enough, try entering the location as a keyword, for example ' HTML AND "West Midlands" '. I used something similar at The IT Job Board. A (non-exhaustive) list of agencies may be found in the box on the right. Back to Top

An example where the visitor is encouraged to select search criteria is the JobCentrePlus website. You can save one set of search criteria to a Favorites location. Several applications have resulted from visits to this site. Often, employers advertise directly here and you tend to receive better treatment.Back to Top

Although receiving an average of 10 job alerts per day from online agencies, few result in me sending an application. Part of the reason is that search criteria are rather vague. What would help is if you could filter on essential skills and desirable skills separately. Then I would exclude specific skills/technologies from the essential category without eliminating such jobs from the results entirely. One particular organisation, although not offering this as such, indicates in a sidebar list whether there are "highly experienced" skills or "some experience" skills for the vacancy. To their credit, they enable the job-seeker to enter specific skills and technologies against which potential employers can match job requirements, and consequently they offer well-targeted vacancies.Back to Top

After following up one or two applications resulting from job alert emails, I took some advice and adopted the direct approach. I used the SCOOT UK Business Finder to list relevant companies in my area. This provided about 50 companies to which to send a speculative letter/email. Most do not advertise their website on their SCOOT entry (I presume this costs extra), so I enter the company name into a search engine. I used email if there was an address listed on the website, otherwise snail mail. An advantage of using email is that you have the opportunity of making an early impression (using the email body). A formal application and CV can be sent as attachments. I send documents in MS Word format but you could also use PDF. Back to Top

Another source of companies in your area is to find a trade association. They will likely have a membership scheme and you may able to search their database by region or county. I found the UK Web Design Association and the West Midlands IT Association, which recently graduated to become the UK IT Association. A search at the UKWDA revealed a further 30 companies in my area. Back to Top

The local free newspapers don't have much to offer in the way of IT job adverts. But I registered with the Lichield Mercury and get occasional job alerts from them.