Author Topic: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing  (Read 1856 times)

never give up

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Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« on: January 31, 2018, 09:42:33 AM »
You see, I got tax and UK in this subject title so clearly this is on the right board!

My job security is woeful. Iím gutted that having only found MMM in October my savings rate could be taken away from me when Iíve only really just got started. As Iíve mentioned in my journal, I suffer from social anxiety and the prospect of job interviews and job applications in general is really daunting. Itís a process Iíve never been through having joined a company straight out of Uni. I fear I will not be able to earn a similar salary in a new role and as a result feel my FIRE plans are potentially going to unravel. Iíve never been a networker so if the worst happened I would be job hunting from scratch.

Anyway enough about me. I thought a thread on how to get a job may be useful for many of us who either face redundancy or wish to seek a new position to accelerate the journey towards FIRE. What are useful pointers for people looking for a new job? Do people recommend joining an agency, or writing to companies that appeal to them? Any tips on interviews and CVís, good questions to ask?

Any guidance is much appreciated.

taylost3

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 02:41:20 AM »
I went through a similar experience around 2 years ago and the first thing I would say is try not to worry, like a lot of things in life the fear of the event is worse than the outcome.

If the worst does happen deal with it, it's easier than you think, in my case I'm so pleased it happened I got a better job with more opportunity and the experience of being made redundant was actually very liberating, allowing me to realise I'm free.

As for advice on finding a job a lot depends on what area you work. Think positive at least you found FI that is only a good thing redundancy or no redundancy it'll make everything easier.

katekat

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 03:41:30 AM »
The first thing that came to mind when I read your post was: imposter syndrome. Have you considered whether that might be what you're experiencing?

Of course, there ARE people who are currently in positions where they are overpaid compared to what they could get on the market. There ARE people who interview badly. There ARE people who have no network to draw on. But there are also MANY, MANY people who think these things erroneously. You may not be a very good judge of your skills (imposter syndrome can be a HUGE part of this) & your value on market (this is especially true of people who haven't interviewed in a while and therefore don't know their market well). Just something to consider. I thought I probably couldn't increase my pay on the market before I left my last job, but I increased it by £5k. I didn't know my market or my worth at all until I started interviewing. I also thought I was unprepared for interviewing but it turns out I interview great!

Here's also a thought on network: I don't actively network. I don't attend events in my field, I don't really contribute to it online, I don't have many social connections who also work in my field. But when I started casting my mind around, I realised that through my tenure at my then-employer I actually had several good connections in my field -- all the people I had been coworkers with at my employer, who had themselves since left the company. If you've been with your company for a while, this might be a good thing to consider. Do you know people who have left? Especially if they have seen your work in action? I wouldn't worry about having kept in contact with them in the meantime, with the aid of linkedin it's very easy to reconnect -- the important thing is just that they thought well of you while they were there. I didn't end up using any contacts in my job search (except as references), so I can't comment more on the value of networking.

A lot of tips about the other stuff is very field-specific and location-specific. I would say: recruiters can be good, but be picky. A lot of them are just trying to flog you the same jobs and will be pushy. Don't upload your CV to job searching sites or they will swarm you. There's no particular need to START with recruiters unless it's how things work in your location/field, you can start by searching job listings and making specific applications.

In job interviews I always ask culture questions & questions about the work: how big is the team I'd be working on?, what's the makeup of the team (I usually work in multi-discipline teams so here I mean by e.g. job title)?, how are projects managed and scoped?, what's the most interesting project you have ongoing? Some of these are field specific, some can be adapted.

Despite being American -- and therefore some advice needing to be filtered through a make-corrections-for-UK-culture net -- my favourite job hunting/work/being professional advice has always come from Ask a Manager, who writes a great column.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 05:19:23 AM »
HUGE +1 to Ask a Manager. I'm freelance and don't formally apply for things often and have moved into a role that's adjacent to what I trained in, so I have/had a bit of a complex about applications an interviews. Reading her advice (American though it is) has been career-changing. I've just been offered an interview for a job that's a step up from what I've been doing so far and for which I only meet 90% of the job description. Before reading AAM I wouldn't have even applied! Obviously I am now quaking over the prospect of having to interview and potentially even do the job (what if it magically escapes their notice that I have no experience in XYZ and they hire me anyway and then it becomes apparent I can't do it?!), but I was very clear and truthful in my cover letter and they still want to interview me. You can filter by subject tag if you scroll down the right hand column so you're not stuck reading about arguments on who cleans the office kitchen :)

Further advice:

Start looking now. You don't have to apply to anything immediately if you don't want to, but start reading job descriptions and seeing what's out there. And remember, you don't have to be the perfect candidate. You just have to be good enough to solve their "I have a vacancy I need to fill" problem. And they have to be good enough to solve your "I might want a new job" problem!

Another really great thing I have done recently is sit down with someone I worked with recently who has a good grasp on my field generally and ask for feedback. I basically posed three questions: what am I good at? What should I improve on? How can I go about getting jobs that are the next level up? I picked him specially because I knew he wouldn't hold back while also not being an arse about it, and I tried very hard to just let him talk without butting in. I also took copious notes so I would actually remember! He was very helpful because he bolstered my confidence about the ability to deliver a good end product but pointed out ways in which my communication and the way I came across seriously undermined me along the way. So I can walk the walk but not talk the talk! I think I megaposted about it in my journal at the beginning of the year. ANYWAY, my point is that this kind of feedback can be really helpful IF delivered from someone who will kindly tell it like it is. And you don't have to make a huge deal about asking. "Hey boss/coworker/competent friend, I've been thinking about how I can do better at work and was wondering if I could take you out for coffee and pick your brain about it. What do you think?" Then if they say yes, make a date and say "Thanks, I really appreciate it. Basically, I'd like your opinion on what I do well, what I could improve on, and a few next steps I might consider to work towards a promotion/new job (depending on who it is!)" Then go, write down everything they say, and mull it over. It's useful to get this kind of perspective at a time like this because they might suggest new opportunities that you haven't even thought of!

Do please post back about how it goes!

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 05:56:01 AM »
The most amazing tip I got from Ask a Manger is about CV writing. Don't make your bullet points about what you did on the job day to day: make them about what makes / made you exceptional at the job rather than merely competent or good. Even the exercise of doing this pumped up how I was feeling about my work-esteem (is that a thing?) and energised my job search.

I had the same fear that I was out-earning my worth. I needed a new job urgently as my manager was a nightmare and found a job that paid ~35% more.

Think about if / how you're going to speak about your current salary. My old work had a policy about not confirming pay details, so I answered a slightly different question and would do the same again. Some people are bothered by this. I am not.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 02:06:35 PM »
I'm going to diagnose imposter syndrome... I'm sure you'd be easily able to get a similar job; you must remember interviewers are really looking for someone who can do the job, not someone who can talk about the job, instantly bond with the interviewer, tell endearing anecdotes and be the life and soul of the party. And having met you at the meetup, I found you engaging and interesting, so yeah imposter syndrome it is.

Depending on your industry and desired job type depends on the approach, in my industry for contract jobs agencies are the only way, but there are different options for permanent roles.

Here's a question - what is your ideal next job? Can you define the job title, write the role profile and what sort of company you want to work in?

never give up

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 10:58:22 PM »
Thanks for your replies.

@taylost3 - thank you. Yes having my budgets minimised and organised will help me in whatever situation. It would just feel a little crushing so soon into my FI journey.

@katekat - thank you. Someone mentioned imposter syndrome to me before in replying to my very first post I think. It wasn't something I had heard of before. I am quiet and shy and have always struggled with my confidence so it sounds a reasonable fit! Having only worked at the one company for just shy of 20 years I am probably a bit institutionalised. I was able to start at the bottom and work my way up a bit. My best attribute is my work ethic and you can't demonstrate this in an interview but you can over many months working for someone.

That's interesting about job application sites. I thought this was the most common way to proceed nowadays? You mention searching through job listings. Where do I find these? What is the difference between recruiters, job listings and job searching sites? I literally have never even got anywhere close to searching for another job so am completely out of touch here. Sorry I'm so useless! Thanks for the interview questions and the link. Much appreciated.

@shelivesthedream - thanks for your reply. I think I have the Mustachian elements of frugality and a basic understanding of passive investing. I definitely am not in the place of feeling multi-skilled and redundancy is great because it gives me the opportunity to do something new. I think before I found MMM I would heave been crushed by redundancy. Like absolutely floored by it. I am in a better place than this now because I realise I can live on a lot less and so that gives me more options. However I am not where I need to be here, and my confidence means I never will be. On a scale of 1 to 10 on flexible skills and adaptability I am a 1, better than the 0 I was 6 months ago. I won't be a 10 but I need to get to a 5 or something before redundancy happens. You're right that I need to start now with preparing for the worst. If the worst doesn't happen then I've learnt a lot. If the worst does happen then I'm prepared for it and have a plan.

@Playing with Fire UK - thank you. Yes I definitely think work esteem is a thing. I can definitely relate to the "out-earning my worth" point.

Quote
Think about if / how you're going to speak about your current salary. My old work had a policy about not confirming pay details, so I answered a slightly different question and would do the same again. Some people are bothered by this. I am not.

Forgive me but I wasn't sure what you meant here?

@dreams_and_discoveries - thanks for your reply and saying nice things. My work is under increasing threat of automation and I have considerable company specific skills. I know an element is transferrable of course, but I feel I would need to do something completely different when I leave. I find this really daunting. My present boss understands I can't do presentations and stuff and so I can provide the content for others to deliver. I am so lucky with where I currently work. I have a job and a boss that fits with my anxiety and confidence levels and I feel this is irreplaceable to some extent.

I can't answer your questions so they need to be part of the pre-work I do to get myself ready.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2018, 02:39:50 AM »
For some jobs, they will either post a salary range, or not mention a salary at all. Then, instead of deciding how much value they think you will add to the role or what the market rate is for your skills, they will ask what you are making today, and offer a teeny bit more than that. It can limit you getting paid what you are worth. Ask a Manager has more info.

katekat

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2018, 03:03:25 AM »
@katekat - thank you. Someone mentioned imposter syndrome to me before in replying to my very first post I think. It wasn't something I had heard of before. I am quiet and shy and have always struggled with my confidence so it sounds a reasonable fit! Having only worked at the one company for just shy of 20 years I am probably a bit institutionalised. I was able to start at the bottom and work my way up a bit. My best attribute is my work ethic and you can't demonstrate this in an interview but you can over many months working for someone.

That's interesting about job application sites. I thought this was the most common way to proceed nowadays? You mention searching through job listings. Where do I find these? What is the difference between recruiters, job listings and job searching sites? I literally have never even got anywhere close to searching for another job so am completely out of touch here. Sorry I'm so useless! Thanks for the interview questions and the link. Much appreciated.

I didn't mean that you shouldn't use job application sites at all. Usually job sites have two ways of interacting with them: applying to specific jobs, and uploading your CV. Applying to specific jobs is what I would recommend. Uploading your CV means that other people (recruiters) can find you proactively. IME, this will lead to you not feeling in control of your own job search. Sometimes the job sites are sneaky and you will have to opt-out of uploading your CV to the site if you apply to a specific job (I accidentally made myself discoverable during my last job hunt).

Job listings can mostly be found on job sites nowadays, yeah. Sorry for the confusion.

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Re: Finding a job in the UK doesnít need to be taxing
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2018, 09:43:58 AM »
Playing with Fire - I see. Thank you for clarifying. Apologies I didn't get it first time.

katekat - No need to apologise. I have been stuck in a safe work bubble my entire career so have never even looked at a job site and have no idea even the basics of how they work. It seems so obvious when you spell it out. Apologies for my uselessness.