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Looking for work

It could be a while since you last had to search for a job, or you may be looking for a change of role or more flexible hours. Maybe you’ve been out of work for some time. Whatever the reason, there are a number of ways to find roles to suit you.

How do I search for a job online?

Using job search websites is a great way to find job vacancies near you.

You can usually search for jobs by location, sector, and salary, or even narrow down your search more specifically to look for only part- or full-time jobs, or permanent or temporary contracts.

There are both general job search websites and ones which focus on specific sectors, for example, listing jobs in construction or jobs in the media. Below are some examples of ones which list vacancies for specific employers.

You can upload your CV to some job sites where employers can see it. You will need to set up a profile on these websites in order to use them, but most of them won’t charge for this and it’s fairly quick and easy to do.

The business-orientated social network LinkedIn allows you to create a profile, network with others in your area of interest and put your CV online.

If you decide to put your CV on a social network or job site, remove your home address and phone numbers first to protect your privacy. Only include your name and email address.

You may also want to try:

  • the websites of national newspapers, which often have vacancies sections for jobs around the UK
  • the website of the organisation you want to work for – they may have a vacancies page, which sometimes may be called ‘Work for us’
  • See if there are any career opportunities at Age UK

What if I can't get online at home?

If you don’t have the internet at home, you may be able to get free access at your local library. You can talk to your local Age UK to see if they can help with access to computers. 

Get help locally

If you've never been online, many local Age UKs also run computer training classes which can teach you the basics

Where else can I find a job?

  • Keep an eye out in your local area for anywhere advertising for staff. Many smaller firms and shops still put up notices in their windows.
  • If there is a particular place you would like to work locally, why not pop in, phone up, or drop off your CV with a covering letter? It can’t hurt to ask.
  • Local newspapers carry job adverts, sometimes on a particular day of the week.
  • Your local council should also have a vacancies section on their website, and this will be a good source of local job opportunities.

You may also want to find out about local volunteering opportunities. Even if they don’t need paid staff, you could volunteer which may lead to further opportunities for paid work in the future. 

What are recruitment agencies?

Recruitment agencies, also known as employment agencies, can help you to find work; permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time.

Employers will contact an agency when they are seeking candidates for a specific position. The agency will help fill that role by looking for candidates who would be a good match and contacting them to see if they would be interested in putting their CV forward for consideration.

If the agency successfully helps to fill the post, they will get a payment from the employer.

It is illegal for a recruitment agency to charge for helping you to find work, although they may charge for other services they offer, such as CV writing.

There are many benefits to using an agency:

  • they specialise in certain fields where they will have excellent contacts
  • they can offer advice and help you with your job search and your CV
  • they do some of the legwork of job hunting by calling you when there is an opportunity
  • they can help you find a position quickly, especially if you're willing to do temporary roles (also referred to as ‘temping’)

You should also be aware of some of the downsides:

  • agents are under pressure to reach targets and could put you forward for jobs you don’t really want
  • you still need to spend time job hunting as not all jobs will be offered to agencies
  • some popular sectors are unlikely to use agencies, for example, the media sector, as they already have a lot of demand for jobs.
  • some agencies can hold negative stereotypes about older workers. 

How do I register with a recruitment agency?

To register with an agency, send them your CV and a cover letter, explaining what type of job you're looking for.

You can register with as many agencies as you like, but it’s best to be a bit selective, especially as more than one recruitment agency could put you forward for the same job.

You should let them know:

  • if you want to work full- or part-time
  • your preferred location
  • minimum salary
  • any other preferences.

They will invite you to an interview and may ask you to take some tests (such as IT) depending on the type of work you're looking for.

How can the Jobcentre Plus help me?

Jobcentre Plus, previously called job centres or labour exchanges, can help you find work. They have a large database of job vacancies called Find a Job, which you can search online or at your local Jobcentre Plus office.

There are around 750 Jobcentre Plus offices in the UK, so there should be one near you. Your local office will have a range of information about finding work, self-employment and training. They also have trained advisors.

Where can I get advice on changing careers?

The National Careers Service has lots of advice on careers and learning. You can also call them on 0800 100 900 (freephone) for free personalised careers advice and guidance. 

If you are a member of a union, ask if they have a Learning Representative who can guide you through your options for training or gaining new qualifications. This could be training in the workplace, or at a local college or training centre.

The TUC’s UnionLearn website has information on learning opportunities 

More help on changing career

What can I do next?

Some local Age UKs run projects to help people get into work, or else they can direct you to nearby help


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For more information call the Age UK Advice Line on 0800 678 1602.
We’re open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.

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Last updated: Apr 28 2022

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