Looking for work
It might have been a while since you last searched for a new job. Maybe you're looking for a change of direction or more flexible hours – or maybe you’ve been out of work for some time. Whatever your situation, there are ways to find roles to suit you.
How do I search for a job online?
Job search websites are a great way to find vacancies that might suit you.
You can usually search for jobs by location, sector, and salary – and even narrow down your search to look specifically for part-time or full-time jobs, or permanent or temporary contracts.
There are general job search websites and more specialised ones which focus on specific sectors – for example, jobs in construction or jobs in the media. Why not take a look at a couple of the examples below?
Jobs search websites you might be interested in
On some job sites, you can upload your CV so potential employers can see it. You'll 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 job site or social network, remove your home address and phone numbers first to protect your privacy. Only include your name and email address.
You might also find it helpful 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 might have a vacancies page (for instance, 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 might be able to get free access at your local library. You can also talk to your local Age UK to see if they can help with access to computers. If you've not used one before, many local Age UKs run computer training classes to teach you the basics, too.
Where else can I find a job?
There are plenty of ways to find work offline, too:
- Keep an eye out in your local area for anywhere advertising for staff. Many smaller businesses still put up notices in their windows.
- If there's a particular place you'd like to work, why not pop in or phone up to ask about opportunities – or else 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.
You might also want to consider volunteering opportunities. Even if an organisation doesn't need paid staff right now, volunteering can sometimes 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.
Employers sometimes contact them when they're looking for candidates for a certain position. They help by finding candidates who would be a good match. If the agency successfully helps to fill the post, they will get a payment from the employer.
It's illegal for recruitment agencies to charge for helping you to find work – although they may charge for other services they offer, such as writing CVs.
There are lots of benefits to using an agency:
- they often have excellent contacts in the fields they specialise in
- they can offer advice on your CV and help you with your job search
- they do some of the legwork of jobhunting by calling you if a suitable opportunity comes up
- they can help you find a position quickly – especially if you're willing to do temporary roles (also referred to as ‘temping’).
However, you should also be aware of some of the optential downsides of using an agency:
- agents are under pressure to reach targets and so they could put you forward for jobs you don’t really want
- you still need to spend time jobhunting – 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 should let them know:
- your preferred location
- your minimum salary
- whether you want to work full-time or part-time
- any other preferences.
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.
The agency will normally then invite you to an interview. They may ask you to take some tests (for example, IT skills) depending on the type of work you're looking for.
How can Jobcentre Plus help me?
Jobcentre Plus has a large database of job vacancies which you can search online. Alternatively, you can contact your local Jobcentre Plus office – which you might have heard referred to previously as a job centre or labour exchange.
There are around 750 Jobcentre Plus offices in the UK. Your nearest one will have a range of information about finding work, self-employment and training. They also have trained advisors to help you with your job search.
Where can I get advice on changing careers?
The National Careers Service has lots of advice on careers and learning. You can call them on 0800 100 900 for free personalised careers advice and guidance.
If you're 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.
The TUC’s UnionLearn website also has information on learning opportunities.
What can I do next?
We're here to help
We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.