“We’re a team and we’ll make it happen together.” This is the message we make clear to job seekers that come to our service: it’s not Catapult consultants working for you but working with you. Some people shy away from that but others really like the opportunity to be involved and take ownership of their future. Anita is a great example of this.
She was involved with Catapult as a jobseeker for about eighteen months and leading up to her success in finding employment she was always willing to try every avenue we suggested.
I met up with her for a coffee recently and we had a chat about what she had found to be valuable in working with us at Catapult.
“For me the best part was being able to get used to the one person [consultant],” said Anita, “I felt at ease, didn’t have to explain myself again and again, I felt relaxed there. My confidence was probably pretty low and so at interviews I often didn’t come over as the person I really am. I took up the chances that were arranged for me to help me feel more confident – a course at ARA and volunteering. And everyone at Catapult, they’d boost my confidence too and that helped me feel positive. The volunteering I did was also good for that… it was much better to be doing something worthwhile and useful.”
And that’s the thing – we emphasis to jobseekers that while they’re looking for paid employment it’s a great idea to register with an organisation to volunteer. It’s a win/win: the organisation gets the volunteer’s support and the positive involvement gives the volunteer’s self- esteem a boost, a potential referee and something positive happening to fill that current blank space on their CV.
Anita was already volunteering with the Salvation Army in one of their retail stores when she came to us. That was great customer service experience but an administration volunteer role we found for her at Addington Net was more related to the type of work she was looking for so she also took that on as well.
The very act of getting out of the house and into the community is in itself a powerfully positive step and proving reliability is invaluable, I doubt that there’d be any employer who wouldn’t rate it as a fundamental if not the fundamental attribute they look for in an employee. So keeping appointments with us and attending our workshops are some of the ways a job seeker can build up that fundamental employment expectation.
Anita was a regular at our six, hour-long workshops and says that she found the one on cover letters to be particularly useful: “they explained how to personalise it and I hadn’t done that before.” Before long the only involvement she needed from her consultant was a collaborative comment here or there: she’d gathered the knowledge and skill to create great cover letters by herself.
The more a job seeker can “own” the process of getting employment the better the outcome.
And Anita says “don’t let yourself be beaten. Keep going. Keep telling yourself to persevere – you’ll get there…you will!”