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If we all chip in together maybe we can help each other get back into the workplace and more importantly recognize our skills.

In my formative years in education before I got to the managerial stages I used to teach people who had been out of work for a long time (usually not carers to be honest) how to get back into work. While many actually didn't want work I began to see a pattern in those who had cared - they couldn't see their own worth and had lost self confidence so I asked the bosses if we could set up a course just for them.

When we put a board up and started to list all the things they did and then put that into employment language you could see the change in their self perception gradually emerging as they began to realise just how many skills they had that were transferrable and current.

Every single one of them went into work and not one of them was under 55. We were absolutely over the moon for them. I can't remember all the jobs they went into but I know among them were Health Care Assistant (which quite frankly I would have avoided at all costs) One became a PA and she was brilliant at it. One employer came back to us and asked if we had any more ex carers because he couldn't believe their willingness to go the extra mile. Well ladies and gents that is what we do every day of the week so put it in your cv

To anyone who needs it please feel free to cut and paste anything I post and I would love everyone to allow that cutting and pasting too please. xxxx

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Just reread this and had to share an amusing incident related to Jude's Point no. 3. I always wore suits to interviews, which were almost entirely with law firms. Once I decided to apply for a position with in-house counsel in the law department of a computer firm.

Wore my usual suit and heels. It was pretty clear that there was some kind of mix-up because the attorney who interviewed me didn't even know an interview had been set. But it was her appearance when she came down the stairs that told me there wasn't a match even before speaking with her.

She was wearing a t-shirt, pants or jeans (something casual), and flip-flops! I have never in my entire career seen an attorney wearing flip flop sandals at work.

I knew computer firms dressed casually, but I didn't realize how much so.

I didn't get a call back, but it was for the best as when I verified her claims I found out she was grossly misrepresenting the company's primary line. I don't recall what she claimed they did, but on researching it found they were one of the number 1 or 2 companies that spammed with ads! And there were a lot of complaints about them.

I never would have worked for them after I realized what they did.
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Or trying anyway! Thanks Send.
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Bringing this back to the top for caregivers returning to the workforce.
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I am a little swamped right now hence rare postings but just a word to the wise. If you don't get a job there are usually only a few reasons as to why.
1 You royally screwed the interview but you will know you did that and it was probably because you hadn't prepared to give examples processes and procedures involved and outcomes....tis a common mistake so learn from it. There seems to be a nightmare trend to questions now which is really justified in my opinion but is horrendous if you aren't ready for it. The CV tells them all they need to know about your positive skills. Would you be prepared for a nasty question like. Can you tell us about a time when you didn't perform to the standard expected of you?

Its a ghastly question so make sure it is either minor - so you could easily avoid it again, or that it occurred due to you following a faulty process which you then helped to review so that it couldn't happen again

2 You don't fit in with the existing team. Now this is tricky its not necessarily about age gender or dress code but could be. It shouldn't be about culture or creed but I am ashamed to say I have seen that too. Do be warned though sometimes they want the team to change so they sometimes look for the complete opposite of the existing team
3 Your appearance/grooming. Today they are getting round issues of looks by using terms like the successful candidate will have a professional approach to all aspects of their work - don't be fooled - this means if you dont dress or look the way they want you to they have a get out clause. I find this disgraceful but hey it is what it is I was told to see a dress stylist before I attended a job interview and I told them where to put their job. I always wore a black or navy suit with a brighter colour but not garish blouse but apparently I should have dressed more flamboyantly.
3a Do check what the average person in the company wears - No point wearing high cost fashion if everyone there wears low cost fashion and they would know the difference. I know I failed one interview because I dressed over well. As soon as I walked into the interview I knew...the interviewer was smart but while I had picked my one and only brand new suit (given to me by a friend who quite frankly had more money than sense she was wearing an off the peg suit. Shouldn't make a difference but it did!
4Your face just wasn't what they were looking for - in the final analysis you wouldn't want to work for them anyway
5 You are overqualified...Taylor once said appoint the very best person for the job ...if you dare....most don't dare for fear they will employe someone who wants their job
6 And finally the dark destroyer for all interviews. They had already decided they wanted X for the job. They cannot justifiably just give X the job - legal issues and all that so they advertise the post citing only the quals and skills that person has and what happens? Along you come and throw a spanner in the works by having identical quals. Nothing they can do but interview you. if you asked them afterwards why you didn't get the job they will have an answer...something usually like it was an incredibly close call and you both were brilliant in your answers. however X's experience matched more closely to the role than yours.... You can't beat this one so just accept it peeps///some battles have to be lost in order to win the war.
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Thank you, Send what would I do without you!
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Bringing this back up to the top.
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Igloo if it helps just one person then I will be happy xxxx
My pleasure
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Jude - what a great series of posts. Thanks for taking the time.
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Sorry new pc that should have read psychologists but it does all thing weirs and I haven't used out how to stop it yet! I hate predictive test but on this pc haven't found out how to turn it off. I sent a mail to my friend earlier who rang me to ask about the police because it changed pc to police constable WTF? I told my daughter and she roared with laughter because she had changed the predictive to do that as she was writing something about policemen. grrrrrrrrr

Phsychological testing is used when there is likely to be a degree of animosity in the position you are taking - i.e. managers who will have to deal with unions or handle mass redundancies or who are in roles that include hiring and firing through incapacity routes. These are not easy tasks and need stable people to take them on.

In my very first managerial role I had a lovely young man that worked with me whose young brother hung himself and i handled it really badly. I was supportive and I told him that he couldn't possibly have known it was going to happen but he had a breakdown and I was severely carpeted for not sending him to a psych for assistance.
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Jude, companies employ psychoanalysts? For what kind of role in hiring?

My sister told me years ago that it was illegal for someone who was not a psychologist by profession to administer psychological test. I had asked her about this after I was told by a potential interviewer that she would be administering a psychological test as part of my interview. This was definitely not a high level position. I had the impression that she was someone who had an exaggerated impression of herself. The firm wasn't even a self guided one - it just handled certain legal aspects on appointment of a court.

Man, I never want to work for any company that has psychoanalysts!

Your comment on using agency staff is interesting; in the legal field, it's often preferred to hire temps as opposed to permanent staff - temps don't get benefits where as permanent staff do, and large law firms have great benefits.

Permanent staff are also more likely to be willing to work overtime and weekends. There's generally a higher level of dedication. But law is a field unto its own, far, far away from the corporate world (fortunately).
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GA companies sometimes don't employ agency staff because the cost to them from the agency can be extremely high. That said the cost of advertising and interviewing is much more expensive especially for the higher positions when you often need to employ psychoanalysts as well as board members and top level staff for at least a day then shortlisting and final day of interviews at which point you may still feel you have no 'fit' to the company,

Some companies think that one special person can draw the company up by its bootstraps - and yes it can happen but it is bloody rare.

Never a day went past when I didn't thank my staff for their efforts and I never ever expected one of them to make my teas and coffees We shared that - as a boss I have even cleaned the toilets when the cleaner was sick- it was necessary to have them clean and if none else was there to do it then it had to be done so the staff could have their personal sanitary needs met. They were absolutely shocked when they knew I had done it but they did know it wasn't the norm - the smell of disinfectant and antiseptics was a big clue!
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Mature care-givers (and younger ones) have borne the highest level of responsibility it is possible to have - they have been charged with the lives of their loved ones financially, spiritually, physically and emotionally - while the duties placed upon them are immense, the honour that care-givers deserve is great and some on here that I won't name but they will know who they are have gone way above and beyond the call of duty in their care-giving.

How can employers miss this? Because we don't raise it to their attention in a way that will show them our many facets and capabilities. Multi- tasking to an office worker is about keying in, telephoning and managing 2 or three things at once while having 6 or 7 on the boil in the background. As Care-givers we do that and then some as we try to juggle meetings, appointments, physiotherapy, medicine, cooking, cleaning, sanitising, laundry, changing bed linen, moving them every two hours, washing them, checking skin for tears and sheering, keeping areas creamed, that's aside from gardening responsibilities, decorating, shopping, get them to church or a chaplain in, dressing and undressing them changing them, ordering pants in time, researching what else we can do to make their lives and ours a little easier......tell me who wouldn't employ a person who is capable of all of this and then handling the final blow of the death and funeral arrangements for these loved ones? It will be the person who doesn't understand the work we do and the tireless devotion with which we do it despite all our moans and groans. We do it because we consider it to be a job we know we do well.....and that's why I started this post
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GA, strange, a friend of mine is encountering the same sort of difficulty you are describing, and she too has seen the same position advertised on and off for four years now! Maybe they want cheap help, then decide rather than give well deserved raises to go on to the next contestant please.

And about a half an hour ago I received a call for an interview. It is a position I held probably 20 years ago, though it does pay a bit better now. And not at all sure how I feel about that. I enjoyed the job and the community, it was just such a different time.
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Glad, I'm wondering if it might as well be a problem with the employer, especially if it's been advertising periodically for 2 years. In my experience, those are the kind that can never find anyone who fits their criteria, or are cheap, cheap, cheap.

A short list of 2 out of only 60 makes me wonder as well about what they really want and if their standards are realistic.

It's curious...of the few corporate positions for which I've interviewed, companies that had what they felt were high standards eventually advertised again after the first hire...in one case a peculiar situation was one I decided was just too peculiar. A few months later one of the legal temp agencies contacted me about a contract position with that same company. I still had reservations. Then another few months later I read that the company was in Chapter 11.

That's happened more than once - picky companies, strange circumstances, then bankruptcy or Ch. 11.

Then there was one large company that just couldn't seem to hire. Over the course of a few years, a different legal contract agency contacted me more than a few times for the same position. I had the impression the people there couldn't even decide on hiring a contract person, which is probably why they never filled the position on a permanent basis.
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GA, one of the positions I applied for has been advertised on and off for two years. It has had a person acting in the interim, however. In March they had narrowed the field of sixty some applicats to two that were invited to interview. One of those lived about 700 miles away, wanted to interview, asked if the employer would buy him a plan ticket and hotel room for a couple of nights. The response? NO! I could not believe it, and this was a highly visible public sector leadership position, in a wealthy community. So the applicant withdrew. Just a sign of things to come, I imagine.
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Jude, one page? I can understand how that woupd make it easy for the employer and that is what the unemployment folks here will tell you to do. Have you ever seen a resume where the applicant goes through the laundry list of wants and then provides where this was done and then provide detail? I usually try to consolidate their wants into the cover letter and summary and objective portion of the resume.

Here the differentiation between CV and resume. The cv is a very detailed document and is often used by universities for professor situations. List almost entire work history as I am sure that in a teaching situation just about all life experiences can be drawn upon.
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Back to the subject of interviewing, are video interviews becoming more standard in the UK?

I've just recently learned as well that some interviews are done by Skype for someone who's not close enough for a quick pop over to the firm for an interview.

Makes long distance interviewing a lot quicker and cheaper. Just better make sure the room is all tidy and clean before skyping for an interview!
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From the standpoint of someone who once worked for a firm whose office manager insisted everyone use the Times New Roman font, I can tell you that it's miserable for legal documents. It's too hard on the eyes and complicates proofreading.

Interesting that you commented on fonts. When legal firms began moving to computers (before the days when electric typewriters, or farther back when typewriters were just standard, with no electricity) firms focused on good work environment gave people the freedom to use what they wanted, although generally an Arial or Courier font was used.

That miserable Times New Roman was standard for sometime on Internet sites, and still is on some. It's an absolutely horrible font.
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Oh and just for the record try using a sans serif font like the one I am using now - it is seen as an awareness of disability compliance as many people actually find it really hard to read Times New Roman so Helvetica, Trebuchet, Arial, are far easier for them. and size 12 minimum 1.5 spaced is best
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Ah sorry peeps - Dumb Brit here and we don't separate the two a CV is a resume and a resume is a CV - While a resume is usually only page or two -- a curriculum vitae could be very long if you have done a lot especially got a host of qualifications written articles, had books published etc and are affiliated to a load of organisations

The trend is now however to put down the RELEVANT ones which shortens it a lot

I have written over twenty books for academia but I only mention the relevant ones

I belong to a range of organisations as affiliate or full member but only mention the ones that have any meaning to the job I apply for

I think I have about 10-15 different style of resume/CV that I use regularly but watch for those nasty little job adverts that say state everything or state relevant .....
They will throw your application out if you haven't done what they asked.

GA I posted it so anyone could take what they needed from it. I just think sometimes we don't recognise the skills we do have to use every day. Assertiveness, negotiation, encouragement - tell me a day when you didn't use all three (A lot!)
Responsibility, accountability, record keeping - again every day skills for someone who is carer and POA
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Jude, lots of good advice. I appreciate the time you spent posting this for us. Do you mind if I copy and save it in my career file?

SendMe, I believe that a CV is equivalent to a Resume in the UK (and possibly other countries), while a CV in my experience is used in the US as a resume for someone in academia, or a field in which publications are noted.
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My Curriculum Vitae is called a RESUME for my purposes. My husband explained that to me.
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Send if you had said that to me I would have hired you too. Who would want to employ a total nerd to a post that requires the human touch. When you might be talking to kids then the human touch is critical and they can ask the weirdest questions.
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Thanks for starting this post Jude. It will help to have a life after caregiving for so many. It is remarkable that after using all those skills for so many years, you can then teach them, an excellent career!
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Arriving for a job interview at a museum of natural history, there was a long wait in reception, so looking over the upcoming events was expected.
One of the first questions (re: The Peter Rabbit exhibit) was: "What do you think of Peter Rabbit?"
Short pause, but what do they want to know? I couldn't let the pause go on any longer, so, answer was:" I think he was a very bad bunny".
Still wondering to this day why I was hired.
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By the way if you can say yes to all of the above then you can be a PA to a Middle manager
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Excellent IT skills including working knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software packages, preferably Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint.


Now if you don't have these you will need to get themMost are easily acquired and I suspect word is already under your belt but don check your work for spelling errors and don't use spell check.

Years and years ago when doing some research into sexual norms I asked 4 groups questioned and then compared and contrasted my results. I didn't check properly and was surprised by my tutor's comments when he wrote hmmm an interesting but unethical way to conduct research!!!! What could he mean then I realised that I had used auto correct and it had turned grupo to group but gropu to grope so I had said When I moved from Group 1 to Grope 4.... very very embarrassing!
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Ability to work on own initiative.

Ability to deal with sensitive information with discretion and to maintain confidentiality at all times.

Again covered before but give additional examples just to be sure you nail this
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A flexible, pro-active approach to work including the ability to prioritise and re-prioritise to achieve successful outcomes.

Well you have covered this before but a second example wouldn't go amiss
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Demonstration of the ability to work under sustained pressure and to tight deadlines.

Hmm do I need to mention this one at all? You need to explain the repetitive nature of dementia and the sustained pressure that that alone can place upon you especially in getting people to do what you need them to do like eat, take meds, stand sit get dressed go to the loo and how that really comes into effect when you have to get to appointments. Again perfect planning and prep essential so you can find a whole host of examples (don't mention toilet say personal hygeine)
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