Looking for a job

How to look for a job - If you know what you want to do

There are loads of places to look for jobs, and it’s helpful to know where to look for the type of job that you want. Some sites tend to be full of temporary jobs, some are good for specific sectors, and some are good for jobs local to you. It can be frustrating and disheartening to wade through pages of jobs and not find one that suits you, so if you know what to look for and where to look, you will save time and find more jobs that you would like.

To make sure you are doing the best job searching, think about answers to the following questions

1.    What industry or sector do you want to work in?

2.    What type of job do you want? Do you want a part-time flexible job, or do you want a full time permanent job?

Knowing the answers can help you to search in the right places and the right ways.

Some job sites are specific to some sector, and many ‘general’ job sites allow you to filter your search for a specific sector. For example, you could find a specific ‘retail jobs’ site, or a general jobs site but just choose to view all of the ‘retail’ jobs.

You will also find that different sites may be better for different contracts – for example a job site run by a recruitment agency will tend to mostly have temporary contracts. You may also find that some sectors tend to offer different contracts to others – at the moment, lots of ‘care’ jobs are flexible ‘zero hours’ contracts.

How to look for a job - If you don’t know what you want to do

It can be hard to know where to start when you don’t know what to do. We would really recommend getting in touch with the National Careers Service – they can help you work out what your skills are and help you work out what you would like to do. They have lots of resources on their website or you can call them, or book an appointment to see an adviser face to face.


If you are not getting jobs

First of all – if you are struggling to get a job, don’t panic! Don’t give up. There are lots and lots of things you can do to improve your chances of getting a job.

How is your CV? - In some cases, your CV will be the first thing that an employer sees  - make sure you’re making the best first impression. Keep it up to date and relevant to the jobs you are applying for. Focus on getting your strengths and achievements in there, and make sure that you are selling yourself the best you can. There is lots of advice available to help you – have a look at this information from Reed or National Careers Service.


How are your interview skills? - Give yourself the best chance of succeeding in an interview by brushing up your interview skills. Some great tips here

Are you applying for the right jobs? - Make sure your skills and experience match the jobs your are applying for. If this isn’t really obvious from your CV or work experience, make sure you explain this.

Are you writing a cover letter? - Just sending a CV on it’s own, or some basic information in an application form isn’t enough. If you are sending your CV, also include a covering letter.


Help with the cost of going into work .

If you’re about to start a new job after receiving benefits for a while, you  may be worried about how you are going to pay your bills and housing costs until your first pay day.


·         You may be entitled to an extended payment of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support, this is usually 4 weeks.

·         You can also ask for continued help with rent and Council Tax if you are working but on a low income.  If you are renting from a Housing Association or similar, you should speak to your Housing Officer or rents team, they will be able to help you. If you are renting from a Private landlord you can either contact your local councils benefit office or an independent advice service.


·         If you have been getting certain means-tested benefits you may be entitled to mortgage interest run-on payments. This is an extended period of help towards your mortgage costs; you will only be able to claim this if you were receiving mortgage interest payments whilst you were unemployed.       



• You may also be entitled to Working Tax Credits and help with the cost of childcare. You will need to provide information about your new job and how much wage you will be receiving. You will also need to provide information about the childminder if you are claiming help with childcare costs.    www.gov.uk/working-tax-credit

                                  Check your benefit entitlement here: www.entitledto.org


Help with other costs

·         You may be entitled to claim a Budgeting Loan for help with essential costs and household bills. This is an interest-free repayable loan, your application will only be considered if you can pay the loan back within a short time.


Help with travel and clothing costs

If you are jobseeking or just about to start a new job, you may be worried about the costs of getting to interviews or your new workplace or even buying interview and work clothes. These are some of the schemes available to help.

Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card - This is provided to people who have been claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s). Other benefit recipients may receive a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card from 3 months of their claim if they are actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser. Cardholders are also entitled to a 50% discount on selected rail tickets. Speak to your JCP adviser about this.


Flexible support fund - This can be offered at the discretion of Jobcentre Plus staff to help with the cost of travelling to an interview, training or for the first months of travelling to work. The type of help you can receive will depend on how long you have been out of work and the steps you have taken to find work. Speak to your Jobcentre adviser about this help.


What about Interview and work clothes?

The Flexible Support Fund can also help with the costs of buying new clothes for your interview and your   new job. Speak to your Jobcentre adviser about this.

Other sources of help.

Women can get help with interview and work clothes from Dress4Success. You will also receive advice on styling and colour co-ordination.     www.Dressforsuccessmcr.org


A sanction is a reduction of benefit which can be applied if a JSA or ESA claimant does not keep to their Jobseekers agreement.  This can happen if you do not attend appointments at the jobcentre, fail to accept a job without good reason, fail to attend a training or employment course or follow an instruction given by your work adviser. A sanction can also be applied if you left a job without good reason or was fired because of misconduct.

Benefit payments will not be made for 4, 13 or 26 weeks ( or longer) depending on what you may have failed to do or how many times you have breached your agreement. This decision is made by a Decision Maker following a report form a jobcentre adviser.

What do I do if I am claiming JSA and am sanctioned?

Firstly, you must not stop attending your signing appointments and you must continue to look for work, if you do your claim could be cancelled altogether.

If you feel that the sanction is unfair, you can challenge it. You must do this in writing within a month of the sanction being applied. You can ask for a ‘dispute form’ at the Jobcentre and some advisers will help you to complete it. You must be able to show good reasons why you disagree with the sanction and provide evidence if appropriate. The Decision Maker will look at the sanction decision again and decide whether to reverse it or not.

How do I pay my bills if I am sanctioned?

If you are claiming help with your rent and Council Tax Support from your local council, you must also inform their benefit office that you have been sanctioned and have no other income, otherwise your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support may stop.

You can claim Hardship Payments if you cannot afford rent, food or essential payments such as gas & electricity or medical supplies.

You will need to wait two weeks before you can get Hardship Payments and demonstrate that you are in financial difficulties unless you are a vulnerable person.

A vulnerable person is someone who is:


          Looking after children

          Single and looking after a 16 or 17 year old child.

          Has a disability or a long-term medical condition or caring for a person who is disabled or long-term sick

          Is a young person who left local authority care within the last 3 years.



What do I do if I am claiming ESA and am sanctioned? 

If you are awarded ESA and placed in the WRAG Group, you will be expected to attend your Jobcentre to meet with an adviser to discuss what steps you need to take to find work. It could be that you undertake some training to try a different job, or that you look for work that is different from what you did before you became ill.

If you fail to attend these appointments or look for some kind of work, without ‘good reason’, you may incur a Sanction.  You can’t be sanctioned for not taking a job but you can be sanctioned for not taking part in work focussed training or courses designed to help you get back into work.

‘Good reasons’ are :

          Transport problems

          Your health issues made it difficult for you to attend the appointment

          You have language, learning or literacy difficulties

          You had a medical appointment that could not reasonably be rearranged


If you are sanctioned you can apply for Hardship Payments and can also challenge the decision in the same way as you would challenge a JSA sanction.

How much money will I lose if I am sanctioned?

You will lose the amount paid under the basic assessment phase (currently £72.40 per week). This will continue until you attend a Work Focussed interview or start to follow an instruction from your work adviser.

You should always seek advice and support to challenge a benefit decision, particularly an ESA decision.