Employers…Please don’t put people in boxes!

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I felt the need to blog about this as it frustrates the life out of me.

What am I talking about you’re wondering? Well, I will tell you and try not ‘rant’ (But i might)

So, what is frustrating me is this; Recruiters, employers, that don’t hire people based on ‘age’ or for not having certain ‘qualifications’ I am sure they end up shutting out a lot of great potential candidates because of this.

I have seen it so many times in recruitment ad’s ‘A bachelors degree essential’ errr.. why? or ‘Degree preferred’ again, why? Especially in the PA roles, this seems to me ridiculous. Employ someone on their merit and experience, don’t put them in a box of a job advert and then not look at any CV’s that haven’t got that certain qualification.

I’m not just talking about PA jobs either, I have also seen this for people I know that work in finance. They are looking for a new job, they have been a good solid finance job for over 8 years, has over 10 years worth of finance experience, but can’t get a new job due to that fact that he is not ‘ACCA’ or ‘CIMA’ qualified, they don’t care about his great experience, they just dismiss CV or if he is lucky enough to get an interview, because the job spec says the certain qualification is ‘desirable’ he might as well have not bothered as he always gets to the 2nd stage of the interview and then hears he has been unsuccessful because…. ‘They really want someone qualified’ !!!!!! and…. breathe!!! But this is what frustrates me. Why can’t some people look beyond qualifications sometimes. Yes, I know they are needed in some professions but when the job spec is identical to the job you are doing now or very similar and they don’t give you a chance because of those 4 letters above?! It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

The other box is ‘age’ I wish more employers would give over 50’s a chance. There are quite a few out there looking for work, not through choice but they can’t retire due to money issues, or they lost their job just before retirement and need to carry on working. It is such a struggle for them. I have told some older friends that are looking, to take their age off their CV’s as unfortunately it does them no favours. I just wish people wouldn’t look at age and the person that is in front of them or the experience on the CV, before they dismiss them completely just because they think they’re ‘too old’ Makes me cross!

So recruiters/employers out there…Please please please don’t people in boxes and give people a chance. Give someone the precious break they might need so desperately… Look beyond qualifications and age. Hire the ‘right’ people not people that just tick boxes on your job advertisement.

Rant…. over! Told you it would turn into a bit of a rant.

Why finding the right job is a job in itself!

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I thought I would write a blog about the struggles that come with finding a job, the ‘right’ job.

I have been a PA (Personal Assistant) now for the last 12 years and have enjoyed it, mostly, other than a few other females making it miserable for me. I have worked in various big, global organisiations, so when I deiced to leave a job I loved dearly after nearly 5 years, it was a hard decision, but the company were re-locating to London and not central either, so I had to think of my sanity as the hours were long as it was and boss used to call me at all hours so I didn’t fancy the long 2 hour commute on top of that!

So, now I am job hunting and it is harder than I ever imagined it would be. It looks like there are 1000’s of candidates registered with the recruitment agencies and you are unfortunately just a number. I have been unemployed (hate saying that!) for a week, and I hate it already, I want to be working, I am good at what I do, someone give me a break and a job! 

The problem I find with ‘some’ agencies are this; They tend to like people who have degrees over experience. Well I am the latter, I have tons of good old fashioned experience, I didn’t want to go to uni, I chose to start working as I just wanted to earn money, so therefore I started on reception and worked my way up. Graduates have just come out of uni, having probably never worked in an office and they get given the job over someone like me, who has worked hard to get where I am. Now, I know they may be able to pay a graduate a cheaper rate, but surely a grad has gone into the company, wanting to do the PA job for as little time as possible, to then move into a role more suited to their degree? So then the recruitment process starts all over again? Otherwise, why would you go to uni to become a PA? Now, I am not dissing us PA’s, it is a worthy job that is hard-work and bucket loads of common sense is needed. I am also not slating graduates either, maybe there are some out there, that do want to be a PA/EA, but many of them don’t I am sure of it. So can companies and agencies please stop being so obsessed with the ‘Degree essential’ bit on their job ad’s. There are so many great PA’s out there looking for work who have worked hard to be where they are, they need to be given a chance, I wish people would stop looking at qualifications so much over good old fashioned experience.

So, as you can see. I am finding job hunting a bit of a struggle in itself, it feels like a full time job, one that I am not getting paid for! How unfair is that? I am doing all I can, I with countless agencies, OK I will count them.. 8, OK, that doesn’t sound like loads, but the one’s I have tried to register with say they cannot help me with my search? I assume because they are overloaded with CV’s that look just like mine!

I also find some agencies a little OTT, don’t get me wrong, you do find some gems, but some are just soul destroying for me. I walk out of there, knowing I probably won’t hear from them again, or I will, but they will call me with a job that doesn’t suit me at all and not the right salary etc.. (this happens frequently) So, they don’t tend to listen to what the client actually wants or needs, surely that is vital, to stop wasting both mine and their time?

I find LinkedIn a good website to search for jobs, along with secs and the city. I have had a few interviews but the end results were no’s which, I will admit doesn’t feel great. Being rejected feels crap, it really does, as your confidence then takes a knock and you then think, why wasn’t I good enough, did I come across badly at the interview.. it must have been my personality etc.. That is what happens to me anyway. I am a wee bit sensitive, something I am working on 😉

I just have to keep thinking that, the jobs that I didn’t get were not for me, and not meant to be and that a job I sorely deserve is out there somewhere soon. I just have to keep plodding on and stay positive, when sometimes all I want to do is sit on the sofa and cry lots. I deserve a break, as I am sure many other PA’s do too. We just have to keep at it and the right one will find us when it is good and ready.
Oh and tips for people that in the same position as me is:
1: Don’t let knock-backs get you down – unfortunately it is part and parcel of the job hunt, there are so many candidates going for each job, you might just not be the right ‘fit’ for that certain company, doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough. Ask for feedback if it helps put your mind at rest.
2: Be persistent – Agencies have 1000’s of people on their books, so keep reminding them who you are and that you are still looking, even if it sending them a weekly email to tell them rather than calling them all the time. This helps them keep your name fresh in their minds, I am not sure if it works, but it doesn’t do any harm and could help you bag that job.
3: Don’t give up! – Even if you feel like you will never get there, you will. It just sometimes takes time. It can be depressing and draining, but keep going, keep applying for jobs you know you can do well at and are worthy of. Soon enough something will come up that is right and meant just for you.
4: Job site alerts – Obvious one, but keep alerts on your job websites that you are registered to, as then any new jobs come flying into your inbox and you can apply for straight away.
5: LinkedIn – If you are not on there, get yourself on it! I can’t tell you how helpful this has been for me in the past for networking and jobs too. Recruiters in-house tend to look on there for suitable candidates. Make sure your profile is up to date with all your job history on and turn the job alerts on there too. Also, ask for any recommendations from previous bosses as this can help too, as it is an instant reference for an employer to see straight away.