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Topic: The Dreaded Job-Hunt  (Read 3362 times)

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The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« on: February 17, 2019, 05:36:57 AM »
Feeling really down and ashamed of myself.  Been here a few months (spouse visa,) and am now job-hunting.  It's really highlighted how many bad decisions I've made in my life.  I don't really have a "field" to speak of, so kind of lost as to what jobs I should go for.  I'm afraid I will end up back in retail, which is NOT what I want.

I have bachelors in psychology and sociology, which I have never done anything with.  (You make bad decisions when you are 18 years old, with no clue how the world works!)  I've had numerous grocery store and retail jobs.  I spent 8 years teaching English in Japan.  The past three years were spent back in the US, caring for my dying mother for a few months, then working at Wal-Mart.

I started as a cashier at Wal-Mart, but then spent the last two years in the accounting office.  I was the only full-time accounting office person, so I was responsible for all of the general office admin stuff, processing all the cash, doing all the data-entry and reports, and maintaining all the files.  I was really good at this, and enjoyed the job.

I'd love to continue working in an office environment.  I had an interview at the my husband's company, for a job I KNOW I would have been great at.  (It was very similar to what I'd done in the accounting office.)  I felt great about the hour-long interview... but then they made me take this stupid test similar to the SAT, and I only had ten minutes to do it, and wasn't allowed to use a calculator.

After waiting a whole month, I got a rejection e-mail.  I'm thinking that I didn't pass the test.  :(  Ugh. 

I'm applying to stuff online via indeed, any office admin or accounts assistant job I can find. Nothing seems to pan out.  I signed up in person with a local recruiter (Adecco,) but that was over two weeks ago, and I've heard nothing from them.   Am I overly ambitious to think that my two years of office admin/accounting office experience would enable me to find an office job here ?

I need to start making some money as soon as possible, as my husband can't keep paying all of our bills plus my student loan.  I'm thinking about applying to retail jobs like Asda, grocery stores, Primark, just to make some money, even if its' part time. 

Feeling really ashamed of myself for not having a clear career field at my age.  (I'm 38.)  I really don't want to work retail for the rest of my life.  I'm just... feeling really awful about the whole situation, and looking for any advice or sucess stories from people with similar backgrounds, I guess.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2019, 05:41:44 AM by SnowFish »
Will sell soul for Duke's Mayonnaise.


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2019, 11:04:57 AM »
Unfortunately they don't really consider US experience here until you have UK experience on your CV that proves you can work in the country. If you need income and can do retail or restaurant work, I would also be applying for those jobs. It's a very challenging environment. After doing them for a few months start applying for things you'd like long term. If I could work retail I would in an instant at this point!

If I makes you feel any better, I was given a math and logic test that was timed for one of my interviews and I always need time for comprehension - as soon as I knew what the question was asking it had automatically moved onto the next. It was daunting and apparently I still scored well above average. Those tests are designed to be very hard!

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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2019, 12:18:01 PM »
Hi Snowfish- I think you should get registered with more agencies, and I think you should maybe look at banking jobs, if that appeals at all...youd probably start out as a teller/cashier, but there's a bit of variety once you get your foot in the door. And the benefits are good.

What about call centres? Is that something you'd consider? That's how I started out in the UK. Seems like insurance companies, mobile phone networks and cable TV companies are always hiring for their contact centres.

Good luck!


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2019, 02:03:15 PM »
Also, a place like Boots is great for getting a pharmacy dispenser trainee or optical consultant trainee job. You have retail experience, which makes getting a job at Boots easier, but these positions aren't traditional retail jobs and are a great way to get into a new career.

Once you get certified training,  you can easily move into a NHS job.

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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2019, 05:55:06 PM »

And you should be nicer to yourself.  There is nothing to be ashamed of in having a bachelors degree.  You should proudly declare it every chance you get.  British people have no idea what it is and automatically assume it is something even more special than it is.  Ridiculous and impossible interview tests are the norm here, I've failed plenty of those, yet my contract seems to get renewed at every place I work.  That only makes sense if those tests are BS designed to intimidate the candidate.   

There is nothing to be ashamed of in having a hard time finding a job here.  It takes a loooong time for everyone. 

I'm worried that your "shame" is coming across to potential employers and making them perceive  you in the wrong way.  Your skills and experience are valuable and you would be a great hire for someone.  You must believe that, and project  that in interviews. 


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2019, 09:51:14 PM »
I felt great about the hour-long interview... but then they made me take this stupid test similar to the SAT, and I only had ten minutes to do it, and wasn't allowed to use a calculator.

I wouldn't stress too much about that exam. We are hiring at our office and they are using these types of tests and can be HARD (especially without a calculator)...but they only count for part of the interview process. Don't panic if you have to take any of these tests again as they aren't necessarily a make or break point of reference for whether they offer you a job or not. Did they give you any feedback based on your interview? Might just have been that they had other people that had UK experience (unfortunately, this matters) so they decided to go with the other candidate and it wasn't anything to do with you. If they didn't give you feedback, I'd reach out to the HR person who originally set up your interview to ask for feedback so you know if there's something in your control to work on going forward.

Unfortunately I would say it might be handy to just apply for  retail or wherever you can get a food in the door just now just for the income while still applying for office jobs. Also, I wouldn't consider it a negative thing about not having a "career path". If anything, I'd look at it as an opportunity to start off on whatever path you're wanting to take. Look at all entry-level jobs and don't be afraid to apply for things that are entry level but say you need x-amount of years experience because those usually tend to be a standard template and doesn't necessarily reflect what they'll actually hire. Always just apply (it can be a numbers game).

Definitely agree with Jimbo that you should be kinder to yourself! You have a degree. That is more than I can personally say I have! I have 4 years of student debt that I'll be paying for at LEAST the next 10 years and I dropped out before I could even get a degree. We all have made choices that we weren't the most proud of in life but I definitely don't think you should be ashamed by any means! Finding jobs after uprooting your life and moving countries is pretty hard for anybody. This is totally normal and you've only just started to look.


I'm worried that your "shame" is coming across to potential employers and making them perceive  you in the wrong way.  Your skills and experience are valuable and you would be a great hire for someone.  You must believe that, and project  that in interviews. 

^^ Bingo. Exactly this.
My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019
* Citizenship approved on July 4th 2019
* Ceremony conducted on August 28th 2019

'Mommy, Wow! I'm a legit Brit now!'


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2019, 07:50:07 AM »
You have a degree. That is more than I can personally say I have!

Same here... in fact, I was probably lucky to graduate from high school!   :)

Whereabouts are you job-hunting... I'm assuming there's not a lot going on in Wellingborough? Do you drive?  My geography might be a bit iffy, but is Milton Keynes too far to travel?  Northampton?  Just trying to think of the biggest towns nearby-ish where you might find jobs.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 07:54:35 AM by Albatross »


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2019, 02:55:30 PM »
Hi Snowfish- I think you should get registered with more agencies, and I think you should maybe look at banking jobs, if that appeals at all...youd probably start out as a teller/cashier, but there's a bit of variety once you get your foot in the door. And the benefits are good.

What about call centres? Is that something you'd consider? That's how I started out in the UK. Seems like insurance companies, mobile phone networks and cable TV companies are always hiring for their contact centres.

Good luck!

I hadn't considered banking, but I will do now!  As for call centers, honestly I'd rather work retail.  I'm fine doing phone calls for part of the day, but not sure I could handle it non-stop.  I much prefer dealing with customers in person, and also prefer the varied tasks you have to do daily in a typical retail job.  If I get desperate enough though, I'll remember your recommendation.

To answer your question further down, I'm in Wellingborough, and while I *can* drive, I won't be able to get a full UK licence until mid-May.  (I luckily have both American and Japanese drivers licences.  I can currently drive using my American one plus my international permit.  I can exchange the Japanese one for a UK licence, but only after I've been here for 180 days, which wont' be until mid-may.  Between the two, I'm legal to drive, but lots of places ask for a "full UK licence.")

I'm okay with taking a bus or train to work.  My husband could maybe give me lifts as well, depending on the location.  I'm looking in Wellingborough, Northampton, Rushden, Ketterring, Corby... any place nearby. 
Will sell soul for Duke's Mayonnaise.


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2019, 02:58:14 PM »
Unfortunately they don't really consider US experience here until you have UK experience on your CV that proves you can work in the country. If you need income and can do retail or restaurant work, I would also be applying for those jobs. It's a very challenging environment. After doing them for a few months start applying for things you'd like long term. If I could work retail I would in an instant at this point!

If I makes you feel any better, I was given a math and logic test that was timed for one of my interviews and I always need time for comprehension - as soon as I knew what the question was asking it had automatically moved onto the next. It was daunting and apparently I still scored well above average. Those tests are designed to be very hard!

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I'm willing to do retail for a while.  My fear would be getting stuck there long-term.  But you're right... hopefully getting ANY UK job experience will help better jobs not be scared of hiring me.
Will sell soul for Duke's Mayonnaise.


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2019, 03:00:34 PM »
Also, a place like Boots is great for getting a pharmacy dispenser trainee or optical consultant trainee job. You have retail experience, which makes getting a job at Boots easier, but these positions aren't traditional retail jobs and are a great way to get into a new career.

Once you get certified training,  you can easily move into a NHS job.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk



I hadn't thought about that!  That's not a bad idea.  I was looking at Boots, but hadn't considered pharmacy work, just the retail side.  I've actually seen a few Boots retail jobs posted, but nothing in the pharmacy yet.  i wonder if it's like working at Wal-Mart was... you could start as soemthing like cashier, but easily move to the pharmacy if a position became open. I'm going to look into this!
Will sell soul for Duke's Mayonnaise.


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2019, 03:01:52 PM »
And you should be nicer to yourself.  There is nothing to be ashamed of in having a bachelors degree.  You should proudly declare it every chance you get.  British people have no idea what it is and automatically assume it is something even more special than it is.  Ridiculous and impossible interview tests are the norm here, I've failed plenty of those, yet my contract seems to get renewed at every place I work.  That only makes sense if those tests are BS designed to intimidate the candidate.   

There is nothing to be ashamed of in having a hard time finding a job here.  It takes a loooong time for everyone. 

I'm worried that your "shame" is coming across to potential employers and making them perceive  you in the wrong way.  Your skills and experience are valuable and you would be a great hire for someone.  You must believe that, and project  that in interviews. 

Thank you.  That's really nice to hear.  It's just such a grind, getting so much rejection.  It's hard not to let it get to you. 
Will sell soul for Duke's Mayonnaise.


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2019, 03:08:20 PM »
I wouldn't stress too much about that exam. We are hiring at our office and they are using these types of tests and can be HARD (especially without a calculator)...but they only count for part of the interview process. Don't panic if you have to take any of these tests again as they aren't necessarily a make or break point of reference for whether they offer you a job or not. Did they give you any feedback based on your interview? Might just have been that they had other people that had UK experience (unfortunately, this matters) so they decided to go with the other candidate and it wasn't anything to do with you. If they didn't give you feedback, I'd reach out to the HR person who originally set up your interview to ask for feedback so you know if there's something in your control to work on going forward.

Unfortunately I would say it might be handy to just apply for  retail or wherever you can get a food in the door just now just for the income while still applying for office jobs. Also, I wouldn't consider it a negative thing about not having a "career path". If anything, I'd look at it as an opportunity to start off on whatever path you're wanting to take. Look at all entry-level jobs and don't be afraid to apply for things that are entry level but say you need x-amount of years experience because those usually tend to be a standard template and doesn't necessarily reflect what they'll actually hire. Always just apply (it can be a numbers game).

Definitely agree with Jimbo that you should be kinder to yourself! You have a degree. That is more than I can personally say I have! I have 4 years of student debt that I'll be paying for at LEAST the next 10 years and I dropped out before I could even get a degree. We all have made choices that we weren't the most proud of in life but I definitely don't think you should be ashamed by any means! Finding jobs after uprooting your life and moving countries is pretty hard for anybody. This is totally normal and you've only just started to look.

^^ Bingo. Exactly this.

Thank you.  I am pretty sure the main reason I didn't get the job was either failing the test (my husband says they won't hire anyone who doesn't pass the test,) or that someone had more UK/office experience than I do.  I felt really, really great about how I presented myself in the interview.  I answered all of their questions well, relating everything about the job back to my experience in the accounting office at Wal-Mart.  I really don't think there was anything in the way I presented myself that would have turned them off.  I'm hesitant to ask for feedback, because the interview was nearly two months ago, and honestly... I just really don't know if I can handle much more rejection or criticism. 

It really is hard starting your life over from scratch.  I've already done it several times, but never without a new job to go along with the move.  I'll keep plugging away until something finally happens.  If it's part-time retail for now, so be it.  I just gotta make some money soon, ha ha. 
Will sell soul for Duke's Mayonnaise.


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2019, 03:08:47 PM »
I hadn't thought about that!  That's not a bad idea.  I was looking at Boots, but hadn't considered pharmacy work, just the retail side.  I've actually seen a few Boots retail jobs posted, but nothing in the pharmacy yet.  i wonder if it's like working at Wal-Mart was... you could start as soemthing like cashier, but easily move to the pharmacy if a position became open. I'm going to look into this!

When I worked for Boots, they were pretty flexible - I was a vacation worker at first, and started off on the main tills, then moved to pharmacy, then did a summer on the photo counter, then alternated between pharmacy, operations (picking stock, stocking shelves), and the cash office. When I went back to them in the vacations I ended up just working in whichever department needed someone at the time.


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2019, 03:18:21 PM »
Thank you.  I am pretty sure the main reason I didn't get the job was either failing the test (my husband says they won't hire anyone who doesn't pass the test,) or that someone had more UK/office experience than I do.  I felt really, really great about how I presented myself in the interview.  I answered all of their questions well, relating everything about the job back to my experience in the accounting office at Wal-Mart.  I really don't think there was anything in the way I presented myself that would have turned them off.  I'm hesitant to ask for feedback, because the interview was nearly two months ago, and honestly... I just really don't know if I can handle much more rejection or criticism. 

It really is hard starting your life over from scratch.  I've already done it several times, but never without a new job to go along with the move.  I'll keep plugging away until something finally happens.  If it's part-time retail for now, so be it.  I just gotta make some money soon, ha ha.

Can appreciate why you feel that way but I would prefer to have the feedback just because it can help show you what areas you could work on developing. It's unlikely to be feedback about you on a personal level/how you presented yourself, it's more likely to be "you didn't have as much experience in xyz area as another candidate" or something like that and it would give you something you could take away and improve upon. If you don' know what you need to develop, there's a chance it will continue to bite you in the bum with every interview when you could nip it in the bud now. If it's down to lack of experience in a certain topic, you can do free online courses (as an example) to improve your knowledge and skill-set to look more desirable for the next interview you get. But everybody is different, so can appreciate if you'd rather not (but I'm surprised they didn't automatically offer this).

How many jobs have you applied for so far and when did you start applying? If this is only the first one you've applied for, I would most definitely be kinder to yourself and would kindly just advise in future not to put too many eggs in one basket. Would recommend applying to many jobs that interest you and attend as many interviews as you can as you'd rather have too many offers than waiting to hear back from a job before applying for another (things move realllyy slowly over here with the hiring process and it honestly can just be a numbers game).
My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019
* Citizenship approved on July 4th 2019
* Ceremony conducted on August 28th 2019

'Mommy, Wow! I'm a legit Brit now!'


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Re: The Dreaded Job-Hunt
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2019, 04:07:34 PM »
I'm willing to do retail for a while.  My fear would be getting stuck there long-term.  But you're right... hopefully getting ANY UK job experience will help better jobs not be scared of hiring me.
You'll see from others, once they have some job experience in the UK the offers for better work come flying in. The hostile environment has hit the employment area hard and made them very weary of immigrants. Showing you can work in the UK will only be a positive even if it's a temporary job!

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