Alex’s story: Finding my first job
26 May 2017
I’ve never had a job before.
I was in formal education until 2014 when I graduated from University, and since then I have been unemployed. I studied Interdisciplinary Science for my Bachelors degree, and then Global Environmental Change for my Masters.
After I left university, I kind of felt that I didn’t want to work in the science sector, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I also didn’t know what I physically could do because I was involved in a car crash in 1995 which left me with me a high level spinal cord injury.
In March this year, I attended the Back Up to Work course in London. I wanted to attend the course in order to help me improve my CV, help me identify my skills and get some tips about how to be more successful in applying for jobs. I thought the course was ideal because it was run by Back Up, and they know all about what it is like to be a disabled person looking for a job. They know the difficulties that are involved so they are in a great position to help people like me to overcome those difficulties.
The course was held at the head offices of Savills, a leading real estate company, in London. It was a two-day course packed with tips and exercises which helped us to build our CVs, identify our skills, practice interview techniques and gain confidence when applying for jobs.
As well as this, we got the chance to speak to current Savills employees about their job hunting experiences. This gave us a good opportunity to learn from people who had already been successful in the job market, and we could then improve our CVs based on their advice which was very useful.
I think the most valuable part of the course for me was the exercises where we had to identify what we had to offer employers. Before the course I had always struggled to think of what to put on my CV. But the exercises during the course highlighted that there were wide range of different skills and competencies that would be attractive to employers. Not just ’hard’ skills like computing, but also ’soft’ skills like teamwork or communication. So now that I have added a wider range of different skills on my CV, I think it will give me a better chance of being successful in the job hunt.
The Back Up to Work course also gave me a chance to experience what it’s like to be interviewed for a job. I’ve never had an interview before so it was a very valuable experience. We each did speed interviews which seemed to me like a interesting twist on speed dating. We got interviewed by 7 different employees, each lasting 7 minutes. Afterwards we were given feedback on how well we answered the questions and where we can improve, which was helpful.
Overall, the course has given me more confidence in applying for jobs as I now feel that my CV better reflects my skills and abilities. I now have good experience of what a job interview is like, so I feel better prepared for when I face a real one. I applied for two internships after the course, unfortunately I didn’t get one of them but I am still waiting to hear about the second one. So fingers crossed!