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Dusting off the CV cobwebs

calendar21 February 2016

Kathy Freeman's avatar Kathy Freeman

Dusting off the CV cobwebs

Many of us fall into the trap of thinking a CV only needs updating when we’ve had a new job, but this is not the case. Each job you apply for is different, so each employer will ask for different skills and experience, meaning that you will need to re-word your CV to better fit their specification. That doesn’t mean lying! It just means that you need to big up the strengths of yours that correspond with the strengths the recruiter is looking for.

There are two types of CV: a skills CV is more effective for those without a great deal of work experience, and a traditional CV is better for those who have a longer employment history. A skills CV lists examples of skills under specific headings, such as communication or teamwork, while a traditional CV details the particular skills you gained from each job you’ve had.

There are helpful websites such as nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk which have a CV Builder that can help structure your ideas. And whilst it might feel like a lot of effort constantly working on your CV for every application, it will be worth it if it makes you stand out. Most employers will spot a CV that has been churned out to lots of people and one that has been thought through – those are the ones that make the shortlist.

With this in mind, set yourself achievable targets for the week. For example, there is no point telling your Jobcentre advisor you will apply for several jobs a day. Not only will you fail almost immediately because it’s exhausting and disheartening, but you won’t write a winning application form if you only spend an hour on it. Instead talk to them about a more realistic target, which you can spread out over the week. This way you will have sufficient time to make your application as strong as it needs to be, and once you have met your target for that week you will feel more in control.

However, if you feel overwhelmed with the prospect of transcribing your life onto two pages, you might benefit from some one-to-one help. CAP Job Clubs run a free Steps to Employment course, which covers how to write a great CV as well as other useful tips for finding work.

The CAP Job Clubs is a relaxed place to meet with other job seekers and to get the encouragement and support to help you through your return to work. Facing unemployment can be extremely difficult, but you don’t have to face it alone. For more information check out capjobclubs.org or to book your place call 0800 328 0006.

Written by Kimberley Taylor

Overcoming Debt’s Biggest Burden: Guilt

calendar19 February 2016

Joseph Allison's avatar Joseph Allison

Overcoming Debt’s Biggest Burden: Guilt

Many people feel remorse for the events that led up to their being in financial crisis, even if poor decisions were made at a time of extreme stress or through lack of experience. It’s hardest of all to forgive yourself for the resulting chaos and how it affected your family.

The problem with guilt is that it makes people think two things – they ought to cope with the problem alone and they ought to pile on the self blame.

Gareth came to CAP with debt problems.  He’d hide his debts from his wife at the time so she wouldn’t get upset. When he did start to repay them, there was the fear of actually doing it. There was the fear of upsetting his wife and the fear of looking weak or careless about his money.

“I felt guilty being in that situation. I would skip meals. I would not look after myself. I was quite stressed by it and depressed. Every time I got another letter, it kind of felt like a panic attack.”

One of the first steps CAP’s debt advisors take when helping someone new is to set up a budget. As well as paying for the essentials like rent, bills and food, the budget includes ten to twenty pounds per person each month for ‘leisure’. This stuns many clients who feel sure they should somehow be punishing themselves.

Gareth came to understand why CAP works this way.

“They kind of want it to be a process you can stick with because if you don’t have room in the budget for leisure stuff eventually you’re going to be even more depressed because you’re never doing anything. You’re never going to see your friends or spend time with your family. Because this is such a stressful situation, you need to be able to take your head out of the game a bit. It is worth having time when you’re not absorbed by the mess that you’re in.”

Twenty year’s experience at CAP tells us it’s neither healthy nor realistic to put every single penny towards a debt problem. Much like a very low calorie diet is much harder to sustain than healthy eating - and we need people to stick to a budget for up to five years. We need them to have enough cash to see friends and family, they will need their support.

“If you’re working with someone like CAP and they give you that allowance for your leisure time, just enjoy it,” says Gareth. “You’re in that budget because that budget will get you debt free. It’s just a matter of time.”

A letter from Downing Street

calendar18 February 2016

Claire Wong's avatar Claire Wong

A letter from Downing Street

We were excited to receive this letter from the Prime Minister, acknowledging the effects of debt on people’s lives and the ways that Christians Against Poverty is making a difference to the situation.

In his letter, David Cameron congratulates CAP on our 20th Anniversary. Here’s to another 20 years of helping people get out of poverty in the UK!

Click here to view the letter

Feel the love – watch Barry and Janice’s love story!

calendar11 February 2016

John Kirkby's avatar John Kirkby

CAP not only keeps families and relationships together as we help couples overcome the stress and arguments caused by debt but sometimes we play cupid too!

Barry and Janice are both CAP clients who met on a CAP client break. They fell in love and are planning to get married in the summer. They now have a whole new future together, debt free and in love!

‘I’d never thought I’d be this happy again and to be loved like I have been.’

Being the Budget Bride

calendar07 February 2016

Marianne Clough's avatar Marianne Clough

Being the Budget Bride

A recent survey by Your and Your Wedding Magazine showed the average cost is now more than £20,000. Can this be true? Mine was 18 years ago and it was a modest affair but it never came to anything like that kind of figure!

The wedding industry in the UK is big business. It’s worth £10billion. It seems the sky is the limit with how complicated you can make it and how much you can spend. It’s so easy to get swept along and the budget bride will need to keep very focused on her priorities. The perfect big day certainly does not guarantee a perfect marriage (whatever that is) and time might be better spent with wedding preparation sessions at your church.

A beautiful wedding dress can cost thousands but check out websites like bride2bride.co.uk, preloved.co.uk or Oxfam’s bridal shop for a fabulous second-hand gown. Don’t forget, the high street has a lot to offer with John Lewis, House of Fraser, BHS, Monsoon and Debenhams all doing their own wedding dresses and M&S offering a selection of bridesmaid outfits.

Venue - local theatre and seek to get it licensed. Sometimes simple really is best. One of the best weddings I ever went to was in a local village church. The bride and groom were childhood sweethearts but the bride’s Dad had just been made redundant. After the service, the guests walked to the village hall where friends and family had all pitched in with food and decorations. It was a day full of joy.

Perhaps that is the key: ask what those around you can do. This involves people and brings them together which makes it more personal for you and for them. Can a relative who loves baking make your cake as their present to you? Do you know someone who loves gardening – can they grow your flowers to keep down the cost? Could the team who regularly decorate the church for services do the same for your wedding day for a donation? Do you know someone who’s never without a camera? Perhaps they can take (even some) of your photos for you and make an online album. What about a get-together with your mates to assemble your table favours like bags of old fashioned sweets or tied bunches of lavender?

Home-made is surely the way to go for invitations. Research some great craft ideas, source items from Ebay and set about them yourself and you’ll save hundreds.

You might do yourself a huge financial favour by picking a low-cost day. Head for midweek in November or December and your venue may be much cheaper – and so might accommodation for your guests. It’s all in the timing too – a late afternoon wedding will mean you provide fewer meals for guests at a lower cost - and they’ll thank you for giving them more time to get ready and travel to your destination. Keep your numbers down and any costs per head for food will fall too, of course.

Much has been said about getting marriage right. It is a leap of faith as you both grow and change through the years with the mixture of surprises and challenges that life can throw your way. My best advice has to be this: don’t start your life together with debt. Poor finance is the source of far too many break-ups. So, start as you mean to go on with honest discussion about what you have, how you will budget and who spends what.

Christians Against Poverty provides specialised courses to help new couples learn more. Book your free place at capmoneycourse.org

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