There’s no doubt about it: getting a job can affect how you feel about yourself & your life and lead you to meet new people, but sometimes actually starting the search can feel overwhelming. With this in mind, we look at how to give yourself the best shot as we enter a new year.

When it comes to looking for a job, a number of companies and recruiters say January and February are the best time to be putting in applications before an inevitable slowdown of opportunities and increase in rehiring in the summer months. This is because many move on from roles at the close of the year, and many plans and budgets for hiring new staff can come into place at the start of the year [1].

Whether you are a student or older, recently unemployed or new to the job market, we explore five things that may make starting your career search a daunting prospect and what support is on offer to support you.

Let’s dive right in…


     1)…I don’t have the experience.

Tip: Find out what you can get involved with locally

Build on your skills by making some time to volunteer, even if it’s just for a couple of hours per week. It is amazing the opportunities out there, and you can search by what interests you – whether it is the great outdoors (for example, working with environmental organisation Groundwork) or supporting young people.

Volunteering at a local favourite charity not only builds up your experience, but comes with the added perks of meeting new people and keeping you physically and mentally fit (this can be especially important for staying positive throughout your search). Full training is provided with the majority of opportunities these days.

As a side note, if you are worried about your benefits, you can volunteer whilst you’re getting them, as long as you keep to the rules for receiving them and run it past your job coach before agreeing the times [2].

If you have a specific area of work in mind, don’t be afraid to ask any friends or family working in the relevant field for some advice or work experience as everyone understands that getting that initial experience doing what you do is a challenge (and everyone was in the same boat at one stage in their life).

Aged between 16 and 24?

With university costs rising, apprenticeships are becoming increasingly commonplace qualifications in the job market and come with the added bonus of learning while you earn. More information on what’s on offer will be available from local establishments themselves and the government website.

Outside of specific apprenticeships, there is often free training and employability support available to young people – what’s available depends on location, but there’s often lots on offer, especially if you or someone you know is not in any form of employment, education or training.

If you’d like more information on what’s available in your area, contact Sophie Locke here at Town & Country on 01892 501470 and we’ll do our best to find out what’s out there for you.

     2) …I have a long-term health problem and/or disability.

Tip: Let’s Get Working

Lots more employers are ensuring they are as disability-friendly as possible to ensure no one feels excluded from the modern workplace. There’s also a number of training and support organisations out there to make getting into or re-joining the workplace as seamless as possible.

If you relate to the above and are over 16 years of age, Let’s Get Working could help. The scheme supports you in making the first steps to doing volunteering, work and activities in the local community that suits your capabilities. Home visits are available – ask your GP or contact the following relevant number for more information: Newhaven (01273 519112), Hastings (01424 400681), Eastbourne (01273 519112), East Kent (01227 469972) or West Kent & Medway (0808 1643521).

Kent County Council also offers specific job support and has local employment advisors across the region.

     …I have care responsibilities.

Search for local free childcare, and if nothing comes up, see if you can make arrangements within your local network of family or friends to see if you can agree a schedule for sharing pick-ups/drop-offs to allow you to fit in part-time or full-time work.

As our world becomes increasingly digital, working from home on a schedule that suits your employer (or doing a self-employed role at home as an additional form of income) is also becoming more viable thanks to a lot of work now being possible to do remotely.

If you are a carer for someone with learning difficulties or physical limitations, there are a number of dedicated services set up to offer specific support for you and the person you care for – more information can be found in the links below or via your local Jobcentre.

     3) …I don’t think my computer skills are good enough.

         …My CV isn’t great.

Tip: Access All Areas (& more)

Our ‘Access All Areas’ drop-in sessions exist to help develop confidence with using computers, CV writing and filling out application forms. They take place regularly in Tunbridge Wells (St Philip’s Church & The Library at Number One Community Centre) and Rusthall (Rackliff Centre).

Sherwood – St Philips Church, Birken Road. Every Wednesday 12 noon to 1.45pm (term-time only). For more info, contact Dawn Grant on 07736 946333.

Showfields – The Library at Number One Community Centre, every Monday 9.30am to 12 noon (contact: Carol Francis on 01892 501630).

Rusthall – Rackliff Centre, every Monday 5pm to 7pm (contact: Carol Francis on 01892 501630).

There is more support across Kent, Sussex  & Medway (see below), and if you are comfortable with some of the basics of using the web, visiting Learning My Way may also help widen your skills across different devices, as well as guide you through the process of searching and applying for a job online.

Lots of other job clubs run across Kent – provided by a range of organisations. If you’re not sure what’s available in your area, contact Sophie Locke on 01892 501470.

    4) …I’ve never done an interview/haven’t had a job interview in a long time.

Tip: Join a Job club, or ask at your local Jobcentre and your job advisor will point you in the right direction

Job clubs can be found in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Dover. Like Access All Areas mentioned above, they not only exist to support you as you search and apply for jobs, but also offer advice on your CV and interview skills and techniques that could help you get the role you want. They’re also clued up on all the courses (online and offline) and services going on in the local area to support you.

Sherwood – St Philips Church, every Wednesday 12pm to 1.45pm (term-time only) (contact: Dawn Grant 07736 946333).

Showfields – The Library at Number One Community Centre, every Monday 9.30am to 12 noon (contact Carol Francis on 01892 501630).

Rusthall – Rackliff Centre, every Monday 5pm to 7pm (contact: as above).

Tonbridge – 4 New Wharf Road, every Thursday 9.30am to 12 noon.

Dover – Dover Big Local, every Tuesday 10am to 3pm

Thanet – Thanet Gateway, 10am to 1pm every Wednesday (contact: as above)

Folkestone (new) – Folkestone Library (2 Grace Hill), every Monday 10am to 1pm

Outside of these, your local Jobcentre is a good place to start when it comes to finding out what’s available locally to support you when it comes to career support.

Finally, check out the pop-up job shop, ‘futURe store’ in Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells (lower floor by Muffin Break, open 9.30am to 4pm from Monday to Friday). The shop works like other job centres, but is more specifically geared to help people of all ages with the prep needed for their job search, with free 1-2-1 support, CV advice and a variety of training courses offered.

Hopefully some of the advice above will support you on your way to finding a new opportunity in 2019, but in addition to the above, an important tool to both searching and applying for jobs is self-belief. Not every attempt may be a success, but like many things in life it’s down to finding the best fit for you and your future employer.

Happy hunting!


More useful links:

Young people: (Support) (Training) (Kent-based training & apprenticeships) (‘SupaJam’ – qualifications) (Apprenticeships & other training) (Support) (‘Horizon’ – training)

Other volunteering & support: (Volunteering in Ashford) (Digital skills training for disabled) (Volunteering in Dover) (‘Working Forward Kent’ – support for single parents, among other schemes) (Environment-focused volunteering) (Outdoor-based volunteering with High Weald) (Mental health support & volunteering) (‘The Thanet Way,’ Rethink – mental health & work support in Thanet) (Kent County Council support for disabled) (One-to-one career support) (‘Let’s Get Working’ – job support)