Job seeking is always a daunting task. Sending out CVs, doing job interviews, and facing rejection–it’s easy to lose confidence, especially when you’re experiencing homelessness. There’s no denying that you’ll experience more barriers applying for jobs when you’re homeless. But don’t give up hope. We’ve put together 5 confidence tips for homeless job seekers.
Top Confidence Tips For Homeless Job Seekers
You know what they say, confidence is everything. And, when it comes to job seeking, there’s a lot of truth to this claim. The best way to ace any job interview is to build your confidence.
Here are some actionable confidence tips for homeless job seekers.
1. Look presentable
One of the biggest barriers for homeless people looking for work is looking smart and presentable for job interviews. As a person experiencing homelessness, you may not have access to personal hygiene products, smart attire, or grooming products. Naturally, this can knock your confidence and put you off applying for jobs. However, it’s important not to let this hold you back.
Get in touch with local homeless shelters to see how they can help. Most shelters offer services to support you as you prepare for a job interview. So, they will provide you with access to shower facilities, appropriate clothing to wear for the interview, and hygiene products to help you make a great first impression.
Many local churches will also offer support for homeless people by providing clothing, hygiene products, and food. Looking the part for a job interview will give you that extra boost of confidence. Don’t forget the small details; clean your nails and polish your shoes before your interview.
2. Focus on your skills
As someone experiencing homelessness, this may seem like an impossible task. But don’t sell yourself short. Your life experiences and background are unique and have empowered you to develop a set of transferable skills. Sure, you may not have built these skills in the traditional way, but they are valuable competencies nonetheless.
Employers value soft skills, such as adaptability, grit, problem-solving, and resilience, as much as (if not more than) technical skills. These soft skills are hard to train because they come from experience. So, before you sell yourself short for lacking technical skills or professional experience, take stock of the soft skills you have developed in your lifetime. List all of your skills and think about how they can be transferred to the job position you’re applying for.
Let’s say you are applying for a job as a nightshift cashier. You may not have experience in this role, but you probably have other experiences that make you good for the role. Are you resourceful enough to solve problems without supervision? Can you handle angry customers and diffuse a situation? Have you gained experience handling petty cash?
The bottom line is to flip the script. Rather than focusing on the skills you don’t have, concentrate on how you can transfer the ones you do have. Being homeless is one of the toughest experiences a person can go through; you have more skills, grit, and resourcefulness than you realise.
3. Use the STAR model
One of the top confidence tips for homeless job seekers is learning how to ace a job interview. By learning some useful techniques and frameworks, you can go into any job interview knowing you have the tools to succeed.
The STAR model is an easy and effective framework for structuring your answers during a job interview. This is especially helpful if you’re feeling nervous or lacking confidence. Following the four-step model will ensure that you showcase your skills and impress your interviewer in a concise way. Here’s how it works.
Let’s say you’re interviewing for a job and the interviewer asks you a question related to your competencies and behaviours (these are usually questions like “Describe a time when you successfully managed your time to avoid a disaster at work ” or “Give us an example of a time when you had to use your communication skills to resolve an issue with a team member”.)
You want to make sure your response is clear and answers the question at hand. So, your will break your answer down using the STAR acronym.
STAR stands for:
Situation – Describe the situation you were in (provide context)
Task – Explain the task you had to perform
Action – Talk us through the actions you took to successfully complete the task
Result – Describe the results – were you successful? What impact did it have on the team or business?
Here’s an example in action.
Question: Tell us how you handle conflicts in your team
When I notice a conflict or issue in my team, I always do my best to address it immediately before it escalates. I use my communication skills to get to the root of the issue and create ways to open a dialogue. Then, I use my problem-solving skills to suggest possible solutions.
For example, one time when I was volunteering in a local shelter, two regulars got into a heated argument about who should have first access to the computer. They were both anxious to use the computer first because there had been a WiFi issue the previous day. I sat them both down and asked what they needed to do on the computer and if there was any way they could work together on the tasks.
It turns out that they both wanted to prepare a CV for upcoming job interviews. I suggested that they work together on their CVs and check each other’s work for mistakes. They could achieve better results if they put their heads together and shared ideas. I showed them some useful websites to help them write their CV and provided them with a pen and paper to come up with their outlines. They were both able to create CVs for their job interviews and actually ended up doing better work by collaborating.
4. Seek support
The UK has a wide range of charities and organisations that can help you boost your confidence and find employment. Therefore, find out what support is available. These organisations have connections with employers of the homeless and can provide invaluable support, resources, and advice.
Another huge barrier for homeless job seekers is having no fixed address or contact number. As a homeless person, you may not have a concrete address or a phone plan. This can make it difficult to fill in job applications. If you are worried about having no fixed address to use on your application, ask if your local shelter will allow you to use that as your home address. If not, register as a jobseeker over the phone and request to have documentation sent to your local job centre.
Shelter staff and local church volunteers may also be able to help you write up a CV and create an email address.
The following UK organisations support homeless people looking for employment:
5. Get training
Upskilling is one of the best confidence tips for homeless job seekers. The more training you receive, the more confident you will feel going into a job interview. There is a broad range of training opportunities and funding available for homeless people in the UK. So, find out what training you’re entitled to.
The best way to discover your training options is to speak to your local job centre, homeless charities, and church. All of these organisations will be able to advise you on how to upskill. If you have access to a computer and internet connection, you can also look into free online training courses.
From computer literacy skills to retraining courses, there’s a wealth of resources available to build your skills and confidence level. Alternatively, volunteering or taking on an adult apprenticeship are two great ways to gain valuable skills as a homeless person.
Worth a read ? Education and training for people experiencing homelessness
How We Can Help Homeless Jobseekers
If you’re a job seeker currently experiencing housing problems, our experts at Refreshing a Career can help. Here are just some of the services we offer:
If you’re an employer looking to employ homeless people, Refreshing a Career can help. Call 03458724501 or email email@example.com to learn more about our services.