Moving from unstable housing or even rough sleeping towards stable employment is a huge step that can feel daunting, but one that could turn your life around for good.
Many people in this situation can feel overwhelmed, not knowing where to turn for help, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. We have put together some help and advice that you can follow to make that job application perfect on your journey from homelessness to employment.
There are a range of barriers to employment for homeless people. When applying for jobs, you might find it helpful to follow the tips and tricks that we have set out here:
What You’ll Need
Each job has its own set of requirements when it comes to qualifications, so make sure you check the job spec before you apply to any role. Most employers in the UK do have minimum requirements of a GCSE grade 4 (grade C) in both maths and English, but if you didn’t manage to get these while you were at school, don’t worry, there are still ways you can get these qualifications as an adult.
Today, there are several ways of accessing free and high-quality education or training so that you can get the basic skills required to access employment. In most circumstances, the government will fund you to get your English and maths qualifications regardless of where you are in the UK.
For more information on what, where and how to access free training, go to our dedicated page on finding training as a homeless person.
Many job applications require you to provide a forwarding address, which can make many homeless people assume they can’t apply for a job. However, there are ways to navigate this particular issue.
One of your options is to be honest about the fact you have no fixed address, something a handful of employers will overlook. The most common way is to elect an address where you will receive your post. Some employers might be able to work with you to find a solution to this issue.
Usually, you will assign this to your local Jobcentre Plus, as long as you have got their permission. Alternatively, you could ask a family member or friend with a permanent address to hold any mail for you, but it’s important you check in regularly to collect it.
Good presentation is one of the keys to finding stable employment, it’s important that you present yourself and any of your documentation well in order to impress potential employers. Being homeless can sometimes make it difficult to make sure your presentation is top quality, but don’t worry, there’s help at hand.
How to Present Yourself
When you’re looking for a job it’s important to present yourself professionally If you’re not sure how, here are some tips:
- Research the company and your interviewers
- Make sure you are well-groomed
- Dress professionally and appropriately for the role you are interviewing for
- Stay focused and maintain eye contact
- Be confident and comfortable, don’t forget to smile!
- Use open body language, make sure you sit up straight and don’t cross your arms
- Practice a short introduction of yourself
You can find more information on how to present yourself in a job interview on Indeed.
How to Present Your CV
It’s not just you that needs to look smart for potential employers, all of your documentation needs to too! Your CV is one of the first things employers will see of you, so making sure it’s clear, organised and neat will bolster your chances of getting to the interview stage. Make sure you include all of your relevant skills and experience, it’s important to tailor your CV to each job you apply for.
One of the most commonly thought of barriers to homeless people getting employment is their inability to access utilities such as showers, internet and electricity. By not looking presentable for work or an interview, you damage your chances of getting the job, so it’s important to make use of your resources to eat, shower, do your laundry and charge your phone amongst other things.
We advise you find and approach your local homeless day centre for all of this practical help. If you don’t know where your closest homeless day centre is, you should go to the Homeless Link website. Other resources you can use include Shelter who help millions of people in housing crisis’s each year and Citizens Advice who provide support help and resources to homeless people throughout the UK.
What You Can Do
Work With the Jobcentre
One of the best options in your search for homeless employment is to collaborate with your local Jobcentre. They will have an in-depth understanding and connections with local businesses, training providers and organisations who help you get into appropriate employment. They may even know about positions that are currently available and that are listed by inclusive employers who will not discriminate against you for having unfixed housing.
The Jobcentre will offer you regular appointments with a coach who will provide you support in areas like CV writing, job applications and interview preparation. You will also be able to use their on-site computers to carry out any research or preparations you need in order to land a job.
One of the most effective ways to improve your chances of securing employment is to demonstrate you have recent work experience. One stigmatisation about homeless workers is unreliability and underperformance, but you can prove this wrong.
By entering a volunteer situation, you not only demonstrate that you are proactive and dedicated to your job, but also that you will regularly show up on time, perform well and attain valuable transferable skills like teamwork, timekeeping and dedication. If your performance in your voluntary role is good then it will not only increase the chances of your boss giving you a good reference it could also increase your chances of being offered a paid role if there is one available.
If you use volunteering as an opportunity to fill out your CV, employers may call up the organisation and double-check your application and get a personal reference on you. So, if you treat your volunteer work like a real job it could propel you into stable employment sooner than you think.
To find out what opportunities are available for you to apply to now, visit our specialist jobs board where you’ll find thousands of job vacancies targeted at people wanting to start a new career like you.