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To apply for this job?

(19 Posts)
Islands81 Sun 10-Mar-19 01:35:45

I’ve been self employed for 14 years, running my own business as a sole trader. This has been ideal whilst the children were young, as I’ve been able to work from home. It doesn’t make a huge amount of money and I’m concerned that I’m cracking on towards 40 and don’t have a career or any kind of pension. I did a BSc and graduated 2 years ago with a first, but haven’t been really looking for work as the timing still wasn’t right with regards to the children.

There’s a job advertised locally, it’s working for a school in a fairly responsible admin role. I’ve read through the job description and person specification and can’t see any reason why I couldn’t do it.

I filled in the application last night and since then I’ve been really miserable. I do have relevant experience but most of it is from 15 years ago! I’m usually quite good at writing but I am struggling with making myself sound appealing enough. It’s dawned on me that I don’t have the confidence to apply for it, if I got rejected I’d be so upset. I know people will say that you need to apply for loads of jobs to actually get one. However, I live in the arse end of nowhere and interesting and well paid jobs like this don’t come along very often. Moving isn’t an option.

Feeling really down and wondering how possible it really is to get back into the job market after a long break from being an employee? I can’t even put down a referee from my last job (which is required), as I’ve been my own boss for so long.

Lovingbenidorm Sun 10-Mar-19 01:44:44

I think you should go for it.
You sound qualified for it .
It’s not unreasonable to offer a personal reference as you have been your own boss for so long.
Focus on your strengths, you’ve got lots
Go get it !!

Redshoeblueshoe Sun 10-Mar-19 01:44:55

But what you have said here shows you have plenty of good skills. I think to run your own business means you have to be very motivated, and good at planning. I don't know about references, but there must be some kind of consideration for people who have either been self employed, or carer's etc. Good luck

Heratnumber7 Sun 10-Mar-19 01:50:26

If you have a BSc aren't you over qualified for a school admin job?

araiwa Sun 10-Mar-19 01:58:28

Why did you bother getting a bsc if youre going to go for a job someone who passed their gcses could do?

Seems like a waste of time and money and you could do far better

Islands81 Sun 10-Mar-19 02:00:15

Thanks for the pep talk! It’s all so daunting as it’s forever since I’ve had to do any of this.

The only essential qualifications are GCSE maths and English, and there’s an admissions qualification (that I don’t have) which is preferred. So yes, I suppose I am more than qualified, however the pay is £32k a year so I’m guessing they don’t really want someone with just GCSEs. And much as I enjoyed my degree subject I don’t have a hope in hell of finding a job around here where it would be relevant!

Islands81 Sun 10-Mar-19 02:01:50

The job is also within walking distance, and term time only, there’s not many of those around! The nearest decent sized placed with any good jobs is over an hour’s drive away, and would be impossible for me with my childcare restrictions.

LaurenOrdering Sun 10-Mar-19 02:05:58

Poppycock many people who do admin jobs have a degree so you are not overqualified.
Apply for the job you will regret it if you don't. You'll either get it or not, but if you don't apply then you'll never know.
A personal reference from someone who has known you for a while & has a professional job like a teacher, accountant, manager, doctor, lawyer etc is acceptable.
Is there any chance of fitting in some voluntary work as that is another way of getting a reference for future job applications (if you don't get this one. Hope you do get it.)

Islands81 Sun 10-Mar-19 02:11:37

Thanks Lauren, that’s useful advice re references.

Islands81 Sun 10-Mar-19 02:14:28

I have to give two, I thought for one of them I could put my personal tutor from uni? And I’ve done some private A level tutoring recently, would it be ok to put down a parent of one of the kids I’ve taught (obviously if I asked her first)?

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 10-Mar-19 02:19:22

Totally go for it OP.

I read a recruitment Ad my old company put out and being a bit confused about it, kept an eye out for the successful candidate. I was well shock at the chap who got the job.

I spoke to them and was consulted on future recruitment drives.grin

badlydrawncat Sun 10-Mar-19 03:19:30

Hey Islands, a few years ago I was in a very similar position to you. Totally go for the job you've seen advertised, if you don't apply you'll always regret it.
I found that more than references, prospective employers questioned whether I'd be able to fit into a hierarchy after working fire myself for so long (18 years in my case). I took a couple of temporary positions first to help convince employers that I could hack it. These also gave me references as well as easing me back into the world of paid employment. Both temp employers actually offered me full time work but by a fluke, I ended up doing something totally unrelated to either the work I'd been doing for 18 years or the work I'd done as a temp. Good luck, you can do this, a spell of self employment gives you loads of advantages and the confidence to know you can always fall back on something if things go wrong.

DroningOn Sun 10-Mar-19 06:58:41

That you have had an unconventional journey to this job, have had the drive and dedication to do a BSc later in life and got top grades for it would totally catch my eye as an employer.

I once hired a guy who had really poor school grades, dropped out at 16, few labouring jobs, got a girl (by this time his wife) pregnant and then did night school to get A levels, college for an HND, uni for a degree and then Open University for a masters.

On his CV and during his interview he kept making excuses for the way his life started out, like he thought it was detrimental to his offering.

Told him that his story sets him apart as a candidate who has really tried hard, shown an impressive level of commitment and to this day he's the best member of staff we have.

Good luck OP!

Islands81 Sun 10-Mar-19 10:18:39

Thanks for the replies, if I don’t get it maybe some temping is a good idea just to get some more recent work experience and some references.

I agree that getting my degree later in life and getting top results would likely be impressive, especially as I did this as a single parent whilst still running my business. I went back to education after me and the DC were rehoused due to DV, and I started with nothing in a new area. But I don’t know how appropriate it would be to mention any of that even through it demonstrates some of the skills they are after (e.g adapting to change); the job is at a prestigious independent school and I’m worried that rather than being impressed they’ll judge me as being a bit of a car crash, and not ‘naice’ enough. Although I was privately educated myself and can play the ‘naice’ game quite well! I’m just aware that I don’t want the ‘why are you suitable for the role’ bit to read like a sob story, if that makes sense.

Neverender Sun 10-Mar-19 12:05:50

I'd explain to them and point out it's not a sob story. Tell it factually and like it's not any of your fault - which it absolutely IS NOT!

Waveysnail Sun 10-Mar-19 12:11:59

There's loads of ticks in your favour: ran your own business - organisation skills, did a degree - adaptability, tutoring - shows you can break subject down. Only gap I can see is working as part of a team so think of some examples.

Tbh i wouldn't get into the whole dv side etc it's a bit too personal.

Islands81 Sun 10-Mar-19 12:21:45

Yes I struggled a bit for the working as part of a team part - I have given examples of my previous employment (although it was a long time ago), group projects at uni and family life, but not sure if that sounds a bit naff?

Only reason I have briefly mentioned the DV thing is that one of the necessary skills they are looking for is optimism, so I thought that demonstrated that well - that rather than dwell on what happened I decided to return to education and build a better life for me and my children. But you’re right, maybe that’s a bit too personal. This is where I’m struggling, I feel like too many of my examples of the skills they are after are personal rather than work related, because I haven’t worked for anyone for so long.

badlydrawncat Sun 10-Mar-19 14:58:32

Not sure what your SE history is OP but mine involved working with customers on an ongoing basis. This was 'team work', if I didn't form a team with my customers, I lost the contract and lost my living. Well that was how I explained it anyway smile.

Islands81 Sun 10-Mar-19 15:03:25

Thanks badlydrawncat, the last 7 years I’ve been selling online, so would be difficult to argue any team work there. Prior to that I ran an exporting business and had regular clients so that was a bit more team-y I guess!

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