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How I made up my own job and got hired

It’s been a super weird time for jobs and employment. Talk Twenties has covered issues such as redundancy and savings and has offered great advice which we hope you’ve found useful. This time we’re talking about how to make your own job to re/enter the job market, which I hope will help you think about some more options and opportunities that may be available to you.

I made up my own job

I spent four years at various universities trying to ‘hone my craft’ as it were. Eventually, I settled into youth work, but I was made redundant at the start of Covid.

After I came home, I noticed there were a lot of negative feelings towards young people in my community, and I decided I was fed up of it. So, I designed a youth work project, made up a job title, and I convinced people I was offering a necessary service. I was offered a three-month contract with the opportunity to extend my plan out into the wider community network and was asked to write a research and policy paper as a direct result of my work.

Here’s how I did it.

1. Recognise your skills

You know you’ve got skills – it’s time to acknowledge them! Make a list of everything you’re great at. Now is not the time to be humble about what makes you a fantastic human being.

Is your memory and recall really good? Write that down!

Have you got loads of experience in a particular sector? Amazing, put it on the list!

Did you captain a sports squad back in school? That’s leadership and teamwork skills.

If you struggle to identify your skills, ask someone else what they think your skills are. Your family or friends are usually really good at recognising strengths you don’t realise you have. Once you’ve made your list, pin it up on your wall – it never hurts to have a little reminder of how great you are.

2. Find a gap in the market

You have things you care about, and organisations need people who care about things. Think about where you might like to do some good work. You might be really passionate about social justice, animals, education, or supporting vulnerable people. There is a space for anything.

At the moment the country is really leaning into the value of the community, so if your passion can lean into that sector, even better. Consider all of the social clubs which closed at the beginning of the lockdown and think about how you can now bring people together (safely).

3. Consider your pitch

You know you’re great, we know you’re great. Now it’s time to think about how you’re going to convince other people you’re great.

At this point, you need to have a solid idea of why your project is necessary, how you play a vital role in the fabric of it, and what benefit it’s going to bring. Choosing measurable benefits is a really good strategy here, but make sure they’re actually achievable. “World peace” is not achievable in the short term, but “building community relations” is more attainable.

Set a minimum-term goal (however long your project will last) and a longer-term goal which will underline why your project is necessary. You need to make sure your goals show some reward for your supporters in the short term as well as having a long-term benefit – this will stand you in good stead should your project be considered for extension.

4. Learn who to contact

It’s really important to have the right names when you’re considering pitching yourself as an expert. It could be that there is already an organisation in your area that do the same thing as you want to, and the last thing you want is to annoy anyone.

Reach out to councillors, local community leaders and clubs and ask questions such as “Was there a provision for this previously? Can you put me in touch with someone with some experience? Is this a provision that would be supported by the community?”. It helps to have influential people on your side before you pitch yourself to the decision-makers, as letters of support or recommendations for a project will strengthen your pitch.

If you don’t know where to start looking for contacts, you can search your local area message board, see if your council has a services directory or just ask around.

5. Make the move!

This is the big one. You made a plan, and you’ve set measurable goals. You know you have support. Now you have to give your presentation to the people who matter most – the decision-makers.

Put yourself forward to them, explain who you are (including your experience and skillset), why you think your project is necessary, and reiterate you have support. Make sure you have a summary of your plan, including budgets, timelines and opportunities for growth – make sure you don’t undervalue your time or experience! Be polite but be confident and firm that your plan is the best plan and explain the reasons why.

6. *Special super important step* – Do not give up.

Not everyone is going to be on board immediately – do not less this dishearten you. If you got to the point of pitching yourself, you clearly believe your project is necessary and has worth. Someone else will too.

This is not an easy task to undertake, and it’s such a brave step to take. Keep going, stay strong, keep your head up!

Good luck!