Keep Your Head Up and Keep the Flow Rolling

Monthly Motivation |  Marsha

A warm welcome to readers to the Breaking Barriers Newsletter. This is a great opportunity for me to share my experience as a proud member of Breaking Barriers. I became a client of this organization in July 2018. Within this short period of time, I have got help from Breaking Barriers heroes to improve my basic English, business English, CV writing, cover letter writing, computer skills, interview skill and overall to feel more confident. They also helped me to follow my passion in life. Currently, I am working full time in a finance company. At the same time, I am participating in a journalism project for refugees. I would like to share my journey throughout the employment process with everyone.


What advice would you give to someone applying for jobs on the internet?

Honestly speaking, applying for jobs online I always found a bit frustrating. But since I attended some of the workshops at Breaking Barriers, I am more confident about the whole procedure. There are a few things I found important if someone is applying for jobs online: having the correct information about the job specification, being aware of the application online format, never giving up if the application is unsuccessful; keep your head up and keep the flow rolling.

What would you say to someone who needs help with preparing their CV and Cover Letter?

I had a three page CV before I came to Breaking Barriers. I didn’t even know how to write a cover letter. I have learned life lessons regarding how to tailor my CV and cover letter according to the individual job description for which I had applied. When the applicant is preparing those documents, it is crucial to show the qualities the employer wants to see. It is a common mistake to blame yourself not having enough experience or adaptability in the specific field or sector in the UK, but in most cases, showing appropriate interest and capacity to learn how to do the job will be good enough to impress the employer.

What advice would you give to someone who is preparing for an interview?

Once the applicant succeeds in getting an interview my advice would be to share the news with the relevant caseworker at Breaking Barriers as quickly as possible. They helped me to familiarise myself with the interviewing company, to practise answering tricky questions, to create a working wardrobe and to find the best time for me to go to the interview. Every individual has different strengths and weaknesses. During the interview, the applicant needs to make sure to highlight their personal and professional strengths that relate to the job description. Remember to present the weaknesses as well, but in a positive way: as opportunities to improve, and an eagerness to do so.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their first day at their new job?

Congratulations! You made it! The employer is delighted to welcome you to the company! Your first day at the job may be utterly overwhelming. Too much information to process, nervousness, making silly mistakes all are part of the experience. If someone can remember their way in and out of the office I think the first day can be counted a big success! Joking aside, my advice would be, do ask whatever questions you need to make things clear for yourself. Carry a notebook and take notes. It will project you as a dedicated employee and later on, you will not need to ask for the same information again. Nothing irritates a busy person more than being asked the same question twice or three times.

What has been your experience at work been like so far?

Having refugee status in the UK and working part-time in retail while studying full time, life didn’t seem fair to me for years. I found it difficult to get on the right track for a professional career, however capable I might be. I am so grateful to have signed off retail for my present job. It’s a corporate world which is new to me. People have a different way to communicate. This fast-paced work environment keeps me moving forward.

What do you do to keep motivated and positive at work?

I make a To Do List as soon as I am in the office. There are a few things I have to do every day and some are periodical duties. As the day passes by I keep crossing off my list. At the end of the day I feel I have achieved my goals. Your colleagues and line manager can be your support to feel motivated and positive at work.

I hope my experience will help others to follow their dreams. I wish everyone all the best. Believe in yourself, work hard and don’t give up (but give yourself a break: it is hard, and it’s not your fault if you get rejected. It happens to everybody. With the right guidance from Breaking Barriers, you are going to start a brand-new life.