CV clinic addresses job search crisis

Young people seeking employment in Rochdale are being severely hampered because they create waffling CVs, sent from sometimes inappropriate addresses.

Young people seeking employment in Rochdale are being severely hampered because they create waffling CVs, sent from sometimes inappropriate addresses.

And since very few businesses offer a taste of the workplace, they are also totally perplexed about what roles such as facilities manager, project coordinator and even engineer, actually mean.

That’s the expert opinion of a social enterprise that has over a decade of experience in helping people and is now operating in Rochdale. And the aptly titled Upturn Enterprises have the added advantage of daily contact with bosses to help plug gaps in their workforce.

Situated in the Riverside foyer, Upturn’s CV and training clinic has begun helping people such as Mahnish Iftian from the Bury Road area. The 33-year-old who graduated in sociology whilst living in Pakistan wants desperately to return to work in the caring professions with either disabled children and/or the elderly – having had a family.

Despite hands-on experience cooking for a family member with mobility issues and a national shortage of carers, she has found the path to paid employment blocked by obstacles including lacking her own transport and having been resident in the UK for less than three years.

Mahnish, who has only ever completed a CV for an agency, also has a familiar problem – she doesn’t have a laptop and can only go online on her phone.

“We are fortunate in Rochdale to have a digital library and services to support people in their search for work” said Janet Whitehead, Head of Employability and Training at Upturn. “But most applications are now digital, young people get no careers advice at school, agencies alter CVs to suit their style thus turning-off some employers, and job titles are complicated and confusing. Most of all though, I would say that a lack of confidence is the biggest hurdle when it comes to a young person, or someone recently made redundant applying for work.”

At their latest session, Janet successfully booked Mahnish on an Apprenticeship Readiness course – which could be the stringboard for a career in caring at the NHS.

And she also offered these CV writing techniques to ALL of us, to help in our quest for work:

  • The first two-thirds of a resume are what employers look at. If you don’t catch their eye in your profile, you probably won’t get the job.
  • Remember your covering letter is your shop window. Make it something to stop recruiters in their tracks.
  • “Reliable” and “punctual” are just words. Have evidence to back such claims about yourself.
  • State past roles succinctly. If you were a teacher, say so. You don’t have to tell us every single duty you performed!
  • Make sure you explain any gaps in employment and send the information from a professional-sounding address.

“You can visibly see people get upset when we sharpen their CV by crossing out parts, but this is just one of the things we do to give you the best chance of getting the job” concluded Janet. “Over time I have seen things change, with people coming from different countries such as Ukraine and Nigeria. I am concerned that children don’t have key qualifications such as English and Maths and worry that they do not get careers advice in schools anymore. But most of all, we are here to reduce the fear around job hunting and help everyone realise their potential.”

The free Upturn clinic runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays within the Riverside Foyer between 12 45 and 2pm. To book an appointment, phone 0161 652 9000 or email