What is on this page:
- Importance of finding a job
- How to determine what you can work as? Education, Skills and Experience.
- How to look for a job? Ask your network, Newspapers, Job sites, Social media.
- Making a CV
- Finding Recommendations
Why Finding A Job Is Important
Finding employment can help to some degree of financial independence which is critical in case you decide to leave your partner. Having supportive colleagues and being able to focus on meaningful work can be therapeutic. Being appreciated for your hard work can help restore your self-esteem, help put things in perspective, maybe even give you some direction for the future (ideas to improve/get out of your situation). You might realise you are not alone, which can prevent you from feeling that “all is lost” because of one broken relationship – for example, work can help keep you busy after a divorce. Different people have different coping mechanisms but for many, a job can be a welcome distraction. Most of all – it gives you the confidence that you can look after yourself.
The first step is to decide that you want to take up full-time or part-time work.
This might be difficult if you are surrounded by people who constantly put you down: nagging in-laws, a husbands who keeps telling you that you’re too spoilt/lazy to work, brainwashing by others, etc. There might be other mental constraints including “auraton ki kama’i manhoos hoti hai” (women’s earnings are inauspicious), ‘good women’ don’t go out to work, for Muslim women, religiously it is considered undesirable for women to interact with men who are na-mehram, or stories about how women are exploited in the workplace.
The second step (now that you are sure that you want to be formally employed) can either be to do some background research to see what your options are, or to get permission from your husband
Here are some ideas on how to convince your husband to allow you to work:
The economic argument that this will help your family with a better standard of living. You might wish to lie about how much you’re earning (as long as you’re sure there is no way he can find out your salary). Also try to open a new secret bank account. Getting paid in cash or an account-to-account transfer would be better. Cheques might be risky as they can be discovered.
The children argument – you might wish to take up teaching at your children’s school to help them settle in/keep an eye on them or since many schools give a discount on students’ fees if a parent is teaching there. If your husband/his family are extremely conservative, this might be the only socially acceptable option.
You may be able to make the boredom argument or the make use of my education argument. He might be willing to give in for these reasons, particularly if it is common for women in his family to work.
Just remember not to do anything to stir up suspicion (that you’re doing this because you want to have an exit plan). Your husband might feel your regular bruises and marks might give him away. Do not underestimate what your husband’s reaction might potentially be – in case knowledge of abuse becomes public or in case he finds out about your exit plan. If the risk is too high – and could seriously jeopardize your safety – it is best to keep a low profile and opt not to do anything that alarms him, including taking up a job outside the home. You may wish to consider options for home-based workers.
GETTING A JOB
The third step, after choosing to work and being allowed to do so, is weighing your options. There are four main things to consider: Education, Skills, Experience and Contacts.
If you have no formal education:
Easy options include working at superstores or malls, as a saleswoman at a shop/store or at fast food joints. Department stores and beauty stores that sell make-up, clothes, accessories are always looking for female staff. Good command of the language of the city you are in is usually mandatory, eg. Kannada in Bangalore. In a more upscale shop you will need to know English.
Make sure you get a written contract and are able to go through all clauses before you sign. Do some market research if you can before agreeing to a salary, and check with others to see if health-care or other benefits are included in their contracts. This applies to all jobs listed below. Do not feel embarrassed about discussing money matters – it’s only practical and a necessity so you aren’t cheated out of your fair/due earnings. Also, you should know that there is a clear law on sexual harassment at the workplace.
If you have some basic education (secondary and college):
Teaching is always a good/safe option. You should be able to teach primary school students if you’ve done your college undergraduate. Being a teacher may not mean you’re very well-paid, especially if you want to start from scratch. A High School Teacher earns an average salary of Rs 236,551 per year. [more]
The average pay for a Primary School Teacher is Rs 181,411 per year. [more]
Travel agents and offices such as air-ticketing always have openings for receptionists. There are lots of offices in the high street or near commercial complexes, small business are always looking for receptionists, etc. Some experience is required. There is always the possibility of being hired by someone you know, because they may trust you. Courses on typing and secretarial work will also be available. Before you decide to take up such a job, observe the workplace environment when you go for an interview and if possible, find out about the firm’s reputation.
For those with good English language skills a call center job can be a good option. There is an easy and short training at the start and there are a lot of campaigns you can work on and earn good money. Call centres are abundant in many large cities in India. Often you do not need experience to start work in a call centre. Some training is required but if you are enthusiastic and work hard, it is possible to move up in position and be a manager some day. A Call Center Agent earns an average salary of Rs 161,778 per year. (http://www.payscale.com/research/IN/Job=Call_Center_Agent/Salary)
Timings in call centres are very flexible. If you work late, make sure you have safe transport options. Also, if you plan to do a night-shift, be sure that this will not cause problems in your family or neighbourhood.
For those with some specific skills or prior work experience:
This should help guide you with regard to the industry you want to work in. If you are pursuing professional full time work, these headhunters are a good resource – if you give them your profile, they’ll send you jobs/ask you if you’re interested in jobs that they are supposed to recruit for (which may not be advertised). Check out these sites:
MAKING A CV
There are many resources online for making a good CV/resume. You might be thinking that you don’t have that much experience, but there are ways to beef up your cv. In the following sections, you’ll find tips for making a good CV (taken from a Guardian article) and ideas on how to get that experience.
There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover:
– Personal and contact information;
– Education and qualifications;
– Work history and/or experience;
– Relevant skills to the job in question;
– Own interests, achievements or hobbies;
- Your CV should be carefully and clearly presented.
- Printed on clean, crisp white paper.
- The layout should always be clean and well structured.
- CVs should never be crumpled or folded, so use an A4 envelope to post your applications.
- The upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.
- Stick to no more than two pages of A4.
Understand the job description
– The clues are in the job application, so read the details from start to finish.
– Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t.
– Demonstrate the skills you do have and show how they’re transferable.
Tailor the CV to the role
- There is no such thing as a generic CV.
- Every CV you send to a potential employer should be tailored to that role so don’t be lazy and hope that a general CV will work because it won’t.
- Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don’t have to rewrite the whole thing, just adapt the details so they’re relevant.
Making the most of skills
These could include:
– communication skills
– computer skills
– team working
– problem solving
– a foreign language
Skills can come out of the most unlikely places, so really think about what you’ve done to grow your own skills, even if you take examples from being in a charity group – it’s all relevant.
Making the most of interests
- Highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for.
- Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative.
- Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are.
- Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills.
- Make yourself sound really interesting.
If you’re lacking interests to put down here, why not start a YouTube language learning course?
Making the most of experience
- Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved”.
- Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. For example: “The work experience involved working in a team,” or “This position involved planning, organisation and leadership as I was responsible for a team of people”.
- Really get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions – every little helps.
If you’re lacking experience to put down here, why not start volunteering online or offline for a charity?
Getting References or Recommendations:
If you need recommendations, your former employers or teachers/professors would be the best options. You could also put down “Available on request” under the References section – this is quite common in India, unless the job you’re applying for specifies otherwise.
Try to include two if you can. LinkedIn recommendations are also appropriate.
Keep your CV updated
It’s crucial to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing. It is also good to fill in any gaps. For example, if you’ve just done some volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure they’re included – potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.