Citizens Advice Northumberland is sharing tips with people who want to change jobs, from how to find a role that’s a good fit to the best way to tell your boss you are moving on.
Research has found that one in five people consider changing jobs in the new year.
Nationally, Citizens Advice helped with 2,300 problems around applying for jobs last year, with nearly half (1,100) concerning references. People can struggle to get hold of a suitable reference, or can’t get one at all.
Other queries included when to disclose an illness to a potential employer and how much notice people were required to give their boss.
Here are some top tips for finding the right role and handing in your notice.
• Do your homework. Do a bit digging on what the employer offers to see if it matches your priorities.
Most employers publish staff benefits on their website so you can see how much holiday and parental leave you can get, and how much they pay into your pension. If they don’t have a website, contact the person who posted the job advert.
• Disclosing an illness or disability.
You shouldn’t be asked about having an illness or disability during the application process and you don’t need to disclose this unless you want to. However, if you need reasonable adjustments to be made at an interview, let the employer know – the law says they have to be accommodating.
• Make sure the job fits your circumstances.
All employers need to consider requests for flexible working, but they don’t have to accept them. It’s your call when to make a request, you could bring it up at interview or when you’re offered the job.
• Get your references lined up.
An employer usually only gives a firm job offer once they’ve received one or more references. It’s best to tell your employer that you’ve been offered another job and ask if they’d provide one. Keep the conversation professional and friendly to avoid any problems if the offer falls through.
If your current employer refuses, ask your new manager if they will accept a previous employer, or you could try a school, college or university tutor, or a supervisor from any voluntary work.
• Handing in your resignation.
Only resign from your current job when you have a definite job offer, preferably in writing, rather than a conditional one. This is when you’ve passed any checks and your new employer is happy with your references.
• Check your notice period.
Normally you have to work the notice period written in your contract. If you don’t have a contract, or no period is specified, you only need to give a week’s notice.
If your new employer wants you to start before your notice period ends, see if you can negotiate with your current boss. However, they have the final say.
• Use any holiday you’ve got left.
There are usually rules around your remaining leave. If your contract says you should take your leave during your notice period, you can either take it or ask if your employer will consider paying holiday pay instead. If it’s not specified, they may still ask you to take time off, but they need to give you notice.
• Getting a bad reaction from your employer.
Most employers will handle your resignation sensibly, but Citizens Advice has heard reports where rogue bosses sack someone soon after they resign. This is against the law and you may be able to take them to court for unfair dismissal. If this happens, contact Citizens Advice, which can help you navigate this process.
To get advice and information on employment and a whole range of subjects call 03444 111444 or see our opening hours at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/northumberland