Getting back to work

How to start your job search

Although being made redundant can be a shock, you must act quickly to ensure you get back out into the job market as soon as possible and that you start receiving the benefits to which you’re entitled.

  • Go for a New Jobseekers’ Interview at your local Employment Service Job Centre.
  • Look for work online, in newspapers and magazines, through employment agencies and through contacts you already have.
  • You can claim Jobseekers’ Allowance if you’re unemployed, working less than 16 hours per week and actively seeking work.

Employment service, job centre and benefits agency

New jobseekers interview

On the first day you become unemployed, call in to your nearest Employment Service Job Centre to make an appointment for a New Jobseekers’ Interview. It's important to do this right away in order to register for the Jobseekers’ Allowance and to get credit for National Insurance contributions because these allowances won't be backdated if you delay your registration.

Your claim pack

You'll be given a claim pack to complete and bring to the interview. You must answer all the questions that apply to you. Jobseekers’ Allowance is only paid for the periods that you’re unemployed and actively seeking work. It begins once the period covered by any payment in lieu of notice has expired. You will normally have a three day waiting period at the start of the claim for which you will not receive benefit.

National insurance numbers and tax forms

Remember to take your National Insurance number when you go to make your appointment. This may be on your pay slip but can be found on a P45 (Tax Form) or P60 (Certificate of Pay, Tax Deductions and National Insurance contributions).

When you go to the interview, take your P45 (if you've received it) and any letters issued by your former employer in connection with the termination of your employment. If you are claiming for a partner, you will have to provide their National Insurance number, as well.

Where to start looking for vacancies

Job centres

Your local Job Centre can offer a valuable service in determining the suitability of vacancies, background of companies and other schemes for training. Make contact with the Job Centre as soon as possible and establish which training courses and schemes may be available.

Newspapers and magazine advertising

It is a good idea to use trade magazines as well as local and national newspapers when looking for a particular type of job. When you're scanning pages of adverts, it's really important to read the text thoroughly to make sure you understand what the job entails, what is on offer and what you must do next.


Recruitment or employment agencies are firmly established in the job market to provide a service to either organisations looking for staff or individuals looking for a new position.

Many agencies focus on specific areas of industry while others offer a whole range of jobs. You may be able to get some cross training – for example, agencies specialising in administrative and secretarial work may be able to offer you training on up-to-date word-processing/computer packages. There are some agencies that deal specifically with mature people.

Due to the number of clients that agencies may have on their books, it is advisable for you to keep in regular contact with them. That way, your name will be front of mind whenever any suitable positions arise. To find a listing of employment/recruitment agencies, look in the Yellow Pages or search online.

And while you're looking for a job...

Jobseeker’s Allowance

To help you along financially, you can claim for Jobseekers’ Allowance while you're looking for a new job. But you must satisfy the following points:

  • Be unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week on average.
  • Have paid enough National Insurance contributions to receive contribution-based Jobseekers’ Allowance or have income or savings below certain levels for income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance.
  • Be available for, capable of and actively seeking work.
  • Have a Jobseekers’ Agreement that is signed by you and an Employment Service Advisor.

Jobseeker’s Allowance and Pensions

You can receive an occupational or personal pension and still claim contribution-based Jobseekers’ Allowance but your claim may be affected depending on the amount of pension received. This is regardless of your age. Occupational or personal pensions will be taken fully into account if income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance is claimed.

Additional benefits

There are other benefits available through the Benefits Agency that may be appropriate to you and your family. These will depend on your personal circumstances and whether you are in work or unemployed. Get in touch with your local Employment Service Jobcentre or Benefits Agency to find out.

Important legal information

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