Changing the conversation about work and cancer

Career Planning Support & Information

Welcome to Working with Cancer’s Career Planning Support Information Pages

We hope the information we have provided here will begin to inform you about the support available to you as you begin to find and secure a new role/career.  The sections listed suggest where you could begin in your search for your next role.

We have several coaches available who could support you at this time.  If you would like more information, or based on your experience, you would like to recommend additional resources, please get in touch.

1. Understanding Your Career Opportunities and Looking for a Job

A good job search campaign makes use of most of the following:

Surprisingly, for many people, making speculative approaches (and networking) are the most likely route to a new job.  In fact, in some fields over 75% of jobs are filled without being advertised. From the recruiting employer’s point of view these two areas offer opportunities with less risk and less cost.

Why are jobs often not advertised?


This means using all your contacts (and your contacts’ contacts!), to provide you with information to approach a prospective employer professionally. List all the people you know under the following headings:

Colleagues; Friends; Professional bodies; School; College; University; Clubs; Family; Neighbours, Suppliers

Try to list over 50 names.

Once you have created your list of contacts, start to build a plan of how best to approach them either by phone, email, LinkedIn, or other social media,  and where appropriate try to arrange some time to talk to or meet them in person.

Keep one basic objective in mind when you are networking: “never leave a meeting without a meeting” i.e. ensure the person you meet at least gives you the name, and preferably introduces you by email, to another useful contact.

Speculative Approaches

This is an uninvited approach to a person or an organisation. Use this approach to:

Making an approach

Internet Job boards and Adverts

Any advert can give you lots of information to help you make a good application but bear in mind that they are not always written by experts. Look to read behind or into the words of the advert.  What can you read into it about the job/the team/the company?

Recruitment Agencies

Agencies are the organisations a prospective employer pays to fill a vacancy. You are not their client; their client is the prospective employer.

Ideally you should try to meet face to face with an agency representative so that they can match you to the right companies.  If required, develop a relationship with one or two agencies and work with them alongside the other methods we describe to find job opportunities. Keep in touch with them – do not wait for them to call you.

Temping agencies can also be useful to help you find different jobs to broaden your base of skills and experience.

The following recruitment organisations are particularly sympathetic to individuals looking for work who are either undergoing cancer treatment or returning to work post treatment, including finding opportunities on a part time or reduced hours basis:



923 Jobs (Oxfordshire and Manchester based)

2. Types of Interview

If you take up coaching with us, we can give you lots of practical advice and guidance on how to prepare yourself and whether you should mention your cancer. We also have an arrangement with Smartworks who can provide you with a new outfit and interview practice if and when you have an interview arranged.   

There are two main types of interview:

Competency based questions are asked to give you an opportunity to describe an actual situation you have been in and the behaviour you displayed at that time to make a difference.  You are required to provide evidence, i.e. examples, of the competence the interviewer/organisation is looking for.

Preparation for any interview ought to be thorough, but here you need to think about all the examples you have to demonstrate your capability in each competence.  You may have used one example already within your CV or job application.  Interview preparation could include identifying additional examples to talk about when in the actual interview.

Depending on the seniority of the role, the competencies will vary, for example:

3. CV Templates

Click here to access the 3 most commonly used types of CV templates. If you take up coaching with us we can provide expert advice and guidance on your CV including how to deal with gaps in your employment.

4. Personality profiling

Our WWC coaches are qualified practitioners in several well-known and highly trusted personality profiling tools which can be used as part of a coaching programme to help individuals learn and understand more about themselves.

Individuals complete an online questionnaire, prior to completing a self-assessment with one of our WWC coaches to help identify an individual’s ‘best fit type’ and explore how they can use this knowledge to support their individual growth and develop more effective relationships with others.

Our coaches are qualified in using some or all of the following:

The personality profiling tools listed above provide a foundation for personal growth and development. There are no right or wrong answers and no result is better than another. These personality profiles aim to help individuals firstly understand themselves better and secondly enable them to understand and interact with others around them even more effectively.

5. Some useful books

Finally, some books you might find useful.

Transitions – Making Sense of Life’s Changes: William Bridges

• Building a Portfolio Career: Adrian Bourne

• What Colour is your Parachute: Richard Nelson Bolles