Presentation on theme: "SOAS SKILLS SESSIONS – HOW TO WRITE EFFECTIE APPLICATION FORMS Victoria Wade Careers Consultant Monday, 3 September 2012."— Presentation transcript:
1 SOAS SKILLS SESSIONS – HOW TO WRITE EFFECTIE APPLICATION FORMS Victoria Wade Careers Consultant Monday, 3 September 2012
2 Objectives of this session: To understand:Why employers use application formsWhy specific questions are being askedHow to structure effective answers.To practise answering specific questions.
3 Why do organisations use application forms? Increased control of the processFocus on relevant areasCandidates are compared on a like-for-like basisDeters those not prepared to take on the task
4 Types of question Motivational Biographical Explain why you’re interested in a career in …… and in particular, working for us. What work experience have you undertaken to demonstrate your interest? (250 words) (Nestle)BiographicalFor each position, describe your role and responsibilities, telling us about any areas of key specific responsibility and/or leadership (100 words). (BP)List the extra-curricular activities you have been involved in during the last 3 years including the activity type, dates and your contribution/achievement (Max. 3,000 characters). (Barclays Cap.)
5 Types of question: Industry specific What is the brand that you most admire in the world? Why? (Advertising agency, 150 words)In what ways does Accenture use technology to help its clients improve their business? (3,000 characters).Competency based: look at past behaviour as a guide to future performanceGive a recent example of a team in which you have been involved. What was your role? What challenges did you face? (100 words)Describe a time when you spotted an opportunity and made it happen? (Unilever, 500 words)
6 Common competency requirements Commercial awareness/ Business acumenFlexibility and adaptabilityInitiativeIndependenceProblem-solving skillsCommon competency requirementsCommunication skillsTeamwork skillsEnthusiasm & motivationPlanning, organisation andtime management skillsInterpersonal skills
7 Examples of competencies Drive for resultsLearning and improvingDecision-makingConstructive thinkingBuilding productive relationshipsCommunicating with impactAnalysis and problem solving skillsCollaborativeGood communication skillsA strong customer focusPerformance, drive and resultsPlanning and organisational skills
8 ‘Make your mark in advertising’ BrandsDirect are a well established but expanding advertising agency looking for trainee account managers to work with our exciting portfolio of clients.Whilst no previous experience is required, we are looking for graduates who have a passion for this business. You must be able to build relationships, manage multiple projects and make the right decisions in what is a stimulating but pressured environment.If you think you have what it takes, convince us with answers to the following questions…..
9 Motivational:Q1) Why do you want to work for our advertising agency? (200 words)Competency:Q2) Describe how you have achieved a goal through influencing the actions or opinions of others in a team. (175 words)For, each question, what criteria would you use to assess the answers given?
10 Motivational question…….demonstrate your interest……. Your knowledge of….the company’s products, services, clients, values.The research you’ve done? Who you’ve talked to?What has the company done recently?What does the press say about the company?How does it differ from it’s competitors?
11 Why do you want to work for our advertising agency? (200 words) Candidate AYour organisation is an award-winning leader in its field, employing 3,000 people globally. It has an international reputation and is also one of the most respected agencies in the UK. It is important for me to work for a successful organisation and I would welcome all the different opportunities available to me. I would also like to work abroad at some point and so the global nature of your organisation appeals to me. Finally, I’d like to work for the organisation because the role matches my skills, particularly my communication and teamwork skills. I am a creative person and I am also interested in developing new skills, and believe that your graduate account management scheme would help me to achieve my goals. (122 words)
12 Candidate B I have researched BrandDirect’s client-base and am extremely excited by the thought of working for prestigious brands such as Continental and L’Oreal. I have been following your recent campaign for the L’Oreal Paris brand with a great deal of interest. I am particularly attracted to the ‘creative hot-house’ reputation of the agency as described in Campaign Magazine’s agency profile of 27 April. My skills are a good match for the position of account manager. I have recently been involved with the innovative re-branding strategy of the student union through a diverse range of media channels, which will help me to assume responsibility for high-profile campaigns from an early stage. My organisation skills greatly improved during this time, where I worked with a range of colleagues to extremely tight production schedules. After examining your website and attending your presentation at SOAS, I understand the value of good organisational skills in order to successfully manage client campaigns. Finally I have also been impressed by the honesty and enthusiasm of recently recruited trainees I met at this year’s SOAS Careers Fair who spoke very highly of the creative culture at BrandsDirect. (199 words)
13 Q2) Describe how you have achieved a goal through influencing the actions or opinionsof others in a team. (175 words)Candidate AAt my internship at LHS Marketing in July 2008, I was asked if I could assist in the development of the new website. I was asked for my opinion as a “fresh pair of eyes” and then joined the team of 8 who were developing the site. After doing a considerable amount of research of competitive sites, I had a number of ideas including incorporating a pop-up menu of up-and-coming events. Some of the team were sceptical of this idea due to the user backlash against pop- up advertising. The general feeling was that pop-ups were no longer effective and could actually alienate visitors. This was discussed in several meetings, and I was convinced that this would be an effective strategy. I showed them some design ideas and eventually they agreed to give it a try in the events sections. I then designed the pop-up to promote various events and some of them have been used. (155 words)
14 Candidate BAt LHS Marketing in July 2008, I assisted in the development of the new website. I took it upon myself to conduct an audit of similar sites and presented my findings to the development team, recommending the use of ‘pop-ups’ to advertise forthcoming events.Mindful of industry scepticism regarding their use, I used the initial project briefing as an opportunity to find out exactly what others’ objections might be. Based on this, I decided to answer those objections in detail, researched available data on the area, prepared visual design ideas and presented my case. Despite the team’s initial concerns, I persuaded them to allocate funds for an initial trial period, after which we would review the success of the pilot programme. This compromise seemed to work.The resulting click-through rates were encouraging and the pop-ups are now a permanent addition to the website having proved a successful way of promoting attendance at our events. (154 words)
15 Candidate BAt LHS Marketing in July 2008, I assisted in the development of the new website. I took it upon myself to conduct an audit of similar sites and presented my findings to the development team, recommending the use of ‘pop-ups’ to advertise forthcoming events.Mindful of industry scepticism regarding their use, I used the initial project briefing as an opportunity to find out exactly what others’ objections might be. Based on this, I decided to answer those objections in detail, researched available data on the area, prepared visual design ideas and presented my case. Despite the team’s initial concerns, I persuaded them to allocate funds for an initial trial period, after which we would review the success of the pilot programme. This compromise seemed to work.The resulting click-through rates were encouraging and the pop- ups are now a permanent addition to the website having proved a successful way of promoting attendance at our events. (154 words)
16 How to answer a competency based question STARSituation: what’s the setting/ background to the story?Task: what was the task/objective?Action: what did you do? – emphasis herewhat did you have to think aboutwhat was your approach/ steps involvedhow did you overcome any problems you encounteredpick up on ‘active’ verbs – eg planned, negotiated, listenedResult – what was the outcome?
17 Typical competency question scoring ‘Tell me about a time when you showed good organisational skills and the ability to plan effectively.’Typical competency question scoringLow scores: 1 & 2took action without developing a planno evidence of prioritisingfailed to evaluate and manageresources appropriatelymissed important deadlinesfailed to cope with difficultiesHigh scores: 3 & 4evidence of planning and prioritisingtools used to achieve e.g. milestones/ daily schedulesanticipated resource needs and used effectively e.g. delegationconsistently beat tight deadlines extra commitment if necessarycoping strategies when things go wrong
18 NatCen Social Research Graduate Research Trainee Please use the space below to say why you think you are suited to this post and what qualities you would bring to it. Please add any other relevant information about your interests and experience that has not been covered elsewhere on this form. (Max 700 words)Specific Competencies: Competency and definitions specific to this role.Research Methods: An understanding of research methods that is consistent with the function and level of the roleCommunication: Ability to communicate clearly, in different styles and for different audiences (including reporting).Project Management: Able to coordinate, manage and juggle a range of project tasks.Customer focus: Acts with client’s needs in mind and values the importance of providing high quality customer service. Behaves professionally and builds effective relationships with clients.Team work: Is able to work successfully as part of a team and build productive relationships.
19 Applying Online download the form and assess requirements plan your approach and do your researchcomplete the more straightforward areasbreak down the harder questionsbrainstorm possible examples and decide on most appropriatedraft - evaluate – refine to keep to word countget a second opinionapply early but submit only when ready
20 Top Tips be presentable and precise be relevant and specific follow instructions exactly (eg word count)/ answer all questions or state N/Alayout, handwriting, grammar & spelling etc (visual appearance is important)be relevant and specificmore relevant: more space,don’t waffle, no vague assertions (eg’s, facts, figures, give evidence)be personalprovide own perspective rather than readily available informationdetail research sourcesbe positivemake points assertively (if mistakes, say what learned)
21 SOAS careers service website www.soas.ac.uk/careers Come in to the careers service and get your applications checked – room G12(sign-up on the day or by telephone )Mon-Tues pm – Career AdviserWeds-Fri 2.00pm-4.30pm – CV and Application help