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SOAS SKILLS SESSIONS – HOW TO WRITE EFFECTIE APPLICATION FORMS Victoria Wade Careers Consultant Monday, 3 September 2012.

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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 forms Why specific questions are being asked How to structure effective answers. To practise answering specific questions.

3 Why do organisations use application forms? Increased control of the process Focus on relevant areas Candidates are compared on a like-for-like basis Deters those not prepared to take on the task

4 Types of question Motivational 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) Biographical For 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 performance Give 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 Communication skills Teamwork skills Enthusiasm & motivation Planning, organisation and time management skills Interpersonal skills Commercial awareness/ Business acumen Flexibility and adaptability Initiative Independence Problem-solving skills

7 Examples of competencies Analysis and problem solving skills Collaborative Good communication skills A strong customer focus Performance, drive and results Planning and organisational skills Drive for results Learning and improving Decision-making Constructive thinking Building productive relationships Communicating with impact

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 A Your 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 opinions of others in a team. (175 words) Candidate A At 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 B At 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 B At 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 STAR Situation: what’s the setting/ background to the story? Task: what was the task/objective? Action: what did you do? – emphasis here what did you have to think about what was your approach/ steps involved how did you overcome any problems you encountered pick up on ‘active’ verbs – eg planned, negotiated, listened Result – what was the outcome?

17 Typical competency question scoring Low scores: 1 & 2 took action without developing a plan no evidence of prioritising failed to evaluate and manage resources appropriately missed important deadlines failed to cope with difficulties High scores: 3 & 4 evidence of planning and prioritising tools used to achieve e.g. milestones/ daily schedules anticipated resource needs and used effectively e.g. delegation consistently beat tight deadlines extra commitment if necessary coping strategies when things go wrong ‘Tell me about a time when you showed good organisational skills and the ability to plan effectively.’

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 role Communication: 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. 18

19 Applying Online download the form and assess requirements plan your approach and do your research complete the more straightforward areas break down the harder questions brainstorm possible examples and decide on most appropriate draft - evaluate – refine to keep to word count get a second opinion apply early but submit only when ready 19

20 Top Tips be presentable and precise follow instructions exactly (eg word count)/ answer all questions or state N/A layout, handwriting, grammar & spelling etc (visual appearance is important) be relevant and specific more relevant: more space, don’t waffle, no vague assertions (eg’s, facts, figures, give evidence) be personal provide own perspective rather than readily available information detail research sources be positive make points assertively (if mistakes, say what learned) 20

21 21 SOAS careers service website 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 Adviser Weds-Fri 2.00pm-4.30pm – CV and Application help


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