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Diana Omololu Careers Adviser

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Presentation on theme: "Diana Omololu Careers Adviser"— Presentation transcript:

1 Diana Omololu Careers Adviser
CVs and Cover Letters Diana Omololu Careers Adviser

2 Content CVs / Application Forms Covering letters Preparation
Appearance Content Covering letters

3 Why do employers use CV’s and Application form?
deters unsuitable applicants comparable information - who stands out? creates focus on areas relevant to job can assess diversity of experience For those who have already seen or filled an application forms you will know that it isn’t something you can just casually complete in 10 minutes. I’ve completed application forms that have taken me a whole weekend in the past and believe me when you’re still composing answers to questions at 8 o’clock on a Saturday night when you should be out enjoying yourself, it will already have put off a lot of people who weren’t really interested in the role anyway. The problem with CV’s for employers is that they are personalised. You can tell the employer as little or as much about you as you want. You might have the right experience and skills they’re looking for but if your CV hasn’t spelt that out, then it’s v. difficult for employers to make a judgement between which candidates are most suitable. The application form takes a lot of those factors away. Because the employers knows what types of people they are looking for they can target the questions specifically upon the areas that interest them most eg that’s why most application forms are competency based and are designed to assess your skills and experience in a number of key areas. It’s also likely that you will be asked to give examples from a range of experiences to address each question so that the employer can analyse just how a diverse and all round candidate you really are.

4 Targeting your CV/AF Every CV/AF should be finely tuned
This means research You The employer The job/field

5 Research EMPLOYER Who are they, what do they do, how do they do it? What does the job involve? The type of person are they looking for? YOU Why do you want this job? What are your skills? What is your evidence?

6 What employers want……….
General intelligence: academic achievement and potential e.g capacity for original thought Specialist Knowledge: Communication skills - oral and written, ability to be cogent, persuasive and investigative, use of English Team work - i.e playing your part Practicality e.g ability to get things done, nature of deadlines, conscientiousness, attention to detail

7 And these…….. Analytical skills e.g logical reasoning ability, handling complex data Commerciality - understanding of the business world, commercial aims and objectives Judgment and decision making. Loyalty - give as good as you get Resilience - e.g persistence Organisational - planning, prioritising skills fun!

8 What do I have to offer? Find out about yourself
What are your key skills and abilities? What are your interests? What values are important to you? Think about: Your time in education Your experience of work Your spare time activities

9 Know the organisation Read recruitment literature Check their website
Read the annual report Find out about the company/ practice(s) service/location/no. of employees etc. Who are their competitors? Has the sector been in the news recently? You don’t have to know everything about them, but the more understanding you have of who they are and how they operate – the more confident you will feel and the better you will perform on the day.

10 Preparation Work out how you meet the requirements of the job
What qualifications and skills are required or preferred? Do you have them? What evidence can you give to support your claim?

11 Skills acquired from your study
Ability to think analytically, creatively and logically Able to manage information - quantitatively and qualitative Communication skills -verbal, written and presentation Planning and organisation skills Leadership Teamwork and co-operation ability Subject knowledge

12 Skills acquired from your work experience.
Farmer - business management, planning, stock control. Stacking shelves - team work, dealing with customer inquiries Pulling pints - handling cash, working under pressure Family business - business management, customer care, financial management Nursing Placement:????????/

13 Know the job Read the job ad/description
Read relevant careers literature What skills are they looking for? What is a typical career path? Try to talk to someone doing a similar job Typical career path – could be useful if they ask you where you see yourself in 5 years time Sometimes a job ad will invite you to call them for more information. Do it! This will demonstrate your motivation to the employer and will mean that they pay more attention to your application when it arrives. Talking to someone is particularly useful as this will give you a stronger understanding about the role and allow you to talk more confidently about your relevant skills. It would be well worth doing this even before you reach interview stage as it can help with career choice and applications too.

14 Appearance - Key principles
Easy on the eye – quick scan Appropriate number of pages Clear structure Be consistent – format, use of fonts Check spelling and grammar Keep a photocopy

15 Content - Key principles
Emphasise the relevant - give it most prominence and space Highlight your skills and include evidence Be flexible about the order of information Make it individual

16 Typical headings: Personal Details Career aim or personal profile
Education Skills profile or skills based CV Work Experience Achievements, responsibilities Interests Publications/conferences Referees

17 Online CVs Principles are the same Plain text or attachment?
Make it formal – avoid casual isms Subject Line?

18 4 questions a good Covering Letter should answer
Why are you writing to me? Why should I bother to read your CV? Why do you want to work in this area? Why do you want to work for us?

19 Covering Letters - pitfalls
Too long or too short Repeat content of CV Contain information not in CV Is “generic” Contains negative information SUMMARY Target – to the type of work / employer Think about presentation Be positive, be relevant, be specific Any Questions

20 Your Application Form Research and Preparation Gathering information
Analysing information So once again, a significant chunk of your time that you set aside for the application process needs to be for research - Some good sources for Gathering info: Recruitment literature – generally most companies will still put together hard copy literature about working for the company. You’ll be able to get these at employer recruitment presentations or requesting from the website. Some companies however just now direct everyone to their website where you can find everything – Careers Service – We have lots of occupational info as well as a whole library devoted to information about the major employers and we also carry recent editions of the Trade Press (most industries will have a weekly or monthly journal which will give useful background information on what’s happening in the industry. Current practitioners – particularly if invited to presentations/ fairs/ get talking to current members of the industry. It’s a golden opportunity to get information from the horses mouth. Interpret role requirements – through job specification or occupational and employ ment info make a short list of the skills you think they are looking for – likely to be at least 5 of these – communication, leadership, commercial/ flair. Break down terms – what do they really mean by ‘leadership’it doesn’t necssarily mean you’ve had to lead an expedition of 10 to the summit of everest – (getting people to work together, getting people to trust you). You may well have the skills they need you just aren’t thinking enough about how you might have gained them Then you need to brainstorm all the areas of experience that you can just as you did with your CV for a diverse range of examples that you can use to illustrate that you have the skills they’re looking for.

21 Process copy/print out the form do your research do the easy bits
break down the harder questions brainstorm possible examples draft - evaluate - refine get a second opinion In terms of the process you should use: It’s unlikely you’ll be completing the form all in one go especially if it’s online – take it away/ print it out and chew it over. Do the research – get hold of the relevant literature, talk to whoever you can. Complete the easy bits – personal details/ academics It’s v. easy especially if you’ve onto you 7/8th form to breeze through this and not concentrate. These areas are v. important to get right. Break down the harder questions: think about what the skills they are looking for really mean. Think about your evidence – list your evidence for each skill they want. Try not to use the same example twice so before you put pen to paper map out the most relevant example for each question you have been asked as some of your experiences could very well provide evidence of skills in a number of areas. Draft your answer – read it, after you’ve slept on it – read it again and if necessary improve it Get a second opinion. See what your friends think – how does it read. Come and see us at the career service and let us have a look.

22 Types of question Competency questions
e.g. Give an example of a team you have been in. What was your role? How did the team work together? What was the outcome? ‘Tell us everything else’ questions Use this space to give us any information supporting your application, telling us why you have chosen to apply for this career and this organisation and offering evidence taken from your educational, employment and other activities which demonstrates that you have the skills required for this role There are generally 2 types of question: Competency based questions –majority of graduate recruiters use these types of questions. The starting point is the question itself. In this example, they are looking for you to tell them about the team, your role, the working of the team and the outcome. They’ve laid out the structure of the answer for you. All you need to do is follow it. You need to address every aspect of the question in that order. ‘Tell us everything questions’ – can be very vague or may be a bit more detailed e.g. - use this space to give us any other information to support your application. Or: Again - the second example gives you the structure which you should follow.

23 Competency-based questions
Choose experiences that are: significant to you easy to discuss at interview relevant to the job being considered Report the facts (15%), describe your contribution (70%) explain the outcome(s) (15%) Choose experiences that are significant to you – things that stand out in your memory. Easy to discuss at the interview, that the situation can be told in a reasonably simple and concise way And that are relevant to the type of role you are being considered for. That means that the skills you have learn’t and the actions you used are transferrable from the situation you experienced to the type of experiences you may be confronted with in the role. The general rule is in terms of wordcount: 15% of your answer should be used on the introduction and reporting the facts, 70% on your contribution and then the outcome preferably quantified should be another 15%.

24 Make evidence quantifiable
Q: “Describe a time when you instigated change to solve a problem.” A: “Whilst at university, lab times didn’t suit everyone so I organised for these to be changed.” HOW...OUTCOME...QUANTIFIABLE?? Well that’s not particularly helpful answer. You have given me no indication of why this was such a problem and who it was a problem for. You have given me no indication of how you set about resolving the situation, any research you might have done, the actions you carried out or an outcome. This is a poor answer.

25 Consider... A: “During my studies, I identified the need for a change in lab times since my year group were missing slots due to time-table clashes. I put my case in writing to two academic staff, explaining the situation and suggesting more convenient times. I followed this up in person and was invited to the next staff meeting. After some negotiation, lab times were changed and students were consequently able to complete projects on time.” Introduction (15%) - I explained what the problem was and how it impacted not only on me but my fellow students and you’ve given an indication that this was a large problem as it effected the whole year group. Good explanation focusing on what the individual did by using the word ‘I’ rather than we. Applicant clearly understands the skills they were using and has attempted to match the skills required in the role. skills: identified (researched)/ explaining the situation/ (good communication skills) suggesting/ (persuasion and leadership) Then we have a clear indication of the outcome. If possible quantify it. Don’t be afraid to make assumptions - if you helped raise turnover by approximately 20% say it - especially good in application for financial services as they operate in monetary outcomes.

26 Personal statements Reasons for your interest in role/course
relevant work / study experience research and insights why you enjoy it Reasons for interest in organisation/ institution what research you have carried out what in particular is of interest Evidence you have the necessary skills look at person specification/ course guidelines 4/5 skills and give examples of how you have gained them Conclusion summing up of main reasons for your interest Para 1 – reasons. Talk about work and study that has influenced your choice How have you done your research – important to disclose methods you’ve used and what is it that really interests you Para 2 – why that organisation, again what research have you carried out and what are their findings and why suitable. Para 3 evidence you have skills. Credible evidence that you have 4/5 key skills Conclusion – briefly summing up in a couple of sentences why the main reasons to do the course or take the role. Generally sides of A4 tops.

27 Checklist think hard about how you can be memorable
introduction 15%/ action 70%/ outcome 15% be concise - short sentences, 1 para. per idea triple check grammar & spelling/ transfer from ‘word’ for online applications answer all questions or state “N/A” follow instructions (word count/ structured answer) doing fewer forms well is more effective Personalise your examples - think about all different facets of your life for examples. Remember the 15/70/15 ruling Be concise and structured in your answer. No excuse for grammar or spelling mistakes/ spell check and sense check everything. Get a second opinion from friends. Don’t leave any gaps - fill out everything that is applicable - if it is not state so. Follow instructions - watch for word limitations on online application forms or if not don’t just keep writing down the scroll bar. Keep your answers relevant and concise. If a question has a number of areas you need to respond to, respond to them, all of them in the order they are asked. Lots of people cut and paste forms, send out 30/40 applications and wonder why they are not getting interviews. Personalise each form to the role and company you are interested in. Tailor your answers precisely to the question being asked. Targeting and properly researching a few well put together application s is better than lots of poor forms.

28 Useful Resources How to write a Curriculum Vitae
How to complete an application form + other reference books Check with a Careers Adviser On-line help sheets at And finally, some other helpful resources: We have 2 very useful booklets that the careers service produces. They are free, come over to the career service and pick whichever one you need up. We also have other more in-depth reads if you need them. Check with a careers adviser once you’ve drafted your CV or answers to questions in your application form. We see people for 15 minutes Mon-Thursday and You can come and see us as many times as you want. There’s some useful help sheets about all sorts of career matters on the following web address. Any questions on application forms.

29 The specialist Institutions Careers Centre
Address:4th Floor, ULU Building, Malet Street, London WC1H 0PN Quick Queries Monday – Thursday 2:00pm - 4:30pm Appointments Monday – Thursday 10:00 - 5:00 (Friday 1:30pm - 5:00pm) Information Resources and IT Facilities Monday – Friday 9:30 – 5:00 Thank alumni again. Thank students for coming and for all their questions. Hope it has inspired them.

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