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Skills academy june2014

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Application forms, CVs and Covering Letters

Text of Skills academy june2014

  • Skills Academy Application Forms CVs & Covering Letters Vanissa Amliwala Careers Consultant Wednesday 4th June 2014
  • Working lifebare facts Six different jobs One redundancy 12 pay rises 125 days off sick 875 small disagreements or grumbles Drink 32,396 cups of tea/coffee one office romance Source: Benenden Health March 2013 Survey of 200,000 British Workers
  • What will be covered Applications Forms in 6 simple steps All you need to know to write a winning CV Covering Letters the dos and donts Further help and advice
  • Application forms Step 1 what to expect Step 2 how to prepare Step 3 providing evidence Step 4 be a STAR! Step 5 the big blank box! Step 6 what next
  • Application forms Step 1 What to expect Categories of information Personal details, work permit status Education: qualifications, dates and institutions Employment history: dates, job title, details Competency / motivational questions The big blank box! Additional information / supporting statement References
  • Application forms Step 2 How to prepare Print out the job description, person specification, job advert Do some research look beyond the advert Stick to the rules! Note any instructions and pay attention to word count/limits Draft answers in rough first Fill in all sections, do not leave ANY blanks. Put N/A for sections/boxes that are not applicable Check and double check for spelling and grammar errors Remember to keep a copy
  • Application forms Step 3 Evidence Speak the language of the employer Finding evidence group work, academic work, presentations, dissertation, student union activities, work experience, placements, employment, voluntary activities, personal interests Provide specific examples that demonstrate your skills and abilities
  • Step 4 Be a STAR! Situation Task Action Result
  • A STAR Example Describe a situation when you had to give excellent customer service following a complaint. A customer rang up complaining that they'd waited more than two weeks for a reply from our sales team regarding a product query. Situation Task I needed to address the client's immediate query and find out what went wrong in the normal process. I apologised, got the details and passed them to our head salesperson, who contacted the client within the hour. I investigated why the query hadn't been answered. I discovered that it was a combination of a wrong mobile number and a generic email address that wasn't being checked. I let the client know and we offered a goodwill discount on her next order. The client not only continued to order from us but posted a positive customer service tweet. Action Result By Michael Higgins: The Guardian Professional 10th March 2014
  • Motivation Question Why do you want to work in this role and for this company? Show you know what is involved in the role and what the company does. Link this to things you have done and enjoyed. Make it personal to you (vs other applicants)
  • Application form Exercise Library Assistant in the European Studies Library Person specification Short-listing form Scoring: Criteria met = 2 (specific example - STAR) Partially met = 1 (example but not complete) Not met = 0 (no example or irrelevant) Three Applications: A, B, C
  • Application forms Step 5The BIG blank box! Hehelp!
  • Application forms Step 5Supporting Statement & Additional information Read the instructions very carefully and follow them exactly Address ALL the requirements Good opening paragraph explaining what attracted you to the job and organisation Use headed paragraphs for each of the criteria in in the person specification Provide STAR examples to evidence your skills Dont be tempted to re-cycle an old application! Check and double check spelling and grammar
  • Application forms Step 6what next? Shortlisting Applications are read/scanned and checked against a competency grid Applications that meet most of the competencies will be shortlisted. If competition is fierce only those that meet ALL the essential criteria will be shortlisted Not shortlisted Missing key information, insufficient evidence, did not meet the essential or desirable criteria, spelling errors, poor grammar
  • CVsWhat will be covered CV essentials What makes a good CV What should you include in your CV Getting the format right CV language CV top tips Covering Letters the low down
  • What is a CV? Curriculum vitae course of your life A personal marketing document about YOU First impressions count! Celebrate your individuality and be yourself
  • An employers perspective Simon Reichwald - CEO Graduate Success
  • What makes a good CV? Keep it succinct why use 20 words when 5 will do? Target one size rarely fits all Keep it relevant what does each employer want? Back it up list achievements not duties! Separate sections for readability Axe what is not essential!
  • Situation Task Action Result How to evidence your skills
  • Getting the format right Chronological CV Most common format. Starts with your most recent job, and then works backwards. Advantages Emphasises continuity and progression over time Easy to follow Good if you have worked for well known companies Disadvantages Difficult if your career is patchy Harder if changing careers Not so good if you are new to the job market Skill-based CV Presents your main skill areas Advantages Strong emphasis on skills Jobs and work history are more secondary Overcomes the difficulty of not having a lot of experience or too much Flexible Disadvantages Difficult if you want to emphasise continuity Might lose the impact of any prestigious companies you have worked for
  • Sample CVs Chronological CV Skills-based CV
  • Words are powerful
  • CV language Every word counts! Use positive, powerful and simple language Action words Sell not tell! Check and double check grammar and spelling
  • CV Exercise How many mistakes can you find?
  • CV top tips Your CV should reflect you Target your CV Choose an effective format and appropriate length Follow the recruiters instructions Pay close attention to detail - presentation, language, spelling and grammar Provide evidence of your skills and experience Dont attach a photo unless asked to do so Always use white or cream A4 paper, 2 pages, single sided, no staples, easy-to-read font size 10-12 DO NOT USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FOR ANYTHING
  • CV vs Application Form CV Application Form You control content Employer controls content You identify skills and experience Employer specifies skills and experience You choose the Standardised
  • Covering letter / email Video careercake steps-to-an-incredible-cover-letter/
  • Covering letter / email What to include Make it personal Reference / subject line in bold Paragraph 1 Why are you writing Paragraph 2 What can you offer the employer Paragraph 3 What attracts you to the job/company Paragraph 4 State when you are available for interview and end on a positive note
  • Covering letter / email top tips Your marketing statement Keep it business-like Write to a named person or Dear Sir / Madam Highlight how you meet the job requirements dont waffle, keep it short and relevant Include credible explanations for any weak points Watch spelling and grammar - do not use abbreviations, email or text language Sign off correctly yours sincerely for a named person or yours faithfully for Dear/Madam
  • Summary Application Forms How to prepare, sell not tell, evidencing your skills STAR example CVs what makes a good CV, what to include, evidencing skills, positive language and different CV formats Covering Letters/Email your marketing statement, make it personal, make an impact, sign off correctly Check and double check spelling and grammar
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