Effective CVs and Applications
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Effective CVs and Applications. Effective Applications. Finding out about jobs Application Forms Cover Letters Preparing CVs Online Applications Useful sources of information. Finding out about Jobs. UL Careers Service Careers by Degrees 2006-2007 UL Careers Website: Jobs section

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Effective CVs and Applications

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Effective CVs and Applications

Effective Applications

  • Finding out about jobs

  • Application Forms

  • Cover Letters

  • Preparing CVs

  • Online Applications

  • Useful sources of information

Finding out about Jobs

  • UL Careers Service

    • Careers by Degrees 2006-2007

    • UL Careers Website: Jobs section

    • Noticeboard

    • Gradireland website and directory

    • Employer Directories

    • Careers Fair and Presentations

  • Newspapers and periodicals

  • Business reports

  • w.w.w.

  • Own contacts

Starting point

  • Purpose of a CV is to get an inteview

  • Use the following checklist every time you complete an application form

    1:Identify employer needs

    • Put yourself in the employer shoes

    • What are they looking for?

      2:Match yourself to these needs

    • What particular skills do you have that are relevant to the position?

Employer’s Perspective

  • Find out about the candidate

  • What contribution can she make?

  • Why is she interested in this job/company?

  • Does she understand what the job entails?

  • Does she have the relevant qualifications?

  • Does she have the right mix of skills?

  • Is it worth my time interviewing her?

What do Employers really look for?

Irish Employer survey July 2003

84 Companies in all sectors –business, finance, education, the arts, retail, tourism

Most Important Factors in Recruitment:

  • Enthusiasm for position

  • Personality

  • Transferable skills

  • Potential for advancement

  • Good Academic record

  • Relevant Work Experience

  • Specialist Subject Knowledge

  • Personal Interests

  • Any other work experience

Before Applying

  • Research the Company

    • Company literature, websites, directories

    • Analyse job descriptions

  • Research Yourself

    • Review experience and career interests

    • What is relevant to this particular job

    • What evidence will I provide

    • Do online personality test – Type Indicator

  • Research Careers

    • Check out similar or related jobs

    • Prospects Planner/website

Questions to ask yourself

  • What sort of person is the organisation looking for?

  • What knowledge, experience, skills are required to fill this role?

  • What past experience do I have that demonstrate these competencies?

  • Provide evidence to match the key competencies

Employer needs


Team work



Customer Care


Commercial awareness

Your evidence

Presentation to class

Example from Coop

Class rep, Committee

Fundraising for charity

Working in Superquinn

Designed website

Business pages

Matching Skills to Requirements

Tips for preparing CVs

  • Restrict it to 2 pages, no fancy cover

  • Customise CV to reflect job requirements

  • Start with the most recent/relevant information

  • Allocate space in accordance with the importance of the information

  • Emphasise the most relevant details

  • Use action words

  • Use headings and bullet points

  • Highlight skills and responsibilities

  • Make it look good – plain font

  • Check spelling and grammar

  • Send it with a decent cover letter

Reasons for Rejection of CV

  • Too much/too little information

  • Irrelevant Information

  • Poor presentation

  • Spelling mistakes

  • Not targeted to position

  • No personality or enthusiasm

Standard CV

  • Personal Details

    • Name, Address, Tel No, Email address

  • Education

    • Start with most recent

    • Dates, Name of college, Course Title,Thesis title, Core subjects, results (if impressive)

    • Provide details of research projects

  • Work Experience

    • Start with most recent or relevant

    • Separate relevant and other experience

    • Provide job title and name of organisation

    • Highlight responsibilities and achievements

    • Include unpaid work

Standard CVs (cont)

  • Competencies

    • Identify key competencies required for position

    • Provide relevant evidence from previous experience

  • Skills Profile

    • Computing – be specific, name packages

    • Languages – what level

    • Driving Licence

  • Interests

    • Provide evidence of balanced individual

    • Focus on achievements

  • Referees

    • Normally 2 referees required: one academic, one work

    • Seek permission in advance and provide information

Helpful hints

  • Use action verbs: achieved, created, managed, produced, demonstrated, supervised, trained, investigated, co-ordinated, monitored, reported, etc

  • Adjectives- to describe yourself: adaptable, analytical, determined, logical, resourceful, precise, supportive, etc

Cover Letters

  • One page - business letter format

  • Send to a named person

  • Letter supports CV

  • Tailor it to company and job

  • Highlight skills and experience

  • Structure it well

    • Introduce yourself, specify vacancy

    • Why are you interested in the company/job?

    • Why should they consider you? (relevant skills)

    • What next? – availability for interview

Helpful Hints - Application Forms

  • Photocopy form - experiment with copy

  • Read complete form before writing

  • Follow instructions: black ink, capitals

  • Answer all questions

  • Use space sensibly

  • Draft answers to open questions

  • Use simple words, short sentences

  • Check appearance - first impressions count

  • Check spellings and grammar

  • Copy completed form

Open-ended Questions

  • Questions about yourself

    • Describe yourself

    • Strengths and weakness

    • Describe key events in your life

  • Questions about job/career

    • What skills, experiences do you bring?

    • Why are you suited to a career in …

    • What other careers are you considering?

  • Questions about the future

    • Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time?

Competency-based questions

  • Company identifies key skills required for job

  • Designs questions to elicit evidence of skills

  • Emphasis on past behaviour as predictor of success

  • Teamwork:Describe a team project you worked on. What problems arose? How did you deal with them?

  • Communication skills:Describe situation when you had to persuade others to support your view.

  • Interpersonal skills: What kinds of people do you find it difficult to work with? How do you handle those situations?

  • Self-directed:Give an example of a situation when you had to go beyond the call of duty to get something done.

  • Problem-solving: Tell us about an error you made and what you learned

Responding to Competency Q

  • Q What has been your experiences in giving explanations or instructions to others?

  • STAR response

    • S: Describe the situation

    • T: Explain the task/problem that arose

    • A: What action did you take?

    • R: What was the result or outcome?

    • What did you learn from the experience?

Application Forms- Typical Questions

  • What has prompted you to apply for a position with KPMG? Include experiences or people who have influenced your decision.

  • Describe a position of responsibility you have held and the challenges you have faced.

  • Describe personal interests you have pursued. Which has given sense of achievement and why?

  • Tell us about a time you worked within a group. Describe your role and the end result

  • Why do you think you would be suited to a career in accountancy/

How to answer

  • Be clear about what the questions mean

  • What do they want to know and why?

  • Be clear about what you did if asked a complex question.

  • Keep answers concise & to the point

  • No waffle

  • Try to give different examples to answer different questions

  • Try to give recent examples

Online Applications

  • Increasingly popular with large employers

  • Fast and efficient – scan for key words

  • Preselection - can incorporate aptitude & personality tests

  • Self-assessment - match to different jobs

  • Helpful hints

    • Download form and practice

    • Prepare longer answers, cut and paste

    • Use buzz words, e.g. name specific packages

    • Spell check, proofread

    • Print preview, save regularly

    • print completed copy and send

    • Very time-consuming – allow plenty of time

    • Practice with ‘Select Simulator’

  • Select Simulator

    • A joint venture between Careers Services and GTI

    • A training tool for online applications

    • Uses the same system as used by over 150 employers in Europe

    • A full online application system with interactive help

    • Guides students through application process

    • Can use completed application for email/paper applications

    • Practice makes perfect!

    www.ul.ie/careers - Applications & Interviews

    Tips for Emailing CVs

    • Check with company first in case of viruses

    • Use common software, Microsoft Word.

    • To retain format of CV, send as attached file

    • Also include CV in body of email

    • If cutting and pasting, check font size

    • Check impact by sending copy to yourself

    • To be doubly sure, also forward hard copy

    Useful Resources

    • www.ul.ie/careers

      • Career Development Module

      • Applications & Interviews

      • Online aptitude & personality tests

    • www.gradireland.com

    • www.realworldmagazine.com

    • www.prospects.ac.uk

    • www.doctorjob.com

    • www.jobweb.com

    • www.selectsimulator.com - online applications

    • www.shlgroup.com - aptitude tests

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