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Winning C.V.s. Sue Holdsworth 24 October 2012. The “E” Word: Employability. A good degree is still not need to stand out from other graduates Every employer seeks more from a candidate than academic excellence

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Winning c v s

Winning C.V.s

Sue Holdsworth

24 October 2012

The e word employability

The “E” Word: Employability

  • A good degree is still not need to stand out from other graduates

  • Every employer seeks more from a candidate than academic excellence

  • Team working, leadership, initiative, commercial awareness……..go to:

  • to see how you can evidence and enhance the skills you have gained through your studies.

What is a c v

What is a C.V.?

  • "Biographical sketch of the course of one’s life” (Chamber’s Dictionary)

  • Persuasive sales document selling you (the product) to an employer (the buyer)

  • You have editorial control – unlike an application form

Setting the record straight

Setting the Record Straight

  • There is no such thing as a perfect CV

  • The definition of an effective CV is:

  • “one which presents your information to the best advantage “

  • A ‘general CV’ is likely to end up in the bin

Standard cv

Standard CV

  • Contact Details: No need to give age or marital status

  • Education and qualifications

  • Work Experience, embedding your skills in the text

  • Additional information e.g. Driving Licence, fluent German.

  • Interests

  • Referees

Skills based


  • Personal Details

  • Possible Personal Statement

  • Brief outline of education

  • Brief outline of work experience

  • Expansion of Skills

  • Brief outline of interests/activities

  • Referees

Traditional or skills based

Traditional or skills based?

  • Traditional good if you have lots of relevant experience and is a clear structure

  • Skills based is good if you have limited relevant experience.

  • It draws attention to your skills developed from different experiences

  • Good practice for coping with graduate application forms.



  • Effective communication

  • Teamwork

  • Problem solving ability

  • Analytical skills

  • Flexibility

  • Self management skills

  • Decision making and judgement ability

More skills

More Skills

  • Numeracy

  • Logical argument

  • Enquiry and research skills

  • IT skills

  • Relate to wider context

  • Specialist subject knowledge

Evidencing your skills

Evidencing your skills

  • Never make a statement without putting it in context

  • “ I have strong time management skills”.

  • “I have time management skills, demonstrated effectively when I was managing a team of volunteers at the National Trust Gift Shop at Lyme Park. I had to plan the weekly rotas, check and price new stock, arrange to display it effectively, and send in weekly reports to our national headquartesr in York. This was in addition to studying for my degree and working in a bar on Saturday nights.”

In pairs

In pairs..........

  • List all the skills you have

  • What evidence can you use to demonstrate them?

  • 5 minutes.

Presenting the facts

Presenting the facts.........

  • Use an attractive clear font

  • Beware of spelling errors and US spell-checks on computers

  • Allocate space to reflect the importance of your information - you only have 2 pages

  • Be aware of the prime spaces - 1/2 way down page 1 and the top of page 2

Making an impact action words

Making an impact – action words

  • Showcase your achievements using purposeful vocabulary and the “I” word, for example…….I

  • Accomplished; budgeted; collaborated; delegated; established; facilitated; guided; handled; implemented; lead; marketed; oversaw; produced; quantified; regulated; selected; trained; viewed; wrote; X Y Z…….

First impressions count

First Impressions count...

  • Always send or upload a covering letter with a CV

  • It should ideally be no longer than one side of A4

  • Make specific references to the organisation you are applying for

  • Sell yourself – show enthusiasm

Planning the covering letter

Planning the Covering Letter

  • Make it structured :

  • Opening (who you are and what you are doing)

  • The role you are interested in and why

  • Why you are particularly interested in that organisation.

  • Why you are a good candidate

  • Positive ending

Somebody s watching you

Somebody’s watching you...............

  • Be prepared to include links to your blog or to any

  • articles you may have had published.

  • Advertising agencies expect you to have your own website or blog.

  • Be aware that potential employers will check out social networking sites for you.

  • Check your privacy settings.

  • Create a Linkedin Profile

Social media job searching 2 main points

Social Media & Job Searching – 2 main points;

  • Leveraging social media as part of your job search strategy

  • Managing your online reputation

Social media use in recruitment jobvite survey 2011 us

Social media use in recruitment – Jobvite Survey 2011 (US)

  • 89% will use SM for recruiting activities in 2011

    (83% in 2010)

  • 65% have successfully hired using social media

  • 56% of HR professionals use networking websites to source candidates (54% in 2010)

  • 55% plan to invest more in SM in 2011

Winning c v s

64% use 2 or more social networks for recruiting

40% use 3 or more

Linked your profile

Linked -Your Profile

  • Headline – informative and relevant to you

  • Education – highlight honours/ awards/ grades

  • Extra-curricular activities

  • Work experience – especially relevant

  • Specialities section – use keywords




  • Professional networking site – 120million+ users (August 2011)

  • Connect with existing contacts – nurture new ones

  • Professional online presence

  • Research career paths, jobs and other opportunities

  • Network with people in your areas of interest – through relevant groups, discussions etc

Winning c v s

  • Status updates – use your existing network

  • Follow/ connect with companies

  • Profile picture

  • Join relevant groups

  • Privacy settings – need to be hyper-vigilant!

Winning c v s

  • Bio – informative and professional

  • E-mail address + real name

  • Further information link – blog/online CV/ portfolio etc

  • Tweet, retweet and help promote others

  • Professional picture

  • Use hashtags

  • Follow relevant companies/ professional bodies

Managing your online presence why bother

Managing your online presence – why bother?

Managing your online presence think about

Managing your online presence – think about….

  • Privacy settings

  • Photos

  • Who you’re connected with – their posts/ settings

  • Comments you make/ opinions you voice

  • Groups you join/ things you ‘like’

  • Make the positive outweigh any potential negative

  • Potential permanency of everything online

  • ‘Google’ yourself regularly/ create alerts

  • Which networks will you use in what ways?



  • From Facebook to LinkedIn – Comprehensive guide written by a recent graduate for

  • Jobvite 2011 full survey report

  • Full infographic based on above report

  • Student Branding Blog

  • Using facebook in your job search

  • More ways to use facebook in your job search article

  • Article on using twitter as part of job search

  • Article on what social media recruiters use and on what basis they’ve rejected applicants

Manage your online presence

Manage your online presence

  • - relates to work history


  • - keep your facebook profile ‘clean & safe’

    ‘Landing’ sites – can be useful if you don’t have a website, but want somewhere to refer people to your online presence/s




Key points

No more than 2 sides of A4 for CV

No more than 1 page for Covering Letter

Supply home and term-time addresses

Record everything in REVERSE Chronological order

Avoid Scene-Setting

Refer to YOUR role/activity and the skills it demonstrates

Ideally 1 academic referee and 1 from employment

Make sure it is targeted.

-Key Points

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