Ready to compete where are the jobs is my cv and interview technique ok
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Ready to compete...where are the jobs, is my CV and interview technique OK?. Pauline Glasgow, Careers adviser Aims. Raise awareness of the job market and opportunities available to you when you graduate Encourage you to make successful applications. Objectives.

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Ready to compete...where are the jobs, is my CV and interview technique OK?

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Ready to compete...where are the jobs, is my CV and interview technique OK?

Pauline Glasgow, Careers adviser


  • Raise awareness of the job market and opportunities available to you when you graduate

  • Encourage you to make successful applications


  • Increase knowledge of the labour market

  • Identify your selling points

  • Promote yourself effectively on your CV and at interview

SWOT Analysis

  • Small groups

  • Write down on flip chart paper

  • Report back



  • Surveys/reports/useful websites for English

UK Graduate Careers Survey

Apprx 18,000 students, including 599 from QUB

25% of students planning to do postgraduate study

13% planning taking time out to travel (down on last year)

40% expecting to join labour market – this is an increase

The media is still the most popular career area

Accountancy is the 8th most popular choice

More students are making earlier applications – ‘huge shift’

Queens students make, on average, 5 applications. UK average, is 6.8

Salary expectations - £22,600

Appropriate Resources

Gti Target Careers


Private sector (own websites or directories)

ROI Graduate Careers Service

UK Careers

QUB Careers Service

Your Careers Service!

UK Graduate Careers Service

Inside Careers

Public sector (own websites or directories)

ROI Careers


NI Careers

Voluntary Sector (own websites or directories)



-Career Planning guides

-Helpsheet series


  • Website

  • Publications

  • Employer Directories

  • Sector Guides





How to find employers/vacancies in NI

  • Graduate Opportunities Section of the Careers website

  • Employer websites eg NI Civil Service, Queen’s/UU, NHS, individual companies etc

  • Yell (useful for identifying companies in different occupational areas/locations etc)

  • JobCentre On-line

  • Regional/local/national newspapers eg Belfast Telegraph, Irish News etc

  • Recruitment agencies

Competencies & skills

  • Times Top 100/Directories/sample jobs

  • Identify criteria ‘any discipline’ recruiters want

  • How do you match?

  • In pairs, tell your partner one thing you are good at/do well


  • Sample CVs

  • Read from an employer’s perspective

  • Discuss – what you liked, what could be improved

Degree Education

  • Basic details ie dates, name of university, course studied, degree result expected/obtained

  • Achievements eg projects, scholarships/prizes awarded, work placements

  • Notable aspects eg features/modules you enjoyed etc

  • Important to say something about what you gained from your degree (think transferability)

Work Experience

  • Basic details ie dates, name of employer, job title

  • Brief overview of duties/what you did

  • Achievements ie skills developed, insights gained, extensions to original term, notable outcomes etc

  • Focus on what you gained rather than what you did (again, think transferability)

Achievements and Interests

  • Your chance to include other relevant details not included in degree/education and work experience eg

    -Extra-curricular activities at University

    -Voluntary work

    -Sporting activities

    -Other skills eg IT, languages

    -Achievements outside degree/work experience


  • Can be a key factor in demonstrating your motivation and ‘get up and go’ factor

Activities and interests

  • Selectors are more interested in your level of involvement than in what you are involved in.

  • Mention any position of responsibility.

  • Stress social skills e.g. teamwork, motivating others etc.

  • Describe any initiative you developed.

  • Don’t use weak words such as “did” or “worked”; change them to “achieved” or “implemented”.

  • Include active verbs when describing your activities e.g. achieved, arranged, contributed, established, implemented, initiated, negotiated, organised.

  • Put the most powerful words at the left-hand side of the page: that is were the scanning eye travels first. Not “While I was at Brown and Co. I developed a new database system”, but “Developed a new database system while at Brown and Co”.


  • If you get to the interview stage you basically meet the requirements for the job

  • The purpose of the interview is to give the employer a chance to assess your suitability for the role and for you to demonstrate your abilities and personality

  • The interview should be a two-way process

  • Interviews can take different forms eg face-to-face, panel, by telephone etc

  • Can also be ‘stand alone’ or form part of an assessment centre

STAR APPROACH : Will help structure your answers

Tell me about yourself

Means: Can you present yourself as the best

candidate for the job?


  • Read the job description

  • What are the key competencies required?

  • Prepare a list of your main selling points

  • Prioritise your list

  • Start with your best selling point

  • Introduce the remaining points throughout the interview

Why should we employ you?

Means: Can you add value to the company?


  • Refer to the job description and your list of selling points.

  • Briefly summarise how your education, experience and skills match the job.

  • If given time, you may introduce additional selling points

Why did you apply for this job?

Means: How motivated are you?


  • Do your homework.

  • Make sure they know you’ve done it.

  • List the attractions of the job

    • Interesting work

    • Aligns with your previous experience

    • Real responsibility

    • Reputation of the company etc.

  • State your desire to work for a company offering these incentives.

Can you give me an example of

When you’ve worked as part

of a team?

Means: Can you work effectively with other



  • Thinks about teams you belong to.

  • How do you contribute to their effectiveness?

  • Provide an example of you supporting others in a team effort.

Can you give an example of

when you’ve had to work

under pressure?

Means: Can you prioritise your work and

do you have a work ethic?


  • Thinks about a time when you had deadlines to meet.

  • How did you prioritise your use of time?

  • Describe the outcome and how you maximised your effectiveness.

What do you do in your spare time?

Means: Are you a well-rounded person and do your interests demonstrate other abilities?


  • Emphasise involvement and achievement.

  • Try to match the skills you have developed with those required by the job.

  • Be enthusiastic.

  • Keep it brief.

What are your strengths and weakness?

Means: Are you self-aware and do you have a plan for your own development?


  • Link your strengths to the job.

  • Describe weaknesses in terms of personal development – how you have become stronger.

  • Mention briefly how you hope to develop further.

Scenario problem solving

Means: Can you think on your feet and see the implications of your decisions?


  • Make sure you understand the problem

  • Ask for time to think about it.

  • Try to consider a number of alternative solutions

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Means: Have you a career objective that is achievable with this company?


  • Discuss your personal goals in terms of the job e.g.

    • Acquiring experience and responsibility

    • Developing your management skills

    • Continuous professional development – do not make this a condition!

Have you any questions?

Means: They are providing you with an opportunity to clarify any issues that are important to you.


  • You are still being assessed so ask about eg:

    • training and development

    • performance assessment and prospects for promotion

First Impressions

A first impression is often based on the first 30-90


  • Smile

  • Respond in an animated, enthusiastic way

  • Be confident and maintain good eye contact

Body language

Research has shown that:

  • 55% is based on appearance

  • 38% is based on tone of voice

  • 7% what is actually said


  • People – Careers, lecturers, network contacts

  • Websites, as discussed

  • Events – Summer Recruitment Fair, 12th June

  • Information Room materials

  • Login