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Making Applications

Making Applications

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Making Applications

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  1. Making Applications Bruce Woodcock University of Kent Careers Advisory Service You can download a copy of this presentation at

  2. Research by forum3 found: • The average graduate will send out 70 CVs when looking for their first graduate job. The average number of responses is 7 including 4 rejections and the remainder inviting the graduate to interview or further contact. • The more CVs you send out the more interviews you get. • Applicants who included a covering letter with their CV were 10% more likely to get a reply. • Applicants who addressed their application to the correct named person were 15% more likely to get a letter of acknowledgement and 5% more likely to get an interview. • Applicants sending CVs and letters without spelling mistakes are 61% more likely to get a reply and 26% more likely to get an interview. • The most common mistakes not found in a spell check were: fro instead of for, grate: great, liased: liaised, stationary: stationery. • Other turn-offs: misspelling the name of the company or the addressee, not having a reply address on the CV and trying to be amusing.

  3. Check yore speling! • BSc. And MSc. Not Bsc or MSC! • I am a prefectionist and rarely if if ever forget details. • Proven ability to track down and correct erors. • At secondary school I was a prefix • But I was not aloud to be captain • In my spare time I enjoy hiding my horse • I hope to hear from you shorty •

  4. When should a CV be used? • When an employer asks for applications to be received in this format • When an employer simply states "apply to ..." without specifying the format • When making speculative applications (i.e. when writing to an employer who has not actually advertised a vacancy but who you hope may have one)

  5. PRESENTATION OF YOUR CV • Use short sentences & concise phrases • The first visual impression your CV makes is important • Use plain white or pale A4 size paper • • Use bold type and bullet points, but in moderation • Can cut and paste sentences from CV examples

  6. Think about the job • CVs are normally targeted on a particular job • What tasks would the daily routine involve? • What skills would the job call for? • What type of personality would suit the job? • Answers for 300 jobs on:

  7. INTERESTS • Films, reading, travel • Films: member of the University Film-Making Society • Travel: traveled through Europe by train this summer in a group of four people, visiting historic sites and improving my French and Italian • Reading: helped younger pupils with reading difficulties at school

  8. First Paragraph State the job you’re applying for. Where you found out about it. When you're available to start work (& end if it's a placement) Second Paragraph Why your interested in that type of work Why the company attracts you (if it's a small company say you prefer to work for a small friendly organisation!) Third Paragraph Summarise your strengths and how they might be an advantage to the organisation. Relate your skills to the job. Last Paragraph Mention any dates that you won't be available for interview Thank the employer and say you look forward to hearing from them soon. THE COVERING LETTEROne side of A4 maximum


  10. Competency Questions • The hardest part of the form for most applicants - asking for examples of specific skills such as teamwork, leadership, problem solving e.g. • Describe how your personal planning and organisation resulted in the successful achievement of a personal or group task. • Give an example of where others have disagreed with your views. How did you deal with this?

  11. Competency Questions Answers could come from • vacation or part-time work; • university clubs and societies; • voluntary work; • study at school or university – especially projects; • holidays and travel or personal and family experiences. Planning and organising a week’s independent travel in Scotland is as valid an example as a trek through the Himalayas.


  13. The STAR Approach • One way of answering these questions is via the STAR approach - Situation, Task, Action and Result. • It's a bit like a mini essay. • Situation and Task are usually combined and form the introduction • The Action you took, should form the main body of your answer • The Result should be your conclusion

  14. The STAR Approach • S Whilst employed at Weaver Bros. last summer • T I was given the task of rationalising the stock control system • A I would look at factors such as when the stock was last ordered, what it was used for and how often it was used. I worked out a method of streamlining the paperwork involved in this process and redesigned the relevant forms, which I then submitted to my manager. • R My ideas were accepted and implemented and a 15% reduction in stock levels was achieved“

  15. The good……. Please describe a time when you saw an opportunity to really make a difference for the future of a group, an activity or yourself. What did you do? During the summer of 2003, I was recruited to be part of a two-month, six-man roadshow travelling around the M25 area promoting tennis and Ariel Liquitabs. Within the first week of the roadshow the event manager resigned and I applied to take over this role. Although I had no specific previous experience, I felt it was a great opportunity to stretch myself and make a difference to my future. I was accepted as the new event manager and took over the very next day, it was extremely difficult initially, but I drew on my experiences of Head of School and captains of numerous sports teams and settled into the role relatively quickly. My role necessitated dealing with a vast range of individuals from Sainsbury’s Managers to children as young as 5 years of age, which improved my interpersonal and communicational skills. In addition, my motivational skills were also tested, as I was constantly required to motivate my staff due to the roadshow becoming monotonous in the latter stages. The roadshow appeared to be a real success with the tennis clubs receiving a 10% increase in applicants and rival soap powder brands putting on extra promotions. The feedback I received on how I managed the roadshow was extremely positive and I have subsequently been put forward to manage numerous other events. Rising to the challenge Selling self Influencing a variety of people Tangible results

  16. The bad….. Apathy- did not put self forward for task. • The biggest challenge whilst carrying out the assignment was conducting a financial analysis on the company. I was assigned this task, as I had previous experience in this area as I have carried out two financial and accounting modules during my University degree. I conducted a full ratio analysis on the company, which included analysing Next's Profit and Loss Account and Balance Sheet. I presented the ratios and included details of the company's current financial position, along with an explanation of how the company could improve their position.The Presentation involved presenting our group's report on Next Plc to the rest of the Marketing group. Our group conducted a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation, to ensure it was conducted in the most efficient and systematic way. Each member presented their individual section, the final section then included contributions by all group members. Our group had practised the presentation on numerous occasions prior to the final presentation, which ensured a smooth running. Each member of the Marketing class was given a feedback form to report their opinions of the presentation. Our group received all positive feedback and were all awarded a 2:1 for the presentation, this contributed towards the final outcome of or Marketing modules. No ownership, leadership. No individual result.

  17. The ridiculous... Does not bring the group with them. • Mealtimes are a difficult and challenging time as this is one affair when my friends and I are truly tested in our decision making skills. • There has been more than one occasion where a unified agreement on what to do about dinner has proven to be a problem. I therefore take it upon myself to be the spokesperson for the group. One example would be where two of my friends wanted chicken nuggets and hence wished to go to McDonald’s while three others preferred the Chicken Royale from Burger King as opposed the the McChicken Sandwich one can get at McDonalds. Using my initiative, intuition and lateral thinking I suggested that we all go to KFC instead. My reasoning was that this was that KFC do chicken popcorn and are a far better choice than chicken nuggets. While their Fillet Tower Burgers are a step up from the standard Burger King Chicken Royale as they have a hash brown in them as well. Thus using some originality of thought, a certain degree of diplomacy and a persuasive tongue I convinced them all to join me at KFC. No explanation of how. No recognition of others’ opinions.

  18. And the hopeless … • "I have a criminal record but I'm not in jail at the moment" • "I have good writen comunication skills" • "I want experience in a big sex practice" • "I enclose a tea-bag so you can enjoy a cuppa while perusing my form" • "If called to interview I would like to discuss the salary, pensions and sickness benefits" • “Would you say their are any skill shortages in the UK for actuary's ie their enough out their, is their a shortfall of any kind of actuary?” In an email from an HBOS HR manager to me!


  20. VIDEOS • APPLICATIONS • INTERVIEWS • ON-LINE APPLICATIONS • SELECTION CENTRES • All last about 25 minutes and are excellent!

  21. CAREERS WEB SITE • Help with applications and interviews • Example CVs and Covering Letters • Other

  22. DUTY CAREERS ADVISER • Ask a careers adviser’s opinion if you have any doubts or queries about your CV • A Duty Careers Adviser is available in the Careers Centre to help with queries between 10.30 am - 12.30 p.m. and 2.00 - 5.00 p.m. every day. • No appointment needed - just drop in.

  23. Bruce Woodcock University of Kent Careers Advisory Service You can download a copy of this presentation at