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Employability Adviser Nicola Urquhart SECL: CVs and Applications Mock Job Event . Introduction. What is employability? Common mistakes found in CVs How to write a successful CV and covering letter Points to help your application Where you can access further help Questions .
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Employability Adviser Nicola Urquhart SECL: CVs and Applications Mock Job Event
Introduction • What is employability? • Common mistakes found in CVs • How to write a successful CV and covering letter • Points to help your application • Where you can access further help • Questions
What is Employability? ‘A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy.’ (CBI, March 2009)
Why are employability skills so important? • Increased competition – over 400,000 graduates leaving university each year. ‘Our latest UK recruitment campaign closed having attracted c.24500. The bank will offer c.475 places in 2012.’ HSBC newsletter April 2012
What employers say… • "Few students are able to articulate what they have gained from their experience in higher education." (Association of Graduate Recruiters, 1995)
Research by forum3 found: • 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 will get but avoid a scattergun approach.
What is the purpose of a CV? • To inform the employer about your education, work experience, skills and interests • To show how you meet the criteria so the employer can not deselect you • To ‘sell’ your qualities and to persuade the employer to invite you to interview
When should a CV be used? • When an employer asks for an application in that format • When an employer states ‘apply to…’ without specifying the format • When making speculative applications
Where can it go wrong… • Too long • Untargeted • Confusing layout • Process focused resulting in a ‘passive’ CV • Incorrect grammar • Incorrect spelling
Where can it go wrong … • Out of date contact details • Wrong application method • No covering letter • Application never reaches intended destination • Application arrives late
Why you need to use a spell checker • I am a prefectionist and rarely if if ever forget details. • Proven ability to track down and correct erors. • I have good writencomunication skills. • Develop an annual operating expense fudget…
And why you must read it carefully as well • Extra Circular Activities • At secondary school I was a prefix • Over summer I worked for an examinations bored. (Kent BA English graduate!) • I hope to hear from you shorty • I am a conscious individual. • I have a desire to work with commuters • Dear Madman (instead of Madam) • My hobbits include - instead of 'hobbies'
Choose a sensible email address for your CV: • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com • firstname.lastname@example.org • Google yourself what impression are you giving employers! Facebook etc
What makes an effective CV and covering letter • Right format • Well presented • Proof read/consistent tenses • You have included all the necessary information • Your skills and abilities are clearly evidenced • Conveyed your understanding and enthusiasm for the job • Targeted it to the job
What does it need to contain? • Personal details • Education and qualifications • Work experience • Skills • Interests and additional information • References
Different types • Reverse Chronological (p.12) outline your career history in date order, normally beginning with the most recent items. The "conventional" approach and the easiest to prepare. • Skills-based (p.14) highly-focused CVs which relate your skills and abilities to a specific job. work well for mature applicants and for those whose qualifications and work experience are not directly relevant to their application.
Chronological In date order (starting with the most recent first) e.g. EMPLOYMENT April – December 2011: Venture – Editing Assistant Working with Photoshop, I have learnt various editing styles. I have gained customer service experience and understand the importance of listening to what customers want in order to achieve high sales. February 2009 – March 2010: Topshop – Retail Assistant My interest in fashion enabled me to help customers and to suggest styles that might suit them. I helped to design the layout of the stock in the store, with an aim to increase our revenue by positioning various items in ‘eye-catching’ places.
Skills Based • Focusing on skills e.g. • SKILLS • Attention to detail – as an Editing Assistant at Venture, I needed to prove that I could spot any mistakes or flaws in the photographs, as well as being attentive to the requests of the customers • Computer skills – I regularly used Photoshop during my time at Venture. I am also a competent user of Microsoft Office, which I proved throughout my time as a Retail Assistant at Topshop, where I was often required to produce reports on our sales • Customer service – in all of my roles, customer service has been of key importance. I have experience of dealing with difficult customers, and try to ensure that every customer is satisfied with the service they have received.
However don’t be constrained by headings. • Scholarships/Awards • Voluntary work • Relevant experience • Positions of responsibility • Publication/Presentations • Conferences attended • Research skills • Additional skills • Languages
PRESENTATION OF YOUR CV (p.10) • The first visual impression your CV makes is important • Formatting – make sure it’s consistent • Size 10-12 font (depending on font style) • Clear font e.g. Arial, Calibri • Use plain white or pale A4 size paper • Check spelling. • Use bold type and bullet points, but in moderation • Do not double side.
Personal Details • Name (as a heading rather than ‘CV’) • Website/online portfolio/CV • Address (term-time and home) • Telephone number • Email address • Make sure this is a professional email address • The following are not requirements, but if you wish, you can include: Nationality, Sex ,Date of birth
Hints on wording • Avoid personal pronouns - No “I’s” • Avoid producing a passive CV • Start with verbs wherever possible • Use short sentences & concise phrases • Focus on accomplishments • Refer to specific projects with quantifiable results
Make use of Action Verbs created instructed analysed produced negotiated designed calculated maintained administered controlled reviewed observed consolidated delivered founded increased studied invented supplied detected programmed recommended distributed developed solved prepared installed selected arranged formulated solved started
Education and Qualifications • Start with the most recent • Don’t forget your current study • Mention relevant modules • Projects or dissertation • You might like to mention top marks • You don’t have to put your grades on if you weren’t happy with them • Primary school not needed
Work Experience • There is no need to list every job you’ve ever had – detail the most relevant • Don’t just list your duties – sell your skills. Which skills are relevant to the position/company you are applying to? • Dates, name of company, position and skills:
Either include a skills section or make sure your skills are evidenced throughout your application. • Verbal communication • Teamwork • Commercial awareness • Analysing and investigating • Initiative and self motivation • Drive • Written communication • Planning and organising • Flexibility • Time management .
Additional Information Choose interests and activities which can demonstrate skills relevant to the job such as: • Teamwork • Organising • Commitment • Your intellectual ability • Your personality • IF YOU HAVE LANGUAGE SKILLS PUT THIS ON YOUR CV!
References • Ideally, one academic and your manager • Ask permission from your reference and let them know what position(s) you’ve applied for • Use relevant references if possible • You can say ‘references available on request’ rather than including contact details if you wish
Covering letters • Never send a ‘naked’ CV • There are two types of covering letters: • Speculative • Letter of application
What about the covering letter?(P.24) One side of good quality A4 paper Formal/conventional layout Addressed to a named person State position applied for & where advertised Explain why applying Convince the reader of your interest & suitability Give dates when available/can start Sign off “Yours sincerely” (if sent to named person)
Accompanying letter • Should be three short paragraphs • Opening paragraph – why you are writing • Paragraph 2 – show knowledge of employer, highlight your skills • Paragraph 3 – Refer to your CV and availability
Matching up your CV with the position/company • It is not ‘one size fits all’, you need to tailor your CV to each position you apply for. • Research the organisation. Do they have a mission statement or core values? What will they be looking for in you? Who works there at the moment? What are they passionate about?
You need to tailor your CV EVERY time • 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?
Mock Job • Read CAREFULLY over all information. • Highlight key points and messages • Read the key accountabilities and responsibilities – highlight key themes. • Pay particular attention to the ‘Person Specification’ • Firstly look at the ‘essential’ criteria – how can you demonstrate you meet this criteria • Then look at the ‘desirable’ criteria and consider how you can demonstrate this. • Use the follow up links provided • Find out what is happening in the sector.
What are the key words in this advert. Communication Languages Income Increasing applications Student experience Admissions Co-ordinating Website Events Monitoring Social media Managing relationships
Person specification – Possible evidence. • Excellent IT and numeracy skills • Experience of dealing with social networking sites • Good interpersonal skills and the ability to relate students, academics and support staff at all levels. • Ability to assess outcomes of work and constantly review processes to improve them • Enthusiastic and self motivated with a positive attitude • Flexibility and the ability to respond positively to changing priorities in the workplace. • A good team worker who is able to work across all areas of the School and form good working relationships at all levels.
Do some additional research • I want to work in ... http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin.htm • What can I do with a... http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/humanities.htm • Employability Skills http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/skillstest.html • Applications and Interviews http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/applicn.htm • Example CVs http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/cvexamples.htm • CV Checklist http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/cv-checklist.htm • Careers Employability Award on moodlehttp://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/moodle.htm
Joining it all together. What the employer wants What is my evidence Certificates Jobs/internships/ work experience, travel, academic experience, voluntary work, clubs and societies, projects, essays, committee work etc • Qualifications • Requested Skills Interpersonal skills Organisational skills Customer service skills Team working skills
Social Media tools can help you develop and showcase your employability skills. • LinkedIn Business and customer awareness, self motivation • Twitter Communication, capacity to develop • Blogging Communication, drive and resilience, positive attitude, ability to work independently.
What is a good application? • Targeted • Accurate • Interesting • Enthusiastic • Easy to read • Good Layout • Proof read
Further Information • CES booklet “Making Applications” • Come along to Careers and Employability Service on 24th and 25th May between 2pm and 5pm- Bring your CV with you. • Use CES Drop In sessions for quick query • Speak to me after this session
You can download a copy of this presentation at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/slides.htm The University of KentCareers and Employability Service