Skills Academy 2014, Effective CV', Covering Letters and Application forms presentation


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Skills Academy 2014, Effective CV', Covering Letters and Application forms presentation

  1. 1. CV’s, Covering Letters and Application Forms Iram Sial Careers Consultant Career Development Centre
  2. 2. This session Selling yourself on paper: – CVs (tips, language, format, essentials) – Covering letters (essentials, examples) – Application forms (CAR)
  3. 3. Getting started • What job do I want? • What have I got to offer? • What jobs are out there?
  4. 4. A CV is a Marketing Tool! • Curriculum Vitae – course of life Effective marketing is based on sound research, allowing you to: • Target your application • Support your application with evidence of skills
  5. 5. Employers’ three questions • Can you do the job – Do you have the required knowledge and skills? • Do you want the job? – Do you have the motivation? • Will you fit in? – Do you have the relevant values and qualities?
  6. 6. Job descriptions • Employer definition of what they are looking for.... • Develop list of skill requirements from variety of relevant job roles • Collate your evidence for required skills and any development areas
  7. 7. Finding the evidence • Course work, presentations, group work, reports • Course representative • Student Union activities • Sports / hobbies / clubs • Travel • Work experience • Voluntary activities • Employment
  8. 8. Career player website CV’s: advice/general-advice/polish-up-your- cv/
  9. 9. What makes a good CV? • What works best? Type: Chronological or skills based • Format & layout – first things first, appearance • Keep it concise– why use 20 words when 5 will do? • Separate sections for readability • Target – one size rarely fits all
  10. 10. CVs - Points to consider • Skills and Achievements - relevant to the role, results focused – which skills are the employer looking for? • Back it up – list achievements not duties! • Evidence – how are you meeting the job spec? • Language - action verbs, concise, avoid jargon • Axe what is not essential!
  11. 11. Positive Skills Based Language Inactive Style My duties included serving customers at the bar. I handled cash and kept the area tidy. I had to work under pressure. Active Style • Demonstrated good customer care skills by increasing the number of regular customers. Received bonus payment as a result. • Initiated happy hour promotion resulting in 30% increase in sales. • Took responsibility for supervising 3 temporary staff.
  12. 12. Evidence  Identify what each employer wants  Demonstrate how you meet the criteria  Provide evidence of your skills and experience using the CAR method Context – where were you? What did you have to do? Action – what action did you take? Be explicit about your role Result - what was the outcome and why? Would you do it differently next time? “As customer service team leader in a fast food restaurant, I dealt with customer issues and complaints quickly and efficiently, receiving appreciation from my line manager”
  13. 13. Sample CVs  Chronological CV  Skills-based CV
  14. 14. Getting the format right Chronological CV Starts with your most recent job, and then works backwards Advantages  Emphasises continuity and progression over time  Easy to follow  Good if you have worked for well known companies Disadvantages  Difficult if your career is patchy  Harder if changing careers  Not so good if you are new to the job market Skill-based CV Presents your main skill areas Advantages  Strong emphasis on skills  Jobs and work history are more secondary  Overcomes the difficulty of not having a lot of experience  Flexible Disadvantages  Difficult if you want to emphasise continuity  Might lose the impact of any prestigious companies you have worked for
  15. 15. CV top tips  Your CV should reflect you  Target your CV  Follow the recruiters instructions  Choose an effective format  Keep your CV to an appropriate length  Pay close attention to detail - presentation, language, spelling and grammar
  16. 16. What not to do  Curriculum Vitae at top of CV  DOB/Marital Status  Referees (unless asked for)  Don’t attach a photo unless asked to do so  Don’t double side print the CV - single sided, no staples  Don’t use a font less than 10  Avoid boxes and format that will take attention away  DO NOT USE CAPITAL LETTERS unless it’s a heading
  17. 17. Application ‘examples’ • On application for accountancy - closely involved in every aspect of my former company, right up to its bankruptcy • Excellent memory skills, good analytical skills, memory skills • I have a criminal record but I am not in jail at the moment • I have a desire to work with commuters • Hi, I want 2 get a job with U • Here are my qualifications for you to overlook • Suspected to graduate early next year • It is true that “All men/women are born equal” but at the same time have different levels of intelligence and ability • Applying to United Biscuits - my life-long love of chocolate biscuits, is the main reason for my interest in the company
  18. 18. An employer’s perspective Simon Reichwald - CEO Graduate Success
  19. 19. CV examples and peer review
  20. 20. …that works in partnership with and complements your CV The Covering Letter – promotes BENEFITS you will bring The CV – promotes your key FEATURES A Covering Letter is a sales tool…
  21. 21. Covering Letters • Why are you writing? • What are you offering the employer? • Why do you want to work in that field? • What has attracted you to that specific company? • When you are available (for interview)?
  22. 22. Email communication • Aim is to get your attachments opened…. • ‘Mini covering letter’ • Formal, business style should be used • Watch your spelling and grammar – no text speak or abbreviations!
  23. 23. Covering letter / email essentials…  Your marketing statement – Sell not Tell  Write to a named person or Dear Sir/Madam  Highlight how you meet the job requirements – keep it concise and relevant  Sign off correctly – ‘yours sincerely’ for a named person or ‘yours faithfully’ for Dear/Madam
  24. 24.  Get the structure right  Reference / subject line  Paragraph 1 – Why are you writing  Paragraph 2 – What are you offering the employer  Paragraph 3 – What attracts you to the job/company  Paragraph 4 – State when you are available for interview and end on a positive note Covering letter / email essentials…
  25. 25. Detailing your experience • Include specific, credible examples of your qualifications for the position. • Use numbers, names of equipment you've used, or features of a project that may apply to the job you want. e.g. As a Customer Service Representative at Barclays, I provided quality customer service while promoting the sale of products to customers. I also handled £10,000 a day and was responsible for balancing the bank’s cash machine.
  26. 26. Sample Letters • Sample 1 • Sample 2 • The Careers Guide
  27. 27. Important points to consider… •Every letter should be tailored to each person you write to –decision maker •Never write a generalmail eshot letter: -9/10 end up in the bin -Misrepresents and under sells you •Include your own full contact details •No inappropriate email address •Don’t mention salary unless asked to •Should not exceed one A4 page
  28. 28. Key points to remember! • Appeal to company values, attitudes, goals, projects, etc. • Draw the reader’s attention to your CV. • Proofread for spelling and grammar –The letter should be error-free – Stat: 60% cover letters contain linguistic errors –essential to check and double check for spelling and grammatical errors –will affect recruiters impression (source: CV Centre, UK) • Don’t just trust spell check! Have a friend/colleague proofread for you, as well. • Link thoughts and paragraphs (e.g. “further”, “similarly”, “additionally”)
  29. 29. Covering letter / email Video – careercake steps-to-an-incredible-cover-letter/
  30. 30. CV vs Application Form CV Application Form You control content Employer controls content You identify skills Employer gives skills Subjective reaction to format Identical format for all
  31. 31. Application forms • Research the company and job role • Match your experience / evidence to each competency required • Answer all parts of the questions, including successful outcomes • Why do you want the position?
  32. 32. Applications • Most large companies now recruit graduates using online applications • The form comes with clear guidelines on how to complete it – follow them! • Read the whole form first, plan your answers/examples, proof- read, and keep a copy
  33. 33. Competency-based questions The questions often begin with: “Please tell us about a time when...” Use the STAR format to structure your answers: Situation – What was the context? Where were you? What were you doing? Task – What was your goal? What was the problem or challenge? Action – What action did you take? Be explicit about your role. Result – What was the outcome & why? Would you do it differently next time?
  34. 34. Example of a STAR response Situation Task Action Result When I was working as a retail assistant in a busy high street store, it was a Saturday morning and I was left in charge of opening up the shop because all the other staff phoned in sick. There were lots of customers, the shelves needed stacking and I was running about trying to find some help. I dealt with the customers first, then did some shelf stacking and called a colleague for some help as soon as I had a spare moment. I was able to open the shop and although it didn’t run as smoothly as usual, no-one complained and I didn’t have to call the manager who was on holiday. Looking back, I could have opened up 5 minutes later and called for help, this might have caused fewer delays later on. Describe a time when you have had to work under pressure.
  35. 35. Star exercise • Think about an example you could STAR
  36. 36. Application forms - Top tips 1. Read the person specification and identify the essential and desirable criteria – short listing is based on your responses to these criteria 2. Give STAR responses that address each of the criteria 3. Spell check – copy and paste from a word processor if necessary 4. Double check every box on the form before you submit it – do not leave any box blank unless specifically told to do so. Put “N/A” or “Not Applicable” in boxes that don’t apply to you. 5. Don’t leave it until the deadline to submit the application – bring it and the person specification to Careers and let us have a look at it first
  37. 37. • Prepare an online application • Go to ‘Select Simulator’ • Register your details • Click on ‘Personal Achievements’ • Complete the section
  38. 38. Application forms – what next? Shortlisting  Applications are read/scanned and checked against a competency grid  Applications that meet most of the competencies will be shortlisted. If competition is fierce only those that meet ALL the essential criteria will be shortlisted Not shortlisted  Missing key information, insufficient evidence, did not meet the essential or desirable criteria, spelling errors, poor grammar
  39. 39. Tips on completing application forms • • -students/support-and-facilities/career- development-centre/finding- work/application-forms
  40. 40. In summary • Target your CV,letter and application form • Provide strong examples/evidence • Keep it RELEVANT • Address the skills and competencies needed • STAR/CAR method ....and, if you need help, seek advice and guidance
  41. 41. Further information and guidance Career Development Centre: • 20-minute quick queries: CV, covering letter, application form advice • 45-minute: individual career coaching, detailed career planning, mock interviews CDC resources: • Online careers advice, jobs and events system • CV Guide • Free sector-specific and general careers publications (all services available free 3 years after graduation)
  42. 42. Contact us Harrow Harrow Campus Room EG.16 Maria Hewlett Building Nearest tube: Northwick Park Central London Cavendish House 1st Floor 101 New Cavendish Street Nearest tube: Warren St/ Goodge St/Gt Portland St *Open during Summer*Tel: 020 7911 5184 E-mail:
  43. 43. Skills Academy • 27 May – 6 June • External Industry experts/Internal CDC • CVs, Interviews, Self Awareness, Public Speaking, Personality Testing, Leadership, Mindfulness, Networking, Commercial Awareness and much much more • Booking via
  44. 44. Copy of these slides: •