Job hunting tips & hints from learndirect

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Job hunting tips & hints from learndirect

  1. 1. CV, cover letter and application form tips from learndirect
  2. 2. CV tips and hints • What is the purpose of a CV? A CV gives employers an overview of your skills, education and work history. Your CV will help the recruiting manager to decide whether to invite you to an interview – it is your chance to get your foot in the door! • How long should it be? No more than two pages. • Remember, whatever advice you get, a CV is a personal document and how it is set out is your choice.
  3. 3. Headings The following headings should be included: • Contact details • Personal profile • Skills • Work history • Education/training • Interests/hobbies • References
  4. 4. What shouldn’t go on a CV? Irrelevancies such as: Age, sex, gender, marital status, sexuality, National Insurance number. Unnecessary waffle! Writing a description of your achievements is sometimes a difficult thing to do. Always get someone to read through your work. Use spellcheck (UK) and be prepared to make changes.
  5. 5. Formatting Be careful when you select fonts and borders. Most CVs are presented in the default setting in Microsoft Word and in the same size font. Try to be different without looking unprofessional. Borders and page number footers can look effective but keep Them simple. Coloured text for headings is also a way of bringing attention to your CV.
  6. 6. Personal profile  A simple but effective way of creating a personal profile is to think about your skills and qualities and combine them into a paragraph of no more than 5 lines.  Skills are things that you learn i.e. driving, computing, accounts.  Qualities are your personal attributes and characteristics i.e. patient, determined, flexible.
  7. 7. Examples of skills • • • • • • • • • • • • • Good telephone manner ICT skills Attention to detail Cash handling Customer service skills Organisational skills Able to meet targets Health and safety knowledge First aid Full UK driving licence Management experience Problem solving Motivating others • • • • • • • • • • • • • Food and safety hygiene Meeting deadlines Communication Report writing Training others Negotiation Teacher qualified status 50 wpm typing speed Construction skills Product knowledge Managing own workload Trouble shooting Personal care
  8. 8. Examples of qualities • • • • • • • • • • • • • Reliable Hardworking Flexible Professional approach Team player Well organised Adaptable Cheerful Personable Focussed Tenacious Conscientious Caring • • • • • • • • • • • Supportive Practical Imaginative Trustworthy Calm Determined Enterprising Efficient Confident Friendly Enthusiastic
  9. 9. Personal profile • My 3 skills are teaching, developing projects and computing. • My 3 qualities are being an excellent communicator, being practical and having a professional approach. • My profile could then sound something like: ‘An excellent communicator who has teaching and computing qualifications and experience of developing projects. Works well both independently and as part of a team, with a practical and professional approach.’
  10. 10. Skills and abilities • This should be a bullet-point list which outlines your key skills and achievements e.g. - Good telephone manner - Excellent attention to detail - Full UK driving licence (clean) - SIA licence - Computer literate - CSCS card
  11. 11. Work history Include employment history and work experience here, starting with the most recent first. Structure this section to make it quick and easy for an employer to see the organisations you worked for, your job title, the responsibilities you had and the dates of employment. Please see the example below: Learndirect Skills Tutor Delivering a structured programme of employability skills and coaching, for young people aged 16-18 who are looking to start work or apprenticeships. Management duties included. I also gained experience of delivering Basic Skills to groups of adult learners in a group or 1:1 basis. March 2010 - Present
  12. 12. Education / training Think about all the training that you’ve had or qualifications that you’ve gained. If you achieved school qualifications more than 5 years ago, then you don’t necessarily need to list them all. Again, work backwards and include dates and who the awarding body was for your course of study.
  13. 13. Education / training For example:  October 2012 - Delivery of Effective Customer Service (Level 2)  July 2012 - (ERS) Apprenticeship in Employment Related Services (Level 3)  July 2012 - Functional ICT, Literacy, Numeracy (Level 2)  Oct 2011 - (CTTLS)Certificate to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (Level 4)  March 2011 - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Diploma (Level 5-Distinction)  Jan 2011 - CLAIT Plus/Advanced Diploma in MS Office applications (Level 3)
  14. 14. Interests and hobbies      This section should be short and to the point. It gives you a chance to show the personal side to you and the kinds of things you like to do in your spare time. Try to show a range of interests and be sure to include any that might be relevant to the job you are applying for. Any hobbies that are out of the ordinary can help your CV to stand out from the crowd – but be sure you put down things which you can talk about confidently if asked about them at interview! For example: ‘I enjoy learning and am currently working towards a photography qualification and am also learning Spanish. I like live music, the theatre, playing golf and am passionate about good food.’ Some of these activities indicate a creative side, but you could include activities that demonstrate team working skills or leadership qualities i.e. Captain of your football team.
  15. 15. References  You can include 2 referees, including your most recent or current employer. Make sure your referees are happy for you to put them down beforehand.  Many CVs will often just say: References available on request. Hello I have an interview next week…
  16. 16. CV template
  17. 17. CV examples
  18. 18. CV examples
  19. 19. Covering and speculative letters What is the purpose of a covering/speculative letter? A cover letter is used to accompany a CV or completed application form. It gives you a chance to highlight what’s in your CV and to provide a few examples that demonstrate your ability to do the job. A speculative letter is what you would use to accompany your CV when no specific job has been advertised, but you feel that you would be interested in working for a company and would like to find out if there might be any jobs available in the future. Cover letters and speculative letters should be no more than one page long.
  20. 20. Formatting your letter  Make sure that you use a program that an employer can open up properly. Try to use Microsoft Word (not Wordpad). If an employer can’t open the attachment, they’ll discard your document  Quite simply, make sure that the font you select for your letter is legible and looks professional  Make sure the font is the same one that you used for your CV, to show consistency  Check for spelling and grammatical errors using the spellcheck tool (UK).
  21. 21. Adverts The advert that you see will tell you exactly how to apply. The example here tells you what to send and where to. Remember when writing a letter, you must include your name, address and contact telephone number in the top right hand corner of the page. You should also include the date, the job role and any relevant reference numbers – sometimes a company might be recruiting for more than one vacancy at a time, so it is important to make it easy to tell which role you are applying for.
  22. 22. The first paragraph The opening paragraph states the reason for you writing, where you saw the position advertised and on which date. If you are writing speculatively, it will be slightly different, as below.
  23. 23. The second paragraph The second paragraph outlines why you are looking for this sort of position and what makes you the most suitable candidate. Include some of the information on your CV and keep the information relevant.
  24. 24. The final paragraph This is a nice simple summing up and reminds the prospective employer to look at your CV and hopefully invite you for an interview! Don’t forget to sign your letter.
  25. 25. Feedback • If you haven’t received any responses within a week, pick up the phone and give the employer a gentle reminder to see how your application is going. • Make sure you keep an accurate record of who you applied to and the expected date you should hear a response by. Keep a copy of your application by either printing it out or storing it on your computer.
  26. 26. Applications Many employers will ask you to complete a job application form. As this is often your first contact with the employer, it is vital that it should give a good impression. Below are some tips to help you get it right:  When your application form arrives: - Ideally, photocopy the original form or copy out the questions onto a piece of scrap paper. - Put the original form back into the envelope in order to keep it clean and put it somewhere safe.  Completing the application form: - Give yourself plenty of ‘quality’ time to fill in the form but check the closing date and ensure it arrives on time. - Read the photocopied form carefully and follow the instructions ‘to the letter’ e.g. ‘complete the form’ - in BLOCK CAPITALS - put family name first - in black ink - tick the box - delete as appropriate
  27. 27. Applications  Ensure that you understand all the questions – if you don’t, ask someone to help you.  Practice writing out your answers on the photocopied form. When you are totally happy with what you have written, only then transfer it onto the original. This may take several attempts but it is vital that you get it right.  Complete all the questions as fully as you can. If a question does not apply to you, say so. Try not to leave blank spaces as this gives the opportunity for question marks to arise in the reader’s mind.  If there is not enough space for you to answer questions fully, you may use a separate piece of paper. Ensure that your presentation is equally as good on this sheet as it is on the original form and that it is firmly attached using a staple.
  28. 28. How to improve presentation  If the application form is not lined, either draw some, using a pencil and a ruler, or use a lined backing sheet underneath as a guide. (Don’t forget to rub out any pencil lines before sending the form).  Use a ruler to underline headings or separate sections.  If you make a mistake, use ‘Tippex’ to mask it, making sure it has dried out thoroughly before writing over it. Alternatively, use a ruler to cross the mistake through once.  Use a good quality pen rather than a cheap ball-point which may blot.  If your handwriting is not particularly good, take extra time and use capitals throughout.  Check your spellings carefully- this is best done before transferring your work onto the original form. Use a dictionary or ask someone you know who is a good speller to check it for you.
  29. 29. What if I have a criminal record? Do I have to tell an employer about my criminal record?  You have to declare all criminal convictions, or any still pending, unless they are ‘spent’. A criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from getting into your career.  Certain jobs and courses such as teaching, health and social work are ‘excepted’ from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) and require that you disclose all convictions, even those that are spent.  If you want to work with children or vulnerable adults then you will have to declare any conviction. To work in teaching, health or social work you will have a Disclosure and Barring Service check.  A criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from getting into your chosen career, but if you have concerns about this speak to a careers adviser.
  30. 30. When you have finished  Check through the completed form one last time to make sure everything is correct.  You may like to photocopy the completed form to use as a reference tool in the interview or to help you fill in future applications.  Use a large envelope (don’t be tempted to cram it in to a small one) and address it as instructed, quoting the reference number if required.
  31. 31. Online applications When completing online applications, if you save them into a ‘Jobs Applied For’ folder, you can usually copy and paste information from application to application. Fill in an online application form as carefully and accurately as you would any other application – remember that first impressions count!
  32. 32. For further information: www.learndirect.com 0800 101 901

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