NextStep YOUR GUIDE TO HELPING YOU FIND YOUR WAY A STRONG CV SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEWS FINDING YOUR IDEAL JOBMichael Page International is a world leading recruitment consultancy133 offices in 23 countries worldwide | www.michaelpage.co.uk
NextStep 3 6 8 14What’s on offer Getting ahead – and2 Getting Ahead – and staying there 5 How to write an effective cover letter 10 Top 10 Interview Questions… staying there Welcome to NextStep. It’s Not sure what you want to These are the biggies, so up-to-date and packed with say? Read these tips and start rehearsing now. Welcome to NextStep Although we are unable NextStep also provides insights information relevant to you. get writing. 12 Why temp? by Michael Page to help at this particular into CV writing and covers3 All in a day’s work 6 How to write a International. This stage in your career, we topics such as top interview Why not? Temping booklet contains a have brought together a questions, how to do research strong CV How to get the most out of could be just what your valuable collection of selection of information from and networking, key activities your job seeking workday. Tired of sending off your lifestyle needs. hints and tips for people our consultants, clients and you should be doing each CV and hearing nothing? such as you who are candidates to assist you day and tips for temping. And4 Networking for 13 Top tips for temps It’s time you changed tack. looking for a job. with your job search. there are note pages included success How to be not ‘just another for you to jot down thoughts 8 Interview advice This booklet provides answers Use your resources temp’; but a valuable and ideas as you go about and market yourself Nervous about meeting the resource that is in demand. to many of the most frequently your job search. to best advantage. client? You needn’t be. asked questions we receive 14 Where to find work about the recruitment process Make the most of this handy No jobs around the corner? as well as helpful advice about guide. It won’t take you long to It’s time to think smarter where to go to find a job and read and we’re sure you’ll gain and look further afield. how to generate leads. some valuable insights to help you find your ideal job. Good luck!
NextStep When searching for employment, it is your subscription. Students/ ‘boards’ which have excellent 6. JOB CENTRES important to exploit every possible avenue graduates embarking on a search engines that enable No matter what your opinion is to find the opportunity that will suit you. professional career can often you to specify criteria such of job centres, they are packed Many job vacancies nowadays are handled take advantage of reduced as discipline, job type, salary, with job vacancies which by recruitment companies, but there are rates. These publications are location. Some provide user are updated daily. Advisers other ways to find work also. Depending a key source in your job search. logins that will save your details are on hand to arrange on the current stage of your career, all or a and ‘post’ any relevant jobs to 3. EMPLOYMENT interviews where appropriate. combination of the below job sources should you as they come in. AGENCIES There are obviously far fewer be utilised. 5. DIRECT SPECULATIVE opportunities advertised via Generalist and specialist 1. NEWSPAPERS APPLICATIONS this source for professionals professional agencies but if you are at the more junior Familiarise yourself with those chronicles that are key players in the If approached correctly, direct stages of your career, these cater specifically for your profession and know recruitment market. All types speculative applications can centres can be helpful. on which days job vacancies are advertised. of organisations from Public sometimes uncover vacancies. For example, accountants will use the Financial Sector to Blue Chips use It is sensible to find the relevant 7. GET YOURSELF Times and jobs are advertised on Mondays agency services to recruit all recruitment contact within the UPDATED! and Thursdays. Visit the corresponding online levels of staff on temporary and organisation and address any If, despite your best efforts, websites to further search for jobs and to permanent contracts. Even at application to them. Do not you are finding the job market research company information. Your local the most senior level, search bombard them with follow up slow, now may be an ideal newspaper will also have a ‘jobs day’ and this and select firms are often used calls and letters. Take no for opportunity to bring any rusty should be read weekly too. Again, more senior to resource key staff. Spend an answer and be prepared in skills right up to speed or vacancies tend to be advertised nationally or in time and effort researching and some cases not to receive a indeed embark on a course/ industry journals rather than regionally, but your registering with a selection of reply at all, if no vacancy has qualification that will be helpfulWhere to local paper will keep you updated with business agencies best suited to your job been advertised. Ensure your to your job search. If you are information specific to your region. level and requirements. As well cover letter clearly states the considering this, we suggest as national agencies, it is worth type of job you are interested in Avoid regional jobs magazines which are often you visit www.hero.ac.uk which contacting smaller recruitment and ensure it is something you merely a tardy repetition of the local paper’s lists all universities and colleges companies in your region who are realistically suitable for! jobs pages. Remember that newspapers of higher and further education often have substantial localfind work generally are still a great source for jobs! On a similar note, do not in the UK. It provides useful market knowledge. be afraid to ask friends, links into websites and is a 2. PROFESSIONAL JOURNALS / 4. THE INTERNET colleagues and family whether short cut to any local education MAGAZINES / PERIODICALS their employers are recruiting. information you need. A key way today to search for a If you are a member of a professional body Many companies today job is through the internet. All of you should regularly read any relevant actively encourage employees the above mentioned sources, magazine, to view advertised vacancies to introduce prospective from agencies to newspapers and keep yourself updated with industry candidates to their business,Thinking laterally about how and where you find work could will have online websites in some cases awarding cash information. Many such publications arebroaden your chances of successfully finding a rewarding and on which vacancies can be subscription only and if you are not doing ‘bounties’ if an individual is found. There are also jobfulfilling job. so already, now is the time to purchase sourced and recruited this way.
NextStepNetworking forsuccess It’s not just what you know, but who you know. Marketing yourself can be a powerful tool in today’s competitive world.The key to successful by phone, letter or email. The you can talk to employees andnetworking is to use your process should be relatively apply for jobs on the day. Findavailable resources to market informal since you already out the industry tradeshows inyourself and try to uncover have an association with these your area (through the internethidden job opportunities. Often, people. Some ideas for key or trade publications) and tryfinding opportunities in this way questions you can ask are: to attend as many as you can.can give you a real advantage Make sure when you go that • Do you know how I canover other suitable candidates. you have prepared some key begin working in…?There isn’t anything complex questions to ask and have anabout networking and it should • Can you recommend up-to-date CV with you.be a key aspect of the job people for me to talk to?search process. • Do you know of anyone In addition, find out the who employs people with names of recruiters or HROne of the best resources skills like mine? professionals in key companiesavailable to a job seeker is where you want to work. Oncethe people they know. When You may want to include your you have a list, write to theyou are looking for a job, you CV as a reference, or as a sales person and ask them for someshould let the influential people tool in case your contact wantsaround you know about your advice or an interview to learn to forward your details on toqualifications and the type of more about the company. You other associates.job you are looking for. Make should be using this contact asa list of friends and family Networking to people you a networking opportunity, sowho are employed, present don’t know is also key to a try and get job leads and makeand past co-workers, bosses successful job search. Many connections should they agree.- even teachers. After you have companies have stands at Have your CV ready in casecompiled your list, contact them industry trade shows where they ask to see it.
NextStep APPEARANCE LAYOUT CONTENT Tell the potential employer a little about themselves to Handwritten or typed The content of your cover letter demonstrate you have properly cover letters can be equally should be brief and structured, read the advert and that you acceptable and opinion is avoiding lengthy repetition of have done some research into still divided on this issue. information covered in your CV. the organisation. State why you Increasingly, however, recruiters Firstly clarify your approach. If are interested in them as an are asking that applicants you are replying to an advert, employer. email their details, leaving the say so. Mention job title, any handwritten posted option as reference number and where You need to succinctly a non-starter. Whatever the and when you saw it. emphasise why an employer method of your application, may want to meet and recruit In some cases an advert will ensure your letter is neatly and you. Highlight your transferable indicate a more substantial clearly presented on paper of a skills, achievements andHow to write an letter is required. Always similar size and quality to your versatility; what you can follow a specific instruction CV. Check and check again contribute and what makes you and include any information if for grammatical and spelling different. Mention personality it is particularly requested, for errors. Handwriting should be traits relevant to the role applied example, current salary.effective cover letter neat and legible. Emails should for, taking care not to appear be written in a common font Briefly outline your current too subjective. Ensure the letter with standard formatting. They situation and why you are flows freely however and does should emulate a handwritten seeking a change. Include not slavishly match every point letter in terms of style. current or last job, qualifications on the job description. The and professional and reader should be left with an Your letter should address the academic training, tailoring overall impression that you areA good cover letter can differentiate your CV from the countless others that pass across employers’ relevant contact, the name of your information to make it a potentially valuable additiondesks. Make sure yours stands out. whom will often appear in the as relevant as possible to the to the workforce. job advert. Avoid Sir or Madam organisation or job applied for. if possible. Unlike a CV, it is Negative information of anyWhen responding to an advertised job vacancy, whether Whilst we cannot give you acceptable to write a cover sort should be avoided in yourvia letter, email or fax, you should always include a a prescriptive formula for letter in the first person. cover letter as well as CV.covering letter with your CV. Treat it as a vital part of your writing a covering letter, as they Close your letter with a politepersonal marketing literature, which merits attention and should be personalised not expression of interest in furtherconsideration. A covering letter introduces you and your standard documents, following dialogue with the recruiter. DoCV and is your first chance to make a good impression some basic guidelines should mention that you would likeon your potential employer. Aim to make it entice the help ensure you receive a the opportunity to discuss yourreader to take those few extra minutes to consider you positive response from your suitability further at an interviewagainst other applicants. Your CV should not be sent initial contact. and that you await a responsewithout one! in due course.
NextStepHow to write astrong CVMore often than not, your CV is the first impression that you’ll make on a potential employer.Here’s how to present yourself clearly and professionally.It is worth remembering that STRUCTURE • Include computer skills,each recruiter’s idea of a (genuine) foreign language • Start with your personal‘perfect’ CV will be slightly skills and any other recent information: full namedifferent. Nonetheless, your training/development that and contact detailsCV will, in most cases, be the is relevant to the role including all useablefirst impression an employer applied for. telephone numbers. Avoidhas of you. Indeed a strong superfluous details such as • The most widely acceptedCV can occasionally itself religious affiliation, childrens’ style of employment recordsecure you a job, especially names etc. is the chronological CV.if you are applying for Career history is presentedtemporary work. At worst, a • Educational history and in reverse date orderpoorly constructed CV can professional qualifications starting with the mostgive a potential employer a should follow, including recent jobs. Achievementsnegative impression of you as names of institutions and and responsibilities area candidate and bar you from dates attended in reverse listed against each role.securing that all important order - university before More emphasis/informationinterview. school results. List grades should be put on more and passes attained. (TheseTaking a little time on design, recent jobs. details will matter more ifconstruction and wording and you have recently enteredusing the following guidelines the job market, than if, forto write and submit your CV will example, you left full timeensure you promote yourself to education 20 years ago.)your best advantage.
NextStepGeneral Tips What should I include in my CV?• Your CV should be laser- • A basic CV may need printed in black ink using tailoring with each job a plain type face, on good application to best suit the quality A4 white/cream requirements of the role paper. Decorative borders applied for. How to write a strong CV continued are not necessary, nor are • The completed CV needs • A functional CV can sometimes be more photographs of yourself. to be checked carefully appropriate, for example if you have• If applying by post, your for grammatical errors held a number of unrelated jobs. This CV and cover letter should and spelling mistakes presentation emphasises key skills which be submitted in a suitable - which always leave a poor can be grouped together under suitable quality envelope, clearly impression - and to ensure headings. Career progression and the addressed, with a first that it makes sense. Ask nature of jobs held can be unclear with this class stamp. If applying by an ‘independent’ party to type of CV. email, time should be taken review the whole document • Leave hobbies and interests to last - keep designing and formatting before it is put into use. this section short. References can simply to ensure your details read • Remember when writing be ‘Available on Request’. Current salary clearly. Send a copy to and structuring your CV details should not be included. A good yourself to check before that it is essentially a cover letter should always accompany submitting it for a role. marketing document on your CV.• Your CV should ideally you and that a potential • You can create a winning CV by visiting cover no more than two employer will use the details www.michaelpage.co.uk and using the pages and never more than provided to form interview online CV template. three. Aim to ensure the questions. It should be content is clear, structured, clear and easy to read. Your CV and cover letter should combine to concise and relevant. Using Gaps in career history create a picture of you, your career-to-date bullet points rather than should be explained and and illustrate why you are different from the full sentences can help falsehoods/inaccuracies competition! With this successfully achieved minimise word useage. avoided at all costs. (and a bit of luck!) you will secure yourself a place on a shortlist.
Interview adviceResearch shows that people make their mind up about someone in the first few seconds ofmeeting with them. So it’s best to get off to a good start from the outset.No matter how well PRACTICAL TIPS useful, but ensure it is turnedqualified you may seem off before arrival at reception. Double check the date, time‘on paper’ for a job, when and location of the interview Be punctual for your meetingrecruiting, an employer and be familiar with the name but it is inadvisable to arrivewill still be interested and title of the interviewer. Take more than half an hour early.in your personality and your interview confirmation Leave yourself enough timepresentation. Indeed with letter with you. to visit the toilets and tidy up ifmore than one suitable necessary.applicant for a role, Prepare your interview outfit ininterview performance is advance - all of it. Ensure your Remember that you startoften the deciding factor. appearance is both smart and making an impression onThis makes the face-to- comfortable. your prospective employerface meeting a critical the moment you arrive at Familiarise yourself with thepart of the recruitment reception. Be courteous to journey to the location, toprocess and you will need the receptionist and any other ensure you arrive in plenty ofto impress from the start. staff you may meet prior to time. If driving, do a ‘dummy your interview. Their opinion ofFollowing these interview run’. Check timetables and you is often sought and maypreparation guidelines will help book train tickets in advance. even have some influence onovercome any interview nerves Anticipate delays, especially the final selection.and instill confidence for a on unknown routes. Contactproductive meeting with your your interviewer swiftly if you are RESEARCHpotential employer. unavoidably delayed on the day. Find out as much information Do not arrive over-laden with as possible about your belongings! Take any requested prospective employer in certificates, references etc, a advance. Many now have spare CV and a notepad and websites which are packed pen. A mobile phone is always with information. Familiarise
NextStep Interview dates and detailsyourself with mission THE INTERVIEW questions from it. Similarly,statements, past performance, • Greet your interviewer ensure you have read anyfuture goals and current analyst standing, with a strong, job description thoroughlyratings. Be aware that if your firm handshake and and think of ways in whichprospective employer does a smile! Good body your experience will benefithave a comprehensive website, language is vital. Sit up your potential employer.you may seriously compromise straight with both feet on • LISTEN to what is beingyour chances if it becomes the floor. Speak clearly asked of you. Think aboutapparent you have not taken and confidently. Try and your answers to moretime to research it. maintain a comfortable level difficult questions and doIf there is no company website, of eye contact throughout. not give irrelevant detail.it is still easy to research • A standard interview will Give positive examples fromyour prospective employer. generally start with an your experience to date butAll national newspapers introductory chat, moving be concise. Avoid one wordand professional magazines on to questions specific answers. Prepare yourself inhave online sites with archive to your application and advance for likely questionsarticles. You can also utilise experience. General (see next section).web search engines just information about the • Be ready to ask questionsby entering the company company and role may that you have preparedname. Talk to anyone you follow, finishing with an beforehand. This canknow who has worked at the opportunity for you to ask demonstrate you haveorganisation. If all else fails do your own questions. thought about the role andtry phoning the company and • Be familiar with your CV done some research on therequesting general information. and be prepared to answer organisation. Ensure they are open, thus encouraging the interviewer to provide you Do Not... with additional information. • Show your enthusiasm for the role, even if you have • Criticise your present employer or mention problems you some reservations. These have in your current role, even if encouraged to do so. can be discussed later. • Discuss salary if you can possibly avoid doing so. This can • Thank your interviewer at be negotiated when you have a job offer. the end of the meeting and reaffirm your interest • Interrupt your interviewer, even if they interrupt you! in them as an employer. It • Worry about interview nerves. They are natural and healthy is okay to ascertain how - to a degree. Advanced preparation will ensure any the recruitment process will apprehension does not become debilitating. continue, but don’t appear too ‘pushy’.
There are some questions Q Are you happy with Q What do you like about that are asked frequently in your career-to-date? your present job? interviews and you should A This question is really A This is a straightforward prepare your answers before- about your self-esteem, question. All you have to hand. The key things to confidence and career do is make sure that your remember when responding aspirations. The answer ‘likes’ correspond to the to interview questions are to must be ‘yes’, followed by a skills etc. required in the job keep your answers relevant, brief explanation as to what on offer. Be enthusiastic, brief and to the point. If you are it is about your career so describe your job as faced with a difficult question, far that’s made you happy. interesting and diverse but make sure you stay calm, If you have hit a career do not overdo it – after all, don’t get defensive, and take plateau or you feel you are you are looking to leave. a moment to think about your moving too slowly, then you response before you answer. Q What do you dislike must qualify your answer. about your present Remember, these responses Q What is the most job? are only suggestions. Try to difficult situation youTop 10 Interview personalise your response as A Be cautious with this have had to face and much as possible. answer. Do not be too how did you tackle it? specific as you may draw Q Tell me about yourself. A The purpose of this attention to weaknesses A Identify some of your main question is to find out what that will leave you openQuestions... attributes and memorise your definition of difficult to further problems. One them. Describe your is and whether you can approach is to choose qualifications, career show a logical approach to a characteristic of your history and range of skills, problem solving. In order to present company, such as emphasising those relevant show yourself in a positive its size or slow decision- to the job on offer. light, select a difficult work making processes etc. ...and how you should answer them Q What have your achievements been to situation which was not caused by you and which can be quickly explained in Give your answer with the air of someone who takes problems and frustrations date? a few sentences. Explain in your stride as part of A Select an achievement that how you defined the the job. As the saying goes, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. So here is work-related and fairly problem, what the options is a valuable insight into the world of interview questions and the recent. Identify the skills you were, why you selected the techniques best used to answer them. used in the achievement one you did and what the and quantify the benefit it outcome was. Always end had to the company. on a positive note. 10
NextStep What should I answer?Q What are your three or four proficiencies Q What is your greatest weakness? strengths? e.g. your ability to learn A Do not say you have none – this will lead quickly, determination toA This is one question that to further problems. You have two options succeed, positive attitude, you know you are going to – use a professed weakness such as a your ability to relate to lack of experience (not ability) on your part get so there is no excuse people and achieve a in an area that is not vital for the job. The for being unprepared. common goal. You may be second option is to describe a personal or Concentrate on discussing asked to give examples of professional weakness that could also be your main strengths. List the above so be prepared. considered to be a strength, and the steps you have taken to combat it. An example Other questions to consider would be, “I know my team think I’m too demanding at times – I tend to drive them pretty hard but I’m getting much better at • How does your job fit into your department and company? using the carrot and not the stick”. • What do you enjoy about this industry? Q Why do you want to leave your • Give an example of when you have worked under pressure. current employer? • What kinds of people do you like working with? • Give me an example of when your work was criticised. A State how you are looking for a new • Give me an example of when you have felt anger at work. How challenge, more responsibility, experience did you cope and did you still perform a good job? and a change of environment. Do not be • What kinds of people do you find it difficult to work with? negative in your reasons for leaving. It is rarely appropriate to cite salary as your • Give me an example of when you have had to face a conflict of primary motivator. interest at work. • Tell me about the last time you disagreed with your boss. Q Why have you applied for this • Give me an example of when you haven’t got on with others. particular job? • Do you prefer to work alone or in a group? Why? A The employer is looking for evidence that • This organisation is very different to your current employer - how the job suits you, fits in with your general do you think you are going to fit in? aptitudes, coincides with your long-term • What are you looking for in a company? goals and involves doing things you enjoy. • How do you measure your own performance? Make sure you have a good understanding • What pressures have you encountered at work? of the role and the organisation, and • Are you a self-starter? Give me examples to demonstrate this. describe the attributes of the organisation • What changes in the workplace have caused you difficulty and why? that interest you most. • How do you feel about working long hours and/or weekends? • Give me an example of when you have been out of your depth. • What have you failed to achieve to date? • What can you bring to this organisation? 11
Temporary, locum, contract or interim Pay Rates. Broaden Your Skill Set. assignments. Call them what you will, but Certain skills today are in high Temporary contracts can the days when the concept of a temporary demand. Employees can find expose you to different sectors worker conjured up images of disinterested, they earn more in temporary and often require you to incompetent receptionists are long gone! A roles than permanent positions. develop existing basic skills in temporary worker may be required to provide As a temp you are paid for some way. You may be offered sickness or holiday cover. Maternity leave each hour you work. More work that you would not be is available for up to 12 months. A covering hours mean more money. considered for on a permanent assignment can represent a secure, well paid The Working Time Directive basis, thus strengthening your and fulfilling long term role. (October 1998) protects your CV for future opportunities. More significantly however, the use of working environment as a temp In through the ‘Back temporary staff by many companies today and means you are now entitled Door’. is often a strategic move, which can for to holiday pay and will not be example keep official headcount to restricted obliged to work excessive Temporary work can provide levels, whilst boosting short to medium term hours. a way in to highly sought after productivity. All levels of staff are nowadays companies, especially if you are Try Before You Buy. hired on temporary contracts, from shop looking for permanent positions floor workers to professionals and A temporary assignment can in the long term. If new senior executives. be used as a trial period to vacancies arise you will oftenWhy ascertain whether employee have access to details ahead ADVANTAGES OF TEMPING and employer are suited. It gives of the outside market and may Flexibility. both parties a chance to get a even be approached to fill a real flavour for each other before role. If there is a permanent Temporary assignments can last from a day committing long term. This may headcount freeze you could to well over a year. They can provide a flexible be particularly appropriate if you be in a strong position when it approach to your working life, over which you are trying a different type of job is lifted. have a good degree of control. If you need or environment/culture. IndeedTemp? for example, to take school holidays off or Meet New People. there are businesses that enjoy the idea of breaks from work to travel, use a temporary contract Temporary contracts are a temporary work could be the option for you. as an extended interview period good way to meet new people. before offering a permanent job. Many firms will welcome you as a short term employee and thus part of their team. It is not unusual to be included in work meetings, have your opinion sought and be invited to socialTemping can provide a well paid and fulfilling working events. It can be a pleasant environment in which to work.environment. There are numerous advantages that manypeople haven’t considered. 1
NextStep Top tips for temps As a temp you are a vital asset to any hiring company. It is therefore important to do what you can to ensure your success. Whatever your reason for for a senior role may be as should report to. Be familiar with choosing a temporary contract lengthy as if the role were your standard hours of work and over permanent work, due permanent. If you are called the policy on overtime. Ensure to the nature of this type for an interview, think about you understand and are familiar of employment, you will be your approach beforehand. with timesheets, paperwork a vital asset to any hiring You must appear committed to required and pay arrangements. company and to your agency. fulfilling your assignment, whilst You are expected to honour It is important for all parties not discounting yourself from your assignment for the agreed that your assignment as a offers of permanent work. This duration. contractor is successful as can be tricky! Each situation is PRESENTATION quickly as possible. different and generally truthful BEHAVIOUR The information here offers answers are best, taking care Ensure you are attired suitably some useful guidelines if not to concern the interviewer for work, whether dress code undertaking temporary work. with too much information. is formal or casual. At all times YOUR CV AGENCIES be respectful of company rules. You may need to tailor your CV Do some research here. Use an Conduct should be professional, for temporary work to ensure agency that seems interested as in a permanent job. Keep your key skills really stand in you and will endeavour to personal phone calls and emails out. If you have completed a match your job requirements. to a minimum. Personal internet number of assignments over a Try and meet your contact and activity is not acceptable. Do not long period of time, check any ensure you understand how participate in office politics! gaps are accounted for. Your they operate. Return calls and PROBLEMS CV should not suggest that emails promptly and keep them If you are ill or unable to attend you haven’t managed to stay updated on your availability as work for any reason, it is vital anywhere for long! Ensure you requested. you inform your agency as early can explain each role and your ASSIGNMENTS as possible. Failing to do this reason for leaving. Once you have secured could seriously jeopardise your INTERVIEW an assignment, ensure you assignment. If there are other A temporary job may be have enough details to arrive problems and you are unhappy offered with no prior meeting. punctually each day. Pre-check with your work, again contact Alternatively, an interview your journey and parking your agency quickly and discuss arrangements. Know who you your situation with them. 1
1475IEWMichael Page InternationalVictoria HouseSouthampton RowLondon WC1B 4JBMichael Page International is a world leading recruitment consultancy133 offices in 23 countries worldwide | www.michaelpage.co.uk