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					   CV and
 Job Search
Information
    Pack
 This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                 0
             Nextstep CV Information Pack

                                                                                   Page
Section 1           Introduction to Creating Your CV                                2

Section 2           CV Styles                                                       5

Section 3           Profile & Profile Examples                                      7

Section 4           What are your Skills                                           10

Section 5           Useful Words to use in your CV/Application Form                15

Section 6           CV Examples – Skills based, Chronological &                    17
                    Targetted
Section 7           Template To Help You Build A CV                                30

Section 8           Top Tips for Application Forms                                 38

Section 9           Personal Statement for Job Application                         40

Section 10          When To Use A Cover Letter                                     42

Section 11          Sample Cover Letter                                            44

Section 12          How and Where To Look For Vacancies                            46

Section 13          The Interview Process                                          48
                    Preparation
                    Useful Answers
                    How to tackle Competency based questions




             This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                             1
Section 1             Introduction to creating your CV

General guidelines

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which literally means ‘the course of one’s
life’. A CV is a concise document, which outlines relevant facts about you
and your experience to a prospective employer. Unlike filling in an
application, writing a CV offers you the chance to present information in
the way you feel highlights your strengths, and particular experience, to
good advantage.

When do you need a CV?

•   In response to an advertised vacancy, when the employer has asked for a CV to
    be included with your application

•   For sending speculatively to an organisation for which you would be keen to
    work.

•   For personal reference, to help to complete application forms.

What should be included?

While there are different options as to exactly what details should be in a CV, it is
advisable to include the following information.

•   Personal Details – your name, address and telephone number are essential.
    You can include your email address and mobile phone number if you have them
    TIP – double check your contact numbers to make sure they are correct. TIP -
    also do not use weird e-mail addresses! as your CV is a professional document.
    Due to Age Discrimination Act of 2006, best practice means that employers
    cannot discriminate on basis of age so it is advisable not to include this in your
    CV. Other personal details are also not relevant unless asked for e.g. marital
    status etc.

•   Profile – one way catching the attention of the prospective employer early on in
    your CV is to include a short ‘profile’ statement at the start, which summarises
    ‘you’ – in terms of your skills, experience, attributes and ambitions. Not
    everyone chooses to include a profile, but it is becoming increasingly common.

•   Your skills and experience – these are the most important aspects of you CV.
    Include any skills you have developed through unpaid work, as well as any paid
    employment. People often overlook the experience they have developed through
    voluntary activities.

•   Education – names of schools and any colleges etc from secondary level and
    dates attended.

                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                                2
•   Qualifications – list all qualifications gained with date, subject and level.
    Remember to include any job-related or other qualifications taken at work,
    through day release, evening class, or professionally.

•   Additional information – include information about any particular skills you
    have e.g. fluency in languages, first aid qualifications, driving licence, or
    membership of any business organisations.

•   Interests – if you choose to mention this, list a few genuine interests, don’t
    forget any voluntary activities and involvement with local organisations e.g.
    sports clubs, playgroups, etc.

•   Referees – not essential, but names and addresses of two referees could be
    included. You may prefer to put ‘references available on request’, especially
    if you are sending your CV speculatively. You may also wish to use different
    referees for different purposes – in that case, it may be easier to leave these out,
    but leave a space to insert them as necessary.

Some general hints

Imagine yourself as a recruitment officer. You have to read 50 CVs in order to
choose the applicants with the most relevant experience, remember your CV may
only receive 15 - 30 seconds of time! The CVs that will stand out best will be:

•   clear – so you can make sense of the information provided straight away

•   concise – you don’t want to read through lots of information

•   well laid out – so you can easily find the particular information you need.

To achieve this you could:

•   use clear headings to separate the various sections of the CV

•   use bullet points rather than writing paragraphs or long sentences

•   keep the CV short – preferably no more than two sides of A4.

There are many different ways of laying out your CV. The style you use and the
order in which you present your information, is up to you. The important thing is to
decide on the best way of presenting the information that suits what you have to
offer. There are computer software packages allowing you to produce CVs that look
very professional. But you can produce a very acceptable CV even if you don’t have
access to all the latest technology. You should try, however, to get the CV word-
processed, so that it looks professional, you can make changes easily and you can
run off more copies as necessary.




                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                                3
The Process

A good approach is to write a rough “factual draft” or “master copy” first – list
all your jobs, skills, training and qualifications. From this list, identify the most
important skills and experience you have in relation to the kind of work you are
looking for. It is these you need to highlight on your CV.

Use the limited space wisely. Ask yourself…what do I need to communicate to
the employer and why? TIP – If possible, consult the job description and use
this as a guide to identify and match your skills and experience. You may not have
all that is asked for but do not let that put you off as any gaps could be filled with
training on the job. What is the most important information about me? If
you are not sure whether to include something, ask yourself – is it relevant? Is it
positive?

Sometimes you will see CVs which start by describing education from 20 years ago;
while the person’s current skills and responsibilities are hidden at the end of the
second page. Employers start to form a picture as soon as they begin to read the
CV, TIP - make a good impression at the earliest stage as you would for an
interview. Decide what are the most important facts you wish the employer to know
about you – and put that information where it will catch the employer’s attention.

Your covering letter

You should always send a covering letter with a CV.        K.I.S.S. Keep It Short and
Simple. If it is in response to an advertised job, you could draw the employer’s
attention to the skills and experience you have that are particularly relevant to the
post. Be careful to not just repeat exactly what is in your CV. If you have sent the
letter speculatively, be as specific as you can about the kind of position you are
looking for. You could follow up the letter and CV with a telephone call.

Remember:

•   Your CV is an advertisement about you

•   Make sure you don’t overlook your skills and experience – make the
    most of them!
•   If you like the sound of a job and meet the majority but not all of the
    criteria, it is worth applying anyway as the company may feel you have
    the right attitude and personality and will be prepared to train you.

For further information
Check at your local library as they will have reference books on CVs.
Also you can visit:
www.advice-resources.co.uk
www.careersadvice.direct.gov.uk


               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               4
Section 2             CV Styles

Choosing the style for you
A CV has an advantage over an application form in that you put in only
what you want to say. There is no single ‘correct’ way of writing a CV.
Different styles will suit different people. It is important to choose a style
which best highlights your strengths and experience.

                                 The Chronological CV

This is the traditional type of CV, where each job you have held is described in date
order. This style emphasises your career development over time. It is common to
describe the jobs you have done in sequence, by starting with your present, or most
recent, job and working backwards. Your most recent (or the most relevant) job
should be described in the most detail. Stress the particular responsibilities you
have held, and your major accomplishments. If you have a long career history,
summarise your early jobs, rather than listing them all exhaustively. It is helpful to
the reader, but not essential, to include a personal profile at the start, summarising
your experience.

Consider choosing the chronological CV when:
• Your work experience has been continuous

•   Your work experience highlights your steady career development

•   The job that you are seeking follows on logically from your most recent job.

                                  The Skills Based CV

This style emphasises your achievements; and the skills and experience that you
have acquired over time. It can have impact, by immediately making it clear to the
employer what you have to offer. If allows you to promote yourself very positively.
But remember, you need to be able to back up any claims that you make! If your
career has not been straightforward this style offers a particularly useful approach,
although it is a suitable style for anyone with a stable career pattern too. While
employers will still want to know what jobs you have held and when, this
information is presented in a briefer from than in the chronological-style CV.




                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                                5
Consider choosing the skills based CV when:

•   You are changing career direction or your former experience differs from the
    work you are now aiming at

•   You have developed skills and gained experience through unpaid work

•   You have held a variety of unconnected jobs

•   You want a CV which highlights your capabilities very positively

•   You have had one or more career break

                                    The Targeted CV

This is written with one particular job in mind. All your skills and experience, which
are relevant to that kind of work, should be highlighted. It is similar to the
functional CV, as it allows you to choose what to emphasise.

Consider choosing the targeted CV when:

•   You know the kind of job you want

•   You are clear about the requirements of that job – and that these don’t vary.

                                   Applying by E-Mail

It’s is becoming more common for employers, recruitment agencies and general job
vacancy sites to now want CVs sent via e-mail to apply for a job or to be placed on
their websites for employers to view. TIP - If you do not have an e-mail address
you can access at home, you may have to set one up via ‘Hotmail’, ‘Google mail
(Gmail)’ or at ‘Yahoo’, then you can use internet cafes or libraries, friend etc. to
access your account.

Information adapted from “Keynotes” – careers information for Adults




                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                                6
Section 3            Profiles and Profile Examples

Your Personal Profile

This comes underneath your personal contact details. It is a short paragraph that
outlines your skills and qualities, work background and experience. It should only be
a few lines but must attract the reader’s attention. They need to be focussed
towards the area of work or even specific job you are applying for.

TIPs for writing a Profile

•   Summarise how you see yourself with relation to your skills, experience and
    qualities
        • Skills could include whether you have communication, problem solving,
            administration, managerial, creative skills etc.
        • Experience could include, for example, 10 years in retail management or
            extensive background in catering, excellent track record in driving etc.
        • Personal qualities could be organised, adaptable, reliable, self-
            motivated, considerate, supportive etc.
•   Don’t be frightened to use the more powerful descriptive words as you are trying
    to encourage a prospective employer to read on.
•   Restrict the use of “I” in your sentences; see the examples below to get ideas.

TIP - For more ideas on words to use see Section 5


                             Some Profile Examples

Personal Profile:
An approachable and friendly person who is experienced in Customer Service and
Warehouse environments’ working in large organisations and High Street stores. A
conscientious and reliable individual who is able to undertake manual work and who
is an excellent time keeper. A person who works to deadlines and is able to work
accurately to meet the requirements of the post. An excellent communicator who
can work equally well within a team and using his own initiative.

Personal Profile:
A hard working, reliable person with skills and experience in all aspects of XXXXX.
Excellent attendance records and the ability to train inexperienced staff.

Personal Profile:
A versatile, reliable (groundworker/gardener/labourer/maintenance operative) with
experience of delivering professional maintenance services to fulfil required
contracts. Proficient at planning own schedules and working on own initiative as
well as being able to follow instructions accurately. Hardworking and trustworthy
with the proven ability to remain good humoured and calm under pressure.

               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               7
Personal Profile:
An approachable, friendly and confident Warehouse Operative with experience and
skills in Picking and Packing, Stock Control and clerical work gained from an
extensive work history. A reliable and trustworthy individual with excellent time
keeping and with commitment to undertaking all tasks to high standards, who is now
looking for a permanent full time position working in an established operation.


Personal Profile:
An approachable and trustworthy person with a responsible and mature approach to
work related tasks who has several years of wide ranging skills gained from
experiences in Warehouse, Factory and Hygiene Operative Positions. A flexible and
adaptable individual who has experience of Painting, Decorating and General
Building and Home Repairs. An excellent timekeeper who is seeking full time
employment using his practical and manual skills.


Personal Profile:
An experienced Fork Lift Truck Driver (Counterbalance, Reach and Flexi) and
Warehouse Picker Packer who has gained skills from employment with large and
prestigious companies such as Honda and Dyson.
A punctual and reliable worker with a mature attitude to the work environment who
is an excellent team member and who can operate using his own initiative. An
individual who can communicate with people at all levels and who is quick to learn
new processes and skills, working consistently, to a high standard.


             Some Profile Examples For Specific Work Areas

Administration

A reliable, cheerful and professional individual with over 15 years’ customer service
experience. Excellent interpersonal skills and five years’ experience of supervising
staff. Enthusiastic and adaptable with good problem solving skills. Computer
literate; looking to move into administration and keen to develop new skills.



Care

A caring, responsible person with a mature attitude to work, looking for a
permanent position with a Home Care Provider. Experienced in working
to schedules and planning workload accordingly. An adaptable team
worker, able to deliver hands on care or be responsible for administration,
staff rotas and client enquiries.




               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               8
Catering

An experienced kitchen assistant with 18 months’ experience of catering in a busy
public house. Had basic food hygiene certificate. Able to remain calm under
pressure and work to tight time scales. Excellent team worker with clear verbal and
written communication skills. Confident and cheerful when dealing with customers.



Driving

A reliable and professional delivery and van driver, with an excellent driving record
and extensive experience of organising and planning own workload. Proficient at
dealing with the public in a confident and friendly manner. Highly motivated, with
the ability to remain good-humoured and unflappable under pressure. Looking for a
full time multi-drop position which will utilise experience.

Accounts Admin

An experienced Accounts Administrator who works well under pressure to
consistently meet strict deadlines. Enjoys working as part of a team or on own
initiative using effective communication skills to achieve objectives.

Secretary

A professional and efficient secretary with several years’ experience in operations
and finance divisions. Excellent communication skills and attention to detail. Also
acknowledged for discretion, confidence and reliability.




               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               9
Section 4                What are your Skills?

How can you use them?
Most people have more skills that they think and just don’t recognise
them. Skills gained away from the workplace are often just as valuable to
a new employer as those gained in work. For example, voluntary work
often involves all the softer communication, motivation and leadership
skills that employers value.

Step one: Recognise the skills you have

To do this you need to think about:
• The various jobs you have done whilst in employment – or;
• The tasks and responsibilities involved in running your home/looking after your
   family e.g. time management (getting children to school on time, dealing with
   household bills and finance) – and;
• Activities you may do in your spare time; hobbies, voluntary work, committees,
   playgroups, etc.

Some Ideas for skill area:

Practical Skills

General repair and building work                     Keyboarding skills
Forklift Truck licence in CB, R & F                  Painting and decorating
Loading/unloading of goods                           Maintaining equipment and machinery
Assembly work                                        Mending and repairing equipment
Diagnosing faults and testing equipment              Handling materials or equipment with
                                                     precision and speed
General warehouse duties                             Quality Control
Food and Beverage Service                            Food preparation/catering
Bar work                                             Basic food health and hygiene awareness
Awareness of first aid                               Health and Safety at work awareness
Hygiene operations and use of cleaning               Manual Handling
equipment
Passenger carrying                                   Multi drop experience
Merchandising

Skills dealing with information and data

Keeping accurate records                             Cash handling and till operation
Making accurate measurements or                      Stock control
calculations
Following written instructions or                    Key boarding skills
diagrams
                   This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                                  10
Working out costs and budgeting       IT skills including word and excel etc.
Skills dealing with information and data continued

Checking information for accuracy                Writing letters, memos and reports
Extracting information from reports,             Organising goods for dispatch and
books or manuals                                 handling related paperwork
Organising paperwork systems                     Organising or classifying information
Researching information                          Planning work schedules
Providing information verbally or in             Handling and maintaining goods in and
writing                                          out documents
Analysing numerical information                  Following instructions and working to
                                                 procedures

Skills dealing with people

Encouraging people to talk and listening         Working with the public
to them
Explaining things to people                      Dealing with queries or complaints
Dealing with telephone queries                   Conveying understanding and warmth
Organising people                                Selling, persuading and negotiating
Initiating conversations with people             Motivating others
Being supportive to people                       Relating to people from all backgrounds
Training or tutoring                             Managing/supervising and leading
Customer service

In which category do most of your skills lie? Are there any other particular skills you
may possess that haven’t already been identified – driving, languages, first aid, for
example?




               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                              11
Step Two - Make a list of your skills

Use the lists above as well as identifying your own skills.

Transferrable key skills

A number of skills have been identified as key skills – those that are much in
demand by employers, as they are important in virtually all work situations. These
are the skills of:

•   Communication – these are a part of our everyday lives whether we
    communicate verbally or in writing and it is important to be able to do this
    effectively within the workplace.

•   Numeracy – most jobs need a degree of numeracy, so if this is your strength,
    be ready to emphasise it to your employer. Managing the local playgroup or
    darts club accounts could be hugely valuable in the workplace.

•   Working with others – employers are keen to know how well we work with
    other people. Some things are easy to achieve by working on your own but
    inevitably at times you will have to work with other people to get a job done.
    Working well with others enables you to achieve shared goals and objectives.

•   Using information technology – this is a crucial skill becoming increasingly
    necessary in the workplace. Even having a basic understanding of using a
    computer can enhance your list of skills and could make all the difference in job
    hunting.

•   Problem solving – employers want people who can think issues through
    logically, determine what the issues are and come up with possible solutions.

•   Improving your own learning and performance – we all learn every single
    day of our lives, through experience at work and personal lives. This may be
    learning something new or improving the way we carry out a familiar task.
    Employers like those that take responsibility for their own learning and
    progression.

You may feel that you have developed some or all of these already. If so, add them
to your list. You may be surprised at how many skills you have listed.




                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               12
                                 JOB AREA KEY SKILLS

Driver
• Excellent practical driving skills and road safety awareness
• Ability to work well alone with good levels of concentration
• Good knowledge of the ??? delivery area
• Well presented
• Able to plan and prioritise schedules and routes
• Patience and polite attitude towards other road users
• Ability to complete record sheets and paperwork
• Good spoken and written communication skills

Administrator
• Proven organisational ability, managing administrative details for Director
• Excellent all round communication skills; used to close liaison with senior
  management & colleagues
• First class computer skills using a variety of packages and statistical software
• Statistical evaluation and analysis of research & other data
• Initiative, providing creative and productive solutions to problems
• Committed team worker, gained from experience with different problem groups

Warehouse Operative
• Good level of fitness
• Good team working skills
• Ability to work quickly and efficiently
• Completing paperwork and count stock items
• Basic computer skills
• Understanding of Health and Safety Regulations
• Manual handling goods in a safe and careful manner
• Operating a forklift/cherry picker or pallet truck with current licence or training

Retail/Sales Assistant
• Good communication and people skills
• Confidence and tact in dealing with customer queries
• Approachable, polite and helpful manner
• Enjoys working with the public
• Good numeracy skills for handling payments and stock checks
• Good levels of stamina
• Reliable and trustworthy

Care/Healthcare Assistant
• Providing personal care in a patient, understanding and respectful manner
• Friendly and caring approach, ability to relate to people from varied backgrounds
• Manual handling with care and attention
• Maintaining accurate client records
• Good observation skills
• Following health and safety procedures
• Team working and also using own initiative
• Reliable and flexible, willing to do shifts/travel/undertake training
                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               13
Step Three: How to use Transferable Skills

If you want to apply for a job that is different from anything you have done in the
past, you might be put off applying because you feel that you have no relevant
experience to offer.

            TIP - Stop and think about what the job actually involves, rather
            than the job title.

Transferrable skills are those skills which are used in more than one type of job.
Look at the skills you have. Many of them are likely to be useful in a variety of
different jobs and settings. As an exercise, just pick one or two of your skills at
random and think of as many jobs as possible which might use them. You will be
surprised how many jobs you can come up with. This will enable you to have more
confidence to apply for different types of jobs.

If you have a particular type of work in mind for the future

Consider that kind of work carefully.
    • What skills are necessary to do the job?
If you are not sure, look at career information to help identify the skills. Make a list
of them. Compare the skills needed for the job with your own list.
Visit:
www.careersadvice.direct.gov.uk
www.connexions-direct.com/jobs4u


When you are looking at specific vacancies don’t be put off by the job title, send
off for the job details to find out more information. Identify all those skills
required which you have already developed. Highlight these on your application.
You cannot assume that employers will somehow know or realise that you have such
skills – tell them! Employers are also likely to be looking for someone who has
developed key skills, so don’t overlook any experience which provides evidence of
these.




                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               14
Section 5            Useful Words to use in CVs/Application Forms

Action Words

Accelerated           Achieved                   Acquired                   Acted
Activated             Addressed                  Administered               Advised
Analysed              Anticipated                Appointed                  Appraised
Approved              Arranged                   Assessed                   Assigned
Assisted              Attended                   Audited                    Augmented
Averted               Avoided                    Booked                     Bought
Broadened             Budgeted                   Built                      Catalysed
Centralised           Checked                    Coached                    Collaborated
Combined              Communicated               Competed                   Compiled
Completed             Composed                   Computed                   Conceived
Concluded             Condensed                  Conducted                  Consulted
Consummated           Contributed                Controlled                 Converted
Coordinated           Corrected                  Correlated                 Counselled
Created               Cultivated                 Decentralised              Decreased
Defined               Delegated                  Demonstrated               Demonstrated
Designed              Determined                 Developed                  Developed
Devised               Devised                    Diagnosed                  Directed
Directed              Documented                 Doubled                    Edited
Effected              Eliminated                 Employed                   Enabled
Enforced              Engineered                 Established                Established
Estimated             Evaluated                  Executed                   Expanded
Expedited             Extracted                  Finalised                  Forecasted
Formed                Formulated                 Generated                  Guided
Hired                 Implemented                Improved                   Improvised
Increased             Initiated                  Innovated                  Inspected
Inspired              Instigated                 Instructed                 Insured
Interpreted           Interviewed                Introduced                 Invented
Investigated          Launched                   Led                        Lightened
Liquidated            Localised                  Located                    Maintained
Managed               Marketed                   Minimised                  Modernised
Monitored             Negotiated                 Obtained                   Operated
Organised             Originated                 Performed                  Pioneered
Planned               Prepared                   Presented                  Prevented
Processed             Procured                   Produced                   Programmed
Promoted              Proved                     Provided                   Published
Purchased             Recommended                Recruited                  Redesigned
Reduced               Regulated                  Rejected                   Related
Renegotiated          Reorganised                Reported                   Researched
Resolved              Reviewed                   Revised                    Revitalised
Saved                 Scheduled                  Selected                   Settled
Shaped                Simplified                 Sold                       Solved
Specified             Staffed                    Standardised               Stimulated
Streamlined           Studied                    Supervised                 Supported
               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                              15
Surpassed            Surveyed                   Taught                     Terminated
Tested               Tightened                  Traded                     Trained
Translated           Tripled                    Vitalised                  Wrote


Positive Characteristics or Personal Qualities

Able                 Accurate                   Adaptable                  Ambitious
Analytical           Articulate                 Assertive                  Astute
Calm                 Capable                    Caring                     Cheerful
Competent            Confident                  Conscientious              Consistent
Creative             Customer focussed          Decisive                   Dedicated
Dependable           Determined                 Diligent                   Diplomatic
Dynamic              Efficient                  Energetic                  Enthusiastic
Experienced          Expert                     Fair                       Firm
Fit                  Flexible                   Friendly                   Genuine
Good sense of        Hard working               Healthy                    Honest
humour
Imaginative          Independent                Innovative                 Inventive
Knowledgeable        Literate                   Logical                    Loyal
Mature               Methodical                 Motivated                  Multi-lingual
Open minded          Optimistic                 Outgoing                   Patient
People Orientated    Perceptive                 Persistent                 Personable
Persuasive           Positive                   Practical                  Productive
Professional         Proficient                 Punctual                   Qualified
Quick thinking       Reliable                   Resourceful                Responsible
Self-assured         Sensible                   Sensitive                  Sincere
Skilled              Successful                 Supportive                 Tactful
Thorough             Thoughtful                 Tidy                       Tolerant
Trustworthy          Understanding              Versatile                  Willing
Young




                                          *******

 The next section gives examples of CVs for you to have a look at. They cover the
range of CVs mentioned in Chapter 2 and may help you to decide what style of CV
 to use. Following the examples is a template for you to have a go at writing your
 own CV. Depending on which style you choose, you may not need all the sections
       but if you can fill them in then it is useful as part of your master copy.




              This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                             16
Section 6           CV Examples – Skills Based

                                   Karen Willis
                   182 Cowley Road, Oxford. OX4 2DB
                     Tel: 01865 524841 Mobile: 07993 385163

Profile

A reliable and caring individual, with excellent people and customer
service skills. Enjoys working as part of a team, independently or one-to-
one to achieve results. Builds relationships quickly with people of all
levels, backgrounds and ages. Would like the opportunity to use skills and
experience to date to work with people in a customer service or reception
role.

People Skills/Customer Service
       Experienced at dealing with people tactfully, effectively and efficiently
       Good communication skills, experience of working with the public
       Calm under pressure and with the proven ability to be reliable in a crisis
       Caring and thoughtful, able to work on own initiative

Retail
       Extensive retail experience
       Stock control and replenishment of products
       Experienced cashier
       Health & safety awareness

Work Experience

2003 – Present:      Lunchtime Supervisor, Botley County Primary School
                     Supervision of primary age children at lunchtime.
2001 – 2003:         Shop Assistant, Spa Shop
                     A varied role in a busy shop. Work included cashier, stock
                     control and ordering, and stock replenishment. Evening shift
                     team leader.
1997 – 2001:         Customer Service Assistant, Homebase
                     Assisting customers with enquiries, till work, returns and
                     refunds.
1995 – 1997:         Abingdon Community Hospital
                     Care assistant working mostly with elderly patients.

Prior to 1995 I worked in retail part-time while raising my family.

Other Information

Education: 3 CSEs, including English and Maths, basic IT
Interests: Walking, gardening, tapestry, reading




               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                              17
(Skills based CV)
                                         Paula Roberts
                        3 Jarrow Road, Wantage, Oxon OX12 8TB
                                   Tel: 01235 332678


Personal Summary

A hard working and adaptable worker with excellent customer service skills, and
extensive experience in administration. Adaptable team worker willing to take
responsibility where necessary. Currently studying for NVQ2 in Accounts and
seeking a varied office position using administration and accounts experience.

Key Skills
Retail
   Dealing with customer needs effectively, tactfully and efficiently
   Stock control, refilling and stock rotation
   Money management, including cashing up
   Staff supervision

Administration
  General invoicing and accounting
  Communicating effectively both on the telephone and face-to-face
  Preparing and writing routine correspondence
  Filing and retrieving information
  Understanding and using information technology

Training

2003 – Current             AAT Foundation NVQ Level 2                Abingdon and Witney College
2002 – 2003                Clait Plus OCR Level 2                    Abingdon and Witney College

Work History

2001   –   Current         Retail Assistant, Red Cross Shop (Volunteer)
1998   –   2001            Carer, Parent
1997   –   1998            Assistant Manager, Adams Children’s Wear
1989   –   1997            Clerk, Vale Housing Association
1984   –   1987            Clerical Assistant, Rutherford Laboratories

Personal Summary

Education                  CSEs in English, Maths, Geography, Needlework
                           RSA Level 2 Typing
Interests                  Keep fit, gardening, family


                     This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                                    18
(Skills based CV)
                                David Clarke
                  22 Elm Park Road, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 4DN
                              Tel: 07996 259375
Profile

A keen, hardworking and reliable person. Excellent timekeeper, able to prioritise
workload and work to tight timescales. Effective team member but also able to use
own initiative. Strong work ethic, carries out duties to high standards. Now looking
for a responsible, permanent position in warehousing or production.


Key Skills

•   High organised and methodical when carrying out warehousing duties
•   Good customer service skills both internally and externally
•   Competent and accurate administrative skills dealing with material ordering, cash
    handling, logging goods in/out
•   Competent driver with full clean driving licence
•   Experienced fork lift operator (do not hold licence)

Employment History
Nov 03 – July 04:        Warehouse Operative
                         Asda Distribution (agency work)
                         picking and packing, driving a low level order picker

Sept 02 – Oct 03:        Warehouse Operative
                         Habitat UK (agency work)
                         General duties including loading lorries for delivery

1995 – 2002:             Fence Installer
                         Patterson Fencing Ltd
                         Fence installation responsibilities. Also office work including
                         ordering materials, monthly accounts, wages, handling large
                         cash sums and answering the phone. Yard duties included
                         goods in/out.

Feb 95 – May 05:         Warehouse Operative
                         Bryant Logistics
                         Duties include picking and packing, loading of lorries, goods
                         in/out

Additional Information
Qualifications:       GCSE’s in English, Maths, Science and French
                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               19
Interests:           Reading, music (I play the guitar), keeping fit by playing
                     football. I also help coach a local junior team.
(Skills based CV)
                                     Steve Jones
                                      123 The Drive
                                         Banbury
                                          Oxon
                                        OX16 1PP

                               Tel : 01295 000000
                               Mob: 07899 000000
                           Email: jones@netbreeze.co.uk

Profile

Competent and qualified Welder with 20 years experience. Used to producing work
of an impeccable standard that requires excellent attention to detail.. Now looking to
use a range of transferable skills that will allow the opportunity to change career
direction.

Technical Skills

   •   Able to read highly specific technical drawings and diagrams
   •   Responsible for general machine tool maintenance and minor repairs
   •   Good number skills as required to calculate measurements for developing
       patterns.
   •   Excellent concentration skills

General Skills

   •   Able to follow very stringent health & safety procedures
   •   Team player used to liaising with other departments in order to be complete
       projects on schedule.
   •   Good communication skills, I need to liaise with delivery companies to ensure
       stock is allocated to correct departments.
   •   Basic knowledge of IT and able to use Email and Internet.


Employment History

WSL International                                              July 1992 – Current
Fabrication & T.I.G. Engineer

   •   T.I.G. Welding to a high standard including water and pressure testing for
       leaks
   •   Use of CNC plasma cutting machine and electronic brake press
   •   Reading of technical drawings to produce end product
   •   Liaison with other departments and team members

               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                              20
Cherwell Mechanical Services Ltd                               Feb 1990 – July 1992
Sheet Metal Fabricator

   •   Fabrication of air conditioning systems


Education

Oxford College of Further Education                                            1983 – 1987
City & Guilds Level 3 in Fabrication & Welding

North Oxfordshire Technical College                                            1981 – 1983
Certificate of Further Education in Engineering Construction

Banbury Comprehensive School, Banbury                              1976 – 1981
CSE passes in English, Technical Drawing, Maths, Physics, Art, Geography, and
French




Other Information

I am a very keen sports fan with a particular passion for football and rugby. As a
father of a 10 year old son I am actively involved with his junior football team. I
enjoy spending time with my family, cycling, travelling and walking and have
recently developed an interest in digital photography. I have excellent all round DIY
skills and have renovated two properties along with producing bespoke metal
designs for friends.

Full Clean UK Driving Licence
Current Fork Lift Licence




               This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                              21
(Skills Based CV)
                                        Ahmed Nuur
           39a Gwent Avenue, Clay Pits, Milton Keynes, MK18 4ND
                      01908 135246 / 07948 42531

PROFILE:
A self-motivated Section Manager with a wide range of experience in the logistics
industry. Able to work on own initiative and as part of a team. Proven leadership
skills involving managing, developing and motivating teams to achieve their
objectives. First-class planning, prioritising and problem solving skills. Dedicated to
maintaining high quality standards.

ABILITIES:
  • Managing the Parts Department
  • Controlling a team of 5 staff; assigning them tasks and motivating them to
     achieve deadlines
  • Carrying out a comprehensive annual stock take
  • Presenting reports on improvements in training and productivity
  • Organising and conducting the training of Parts Department staff

ACHIEVEMENTS:
  • Developed a new computer and paper-based records in order to track all
     parts, which improved efficiency and productivity by £60,000 per annum
  • Implemented improved health and safety training for the team

EXPERIENCE:

1999 – present        Parts Department Supervisor (promoted from Parts Assistant
                      after a year) – Pinnacle Automotive Plc, Milton Keynes
1997-99               Warehouse Operative – Transfree Logistics (UK) Ltd, Milton Keynes
1995-97               Various warehousing contracts – Best Personnel, Sheffield
1994-95               Production Line Worker – Brimley Foods Ltd, Sheffield
1985-90               Vehicle Mechanic – Nuurs Garage, Mogadishu, Somalia

TRAINING:

Health and safety (annual up date)           Pinnacle Automotive Plc                   2004
Dealing with difficult situations            Pinnacle Automotive Plc                   2002
Team leader certificate                      Pinnacle Automotive Plc                   2001
Excel and Access                             Learndirect                               1999
CLAIT 1                                      East Sheffield College                    1997
English                                      East Sheffield College                    1995-97




                 This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                                22
(Skills Based CV)
                                    Dulip Kumar
                             74 Marlowe Road, Oxon
                               Moorshire OX2 1PA
                               Tel: 01298 385776
                              Mobile: 07707 123456

Personal Profile
A reliable and conscientious employee, with ten years’ experience working
successfully in a front-line sales role. Flexible and willing to train to learn
new skills.

General Skills
•   Able to communicate effectively with the public and work colleagues
•   Capable of working under pressure in a busy environment
•   Computer-literate
•   Proven ability to work independently and on own initiative
•   Diplomacy

Specific Skills
•   Effective selling skills
•   Comprehensive product knowledge of domestic furniture trade
•   Experienced in retail stock-control systems
•   Efficient at cash handling and processing credit/debit cards

Achievements
•   European Computer Driving Licence (achieved 2003)
•   Employee of the month award for outstanding sales on three occasions with
    present employer
•   Redesigned layout of shop floor in 2001, which has helped to create a sustained
    increase in sales

Employment
1997   to present     Sales Assistant, Williams & Co, furniture retailers, Oxon
1992   – 1997         Sales Assistant, Parkers Furniture Store Ltd, Chalford
1986   – 1992         Delivery Driver, Sparks Electronic Ltd, Chalford
1981   – 1986         General Assistant, Hillyers Building Supplies, Chalford

Education
1974 – 1980           Chalford Grammar School, 3 O Levels
1980 – 1981           Chalford College, ONC business studies (part completed)

I am a member of a local quiz team, and enjoy travelling and water sports.
I hold a clean driving licence.


                This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                               23
      Targeted CVs




                           James Pearson
              16 Manor Road, Headington, Oxford, OX2 7AY
              Tel: 01865 886725    Mobile: 07980 867920

Profile

A reliable and professional delivery and van driver, with an excellent
driving record and extensive experience of organising and planning own
workload. Proficient at dealing with the public in a confident and
friendly manner. Highly motivated, with the ability to remain good-
humoured and unflappable under pressure. Looking for a full-time
multi-drop position, which will utilise my experience.


Key Skills

•   Clean current UK driving licence
•   Thorough knowledge of the Oxfordshire area
•   Extensive experience of passenger carrying and product delivery
•   Able to plan and prioritise schedules and routes
•   Highly customer focused
•   Punctual, healthy, reliable


Experience

2003-Present:               Flower Delivery, The Flower Studio, Oxford
1999 – 2003                 Van Driver, Parcel Force, Oxford
1982 – 1999                 Taxi Driver, Self-Employed
1980 – 1982                 Taxi Driver, D & M Taxi’s, Oxford
1970 – 1980                 Salesman, Halfords, Oxford


Personal Details

Interests: DIY, especially woodwork and joinery. Computers – learnt all
the main Microsoft packages in the last 5 years.

              This CV Pack was compiled by CfBT Education Trust Nextstep Advisers
                                             24
(Targeted CV)
                           JOHN             SMITH
                    12 High Street, Aylesbury, Bucks. HP21 7RL
                     Tel: 01296 483174 Mob: 078977 321654

Personal Profile
An experienced and hardworking individual who is self-motivated and an excellent
team member. A punctual well presented person with a variety of practiced skills to
offer. Polite, patient, well presented and committed to providing a high standard of
work. Looking for a position as a HOD CARRIER. Available for immediate start.

Key Skills
  • CSCS health and safety passport
  • Experience as hod carrier
  • Flexible to employers needs
  • Capable manual worker
  • Good literacy and numeracy skills

Site Experience
Experienced at assisting tradesmen in their duties including bricklaying, plastering
and carpentry. Duties also included manual handling of materials, loading and
unloading as well as delivering materials to parts of the site as required.
Maintenance of a clean, safe workplace and tools was an integral part of positions
held.
Also experienced in laying of decking to customer requirements, including
groundwork to prepare and landscaping of the surrounding area to complete.

Work experience
Plastering trainee/labourer              Plastering Ltd.                    2005

Site Operative                          Recruitment Agency & Co.         2004-
2005
Positions held included hod carrier, labourer, ground worker and painter/decorator

Hod Carrier                            Blue Street Agency                 2003-
2004
Worked as a hod carrier on different projects including the renovation of Stoke
Mandeville Hospital

Labourer                                  Workerman Agency                   2001-
2003
Duties involved acting as a bricklayers assistant, carpenters assistants and
groundwork

Education and Training

CSCS Health and Safety passport                        2004
OCN Literacy Level 2                                   2004
OCN Numeracy Level 2                             2004


Educated at the Abbey Centre from 1998-2000, achieved a GCSE in woodwork
Chronological CVs
                           Christopher Jones
                            24 Mansfield Drive, Chedlee,
                               Manchester M23 4DJ.
                               Tel: (0161) 234 1234
                              Chrisj@gepofoods.com

PROFILE:

A Senior Quality Assurance Technician with a wide range of experience in the food
industry. Able to work on own initiative and as part of a team. Proven leadership
skills involving managing, developing and motivating teams to achieve their
objectives. First-class analytical, design and problem solving skills. Dedicated to
maintaining high quality standards.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS:

•   Saved the company £50,000 a year by implementing a new quality assurance
    system.
•   Increased the acceptance level of finished goods from 96% to 99%.
•   Achieved BS5750 for the production line by rewriting the company's quality
    assurance procedures.
•   Solved major quality assurance problems which temporarily halted production.

EXPERIENCE:
1989 – date          GEPO FOODS LIMITED
1992 – date          Senior Quality Assurance Technician
                     Gepo Foods manufacture biscuits under the brand name Manu
                     at their Manchester factory. Responsibilities and achievements:
                     • Managed all quality assurance in Gepo Foods' Manchester
                         factory and reported directly to the Factory Manager.
                     • Managed a team of 6 people; assigning them tasks, and
                         motivating them to meet deadlines.
                     • Demonstrated the quality assurance procedures to
                         customers on factory visits.
                     • Performed Quality Audits at the factory.

1989 - 1992          Quality Assurance Technician
                     • Created computer applications with the help of a
                       programmer to monitor the factory environment.
                     • Analysed the quality assurance system and made
                       recommendations for improvements. These were
                       incorporated into the current quality assurance system.
                     • Examined equipment in the factory to check that it met the
                       company standards.
                     • Investigated new equipment installed in the factory to make
                       sure that it would comply with quality assurance procedures.
1985 - 1989          SURRET FOOD PRODUCTS LIMITED
1986 - 1989            Research Technician
                       Surret Food Products manufacture a wide range of grocery
                       products. Responsibilities:
                       • Formulated new product lines and conducted the relevant
                          laboratory experiments.
                       • Performed a study of the shelf life of various canned foods.
                       • Tested new products to check that they met EEC guidelines
                          for bacteriological content.
                       • Conducted a survey on packaging.

1985 - 1986            Plant Operator
                       Worked on the production line at the canning factory.
                       Responsibilities:
                       • Operated the canning machinery producing tinned fruit and
                          vegetables.
                       • Solved and fixed any production line problems with the help
                          of the service engineer.



TRAINING COURSES:

Various courses including:
Quality Assurance, The BS5750 Quality Approach, Team Leadership I & II, Time
Management, Report Writing.

QUALIFICATIONS / EDUCATION:

BSc. (Hons) 2.2 in Biochemistry at the University of Warwick (1985).

3 A Levels: Mathematics [C], Biology [B], Chemistry [C]; 6 O Levels.

PERSONAL DETAILS:

Driving Licence: Full, clean.

INTERESTS / HOBBIES:

Football, Grand Prix racing, physical fitness - gym.

REFERENCES:

Available on request




(Chronological CV)
Usha Gupta                                 3 Furrow Road
                                           Grenton
                                           GN12 7KD
                                           01987 123456
                                           ushagupta37@yahoo.co.uk

Professional Profile
A hard working and adaptable Administrative Assistant with 17 years experience in
roles which demand confident IT and typing skills (45 words per minute) and
excellent interpersonal skills. Adaptable team worker willing to take responsibility
where necessary. Recently up-dated IT skills and keen to continue learning new
skills.

Work History

Grenton Animal             Administrative Assistant –
Sanctuary, Grenton         began as volunteer taken on part time in 2003)
2002 – current
                           •   Preparing and writing routine correspondence (Word)
                           •   Copy typing (45 words per minute)
                           •   Communicating with staff, volunteers, suppliers and
                               other agencies both on the telephone and face to face
                           •   Developing a new paper and computer-based filing
                               system
                           •   Servicing two committees – taking minutes and
                               arranging meetings
                           •   Controlling and ordering stationary supplies

1999 – 2002                Carer and Parent
                           • Looking after an elderly relative and two children

A & P Electrical Parts     Clerk
Ltd, Grenton
1997 – 1999
                           •   Copy and audio typing and producing letters, reports
                               other documents
                           •   Preparing invoices and inputting in-coming invoices
                           •   Using Word, Excel, Access and Sage
                           •   General office routine
                           •   Working in a team and coping with heavy workloads

Grenton Housing Assoc Clerk
1989-97
                      • Maintaining, filing and retrieving tenant records
                      • Copy-typing and producing documents
                      • Controlling and ordering stationary
                      • Maintaining tenant confidentiality
Usha Gupta details continued.

Grenton 1984-1987           Receptionist
                            • Operating a switchboard
                            • Ensuring high standards of security for visitors
                            • Copy typing


Training

2004   Word processing (MS 2000)            Grenton Community Education
2004   Spreadsheets (MS 2000)               Grenton Community Education
1999   Health and Safety in the office      A & P Electrical Parts Ltd
1997   Dealing with difficult situations    Grenton Housing Association


Additional Information

Education            6 CSEs including English and Maths

Interests            Animals, gardening, keep fit and family

References           Available on request
Section 7             Template for Building Your CV


                        How to build a Skills Based CV

This is a form to help you put together a CV. When you fill in the form don’t
leave anything out, make sure you include any courses, jobs or training (paid
or unpaid) you had done, you don’t know when it may be useful.

Here’s a few hints.

•   Skills – you might not have very much work experience, but still have lots of
    skills. Make a list of all the relevant skills you have, and it will help you make
    them understand that you can do the job.

•   Job title – can mean different things in different companies – it’s important to
    give both a job title and a brief description of your duties.

•   Give enough information – where possible, give the reader a bit of evidence
    about the facts that you state. For instance rather than saying, “Thorough
    experience of using Word and Excel” does not tell you as much as, “Six years
    experience of using Word and Excel”.

•   Don’t forget the obvious – when talking about your major achievements you
    may forget to put in the day-to-day things you did. You might take these for
    granted, but a reader will not.

•   Explain gaps where appropriate – recruiters are trained to look for gaps. Don’t
    lie and don’t try to hide it. If it is to your advantage, explain. For instance that
    you took three years out of your career history to raise a family, or that you spent
    a year travelling round the world.

•   Language fluency – be honest! If you speak enough French to get you by when
    on holiday show it as “French – basic”. (It still demonstrates that you’ve got study
    skills and the potential to learn a language!) If, on the other hand, you are
    bilingual, then show this, too, eg “English and Urdu – bilingual”.

•   Interest and hobbies – can help give the reader a broader picture of you. In
    some circumstances, certain interests can cause an adverse reaction, though.
    Of course, we hope that employers don’t give into any prejudices they have, but it
    might be wise not to give them the opportunity to make any assumptions about
    you. So it’s probably best to be a little vague about any religious or political
    interests you have. Rather than saying that you’re secretary of the local branch
    of a political party, you could just say that you are “secretary of a community
    group”, that way you can still get credit for skills you have developed.



To make sure your CV is focussed on the kind of work you are looking for, write down
what kind of job you are looking for? (List a maximum of 3 jobs)




Your details

Name

Address




Post code

Phone numbers

E-mail address


Personal Profile

To help write a profile for your CV answer the following questions as best as
possible:

1. How many years relevant experience do you have?



2. If you have a relevant qualification to the type of work you want to do list it
   here?



3. List 5 qualities you have which you think help make you a good employee:

       a.

       b.

       c.

       d.

      e.
4. List 5 key work skills you have which are relevant to the kind of work you
   are looking for:
       a.

       b.

       c.

       d.

       e.

5. Now use these lists to write two or three sentences describing your skills,
   experience and personal qualities. This is going to make up your personal
   profile, which is like a sales advert for yourself telling an employer why they
   should employ you.




Key Skills

Make a list of 10 skills you have that you could use at work .
These could be things you’ve learnt from all parts of your life; on a course, college or
school, from your hobbies, at work or doing voluntary work. Try and think about
skills you have that will help you do the type of job you are applying for.

For example; communication skills, team working, problem solving
   •

   •

   •

   •

   •

   •

   •
Your Work History

List each job you have had starting with the most recent and going back at
least 10 years if possible. Don’t forget to include voluntary work.

     Company Name
1.
     Dates you worked
     there

     Your job title

     What did the company
     do?
     Where was it and how
     big was it?

     List your main duties
     Think about things you
     did every day, also think
     about things you did
     from time to time too.



     What made you good
     at this job?
     Did you get a
     promotion? Do some
     training? Train others?
     Get an award?
     Company Name
2.
     Dates you worked
     there

     Your job title

     What did the company
     do?
     Where was it and how
     big was it?
     List your main duties
     Think about things you
     did every day, also think
     about things you did
     from time to time too.



     What made you good
     at this job?
     Did you get a
     promotion? Do some
     training? Train others?
     Get an award?
     Company Name
3.
     Dates you worked
     there

     Your job title

     What did the company
     do?
     Where was it and how
     big was it?

     List your main duties
     Think about things you
     did every day, also think
     about things you did
     from time to time too.



     What made you good
     at this job?
     Did you get a
     promotion? Do some
     training? Train others?
     Get an award?
     Company Name
4.
     Dates you worked
     there

     Your job title
      What did the company
      do?
      Where was it and how
      big was it?

      List your main duties
      Think about things you
      did every day, also think
      about things you did
      from time to time too.



     What made you good
     at this job?
     Did you get a
     promotion? Do some
     training? Train others?
     Get an award?
Please go on to extra pages if necessary.



Training

List any training you have completed either at work or college:

Name of course                       Training Provider            Date achieved

eg First Aid at Work Certificate     The Red Cross                2002




Education
List any qualifications or education you have completed either at school, college or
university:

Name of course                       School/College etc.          Date achieved
eg General Secondary School          High Cross School            1980 - 1985
Education or 6 GCSE’s including
Maths and English




Other Information

Sometimes it can be helpful to list other useful information on your CV such as if
you have a Driving Licence, speak other Languages etc. List any details like that
here:




Interests

List 4 or 5 interests or hobbies you enjoy such as sport, reading or gardening:




References - usually last employer + another

It is not necessary to include references on a CV but to write “Available upon
request”. You can always have this information ready prepared and to hand in case
you are asked for it at interview. Make sure your references know they may be
contacted.




Next steps
You’ve got all the information you need to put in your CV. It might be that your
nextstep Adviser has agreed to help type it for you in which case you need to
send the completed form back to your adviser as soon as possible or bring it
to your next appointment. If you are going to type your CV yourself you need
to decide how you are going to present it. The following tips might help:


30 seconds
Research shows that, on average, recruiters spend about 30 seconds looking at
each CV they are sent. (Imagine the person who has to deal with the 200 CVs they
have received in response to a job advert!) It is really important that your CV stands
out from the rest and your personal profile is engaging.

Layout
Most importantly of all, it must be easy to read. Think about how it looks. Will you
use:
• word processed format
• sensible font and size (A simple font such as Arial Point 12 is nice and clear)
• good use of headings, bullet points and space between sections
• No more that two pages long, on separate sheets and paper clipped (if second
   page used then put your name at the top e.g “Joe Bloggs CV Continued.”
• good quality white or cream paper

You also need to think about how you structure the information you give. Most
employers want to know about what you have done recently that is most relevant to
the type of work you are applying for. The information you have filled in above
represents a typical skills based format but you may choose to use another style so
select your style you feel best reflects your job searching activity – you may need a
variety of CVs as your CV will need to match the job vacancy you are applying for.

Finally
Finally, before you send your CV to any one, make sure that your spelling and
grammar is correct and that the CV makes sense! Ask someone to have a look at it
as they will spot things that you won’t. Ask them whether they think it is easy to read
and looks good, too.

When you have completed your CV if you find you need further advice you can
contact nextstep on:

Freephone:          0800 1954 700
Email:              info@nextstepsoutheast.org.uk
Website:            www.nextstepsoutheast.org.uk




Section 8           Top Tips For Completing Application Forms
Application forms are often used by organisations, particularly larger ones. The
advantages of this is that you know what information to provide and where to put it.
The disadvantage is that you are less likely to be able to express yourself in the way
you can with a CV. However, even though you are told what to write, you still need
to be aware of your skills and abilities relating to the job you are applying for (as
you would if you wrote a CV). You will need to have thought hard about what you
can offer to the job. This information will not only be useful for the application form
but for interview preparation as well.

A simple process for completing an application form is as
follows:

• Read it through first from beginning to end!

• Photocopy it! (or make a copy on rough paper)

• Practice Run – fill in your copy

• Check the content of what you have written

   ~Think~
   Have you answered all the necessary questions, do not leave any
   unanswered? You may eliminate yourself from the selection process!
   When answering specific questions consider the following:
     Reasons for leaving a job, some rules are:
          Make reasons for leaving positive i.e. wanted to leave rather than getting
          away from.
          Avoid saying you were sacked write “to be discussed further at interview”
          Do not be negative about relationships with managers
          Use examples like promotion (if possible), to broaden skills, moved area
          etc.
          If made redundant then say why e.g. company or department closed
          down rather than just ‘made redundant’.
   Stating ‘salary’, this depends how you feel about putting in this type
   of information. You can either enter an approximate salary or enter
   ‘not available’ but we would suggest giving some explanation in a
   covering letter if necessary.
   Did you have enough room? – plan answers according to space
   available.
   Can you read what you’ve written?
   Could someone else read it?

• Check all punctuation, spelling and grammar
• Get someone else to read it through (optional)

• THEN complete the original

• Use black ink, even if it doesn’t tell you to (it’s easier to read
  if it’s photocopied)

• Photocopy completed form and keep a copy!

• Sign it!

• Post the ORIGINAL!
Section 9 Personal Statements for Job Application Forms

Within the application form, the personal statement section needs the most thought
and effort and must not be left blank!!!! This is usually the section in the form
which has a large blank area and is usually headed with the following statement:
“Any other Information/Supporting Information – please tell us about
your skills, strengths, experience and achievements which make you
suitable for this job.”

The way to tackle this section is:
   • Do some research on the company you are applying to in order to become
      more familiar with what they do.
   • Pick out the key points in the advert regarding skills required/necessary
      or ideal for the job by carefully reading job description or person
      specification. Write something about your experience/ability for each of these
      points.
      TIP- can be work or life experience.

   You then need to cover as many of these points in your statement as you can
   using examples of personal experience.

Example advert:

                           Ricardo’s Sandwich Bar
                                   Wolverton
                             Food Service Assistant

             Previous experience of working within a retail environment
            an advantage. Good customer service skills required. Must
            have a desire to be the best and have a cheerful personality.
              Flexibility with working hours required: full and part time
                                    hours available.

            Duties involve preparing and making sandwiches, keeping
           the preparation area clean and tidy, serving customers, cash
                     handling, clearing tables and washing up.
          Opportunities to become a supervisor or team leader. All meals
                             will be provided on duty.

                      16-40 hours per week, Monday-Sunday
              £? per hour (over time on Sundays and Bank Holidays)
                      Please apply to Paula on 0118 4325678
A possible answer could be as follows:

   •   I have 2-½ years experience in a retail environment, including working as a
       cashier/shop assistant at Waitrose, BHS and Lancaster Street News Agent.
   •   When working on Customer Service Desk at BHS, I dealt with customers
       returns and complaints (straight after Christmas when it was very busy), and
       am confident that I can do this calmly, politely and effectively.
   •   I always pride myself on the high standard of my work
   •   I am a friendly people person who enjoys meeting and helping customers
   •   I am happy to be flexible in my working hours
   •   From the work experience listed above, and I have experience of:
           o Making sure that the shop is clean and tidy
           o Serving customers
           o Operating a till (computerised and ordinary)
           o Taking payments and giving refunds in cash and by card and cheque
   •   As a mother and as a volunteer at school fund-raising events, I have
       experience of:
           o Food hygiene and daily food preparation
           o Serving refreshments to the public at busy events, clearing tables and
              washing up
   •   I also have a GCSE in Domestic Science
   •   I have experience of leading teams of volunteers and helping to organise
       events, and would be interested in furthering my career in the future.

The above certainly covers all the points mentioned in the job requirements.
Instead of using bullet points you can be more descriptive e.g.

My work history to date has enabled me to gain the necessary experience within the
retail industry having spent 2½ years working as a cashier/shop assistant for
Waitrose, BHS and the Lancaster Street Newsagency.

My customer service skills were further expanded whilst working for BHS on their
Customer Service Desk, especially during the busy period straight after Christmas,
having to deal with customer complaints and returns. I had to remain calm and
polite at all times and use tact and diplomacy when dealing with stressed customers.
I achieved this successfully and gained valuable effective experience.

Etc.

                                         ***

Hopefully you will have enough information to be able to complete an application
form with more confidence. Don’t forget, you can always get a Nextstep Adviser
to have a look at what you are writing to make sure you are putting the right things.
Section 10                  When to use a Covering Letter

Whenever you send your CV to someone, you should include a covering
letter. But why?

•   When you’re sending a CV in response to an advert
    - it makes a more personal approach, and it follows the usual etiquette

•   When you’re sending a speculative CV to an organisation
    - you need to explain why you’re writing to them and what sort of vacancies
      you are looking for

(If you only send your CV it’s going to be like barging in front of someone and
shoving it under their nose, as opposed to greeting them politely, introducing
yourself and handing over your CV).

•   What to say, include details of:
    - your name
    - all your contact details (address, phone numbers and e-mail address)
    - summarise your current situation and any details you haven’t got on your CV
      (you might want to include contact details for your referees)
    - don’t forget to date and sign it!

How to write it

The covering letter should be one side in length, on good quality paper
and not hand written.

Always try write to a named person. If that means ringing the company up to ask
the name of the Human Resources Director or Manager, do it. It will be worth the
effort, because it shows that you’ve taken the trouble to find out a bit about them.
Start a letter with a name, e.g.: “Dear Ms Jones”, but if you couldn’t find a name
“Dear Sir or Madam” is the next best thing. When you finish the letter, sign off
“Yours sincerely” if you addressed them by name, or “Yours faithfully” if you used
“Sir or Madam”.

With a speculative letter you are writing to an employer who hasn’t actually
advertised a job vacancy but believe there may be a vacancy in the future. With
speculative CVs you need to do research regarding the type of work you want
and who is likely to offer that work. The letter will not be aimed at a specific job but
rather what you can offer that company in terms of the skills, personality and
experience you have and how that could benefit the organisation. The advantage of
speculative letters is that you can mass produce them but obviously the more
personal you are to an organisation, the more notice it will get!
Template for letter

                                                                           Your address
Company’s address headed by
Named person you should be responding to

Date

Dear (named person or Sir or Madam)

Re:    Job title as it appears in the advertisement and where you saw it.

First paragraph – explain why you are writing to them sounding keen and
enthusiastic.

Second Paragraph – refer to enclosed CV highlighting points which best
demonstrate that you would be an ideal candidate for the job, showing the skills and
experience required from the job description (if you have one) or job advert.
Confirm that you have the essential requirements such as friendly, polite manner,
willingness to learn etc.

Third paragraph – invite the employer to contact you and suggest a way for them
to do so.
Also say that you would be available for interview at their earliest convenience
(AND MAKE SURE YOU CAN MAKE THE DATE THEY SET!!!)
Use words like ‘will’, ‘shall’ and ‘can’ to imply confidence rather than ‘should’, ‘would’
and ‘could’.

Finishing off – say something complimentary about the organisation, as this will be
noticed that you have taken time to find out what the company does.

(Yours sincerely – if named person)
(Yours faithfully – if sir or madam)

SIGN YOUR NAME and print it underneath your signature.

DON’T FORGET TO ENCLOSE YOUR CV

With a speculative CV
   • Paragraph one - you would not be referring to a specific job rather it is an
      opportunity for you to introduce yourself to that organisation and enquire
      whether they have any vacancies which match your capabilities and qualities.
   • Paragraph two - you will still need to refer to and include your CV and
      explain your skills and qualities, what you can bring to that organisation.
   • Paragraph three – invite the employer to contact you and say how. Ask the
      organisation to keep your details of file and contact you if something comes
up in the future. Say something complimentary about the organisation to
finish off and sign off as stated above.
Section 11          Sample letter

                                                       17 Giles Street
                                                       Aylesbury
                                                              Bucks HP16 3GH
                                                       07854 123456
                                                       alexjones@hotmail.com
                                                       15th June 2005

Sam Smith
The Manager
PEM Call Management Ltd
2 Hillside Walk
Oxford OX3 8YH

Dear Mr Smith

Call Handler, ref OXJ05T

I am writing in response to your advert, which I saw in the Oxford Times dated?

I have two years customer service experience, having worked for Tesco's Express. I
have also worked voluntarily at the Buckingham Community Theatre box office,
where I took telephone calls. As well as GCSE’s in Maths and English, and have
recently completed a course in interpersonal skills. For more details of my skills and
experience I have enclosed a copy of my CV.

I know that I will be able to bring enthusiasm and dedication to the job and would
enjoy the challenge of dealing with a variety of customer enquiries. I would be
happy to attend an interview to talk further at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely


Alex Jones
Alex Jones


(Points to consider – keep all letters centred on the page and evenly spaced out, not
squashed onto the top half of the page. Give enough room for your signature and
always print your name below. Also, if you enclose any information remember to
type “Enc” under your printed name and list what you have enclosed)



Example of Speculative Letter
                                                                    16 Knowhere Street
                                                                             Abingdon
                                                                           Oxfordshire
                                                                            OX14 5TZ

                                                                    Tel:00000 0000000

                                                                         25 March 2006
Mrs Mary Dilby
Sales Director
Value Financial Services
4 Oxford Road
Oxford
OX4 8EW

Dear Mrs Dilby

I am currently looking for a challenging position in the finance sector, and am
writing to you to enquire whether you have any suitable vacancies for an
experienced sales administrator.

I am dependable and energetic, whilst being highly motivated to meet targets and
objectives. I am skilled at building customer loyalty and have developed a highly
competent level of account managing and organisational skills.

Areas of specific experience that will be of interest to you include:

•   Responsibility for acquiring four major clients during a successful marketing
    campaign;
•   Initiating a successful follow-up strategy whereby 15 per cent of old clients too
    up new contracts.
•   Wrote company procedure for department working practices in line with ISO
    standards (having attended appropriate training course);
•   Supervisor for three office staff, dealing with all aspects of job delegation
    monitoring.

As you can see from my CV, I have a strong background in sales administration as
well as financial services and I believe that I could make significant contribution to
your organisation.

I would really appreciate the opportunity of a short meeting with you to discuss
possible openings, and will contact your office within the next few days to request a
suitably convenient date and time.

Yours sincerely
Justin Reynolds
Enc CV
Section 12            How and Where to Look for Vacancies
1) Newspapers

Because so many vacancies aren’t advertised in the press, don’t rely on
newspapers alone. However, they are an important part of any job
searching!

Consider looking in:
• Local newspapers e.g. Oxford Times
• Free job newspapers e.g. Job Opportunities (often available from stands in
   supermarkets)
• National newspapers
• Specialist trade or professional publications

Even if you don’t get all these papers, you can often find copies in the library or
from your local careers library (ask a nextstep adviser for your nearest).


2) Agencies

The deal is that you register with an agency, and they will try to find you a
job.

•   Make sure that you brief them properly – about what sort of work you are
    and are not looking for. Also tell them about your experience, skills and
    qualifications. Make sure they have a copy of your CV and to register you will
    require proof of your ID e.g. passport, birth certificate, photographic driving
    licence.

•   Agencies should not charge you a fee – they’re not allowed by law to charge
    a job seeker for finding them a job. An employer pays agencies, once a vacancy
    has been filled. However, there are some “cowboy” firms, and should you ever
    be asked for a fee, refuse! Ask friends and colleagues for personal
    recommendations of good recruitment agencies.

•   You are normally asked to register in person and usually have to attend
    a discussion - Try to build a good working relationship with the consultants that
    seem best placed to help you. You may also have to sit IT competency tests or
    literacy/numeracy assessments. It is also advised to keep in regular contact with
    the agency after registration so that they know you are keen for a placement.

•   Be positive – you might not always get a reply or acknowledgement from
    application you make. Some people find it easy to become cynical and
    disillusioned about the whole process of job hunting – try not to let this show.

•   Be organised – it is easy to register with lots of different agencies and loose
    track of which application you made where. Keep records of who you are in
    contact with and the jobs you’re applying for.
3) Internet
www.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk – county newspaper job advertisements
www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk - also available on 0845 6060 234
www.localrecruit.co.uk – register CV, links to agencies and sector vacancies
www.fish4jobs.co.uk - register CV, national based vacancies, all sectors, information
www.totaljobs.co.uk - register CV, national vacancies all sectors, general
information
www.jobstoday.co.uk - register CV, all sectors nationally, general advice, course
searches
www.jobs.telegraph.co.uk – upload CV, all sectors, career advice
www.bigbluedog.com – linking website to other agencies and job search sites.
www.datalake-it.com – jobs in telecoms, engineering, IT, driving, project
engineering
www.gisajob.com – national and international vacancies, all sectors
www.jobsgopublic.co.uk – public sector opportunities nationally, wide range!
www.jobsearch.co.uk – can search variety of sectors, recruiters a-z
www.jobtrack.co.uk – similar to gisajob.com
www.jobs.guardian.co.uk – graduate recruiter index, psychometric test info, jobs all
sectors
www.jobserve.co.uk – jobs by industry, FAQ’s
www.jobsite.co.uk – national job searching site all sectors
www.manpower.co.uk – recruitment agency
www.monster.co.uk – national job search, careers advice, virtual interviews
www.reed.co.uk – recruitment agency
www.topjobs.co.uk – all sectors
www.workthing.com – upload CV, all sectors
www.jobseekers.direct.gov.uk - government site for searching all sector jobs and
training
www.nhs-jobs.co.uk – all jobs within the NHS
This is not an exhaustive list, your adviser may have other web addresses but also
consider other national newspapers not mentioned, local recruitment agency
websites and use search engines e.g. “google”.

4) Direct Approaches to Organisations

Make direct approaches where it’s most likely to work: for instance, where
you know about that field.
• Write a good letter to a named person (if that means ringing up before hand to
  find out who the Manager is, then do it).
• Attach a CV but make sure it is targeted towards that type of work.


5) Networking and using your Contacts

Talking to friends and family is an important way of finding work. Many jobs are
obtained this way as it saves a company time and money advertising so make use of
these opportunities. If a friend mentions that they’re aware that there are some
vacancies coming up at their workplace, it could be worth sending in a speculative
letter and copy of your CV. Find out whom best to address the letter to (e.g. a
particular manager or a member of HR staff).
Section 13                  The Interview Process

Going for an interview is probably the most nerve racking experience of
the job hunting process, especially if you have not been to one for quite a
while or never had to go through the process at all! The following points
should enable you to get properly prepared and feel more confident about
the process.

Do
• Research your target organisation (try looking for them on the internet). Know
   names of interviewers
• Prepare for questions and possible assessment tasks (increasingly popular)
• Turn up ten minutes early, formally dressed, with CV and any documentation
   about the job/company
• Try to relax and focus on enjoying the interview
• Shake hands, smile and establish good eye contact
• Focus on your key skills as potential benefits to the company
• Listen to questions carefully and give yourself thinking time before answering
• Remember, an interview is a two-way process: ask positive questions and be
   prepared to listen and absorb information. A good interview often feels like an
   interesting and absorbing conversation with a respected friend
• Remember that the interviewers are looking for you to ‘shine’ and show them
   what you know, not what you don’t know!
• Thank the interviewers at the end of the session

Don’t
•   Turn up late and unprepared for the interview or assessment
•   Appear sloppy, disorganised, bored or too ‘laid back’. A good posture and
    positive attitude will look and feel confident to you and the interviewers
•   Forget to ask questions
•   Undersell your achievements by not providing supporting evidence or good
    examples (oral or written, visual)
•   Jump in before the end of a question
•   Give one word answers
•   Let nerves stop you talking at all. Nerves are natural and a surge of adrenaline
    can do wonders when you channel your nervous energy into positively presenting
    yourself
•   Take rejection personally if you fail this time. Seek constructive feedback, learn,
    discuss with family and friends, and move on.

Building confidence
•   Feeling nervous before an interview is normal, take some deep breaths before
    you go in and practice smiling with your mouth and eyes!
•   Being invited for an interview is a positive sign – they are interested in you!
•   Get clear about your strengths and what you have to offer.
•   Being well prepared for interview is crucial and can increase your confidence.
•   Be friendly and positive with everyone you meet (not just the interviewer).
Interview Preparation

Help with preparing for an interview

Getting invited to an interview means you’ve passed the first hurdle – your
application must have made a good impression.

Now you need to prepare yourself for the interview to make sure you don’t waste
the opportunity.

                                    Before the day

    1. Get information

Find out about the employer and the job – you could ask the employer if
they have an information pack and nowadays most companies have
websites. You can also speak to people you know who work or have
worked for the company.

           •   What do they do/make/sell?
           •   Who are their customers?
           •   What sort of organisation are they?
           •   Financial information – turnover, profits etc
           •   What exactly will the job involve?
           •   What sort of person do you think they want?
           •   How can you best fit your skills to match the job?

    2. Plan for the interview

•   Who will be  interviewing and the format of the interview e.g.
              •    First stage interview which may involve tests
              •    Formal interview talking to manager or HR
              •    Pannel Interview where a number of people are present.
              •    Group or Assessment Centre where candidates will be assessed
                   against each other.
               • Telephone interview (generally used to carry out initial contact)
•   Will there be a test to take? Find out before the interview and ask for an
    example of the things you’ll be asked to do.
•   If you have a disability, contact the employer prior to the interview if you require
    any particular arrangements. Check the day before to ensure details have been
    noted prior to your arrival.
Prepare for questions you might be asked

The following is a list of possible questions you may be asked at an
interview. Some suggestions are given which you may like to use to
prepare you own answer.

Thorough preparation will give you the confidence to do your best at an interview.

1.       Why do you want to work here?

Mention:

•    Good reputation of the firm
•    Any other positive information you have about the firm, e.g. their training record
•    It will give you a chance to do work which interests you

2.       Why did you leave your last job?

Explaining briefly and honestly the reasons why your last job ended. If there is
anything positive to say, say it, e.g.:

     •   They were a great company to work for and you learned a lot but are now
         looking for a new challenge

     •   If you left for other reasons such as health, point out that you are now fit and
         reassure the employer that you can do the duties required, or, if you were
         dismissed, that you take responsibility for your actions and have learnt from
         the experience.

3.       Have you done this kind of work before?

•    Yes – tell them the skills you have and how you can use them
•    No – quickly describe other work experience which will help you learn the job
     quickly. Emphasise your interest and enthusiasm to learn.

4.       What did you do in your last job?

Describe:

•    Skills and duties relevant to new job
•    Machines/equipment used
•    Your responsibilities
•    People you dealt with
•    How long you were there
•    If you were promoted



5.       What kinds of equipment can you operate?
•    Name any type of equipment relevant to the new job
•    Your training/qualifications
•    Length of time you have operated this equipment

6.      How long have you been out of work – how do you spend your time?

Describe:

•    Jobsearch activity
•    Voluntary work
•    Further education or study
•    Hobbies

7.      Why have you had a) so many jobs? b) only one job?

Mention:

a) so many jobs?
You wanted to widen your experience in different types of work/firms. Many of the
jobs were temporary. You would rather be in work than out of work.

b) only one job?
You had several different jobs within your last employment. The opportunity to
develop. Their good record in training and development.

8.      Why should I take you on?

•    Be ready for this question and answer confidently and positively
•    Describe your skills and experience and how they relate to this job
•    Reassure the employer that you are hardworking, reliable and capable

9.      How do you get on with people?

•    Describe how you have previously worked as part of a team
•    Mention your ability to get on with people at all levels
•    Give examples

10.     What makes a good team member?

Describe the skills required e.g.:

• Good communication
• Flexibility
• Adaptability
• Co-operation
• Sense of humour
11. What have been the two major achievements in your career/lift so
     far?
Give specific, relevant achievements and stress why they are important to you and
how they made a difference at work or in your life. Use this opportunity to sell your
skills and strengths.

12.    How do you cope with pressure?

Describe the pressures in previous jobs using a recent example, e.g. how you coped
with a changed deadline, completed a rush order or dealt with staff shortages.
Explain how you used your skills and strengths to overcome it.

13.    What are your weaknesses?

They should already know your strengths from your application form/CV or they
would not be interviewing you, but with asking about weaknesses they are testing
two issues:
   Are you self-aware i.e. are you able to see that there are things you are not so
   good at and secondly, are you the sort of person who does something to correct
   it?
• Avoid giving weaknesses critical to the job. Give a weakness which is now a
   strength, something irrelevant or a skill which can be developed.
• Start by describing parts of your last job that you found testing but explain how
   you overcame these problems
• Another tactic is to use a strength which sounds like a weakness e.g. “I can
   sometimes be a little too enthusiastic” or “I can take on too much work.”

Note: Employers value people who can admit their mistakes rather than blaming
their failings on others.

14.    What wage do you expect to earn?

If the wage level is negotiable – be prepared to negotiate. The dilemma is “where
to pitch your bid?” Too high, you could price yourself out. Too low, you could lose
out. Say “in the range of …£ - £.” Before going to the interview find out about
wage levels in the company and compare them with your current needs. If you are
really unsure bounce the question back if this seems appropriate to the interview
situation i.e. “could you give me an indication of the salary range?”

15.    How often were you absent from you last job?

•   If rarely – say so
•   If absence has been a problem – explain why and reassure the employer that
    you are now completely fit or the problem will not recur

16.    When would you be available to start?

As soon as possible! Do not put any barriers in their way.
17.    Do you have any questions?

You may like to prepare for this – it is almost always at the interview. You could
ask:

•   Why is the job vacant?
•   Why did the last person leave?
•   Who would I report to?
•   What training will I do, if any?
•   What would my first job be?
•   Does the company carry out job reviews? If yes – how often?
•   How soon will I hear about the result of my application?
•   How would I be paid?


Competency Based Interviews

Overview
Anyone who has been in steady work for a number of years may not have
experienced
competency based interviews, sometimes known as behavioural interviews. This
type of interview has been around since the 1980s, but for much of that time it was
used only by large organisations or government agencies to any great extent.
Research shows this type of interview is now becoming popular with both large and
small organisations. Any clients considering changing their job can benefit from
understanding this specific interview format.

Nowadays, the cost of recruitment has gone sky high. The average UK company
pays over £4000 to fill each vacancy. With costs running high, organisations are
keen to ‘get it right the first time’ and not have to re-advertise the job if the first
candidate proves to be unsatisfactory.

In this section:
    • How candidates can prepare in advance for this type of interview
    • The STAR model
    • Example of an answer applying the STAR model
    • What happens after the candidate has gone
    • Typical questions in a competency based interview
    • Useful websites

What is a competency based interview?
Competency based interviews follow the idea that past behaviour (competency) is
the best indicator of future behaviour. The interviewer will be looking for specific
examples of when and how you demonstrated particular behaviours.

How does it work?
The interviewer will want specific examples of when and how you demonstrated
particular competencies (behaviours) in your previous jobs.
Prior to the interview each position is assessed for the skills and competencies and
characteristics that relate to job success.

   •   This would normally be around three to six competencies.
   •   Interview questions are then developed to probe into these areas.

This is considered a fair process as all candidates are asked the same questions and
notes are taken in order to evaluate candidates.

Important
Older candidates are not at a disadvantage with this type of job interview and will be
evaluated in the same way as other candidates. However, to get the job offer, they
need to provide strong examples of when they have used their skills and
competencies in their previous jobs.

What should you expect in the interview?
Competency based interview questions are slightly different to the traditional style of
interview. They will tend to focus on past situations and your behaviour in those
situations.
For example, questions are likely to start with:
"Please give me an example of when..."
"Describe a situation when..."
If the interviewer is not satisfied with your reply he/she will probe further until they
get the information they are looking for.

What does the interview focus on?
Most interviews will focus on between three to six key areas. The key skills are
usually those that are related to that particular job role, for example, a position in a
call-centre could concentrate on teamwork, customer service, or computer skills. You
may also be asked about your knowledge or experience of working in a similar role
previously.
: Competency based interviews Handout 14.1 [Page 1 of 4]
How can you prepare for this type of interview?
You can prepare yourself for this type of interview by:
    • reviewing the job description carefully and identifying the skills likely to be
       assessed
    • identifying relevant situations and experiences in your past
    • recalling examples of when you have successfully used these skills
Well structured answers from you that focus on the competency required are
extremely powerful and can win you the interview. The STAR model will help you
structure your answers and provide examples of when you used the skills.

The STAR model stands for:
Situation - describe a situation or problem that you have encountered
Task - describe the task that the situation required or your ideas for resolving the
problem
Action - describe the action you took, obstacles that you had to overcome
Results - highlight outcomes achieved
Examples
Examples of typical competency based interview questions can be found further on.
Websites featuring information on competency based interviews:
Middlesex University
www.mdx.ac.uk/campus/support/careers/docs/int.pdf
A question from the interviewer on customer service skills could be:

“Can you give us an example of when you have dealt with an upset or
angry customer in the past?”

Think about:
   • What was the situation?
   • Why had it happened?
   • What did you do?
   • How was the situation resolved?
Unit 14: Competency based interviews Handout 14.1 [Page 2 of 4]
Possible answer applying the STAR model

Describe the Situation and the Task briefly.
“In my last job at Taylor Insurance I took a call from a very angry customer who
had been given a really high renewal quote for his car insurance. He told me he
wanted to cancel the policy and go to another company. (Situation)

The customer went on and on complaining and I couldn’t get a word in. Eventually, I
managed to calm him down by saying that I would go through his policy and see if
there was anything we could do to bring the cost down.” (Task)

Focus more on the Action and Result.
“He was still angry, so I told him I would do my best to help him, but he needed to
co-operate with me to let me do this. I looked up his details in the computer and
went through his insurance policy with him. I found that he had added his 19-year-
old son on the policy, and this was why he had such a high premium. The customer
informed me that his son had joined the armed forces and didn’t live at home
anymore, so he didn’t need to have him on the policy. (Action)
I was able to inform him that if his son only came home to visit for a few days, he
could let us know the dates in advance, and we could insure him for a small cost just
for those particular days.

The good result was that the customer renewed his policy with us, and it had been
greatly reduced. He also thanked me for taking the time to go through his policy.”
(Result)

More probing...
You should answer using the STAR model, keep the answer brief and to the point.
Interviewers will ask for more information if they need it. For example, after hearing
the answer above the interviewer may then ask you:
“Have you dealt with many irate customers?”
“How did you feel when the customer thanked you?”
After the interview
After the interview, recruiters will rate all candidates on a score sheet.
What are they looking for?
They will be interested in the candidates who have the highest scores. The strongest
contender will usually be the one who has impressed all the interviewers.
Unit 14: Competency based interviews Handout 14.1 [Page 3 of 4]
POSSIBLE COMPETENCY BASED QUESTIONS

Teamwork skills
  • What experience have you had of working in a team?
  • Describe a situation where you were in a team and conflict arose? What did
    you do?
  • How would you describe a successful team?
  • Give me an example of when your skills really helped the team’s performance.

Communication skills
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully
    communicate with another person even though you may not have liked that
    individual (or vice versa).
  • Tell me about a time when someone at work misunderstood what you said.
  • Give me an example of when your active listening skills really paid off for you.

Customer Service skills
  • How would you describe good customer service?
  • Describe a situation where you provided a service to a client beyond their
     expectations.
  • Tell us of the most difficult customer service experience that you have ever
     had to handle – perhaps with an angry or irate customer.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty
     in order to get a job done.

Problem-solving
   • What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision?
   • Tell me about an unpopular decision you have had to make.
   • How do you work under pressure?
   • What significant problems have you had to face this year?

Self-knowledge
   • How would you describe yourself?
   • How do your skills relate to our needs?
   • What are your three major accomplishments?
   • Why do you want to come and work for us?
COMPETENCY BASED INTERVIEWS
COMPETENCY BASED INTERVIEWS
Hopefully by now you have are fully prepared to go and get that job. If you still
need further help then contact 0800 1954 700 to arrange to speak to a Nextstep
Adviser.
                                    Good Luck!

				
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posted:4/12/2012
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