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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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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