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PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

VIEWS: 18 PAGES: 47

People make decisions in different ways, but there are three main factors in the careers cycle you will need to consider when choosing your career: focusing on you, exploring what’s out there and reviewing options and making choices. Then you are in a position to make applications and employ effective job seeking strategies.

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									CAREERS AND
 PERSONAL
DEVELOPMENT
 WORKBOOK
    2010
                                        CONTENTS


Introduction                                     3

Focusing on you                                  5

Exploring what’s out there                       21

Career Planning for International                26
Students

Reviewing options and making                     31
choices

Making applications                              39




ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The staff of the Careers and Employability Centre would like to thank Dr. Peter Hawkins for his
willingness to allow us to reproduce sections from his book “The Art of Building Windmills – Career
tactics for the 21st Century”.

Information from the following sections of the guide has been reproduced: Tactic One – Focusing
Your Skills, Tactic Two – Finding Your Ideal Job, Tactic Four – The Simple Formula for selling
Yourself, Tactic Five – The Art of Action Thinking.

We would also like to acknowledge the University of Greenwich Guidance and Careers Advisory
Service for the extracts taken from its Careers Planning Workbook - The World of Work Map.
Acknowledgments to Epigeum: Online Training for Researchers Web CT resource for the Values and
motivations section

Acknowledgments to original writers; Julie Wainwright and Sophie Miller

Updated and rewritten by Margaret Flynn and Sharon Winders, Careers and Employability Centre,
University of Birmingham, 2010

                                                                                                 2
                            INTRODUCTION
               Your Career Planning: Where are you now?

Career planning has a different meaning for everyone – depending
on where you are starting from…..

So where are you starting from? You may be at number 1 on the road map, and need to
think your career ideas through from the beginning, or you may be at number 7 or 8 and just
need to think about the last stages of your decisions and then apply for jobs.




Whether you are totally at a loss about your future career, thinking about a specific job,
postgraduate study or have a vague idea of what interests you, this workbook has been
designed to help you take stock of yourself and make more informed decisions about what to
do next. It can help you explore what resources there are available in order to help the
process along.

This workbook won’t provide you with all the answers, but will help you move further along
the roadmap

Additionally, the Careers and Employability Centre offers other opportunities to help you plan
your future:

           •    Career Planning Workshops (see www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers under
                ‘Events’)
           •    Personal Skills Award – 10 credit module – ‘Planning Your Career’ (see
                www.psa.bham.ac.uk)

                                                                                             3
Career Planning Cycles
People make decisions in different ways, but there are three main factors in the careers cycle you will
need to consider when choosing your career: focusing on you, exploring what’s out there and
reviewing options and making choices. Then you are in a position to make applications and employ
effective job seeking strategies.

How you approach investigating these stages will vary depending on where you are at on the career
planning roadmap, but at some point most students will need to look at all four stages in the cycle:.




        Career
        Planning                  Focusing on                      Exploring
        Cycle                     you                              what’s out
                                                                   there




         Making                                    Reviewing
         applications                              options and
                                                   making
                                                   choices


Focusing on You: Analysing your skills, learning styles, aptitudes, interests and job expectations will
provide clues to the type of career that might suit you

Exploring What’s Out There: Researching the day-to-day activities involved in a job and the
economic health of the employment sector will inform your decisions

Reviewing options and making choices: Compiling a ‘plan of action’ for the next step will help you
keep the momentum going

Making Applications: CVs, application forms and interviews – improve your competence to help you
succeed and develop a sound job seeking strategy.

You may need to travel around the cycle several times before you make your
final decisions – so build in sufficient time to do this.

By the end of this workbook you should have:
    •   Used self assessment techniques to create a personal portrait of yourself and considered how
        you can make use of this portrait to further your career decisions
    •   Found out about resources available to you to research occupations, what employers are
        looking for and generate some career ideas which interest you.
    •   Become more familiar with practical strategies to help further your plans and avoid ‘getting
        stuck’.

        Started to consider what makes a successful CV and how to improve your interview skills.


                                                                                                        4
      FOCUSING ON YOU
Analysing your skills, learning styles, aptitudes, interests
  and job expectations will provide clues to the type of
               career that might suit you




                                                               5
                       FOCUSING ON YOU
This section looks at what you are like, the skills you have to offer employers and the values
you have about work, to help you find which sorts of career you would find satisfying.

Completing this section should enable you to:

           1. Identify the skills you have developed and gain some ideas of how this
              knowledge can be used
           2. Consider your personality and abilities– your personality type, preferred
              learning style and analyse your aptitudes (numerical, verbal and reasoning
              ability)
           3. Reflect on your motivations and interests



         Career
         Planning           Focusing                          Exploring
         Cycle                                                what’s out
                            on you                            there




          Making                                Reviewing
          applications                          options and
                                                making
                                                choices



1. IDENTIFY YOUR SKILLS
Are you a strong team player … or a good communicator… or a good listener…or good at
managing your time?

Everyone has a variety of skills they can use in today’s changing world and analysing your
strengths will help you decide which careers to investigate further.

Skills act as a basis for career choice. If you are good at something, this will provide clues
about the type of career that might suit you. By completing the following questionnaires you
will identify your strengths, so that you can then identify careers that use these skills more
than others. Employers all seek a different range of skills but the questionnaires below cover
some of the core ones employers look for are: teamwork skills, communication, planning and
organising and creativity. There are others, but these will help you get started. Complete the
ones you think are important for you - you don’t have to do them all.

You can also use the questionnaires to help you see which skills areas need improving, and
so enhance your employability.




                                                                                             6
TEAMWORK SKILLS
How do you work with others? Are you a constructive team member and contribute
successfully to the success of a team? Being a good team member is more than having
experienced working in a team – it’s about what you say and do while you are a member that
counts.

   •   Think about a team or group activity you have been part of recently. This could be a
       project group for your course, a sports team, organising a social event or work
       experience.

   •   Think about specific meetings or incidents. Think about what you said and what
       you did.

Put X below on the dotted line in the middle column where you think you currently sit for
each statement. Be honest – no-one is perfect!

Weak team member            <…………………………>                   Strong team member
In meetings:                                               In meetings:
Interrupt before others                                    Listen fully to others’ points
have finished
Say nothing                                                Contribute to the discussion
Ignore quieter members                                     Encourage quieter members
of the team                                                to contribute
Talk at length about                                       Speak concisely to make
your point, taking up too                                  your point
much meeting time
Demolish others’ ideas                                     Respect others opinions.
at first hearing                                           Consider others’ points, ask
                                                           questions then give an
                                                           opinion
Don’t turn up to planning                                  Always turn up – or send
meetings without letting                                   apologies if can’t make it
anyone know
Promise to do tasks                                        Do what you agreed to do on
knowing you have no                                        time
time to do them
Jump topics before                                         Ensure everyone has had
everyone has had their                                     their say before introducing
say                                                        new topics
Never volunteer to do                                      Volunteer to do what you
any of the tasks                                           think you can accomplish
Outside meetings:                                          Outside meetings:
Don’t tell others when a                                   Keep others informed of
change occurs that                                         developments that affect
affects the groups plans                                   plans – in person, by
                                                           telephone or email
Get annoyed with others                                    Help others who are
who don’t do what they                                     struggling to do their tasks
promised                                                   without being resentful you
                                                           are doing more than them




                                                                                              7
 Weak team member                <…………………………>                     Strong team member
Diverge from agreed                                               Keep to agreed actions or
actions because you                                               consult with others if
think something else is                                           changes are needed
better
 Assume you are                                                   Ask others for feedback
 performing OK as a                                               about your contribution
 team member
 Put down others who                                              Aware that others may
 don’t think the same                                             think/approach tasks
 way you do                                                       differently to you and have
                                                                  different learning/thinking
                                                                  styles

Join up the Xs. What does the pattern look like?
Are you:
    • Mainly strong, but one or two points need improving?
    • Mainly weak, you need to think about what you say and your approach to tasks. Are
       other barriers affecting your performance? e.g. no interest in the team task, poor
       English language skills, lack of confidence.
    • Average. Do you need to identify the areas which need more practice which could
       help you become a stronger team member?

What can you do about it?

      •    Get more practice. Identify opportunities – in your course, in part-time work, in
           vacations, in extracurricular activities - that will enable you to engage in more team
           activities.
      •    Think more about how teams work. Analyse your actions and reactions to specific
           incidents when working in a team and how they might appear to others.
      •    Address any barriers stopping you from contributing effectively e.g. if you are an
           international student and your English language skills are poor, contact the English
           for International Students Unit (EISU) for help.

The University of Kent Interactive Teamworking Skills exercise suggests you should try to
avoid destructive or selfish group roles such as 1:

          Autocrat - tries to dominate or constantly interrupt other members of the team.
          Show Off - talks all the time and thinks they know all the answers.
          Butterfly - Keeps changing the topic before others are ready.
          Aggressor - Doesn't show respect to others, comments negatively about them.
          Critic - Always sees the negative side to any argument, but never suggests alternatives. Puts
           down the ideas of others.
          Self- confessor. Uses the group as a forum for inappropriate talk about self
          Avoider: refuses to focus on the task or group relationship problems
          Clown: shows non-involvement in group and engages in distracting communication.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Employers expect graduates to be good communicators, but what exactly do they mean?
What sorts of actions demonstrate good communication skills? The questionnaire below
covers the three main aspects of communication:
   • Speaking – with individuals or in groups

1
    http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/teamwork.htm

                                                                                                       8
   • Listening
   • Writing
Think about specific situations. Think about what you said and what you did.

Put X below on the dotted line in the middle column where you think you currently sit for
each statement. Be honest – no-one is perfect!

Weak communicator           <…………………………..>                   Strong communicator
Speaking/listening                                           Speaking/listening
Ignore non- verbal                                           Aware of and act on non-
signals from others e.g.                                     verbal signals e.g. move to
boredom, irritation                                          another topic, shut up,
                                                             acknowledge the issue
Don’t acknowledge that                                       Listen to and indicate you
someone has spoken                                           have heard others’
                                                             comments
No eye contact when                                          Appropriate eye contact –
speaking to /listening to                                    not staring
someone
Interrupt before                                             Wait for an opening before
someone has finished                                         making your point
speaking
Use a loud voice to                                          Speak clearly, so that you
drown out others                                             are audible
Never ask questions to                                       Ask questions frequently
elicit more
understanding
Assume someone                                               Check their level of
doesn’t already know                                         knowledge before
about the topic you are                                      elaborating on a point
telling them about
Use jargon or high level                                     Use plain understandable
language unnecessarily                                       language or explain any
                                                             necessary jargon
Think about other things                                     Actively listen to what
when listening to                                            people are saying
someone
Assume you have                                              Clarify you have interpreted
understood another                                           their point correctly by
person’s point                                               summarising what you think
                                                             you have heard
In writing                                                   In writing
Use informal ‘texting’                                       Use standard English in
language to                                                  emails to strangers/ those
strangers/those in                                           in authority/all professional
authority in emails/all                                      contacts
professional contacts
Write in ‘essay style’                                       Use appropriate style for
regardless of the                                            the occasion e.g. business
situation                                                    style, report style
Not write in grammatical                                     Check sentence
English                                                      construction to ensure the
                                                             text is grammatically correct


                                                                                             9
Weak communicator           <…………………………..>                     Strong communicator
Write using elaborate,                                         Write concisely
lengthy sentences
Never spell check                                              Always spell check
Never proof read the                                           Read the text thoroughly
text – just rely on spell                                      and spell check
checker
Join up the Xs. What does the pattern look like?

Are you:
   • Mainly strong, but one or two points need improving?
   • Mainly weak, especially in one area e.g. listening?
   • Mainly weak across all three areas of communication? Are other barriers affecting
       your performance? E.g. poor English language skills, lack of confidence.
   • Average. Do you need to identify the areas which need more practice which could
       help you become a stronger communicator?

What can you do about it?

   •   Reflect on what you have said and done regularly. Analyse specific situations which
       you feel could have gone better, and think about what you could have said or done
       that would have been better.
   •   Address any barriers stopping you from contributing effectively e.g. if you are an
       international student and your English language skills are poor, contact the English
       for International Students Unit (EISU) for help.
   •   Ask others their opinion of your speaking, listening and writing skills
   •   Get more practice in your weak areas. Identify opportunities – in your course, in part-
       time work, in vacations, in extracurricular activities - that will enable you to develop
       particular aspects of your communication skills.


PLANNING AND ORGANISING
Planning and organising skills include the ability to manage your time effectively, prioritise
tasks, and pay attention to the details that leads to successful implementation of a
task/project and the ability to initiate changes to plans if needed.

Think about specific tasks or projects you have been involved with recently. Think about
what you said and what you did.
Put X below on the dotted line in the middle column where you think you currently sit for
each statement. Be honest – no-one is perfect!

Weak organiser/planner <…………………......>                      Strong organiser/planner
Never on time for                                           Arrive on time or early
meetings/events
Never meet deadlines                                        Always meet deadlines
Rush about trying to fit                                    Reflect on your workload –
everything in                                               change things if you are too
                                                            busy
Underestimate the time it                                   Estimate well how long you
takes to do things                                          expect a task to take
Leave tasks to the last                                     Plan in advance and try to
minute                                                      complete ahead of time


                                                                                                 10
Weak organiser/planner <…………………......>                     Strong organiser/planner
Do the tasks as they occur                                 Prioritise tasks in order of
to you, without much                                       importance/deadlines
thought
Vague about when you will                                  Allocate times in your diary
do tasks                                                   for specific tasks
Never reflect on your plans                                Reflect regularly and initiate
to see if changes are                                      changes to your plans
needed
Always ask for extensions                                  Never ask for extensions
for course work
Once broad ideas in place,                                 Maintain interest right through
lose interest in the detail                                to implementation of the
                                                           plans
Keep the plans in your                                     Make lists/use
head                                                       mindmaps/project planning
                                                           software of details to ensure
                                                           all aspects of your plans are
                                                           covered
Get distracted from the task                               Keep focussed
and go off at a tangent
Untidy approach to                                         Keep paperwork etc tidy/ well
paperwork                                                  labelled/ in order
See the task as a whole –                                  Analyse the task into
not in its component parts                                 segments
Think about/discuss plans                                  Schedule time to take action
but never take action                                      on plans

Join up the Xs. What does the pattern look like?

Are you:
   • Mainly a strong organiser/planner, but one or two points need improving?
   • Mainly weak across all points? Are other barriers affecting your performance? e.g.
       poor English language skills, lack of knowledge about resources that can help you
   • Average? Do you need to identify the areas which need more practice which could
       help you become better at planning and organising?

What can you do about it?

   •   Reflect on a recent situation – whether planning for a deadline or organising an
       event. Analyse what you did, when you did it, if the situation could have been better if
       you had organised it or yourself differently. Decide how this is going to make a
       difference next time.
   •   Address any barriers stopping you from developing this skill effectively e.g. if you are
       an international student and your English language skills are poor, contact the
       English for International Students Unit (EISU) for help.
   •   Ask others their opinion about your planning and organising ability.
   •   Get more practice in your weak areas. Identify opportunities – in your course, in part-
       time work, in vacations, in extracurricular activities - that will enable you to do more
       planning and organising than you do normally.




                                                                                             11
CREATIVITY

What is creativity?

Definitions abound. Although often associated with art and literature, it is an essential part of
success both in the business world and in other organisations.

A good starting point for a definition is outlined in a government report:

‘First, they [the characteristics of creativity] always involve thinking or behaving imaginatively. Second,
overall this imaginative activity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieving an objective. Third,
these processes must generate something original. Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to
the objective.’ (‘All our futures: Creativity, culture and education', DfEE, 1999).

Employers often put creativity at the core of their business:

‘And because our business is based on innovation, we also encourage people to be continuously
creative, to question assumptions and systems, to challenge each other and build on fresh insights to
find new and better ways of doing things. Within our culture, “we have always done it this way” is the
best reason to think again.’ (Astra Zeneca)

‘Creativity is the lifeblood of our organisation’. (BBC)

‘Fast Streamers think imaginatively and creatively - whether tackling the finer details of the Treaty of
Rome or masterminding your department's move to another building. Big picture thinking, while
focusing on the small details is all-important. You’ll also be expected to challenge accepted ideas and
ways of doing things while still being open to new ideas.’ (Civil Service)

In a business context creativity is usually about being able to come up with new ideas and
concepts and look at alternative solutions to a problem. These ideas often go beyond the
obvious and provoke discussion to encourage alternative ideas to emerge. Creative people
use lateral thinking to transfer ideas suggested for one situation to another, making relevant
new associations between ideas and concepts.

Employers seek those who are imaginative, but who can apply their ideas in the context of
the organisation. The ideas need to be relevant to the situation, time, and place and within
budget constraints. This type of creativity is sometimes referred to as innovation.

If you want to know more about creativity, see www.mindtools.com.

Creativity and you

Think about specific tasks or projects you have worked on recently. Think about what you
said and what you did. Put X below on the dotted line in the middle column where you think
you currently sit for each statement. Be honest – no-one is perfect!

Less creative                       <…………………………>                     Strongly creative
Adapt existing /others’ ideas                                        Coming up with new /novel
                                                                     ideas
Rarely come up with any                                              Come up with several
alternative solutions to a                                           alternative solutions
situation

                                                                                                        12
Use familiar sources to get                                 Take inspiration from a wide
ideas                                                       range of sources to come up
                                                            with alternative suggestions
Dislike brainstorming                                       Enjoy using brainstorming
activities in lectures and                                  techniques in sessions
groups sessions
Analyse a task into                                         See a task as a whole – not in
segments, without looking                                   its component parts
at the whole picture
Focus on the detail almost                                  Can put detail to one side, so
as soon as an idea occurs                                   that the wider picture can be
                                                            visible
Always use tried and tested                                 Prepared to take risks to try out
methods                                                     ideas
Accept a procedure/method/                                  Regularly think ‘there must be
process as it is                                            a better way to do this’
Once started thinking about                                 Often take 'one step back' to
the detail of an issue, find it                             get a broader view of a
difficult to take a step back                               problem
and take a broader view
Tentatively suggest new                                     Confidently suggest new ideas
ideas that occur to you                                     because you enjoy breaking
                                                            free from the norm
Rarely make links between                                   Often see how solutions
solutions for one problem                                   designed for one purpose can
and another                                                 be transferred to another
Overemphasise                                               Focus less on practicalities
practicalities when thinking                                when coming up with new
of new ideas                                                ideas
Do not use facts and data to                                Backs up suggestions with
support suggestions                                         facts and data
Simply states an idea                                       Explains and sells the benefits
without explaining the                                      of ideas
benefits
Uncomfortable with thinking                                 Happy to generate ideas
of ideas on the spot, prefers                               quickly and spontaneously
to think things through and
research first

Join up the Xs. What does the pattern look like?

Are you:
   • Mainly a strong creative?
   • Mainly weak across all points? Are other barriers affecting your performance? e.g.
       poor English language skills, lack of confidence, lack of knowledge about resources
       that can help you
   • Average. ? Do you need to identify the areas which need more practice which could
       help you show your creative potential?

What can you do about it?
    •   Develop a better understanding of what creativity is about and do some research into
        it. Start with www.mindtools.com



                                                                                           13
   •    Address any barriers stopping you from contributing effectively. For example, to build
        your confidence, gradually try out making more creative suggestions in any teams
        you are involved with
   •    Reflect on what you have said and done regularly
   •    Get more practice in situations where you need to be creative. Identify opportunities
        – in your course, in part-time work, in vacations, in extracurricular activities - that will
        enable you to use more creative approaches than you do normally.

HOW WILL SKILLS ANALYSIS HELP?
   1. When you research jobs in the ‘Exploring What’s Out there’ section, use this list of
      your strengths to do a direct comparison with the skills required by employers for that
      career.
   2. Self awareness is becoming an increasingly important skill to develop. Many
      employers expect you to take responsibility for your own development and training
      and this is very difficult to do if you have little self awareness. Reflecting on and
      analysing your skills will help with your self awareness.
   3. When applying for jobs – by CV or application form, illustrate your strengths to
      persuade the employer to interview you
   4. At interview, illustrate your strengths when answering interview questions
   5. When in your job, you can use this knowledge to plan your ‘CPD’ – continuing
      professional development – a requirement of all graduate level jobs.

Using your skills analysis

Employers are interested in your skills profile, and how you can illustrate that you are good
at what you claim.

Knowing your skills and strengths is the first step – you now need to be able to illustrate
these – in writing and verbally. Choose a strength from the skills questionnaires on previous
pages. Write a paragraph in each section below about an incident or situation which
demonstrates what you have claimed. Be specific and use detail – avoid general sweeping
statements.

Skill              Evidence

Planning and       Example:
organising         Organised end of term event for my department for 100 people.
                   Decided on and booked venue, booked DJ, distributed publicity,
                   printed tickets, organised sales, managed budget. Sold 78 tickets,
                   70 attended. Planned well in advance – but sales were slow, so
                   changed plans and increased publicity. Night successful- positive
                   feedback from those who attended.

                   I am player-coach of a local amateur football club. I evaluate our
                   performances after matches by holding discussions with others in
                   the team, and organise future training sessions and decide on
                   match day tactics on the basis of such evaluation. (Team logs, my
                   own notes, reports to club committee)




                                                                                                 14
Skill   Evidence




                   15
2. CONSIDER YOUR PERSONALITY AND ABILITIES

Psychometric questionnaires and tests

Psychometric tests and questionnaires are best done online, so in this section you will find
web references for each type of questionnaire and test.

Psychometric questionnaires fall into two types:

             •   Learning Styles and Personality Type questionnaires: these questionnaires
                 have no right or wrong answers and are not strictly timed. They assess
                 aspects of personality such as typical behaviour (personality type),
                 preferences (learning styles), interests and motivations.
             •   Aptitude or ability tests where you achieve a score depending on the number
                 of answers you get right. Typical tests are numerical reasoning, verbal
                 reasoning, spatial or abstract reasoning.

Learning Styles

Everyone learns in a different way and understanding the way you learn best will affect the
career you prefer as well as your academic work. For example if a job requires you to work
and learn on your own and you prefer to learn in group or team situations, perhaps that job
may not be for you! Questionnaires help you to assess your preferred learning style and
online examples include:

    •   My Potential Learning Styles. 2 This questionnaire helps you assess your preferred
        style: clarifier, activator, creator, explorer. See www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers under
        Applying for a Job
    •   The Vark Questionnaire has 16 questions and is a quick and easy way to help you
        assess your approach to learning and preference for taking in, and putting out
        information in a learning context. See http://www.vark-learn.com/english/index.asp
    •   Soloman and Felder’s Index of Learning Styles can be completed online and helps
        you assess your preferences on four dimensions (active/reflective, sensing/intuitive,
        visual/verbal, and sequential/global). See http://www.ncsu.edu/felder-
        public/ILSpage.html
    •   The Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire has been used for over 20
        years to help people assess their learning styles preferences and whether they are
        inclined towards activist, reflector, theorist or pragmatist. To complete this
        questionnaire you have to pay £10. See http://www.peterhoney.com/content/tools-
        learningstyles.html

Personality types

My Potential Type Dynamics Indicator. This questionnaire assesses how you are likely to
react and behave in different circumstances. It is based on the work of psychologist Carl
Jung, whose theories are behind the most widely used personality assessments in the world.
See www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers under Applying for a job



2
 The Careers Centre is licensed to provide the My Potential assessments to the University of Birmingham’s
undergraduate, postgraduate students and recent graduates.

                                                                                                            16
Take a ten minute online test about your personality and potential career options; it was
developed by psychometric specialist Neil Scott of Cassin-Scott Associates. Results are
based on Holland model of vocational choice suggesting people with particular interests and
styles tend to favour certain types of jobs.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/careers/

Aptitude or Ability tests

Do you know what your ability is in areas such as numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning,
logical reasoning or abstract reasoning? Employers use these when selecting candidates for
jobs and they can indicate your strengths in these areas so are useful when choosing a
career. The tests are done under strict administration and time conditions and the questions
have definite right and wrong answers.

   •   My Potential Aptitude Tests. The three tests on offer are verbal, numerical and
       abstract tests. For other practice aptitude tests see www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers
       under Applying for a job




                                                                                          17
3. YOUR VALUES AND MOTIVATIONS
What do you want from a job?

The clearer your ideas about what you want from your career then the easier it will be to
evaluate opportunities as they come along. Your initial ideas may be unfocussed or
unrealistic but there are ways to clarify them and work out the steps required to move
towards a career goal.

The following exercise will get you thinking about what motivates you in a job. Under each
section there are a series of statements for you to allocate a level of importance. There may
be other issues that are important to you that are not mentioned, or you might want to
expand on some of the ones listed. Write them in the final section.


Decide how important the following statements are for you?

                                                             Must     Would     Not
                                                             have     be nice   important
Reward        A highly paid job
              Recognition for my work
              Achieving a respected position
              Satisfaction that my work has some value to
              society
Influence     Responsibility for major decisions
              Position of authority over others
              Career progression within an organisation
              Pursue an independent career path
Challenge     Considered an expert in the field
              Have my abilities stretched constantly
              Use my specialist skills
              Regularly required to use problem solving
              skills
Lifestyle     Balance between working hours and
              personal time
              Plenty of work related travel
              Flexible working hours
              Demanding work environment to help me
              achieve
Values        Feel that my work makes a difference in the
              world
              Show dedication to that particular field
              Benefit individuals and the wider community
              Contribution to the profitability of my
              organisation
Security      A structured career path
              Long term security in a stable organisation
              Build my own business or other organization
              e.g. a charity




                                                                                            18
                                                                              Must      Would     Not
                                                                              have      be nice   important
                       Variety of jobs and projects with different
                       employers
     People            Work with a team of like minded individuals
                       Develop a good relationship with colleagues
                       Work autonomously without reference to
                       others
                       Satisfaction of contributing to a successful
                       team project




There may be other issues that are important to you that are not mentioned, or you might want
to expand on some of the ones listed. Write them below.




What NEXT?

My definites:
Prioritise the items you have put in your ‘must have’ category: Choose the top 3 or 4
1.

2.

3.

4.


These are the issues to consider when researching opportunities
                                                      i3
     Focusing on You: Summary



     3
         Epigeum: OnlineTraining for Researchers WebCT resource for the Values and motivations section


                                                                                                              19
                         Finding your Ideal Job
Most jobs use a wide range of skills, some of which will play a more central role than others.
You have to look for something that plays to your strengths, meets your aspirations and
provides you with the chance to use your graduate skills in the way that makes sense to you.

You have now:
1.    Identified your skills
2.    Considered your personality and aptitudes (psychometric questionnaires and
      tests)
3.    Looked at your values and motivations

To help you aim for what you really want below are various elements that sum up the key
choices to make when picturing your ideal job:

Purpose
Try to identify the main purpose of your ideal job. How does work relate to your wider life
goals? Does it provide you with satisfaction – or simply finance other interests, which give
you more of a buzz. In short, do you want to live to work or work to live?

Roles
What kind of work do you see yourself doing to satisfy this purpose? What suits your
temperament best? Do you prefer working with people, ideas or practical things?

Organisation
Do you see yourself working in the private sector or for a public body – in industrial setting or
an office environment? Would you feel more relaxed in a large organisation or a
small/medium sized company?

Career Motivation
What will make you want to get out of bed in the morning? Think about the Values and
Motivations questionnaire you have completed.

Environment
What energises you most – a steady pace or the stimulation of deadlines? Think about the
kind of work you enjoy most, the way you interact with others, the social context, the learning
environment you enjoy most, and the working hours you prefer.

Sector
What kind of employment sector suits you best? You also need to check if there are signs of
growth in your target sector and where the main opportunities lie.

Skills
Finally you need to ask what key skills, qualifications and experience you need for your ideal
job – remember to look at it from the employer’s perspective.

You will need to do more research before you can answer all of these questions. Use
the ‘Exploring What’s Out There’ section to help.




                                                                                               20
EXPLORING WHAT’S OUT
       THERE
Researching the day-to-day activities involved in a job and
the economic health of the employment sector will inform
                     your decisions




                                                         21
      EXPLORING WHAT’S OUT THERE
Of course it is not enough just to analyse your skills, interests, motivations and learning style
without putting this knowledge to use. In this section you can engage with another stage in
the process of career choice – Exploring What’s Out There.

This section looks at how you can research occupations and employment sectors to help
you find which sorts of career you would find satisfying.

Using this section should enable you to:

       •    Increase your awareness of job sectors available for graduates
       •    Identify the resources you can use
       •    Relate this research to your own situation to think about what job would suit you




           Career
           Planning            Focusing on
           Cycle                  you                          Exploring
                                                               what’s
                                                               out there


            Making                               Reviewing
            applications                         options and
                                                 making
                                                 choices




Graduate Careers

1.      The World of Work Map for Graduates on the next pages can help you generate
some jobs ideas. It groups broad categories of jobs together. Many are open to graduates of
any discipline, even if they require postgraduate study. These categories may coincide with
some of the interests and skills you have identified in yourself.
Use the chart to help you move on from examining your own skills, interests and motivations
to using this knowledge to identify possible areas of work and job ideas. Try to identify 3-4
areas of work that interest you.

2.      There are other ways of generating ideas – using the internet, paper based and
people based resourcesSee Resources to help you ‘Research Jobs and Careers’ on
pages 30-33. These are ideal tools and sources to help you research the careers you are
interested in. Once you have some occupations you are interested in the next step is to
research these thoroughly.




                                                                                              22
        1. World of Work Map for Graduates



               Logistics &                  Human
               Transport                                                    Charity,
                                            Resources
                                                                            Development Work
                                            and
                                                                            and Regeneration
                                            Administration
  Buying,
  selling &
  retailing
                               Sport,
                               Leisure &
                               Tourism                                          IT
       Defence and                                  Hospitality and                                  Information
       Public                                       Events                                           Patents and
       Protection                                   Management                                       Heritage
                                                                                                     Management
                                                                              Actuarial,
                                                                              Pensions
                          Advertising,
                                                                              &Insurance
Social                    PR &
Guidance                  marketing
and                                                                                         Legal
Community                                                                                   services

                                           PEOPLE               DATA
              Education

                                                                                                     Accountancy
 Health care                                                                                         and Financial
 and                                        PRACTICAL           CREATIVE                             Management
 Psychology


                                                                                     Management and
                                                                                     Research
     Animal &                    Construction
                                                                                     Services
     plant                       and Property
     resources                   Management

                                                                            Creative Arts & Design
                                           Natural
   Engineering &                           Resources &
   Manufacturing                           Environment
                                                                                      Performing Arts

                    Scientific Research,                       Publishing
                    Analysis & Support                         and Media




                                                                                                              23
                  World of Work Map for Graduates
                           In more detail…

     EDUCATION                       SPORT, LEISURE & TOURISM
  Teaching in Schools                  Sport
  Lecturing in Further and Higher      Leisure
  Education                            Tourism
  Special Educational Needs
  Teaching English as a Foreign      ADVERTISING, PR & MARKETING
  Language
  Teaching in Non-School/College       Advertising
  Settings                             PR
  Education Advice and Development     Marketing

SOCIAL, GUIDANCE &                   BUYING, SELLING & RETAILING
COMMUNITY WORK                         Buying/Purchasing
  Social and Probation Work            Selling and Sales Management
  Personal and Careers Guidance        Retailing and Wholesaling
  Counselling
  Community Work                     ACTUTIAL WORK, INSURANCE &
                                     PENSIONS
HEALTH CARE & PSYCHOLOGY               Actuarial Work
  Medicine                             Pensions
  Dentistry                            Insurance
  Nursing and Midwifery
  Allied Medical Specialisms
                                     ACCOUNTANCY & FINANCIAL
                                     MANAGEMENT
  Physical Therapies
                                       Chartered Accountancy
  Health Promotion and Wellbeing
                                       Certified Accountancy
  Psychology
                                       Public Finance Accountancy
                                       Management Accountancy
DEFENCE & PUBLIC PROTECTION            Taxation
                                       Retail Banking and Personal
  Armed Forces
                                       Financial Services
  Security Services                    Investment Banking and Corporate
  Emergency Services                   Financial Services
  Public Health and Protection         Investment Management

HOSPITALITY & EVENTS                 LEGAL SERVICES
MANAGEMENT                             Solicitors
  Hospitality                          Barristers
  Events Management                    Ancillary Legal Professionals
                                       International Law




                                                                          24
HUMAN RESOURCES &                      ANIMAL & PLANT RESOURCES
ADMINISTRATION                           Agriculture
  Human Resources, Recruitment and       Horticulture
  Training
                                         Forestry
  Administration
                                         Fisheries
  Clerical & Secretarial Services
                                         Veterinary and Animal Care
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
                                       ENGINEERING &
  Programming, Systems Analysis and
  Software                             MANUFACTURING
  IT Management and Services             Engineering
                                         Plant and Production
CHARITY, DEVELOPMENT WORK                Process and Quality Control
& REGENERATION                           Engineering Sales and Service
  Charity and Development Work
  Regeneration                         SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH,
                                       ANALYSIS & SUPPORT
MANAGEMENT & RESEARCH                    Scientific Research and
                                         Development
SERVICES
  Management consultancy                 Medical Related Scientific Services
  Statistical services                   Scientific Analysis and Investigation
  Research Services                      Scientific Technical Support
  Translation & Interpreting
                                       INFORMATION, PATENTS &
                                       HERITAGE MANAGEMENT
LOGISTICS & TRANSPORT                    Information and Library
  Logistics                              Management
  Transport Management                   Patent and Related Work
  Transport Personnel                    Heritage and Museums
                                         Management
CONSTRUCTION & PROPERTY
MANAGEMENT                             CREATIVE ARTS & DESIGN
  Town and Regional Planning             Photography
  Landscape Architecture                 Arts and Crafts
  Architecture                           Illustration and Multimedia
  Civil Engineering and Construction     Fashion and Textiles
  Land and Property Management

NATURAL RESOURCES & THE                PUBLISHING, MEDIA &
ENVIRONMENT                            PERFORMING ARTS
  Cartography                            Publishing and Printing
  Exploration                            Journalism
  Extraction and Harnessing              Writing
  Environmental Control and              Broadcasting, Film and Video
  Management                             (Technical)
  Environmental Protection and           Broadcasting, Film and Video
  Conservation                           (Production)
                                         Theatre
                                         Performance


                                                                                 25
Career Planning for International Students
Career Planning for International Students operates in the same way as it does for UK
Students, but there are some additional aspects that need to be considered.

Identifying your Unique Contribution

As an international student you have experience of living and working in a second culture
and this means you can show that you have developed a number of skills highly desired by
employers i.e. flexibility, cultural skills, adaptability and you will most likely have studied in a
2nd language.

As an international student you will also have knowledge, experience of your home culture
and access to networks which may be invaluable to an employer wishing to develop
business in that country. When you research a labour market or a company for a job in the
UK it gives you an edge if you can also talk about the market in your home country.

If you intend to return to your own country you need to ensure that you maintain your
networks whilst you are here, keep up to date with the labour market news, develop your
networks when visiting friends and family.

Recognising the Barriers you may face
               Issue                                           Solution
Poor English language skills                       Join student societies and talk in English to
                                                   other students or colleagues
                                                   Access language courses at EISU
Lack of understanding of UK work culture           Ensure that you socialise outside your own
and social conventions                             cultural group.
                                                   Work experience paid or unpaid will give you
                                                   experience of social norms in the workplace.
Failure to represent your skills and               Show how you have developed transferable
competencies                                       skills and be able to give examples at
                                                   interviews, practising answering competency
                                                   based questions is essential
Many employers do not understand the               Nothing you can do except explain if you
immigration rules and so will not take the risk    have the chance to talk directly to an
of employing an international student for fear     employer
of prosecution

Work Schemes for International Graduates

The following schemes exist for Non-EU students to work in the UK, current information
about these schemes can be found on the UKCISA or ISAS websites: www.ukcisa.org.uk;
www.as.bham.ac.uk/support/international

Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW)
Tier 1 (General) Highly Skilled Tier
Tier 2 Work Permit (you cannot apply for this Scheme in the first instance, the employer
must make the application)




                                                                                                  26
2. Resources to help you research Jobs and Career
Areas
Use this section to generate more career ideas and to research the career options you are
already considering. Decide what you need to know and then use the resources listed for
your research. Remember to judge the reliability of each resource you use.

What do you need to know?

To find your ideal job, you need to find out:
    • The key skills needed to be successful in that job
    • What people do in the job on a daily basis
    • What qualifications are needed
    • Is further training required
    • The state of market for that industry - labour market information
    • Competition and availability of jobs
    • Salaries and lifestyle implications

How to judge the reliability of each source

Consider
   • How up to date is it? If it is more than 2 years old – it could be very out of date
   • Is it biased? Is the material written by marketers, or give just one view of the career?
   • Does information from different sources conflict? If so you need to delve for more
      sources or network to find out more from personal contacts.

Where can you find it?

Web based:      www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers. Destination information of recent
                                           graduates
                                           Current vacancies for graduates
                                           Work experience vacancies
                                           Occupational information
                                           Employer database
                www.prospects.ac.uk        Explore types of jobs – details of about
                                           400 occupations, about 2000 words on
                                           each occupation
                                           Options with your subject - about 70
                                           subjects
                                           Communities e.g. Finance, Education,
                                           Media
                                           National vacancies – adverts from
                                           employers
                www.targetjobs.co.uk       includes jobs and advice about
                                           different career sectors
                Employers’ own websites
                Business information       e.g. www.incomesdata.co.uk ;
                websites                   www.wetfeet.com ;
                                           www.ukbusinesspark.co.uk;
                                           www.reuters.com
                www.sscalliance.org.uk     Sector Skills Councils. Each council is


                                                                                            27
                                               responsible for a specific industry
                                               sector e.g. Skillset (audio visual
                                               industries)
                Government websites            e.g. Department for Business,
                                               Innovation and Skills www.bis.gov.uk
                                               Training and Development Agency for
                                               Schools www.tda.gov.uk
                Professional bodies and        e.g. Institute of Personnel and
                institutions                   Development www.cipd.co.uk , Institute
                                               of Practitioners in Advertising
                                               www.ipa.co.uk,
                Research bodies                e.g. www.guidance-research.org
Paper based     Careers and Employability      red file information – books/magazines
(web            Centre Information Room        e.g. Target publications e.g. Property,
versions                                       Finance, Insight Guides, AGCAS
often                                          publications, Careers and
available)                                     Employability Centre’s own leaflets

                National press                 e.g. Guardian, Financial Times
                Local papers                   e.g. Birmingham Post
                Business magazines             e.g. New Scientist, New Civil Engineer,
                                               Computer Weekly
People          Employer presentations on      (Autumn term mainly)
based           campus
(networking
see below)
                Employer fairs                 e.g. Law Fair, Science and Engineering
                                               fair, AIESEC fair (Autumn term mainly)
                Careers advisers               Advice desk consultations available
                                               daily
                Careers events                 e.g. Media and Communications Day,
                                               Making a Difference Week

                Alumni                         Yourbham alumni network for available
                                               when you graduate
                Work experience or             Your own contacts
                voluntary work contacts


Networking for Career Research

Networking whilst still at university is an important part of career planning and involves
building positive contacts with others in your field or career areas you may be interested in.
Networking is a two way process that can be of mutual benefit to you and your contact.

Successful networking can:

   •   Offer you support and encouragement
   •   Help you to collaborate with colleagues on a professional level
   •   Establish contacts with others who can provide information and insight into careers
       and institutions
   •   Provide useful sources of vacancies (not all jobs are always advertised)



                                                                                           28
You should aim to develop contacts wherever possible:

      •   Within you department
      •   Professional conferences, workshops and meetings
      •   Careers fairs and careers information days

Networking can raise your profile both in your own field and beyond. We would all prefer to
work with people we like, trust and know. Thus networking can directly influence your job
prospects.

If you are not planning to make your career within further study or academia, you should try
to develop contacts with people in the occupations you are interested in. Try to arrange a
meeting to discuss what the job involves or organise some “work shadowing” to observer
them doing their job.

Most people are happy to talk about their work and will show an interest in yours. The hard
part for many is having the courage to approach people especially if they are well known in
the field. Unless you are introduced by someone else, it is unlikely that you will get to speak
to them unless you are proactive. Go for it!

Tips for effective networking
4

                               I think, probably be interested in the other
                               people. You want them to be interested in you,
                               but you will find if you're interested in them
                               that creates the sort of translation of ideas that
                               will keep you in their memory.




Networking Resources

www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers/events Careers and Employability Centre events, check for
employer presentations, careers fairs and skills workshops.

Jobs.ac.uk (2007) Networking Skills [online] Available from
http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers/whitepapers/573/Networking_Skills [Accessed 13th May 2010]

Nature Publishing (2010) Nature Network [online] Available from http://network.nature.com/
[Accessed 13th May 2010]




4
    Dame Julia Higgins Imperial College London From WebCT course “Selecting a conference, presenting and
networking”




                                                                                                     29
Linked in corporation (2010) Linked in Professional Network [online] Available from
http://www.linkedin.com [Accessed 13th May 2010]

Facebook (2010) Facebook Social Networking [online] available from
http://www.facebook.com [Accessed 13th May 2010]

Second Life (2010) [online] Second Life Available from http://www.secondlife.com
[Accessed 13th May 2010]

University of Derby (2008) Career Networking [online] Available from
http://www.derby.ac.uk/careers/career-networking [Accessed 22nd December 2009]

Hind and Moss (2005) Employability Skills, Business Education Publishers

D’Souza S. (2007) Brilliant networking. Prentice Hall http://www.pearsoned.co.uk
ISBN: 9780273714842




Exploring What’s Out There: Summary
Generating some career ideas to research is a good start – even if you discard some of
them after more research.

The next step is to make time to research these occupations thoroughly, using a variety of
resources.

Most important is to think about the reliability of the information you are finding. Before
making a judgement about a career, ask yourself:
   • Are you getting conflicting information from different sources?
   • How old is the information?
   • Could the source be biased?

Build into your research opportunities to network and talk to people doing the job or at least
talk to people with knowledge of the sector. With these contacts you may be able to organise
work experience or job shadow someone doing a job you want to learn more about.

Use labour market information such as ‘What Do Graduates Do’ or the Prospects website
www.prospects.ac.uk ‘Sector’ information to find out more about sector or industry you are
researching.

Reflecting and reviewing your feelings about these careers is the next stage of the process:
see Reviewing Options and Making Choices.




                                                                                              30
REVIEWING OPTIONS
AND MAKING CHOICES
Compiling a ‘plan of action’ for the next step will
    help you keep the momentum going




                                                      31
   REVIEWING OPTIONS AND MAKING
             CHOICES
Career decision making is not a one off process. You will find yourself reviewing and
reflecting on your plans frequently. These reflections will affect the choices you make, so be
prepared to move round the career planning cycle several times.

Using this section should enable you to increase your awareness of:

   •   The steps needed to make your own action plan
   •   Key points about reflecting and reviewing your progress




         Career
         Planning                Focusing on                   Exploring
         Cycle                   you                           what’s out
                                                               there




                                                 Reviewing
          Making                                 options and
          applications
                                                 making
                                                 choices



                              Steps to Action Planning
This is an essential part of career planning as it provides you with the means of recording
and assessing your own career development. Regularly setting and reviewing short,
medium and long-term goals enables you to be in a stronger position to develop your career
on your terms – nobody else’s.

The seven steps to action planning outlined below, are designed to help you develop this
kind of approach and put it to work.

1. Identify and clearly define your goal.

For example, this might be:
Short-term – to obtain a 2:1 in your degree
Medium-Term – to apply for a postgraduate IT conversion course
Long-term – to secure a job as an IT systems analyst



                                                                                            32
2. Brainstorm the activities and tasks you must undertake to achieve the goal,
prioritise them and set a date for completion of each task. You may want to set daily, weekly,
monthly or yearly targets.

3. Break down your goals into smaller tasks. Achieving your goals will seem less
daunting this way. For example if you are interested in researching opportunities in
personnel or marketing you might aim to:
    • Read relevant occupational information e.g. on Prospects website
    • Contact CIPD and CIM (professional bodies) and read the careers section of their
       websites
    • Attend an employer fair and discuss these roles with employers on the stands

Avoid being vague by using the SMART technique: – Specific, Measurable, Achievable,
Realistic and within a Timescale.

4. Identify obstacles and difficulties from the start and plan ways to overcome them.
Write down the barriers you feel are stopping you making progress e.g. time constraints,
pressures of work, distractions, unsure about how to write a persuasive CV, having difficulty
finding relevant information, confused by conflicting information…

5. Find useful resources and opportunities. Use the Careers and Employability Centre to
help you get started.

6. Brainstorm people who may be able to help you. Start networking and get them on
board. Pinpoint key people and identify how they can help you achieve your goals. For
example friends, family, lecturers, careers advisers may be able to give you the
encouragement, contacts and advice you need.

6. Develop positive thinking. In order to achieve the goal you have to believe in it and
believe in yourself

7. Take personal responsibility and take action. Reflect on what you are doing. Banish
the destructive habits of making excuses and poor planning and ‘never getting round to it’.
Keep a record of what you have done and store it where you can find it. Decide when you
are going to review it and note it in your diary. Start your record by completing the Personal
Profile and Action Plan below.

                      Your Personal Profile and Career Action Plan

By now you will have undertaken a variety of different activities to help you gather
information about yourself, i.e. your skills, interests, motivations and personal preferences.
You should have some ideas about what you need to do next to help you decide about your
career. These could be

   •   explore in more depth areas of work you may be interested in and suited to.
   •   revisit your skills analysis to plan improving in some key areas
   •   make job applications or applications for work experience

Action planning is a key career management skill. Working out where you want to be and
the steps you need to take to get there can be applied to short, medium and long term goals.




                                                                                             33
              My Personal Profile and Career Action Plan
Date:


 Where are you in the Career Planning process? Which number on the Career Planning
                        Roadmap did you choose on page 3?




     What have you learned about yourself from the ‘Focusing on you’ section on page
     5?




     Have you generated any career options from the Exploring What’s Out There
     section on page 21? If not, what are you going to do to generate some? If yes – what
     are they?




     What have you done so far to follow up these ideas?

                                                                                       34
What is the next goal you are going to set yourself? Use the SMART technique
described on page 33.




What action will you take now? (in order to achieve your SMART goal)

                                                                       By when

     


      


      


      




W hat resources will you use and what information do you need?


                                                                                 35
What might stop you following up these ideas? How are you going to overcome
them?




When are you going to review this action plan?




                                                                        36
Reviewing Options and Making Choices:
Summary
Reviewing options is a continuous process and your choices may change direction as a
result.

Reflecting takes time – so allocate space to do this when you can focus and concentrate on
the process. Use the action planning techniques to keep you on track and remind you of
progress so far.

Test out your ideas by making applications for jobs and courses. See Making Applications
to help with the next step.




                                                                                        37
38
 MAKING APPLICATIONS
  CVs, application forms and interviews – improve your
competence to help you succeed and develop a sound job
                     seeking strategy




                                                     39
                  MAKING APPLICATIONS
Using this section should enable you to:

       •    Increase your awareness of help available for graduates
       •    Identify the resources you can use
       •    Relate this research to your own situation

Many students and graduates start the whole career planning process by writing their CV
and /or replying to a job advert by completing an application form.

In reality, this is the end of the process of thinking, reflecting and researching so that the
time you spend making applications is worthwhile and your chances of success are better.
After making a few applications, you may need to do more research or revisit other parts of
the career planning cycle.




           Career
           Planning              Focusing on                    Exploring
           Cycle                 you                            what’s out
                                                                there




             Making
             applications                          Reviewing
                                                   options and
                                                   making choices




This section includes a Resources list so that you can do more in depth research yourself
and gives a basic introduction to:

   1. Writing your CV

   2. Interview tips




                                                                                             40
1. Writing a CV
Is it still needed?
A significant proportion of recruiters now use on line application forms and not CVs. The
process of writing a CV however allows you to effectively analyse your skills, achievements
and qualifications and present them succinctly. Having an up to date CV enables you to
respond quickly to opportunities and can be seen as a useful resource for filling in online
application forms.

What’s the point?
The point of a CV is to show an employer you have the relevant skills for the position you are
applying for and its purpose is to get you the interview. It needs to be clear and concise and
sell your skills to open that vital door. Within the first seven to ten seconds of reading your
CV, the person pre-screening all applicants must be convinced that you merit further
consideration. They need to be able to review a summary of your education, skills,
accomplishments and experience within that time frame. Format, design and vocabulary all
play big roles.

What does the employer want?
You will need to alter/ tailor your CV depending on the job you are applying for, so be
prepared to write several versions. A CV is not a life history but a summary of how you can
provide the skills and experience required by the role and the employer.
   1. Show you know what specific skills the employer is looking e.g. for X, Y and Z skills
       in the person specification and you have experience of X, Y and Z make it clear.
   2. Highlight with evidence how you meet their essential criteria, relevance is a key
       factor, structure your CV to illustrate this and attract the attention of the selectors.

Useful Running Order
   • Personal details (contact details only required not date of birth, marital status etc.)
   • Career Objective/ Personal Profile (short, punchy highlighting unique skills)
   • Education and Qualifications (in reverse chronological order)
   • Employment History (ensure any gaps are accounted for)
   • Experience and achievements
   • Skills include specific training, IT skills or languages spoken
   • Extracurricular interests – not just a list, but with some detail about your level of
       commitment
   • Referees (2 referees – one from university)

Format
Whilst there is no set CV format, there are a number of styles of CVs which may help you to
identify your skills, experience and achievement to an employer.

Typical/reverse chronological (includes hybrid)

This style incorporates experiences and skills within the descriptions of particular activities,
starting with the most recent. A Hybrid CV is the same as Traditional but also includes an
additional Skills or Achievement section.
    • The skills section is there to provide evidence that you meet the essential criteria of
        the person specification of the job.
    • Choose relevant skills and try have 2-3 examples of evidence for each skills
    • Example to download [link] http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/applications-and-
        cvs/different-cvs-for-different-types-of-graduate-job

                                                                                               41
Skills-based
Summarises experiences under skills headings with other data presented briefly
    • Skills based CVs focus on the transferrable skills you have for the role you apply for
    • This format is useful for someone who is either starting out on a career or changing
        work sectors so has less work experience in the specific field/ sector.
    • Example to download http://www.prospects.ac.uk/sample_cvs.htm

At the link below, there are example CVs for a range of graduate career sectors, you may
wish to compare the different styles used in each and choose which would be most
appropriate for your job application. However, please do tailor it to your own CV and the
sector you are interested in.
http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/job-hunting-tools-downloads

Academic CV
These tend to be more detailed and can go onto 3 pages as they include all research
papers, conference and presentations that you have done as well as your qualifications and
experience.

For links to sample academic CV see resources pages

Language
Positive language is required to create impact so for example use words like led, improved,
negotiated, initiated, rather than involved in, observed which are more passive.

Proof Read your CV
Does it pass the 5 Cs test:
        Clear - avoiding underlining, boxes and different layouts
        Concise – focus on what is relevant to the recruiter
        Complete – ensure that all relevant sections and information are included
        Consistent – keep fonts the same and avoid different formats for different sections
        Current – keep it up to date and relevant to the opportunity you are applying for

More employers are using software that detect spelling and grammatical errors; often three
mistakes and you are out!

A cover letter is a letter that you send to accompany your CV when you apply for job,
whether advertised or when you are sending a speculative application. Do not overlook this
tool as it can be a great asset in your job hunt. It is not meant to replace a CV but to highlight
key skills that you could bring to the job and organization, also your drive and motivation.
The cover letter is a formal letter format and should be addressed to a specific named
person if possible. The aim of the cover letter is to get the selector to read your CV. It needs
to be focused and should cover the following:
    • Dear Mr X (or Dear Sir)
    • Job Reference (e.g. Trainee Recruitment Consultant Job Ref 123A)
    • Why you are interested in that job & that company
    • What specific skills you can bring to that job
    • Positive ending- e.g. look forward to discussing further at interview
    • Yours sincerely (use Yours faithfully with Dear Sir)

http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/applications-and-cvs/covering-letter-essentials-for-
graduate-vacancies




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2. Interview Techniques

Interviews are a key part of an employer’s selection process and may be used on their own
or as part of a longer selection process involving an assessment centre. The interview
allows the employer to gain more evidence about your suitability for the role and the
organisation. In summary they want to know: whether you can do the job, whether you want
the job and whether you will fit in to the organisation. It is also your opportunity to see
whether the job is right for you.

Interview success depends on good preparation, creating a positive impact and giving strong
answers to interview questions.

Preparation is the key to success.
It is crucial to put the time in before the interview – you will have a much better chance of
performing at your best and you will feel more confident. A quick look at the recruiter’s
website the day before is not sufficient! Use the Resources section in Exploring What’s
Out There to help you research the job, the employer and the industry sector. See also
www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers (under Applying for a job) for details of further links and
resources to research.

During the Interview
Good interviewers are trained to base their decision on more than their first impression of
you. However, in addition to what you actually say, how you come across i.e. your “personal
impact” is very important in giving the interviewer a sense of whether you can work well with
colleagues or clients. For tips on body language see Employability Skills 5.

Interview post-mortem
As soon as you can after the interview it is useful to jot down a few notes about what was
covered including questions that went well or not so well. This will be useful if you are
invited back to a further selection stage as a second interviewer may be asked to probe
further on particular issues. If you are rejected, you may want to analyse if your interview
answers need adjustment.

Example interview questions

For more detailed tips to help with preparing for, answering difficult questions see
www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers (under Applying for a Job).

To help you get started, some example questions are listed below. You could get a friend or
family member to ask you some of these questions for general practice.

Skill/Competency questions
   • Tell me about an occasion when you worked as part of a team. [How did you
       contribute to the team’s success? How did you build good working relationships with
       the others?]
   • Tell me about a difficult colleague or customer situation you have had to deal with.
       [How did you handle it? What was the outcome?]


5
 Hind and Moss (2005) Employability Skills, Business Education Publishers. Available on reference in the
Careers Centre.

                                                                                                           43
   •   Describe a difficult decision you have had to make [Why was it difficult? How did you
       come to a decision?]
   •   Tell me about an idea you have taken forward or a change you have made.
   •   Describe a time when you have had to manage a number of tasks at the same time.
       [How did you decide on the priorities? What were the challenges?]
   •   When have you had to deal with something not going according to plan? [How did
       you resolve the issue?]


General and experience questions
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Why would you be suitable for this job? / Why should we hire you? / Summarise your
      strengths for this role.
  • What has been your greatest achievement to date?
  • What has been your biggest disappointment / failure?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How would other people describe you?
  • Tell me more about your experience at xxxxx. What did you contribute in the role?
      What skills did you develop?
  • Your grade in xxxxx is not as good as you’re other grades – why do you think that
      was?
  • How did you decide on what to study at university? What do you enjoy about your
      subject?


Career motivation questions
   • What attracts you to this role?
   • How have you researched the role? What do you think it involves day to day?
   • Why do you want to work for this organisation?
   • Why does a career in the xxxxx sector appeal to you?
   • What other careers have you considered? What other applications have you made?


Business awareness questions
   • How do you keep up to date with what is happening in the business world/current
      affairs?
   • Tell me about a business news story in the press at the moment that you have been
      following? [Why does it interest you? What are your views on the issues involved?]
   • What did you learn about the issues/challenges for a business in your work
      experience at xxxx?
   • What do you know about our clients/services?
   • What do you think are the main issues affecting this company/sector/profession at
      the moment?




                                                                                         44
                     Making Applications Resources
Resources to help with writing CVs, interviews and making applications are available
in the Careers and Employability Centre or online:

Making Applications: CVs folder and Interviews folder (Reference folders available in
Careers and Employability Centre)

Face-to-Face help:
CV Advisers offer a CV clinic personal CV checking service most days during term and for
periods of the vacations. See www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers for details of availability and how
to book a slot.

CV workshops (90 minutes long) are offered in term time. See www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers
for details.

Careers Advisers offer a short discussion at Advice Desk to answer your interview queries.
See www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers for details of availability. Practice interviews are offered
subject to staff availability.

Interviews workshops (90 minutes long) are offered in term time. See
www.as.bham.ac.uk/careers for details.

CVs and Covering Letters
AGCAS (2009) Applications, CVs and covering letters [Available from Careers and
Employability Centre and online] www.prospects.ac.uk/links/appsinterviews [Accessed 8th
October 2009]

Prospects (2010) Writing an Academic CV [online] available
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/cvwriting [accessed 12th May 2010]

Prospects (2009) Sample Academic CV [online] available from
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/examplecvs [accessed 12th May 2010]

Vitae (2010) Writing an academic CV [online] available from
http://www.vitae.ac.uk/researchers/1373/Academic%20CVs.html [accessed 12th May 2010]

Jobs.ac.uk (2010) Academic CV Template [online]
http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers/articles/1309/academic-cv-template/ [accessed 12th May 2010]

AGCAS Scotland (2009) Building Your Graduate Career [online] Available from
http://www.agcasscotland.org.uk/sorted/ [Accessed 8th October 2009]

Graduate Employment and Training (2009) Applications Advice [online] Hobsons Available
at http://www.get.hobsons.co.uk/advice/applications [Accessed 8th October 2009]

Graduate Employment and Training (2009) Interviews and Selection Centres [online]
Hobsons Available at http://www.get.hobsons.co.uk/advice/interviews [Accessed 8th October
2009]

Hawkins,P. and University of Liverpool (2007) Windmills Interactive: How do I help
myself? [online] Available from www.windmillsonline.co.uk/interactive/ [Accessed 8th
October 2009]

                                                                                         45
SKILL (2005) Disclosing Your Disability [online] Available from
http://www.skill.org.uk/page.aspx?c=10&p=106 [Accessed 8th October 2009]

Targetjobs.co.uk (2009) Job Hunting Tools [online] Available at www.targetjobs.co.uk
[Accessed 8th October 2009]

Interviews
AGCAS (2009) Going for Interviews [Available from Careers and Employability Centre and
online] www.prospects.ac.uk/links/interviews [Accessed 8th October 2009]

Graduate Employment and Training (2009) Interviews and Selection Centres [online]
Hobsons Available at http://www.get.hobsons.co.uk/advice/interviews [Accessed 8th October
2009]

Jobsite (2009) Be My Interviewer [online] Jobsite UK Ltd. Available at
http://www.bemyinterviewer.co.uk/ [Accessed 1st October 2008]




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                      AND FINALLY….
After completing the workbook you should have:


   •   Used self assessment techniques to create a personal portrait of yourself and
       considered how you can make use of this portrait to further your career decisions
   •   Found out about resources available to you to research occupations, what employers
       are looking for and generate some career ideas which interest you.
   •   Become more familiar with practical strategies to help further your plans and avoid
       ‘getting stuck’.
   •   Started to consider what makes a successful CV and how to improve your interview
       skills.


So are you any further along the roadmap? You may not have reached number 10 yet
– but at least you have made a start!




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