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MAKING APPLICATIONS CVs Applications and Cover Letters What is a by ramhood4

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									MAKING APPLICATIONS


CVs, Applications
and Cover Letters
What is a CV (Curriculum Vitae)?
Your CV is your unique individual marketing tool which targets your qualifications/knowledge, skills,
work experience and other relevant information to the requirements of any prospective opportunity.
As the requirements of each opportunity are likely to be different your CV should always be subtlety
tailored to reflect how you measure up to the requirements of each individual opportunity you are
applying for (using the ‘job description’/’person specification’ as a guide). This is necessary for your CV
to meet its aim of highlighting your strengths and suitability for the position and securing an interview.

In many cases your CV will be the first contact you will have with a prospective employer and so it is very
important to create a positive, professional and lasting, first impression.

The information in your CV may well form the basis of any 1st round interview so you need to be
confident that you can back up and expand on anything you say in your CV.




WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
CV STYLES:

• CHRONOLOGICAL
        • The traditional format outlining experiences in reverse chronological order in
          clearly defined sections.
          • Most useful if you are looking to secure opportunities which are directly
            related to your qualifications/knowledge and work experience.

• SKILLS BASED/TARGETED
          • The focus of this style of CV is to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to perform
            the requirements of the opportunity. Using relevant skills heading to organise evidence of
            identified skill areas.
          • Most useful where your qualifications/knowledge and experience do not match directly to
            the requirements of the opportunity. This style allows you to emphasise the transferability
            of your knowledge and experiences.

• ACADEMIC
        • This type of CV is focused more towards students who wish to pursue an academic
           or research career where emphasis is more towards detailing expert knowledge and
           academic achievement
          • Note that academic employers are also interested in your wider soft transferable skills.

Examples of all three CV styles can be accessed via the RGU Careers Centre website or by collecting hard
copies from the Careers Library.
TYPICAL CONTENT (SECTIONS):

•   Personal Details (inc. full contact details)
•   Personal Profile/Career Objective (optional)
•   Education
•   Work/Professional/Placement Experience
•   Skills
•   Activities/Interests/Achievements
•   References

Please note the order and titles of the sections may vary depending on what style of CV you opt for as
will detail of the information contained in each section.

• Maximum 2 sides of A4 long (3 for an academic CV)
• Word processed, well laid out in a user friendly structured way (using appropriate headings),
  printed on good quality paper
• Professional presented with consistent layout (indents, bolding, underlining, etc)
• Use a common – non decorative font – point size of 11 or 12 (no less than 10!)
  – your CV is a professional business document
• Contain no obvious time gaps in experience and/or education
• Be written in the third person
• Correct spelling and grammar
• Tailor your CV once you have researched the opportunity and employer to ensure you match the
  requirements for that particular opportunity and emphasise evidence which demonstrates this.
• Be concise and explicit over implicit and wordy – consider bullet points over prose text
• Avoid template designs – use them for ideas but create your own CV to reflect you as an individual
• Beware of clichés being subjective – your CV should always be objective
  – providing evidence to support your ownership of skills and abilities
• Assess your CV in relation to every application and make the necessary amendments
  to keep it as targeted as possible


What is an Application Form?
An application form like a CV, is a vital part of the pre selection process. Many employers prefer to have
candidates complete an application form rather then send in a CV (and some even ask for both!). This
enables the employer to judge each candidate using the same information - which makes the process
fairer. Application forms also allow employers to restrict the information they receive to the areas they
are particularly interested in, tailored to the role they are recruiting for.
Competency based questions are typical, for example ‘describe a time where you had to work with
other people to deliver a shared objective’, ‘how do you cope under pressure?’, or ‘what is the most
innovative idea you have had?’

The importance of a good CV or application form cannot be emphasised enough! In many cases this will
be the first contact you will have with your prospective employer and so it is very important to create a
positive, and lasting, first impression.

Remember: An application form, whether an online version or a paper one, is your chance to show
          the employer the range of skills, knowledge and experiences you have to offer.


What do I need to know?
• Allow yourself plenty of time to complete the form
• Photocopy or download copies of the form for drafting practice responses
• Read the whole form through
• Follow the instructions to the letter (word count, ink colour, etc)
• Read through the job description/person specification – highlight key criteria and ensure your
  demonstrate your ownership of these through the responses you write.
• If hand written - make sure your writing is neat and easily legible
• Check spelling and grammar
• Don’t include your CV unless asked
• Where sections/questions are genuinely not applicable to you note this in the response box
  – you must respond to all the questions
• Make full use of the ‘Further Information’ or ‘Supporting Statement’ section to provide information
  on additional skills and experiences to demonstrate your suitability for the job, your motivation
  toward the type of work and the specific employer – keep this relevant to emphasise your match
  to the requirements of the job
• If you are required to or allowed to submit a separate sheet of information remember to clearly detail
  your name, position applied for and any reference numbers associated with the application.
• Keep a copy of the completed form for future reference – your responses may form the basis of
  interview questions!
• Remember to sign and date forms (or check the appropriate boxes if it is an online form)
• Never lie or make up experiences
• Submit the form in good time in advance of the closing date
ELECTRONIC / ONLINE APPLICATION FORMS

When completing online applications forms the following tips may also be of support:

ACCESS:
          • Can you save and return or do you have to complete all in one sitting?
          • Can you download to word – complete and upload back in to the system?
          • Connectivity – will you be timed out after ‘x’ minutes – if you don’t refresh or save?
            How stable is your internet connection?

STYLE:
          • Remember this is a formal application process and therefore style of language etc
            should be as professional as a written application.
          • Apply the general tips from above.

MANDATORY FIELDS/WORD COUNTS/–CHECK BOXES:
        • Ensure you complete all mandatory fields – typically marked with an ‘*’
          • Ensure you tick all appropriate check boxes – follow the instructions to the letter.
          • Be wary of ‘word count’ some systems will cut you off when the word count is reached
            – others will allow you to continue to input text but will only save text up to the word count.

PERSONALITY QUESTIONS:
        • Some online application forms contain short multi-choice personality questionnaires
          to gauge your strengths, preferred work style, likes, etc – be honest and consistent
          with your responses.




What is a covering letter?
Applications which require the submission of a CV should be accompanied by an introductory covering
letter (unless specifically noted not to). A covering letter should also accompany any speculative
applications – enquiring if you can be considered for any relevant current or future opportunities that
may exist with that company. Although less common some employers will also ask for a covering letter to
accompany an application form (this version of a covering letter will typically be shorter).

It is an opportunity to highlight key features of your CV which particularly match the requirements of the
opportunity. It can also be used to provide the employer with relevant additional information that cannot
be easily accommodated in your CV (e.g. disability or health issues).
What do I need to know?
• Remember 1st impressions count - The quality and relevance of your covering letter may
  determine if your CV or application form is even read!
• No more than 1 side of A4
• Word processed
• 4-5 short focused paragraphs
• Consistent in style with your CV – layout, font, point size etc
• Where possible addressed to a named individual in the organisation
• Be individually tailored to every new application
• Clearly identify the position you are applying for (including any reference numbers etc) and where the
  vacancy was advertised (or clearly state why you are writing and the type of opportunities that interest
  you, if making a speculative approach).
• If starting “Dear Sir/Madam” conclude by “Yours faithfully”,
  if “Dear ‘a named person’” then conclude “Yours sincerely”
• Letter should detail – introduction, suitability, motivation, conclusion

INTRODUCTION         • What do you want, why are you writing, what is the purpose of the letter?
SUITABILITY          • What makes you suitable for this opportunity, why should the employer
                       choose you
MOTIVATION           • Why do you want this position, why do you want to work for this company?
CONCLUSION           • Your availability to move on to the interview stage and provide further
                       information if required.


SUGGESTED STRUCTURE:

PARA 1: Opening - Identify the job and the vacancy source

PARA 2: (NB Para’s 2 and 3 can be combined together) - Draw particular attention to relevant
        qualifications/knowledge/learning experiences and skills developed by this experience
        relevant to the job.

PARA 3: Draw particular attention to any relevant work related experiences and the skills developed by
        these experiences relevant to the job.

PARA 4: Note why you are particularly interested in the company and position

PARA 5: Ending - Short conclusion noting your availability for interview
What do I need to do next?
Resources
• USE RGU: CAREERS CENTRE AND INFOZONE+ RESOURCES

 Log onto www.rgu.ac.uk/careers to access a wide range of information including the online Careers
 Information Gateway (CIG)*1 and use the resources in the Careers Library. We hold a range of
 information on CVs, Applications and Cover Letters.

 Attend a ‘CV/Applications Essential Skills Session’ (which includes advice on cover letters)*1

 Book a ‘Making Applications’ appointment with a Careers Consultant to review your CV/Application
 and Cover Letter*1

 Collect examples of covering letters.

 View the DVD ‘Looking good on paper’ – available to view without appointment.

• AGCAS (the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services)

Produce an extensive range of career information, available online via the Prospects website
www.prospects.ac.uk. Most online publications are available for reference or collection from the
Careers Centre and InfoZone+

Making Applications
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/cvwriting
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/examplecvs
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/appforms
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/coverlet

• ADDITIONAL WEBSITES

 www.rgu.ac.uk/careers
 www.prospects.ac.uk
 www.agcasscotland.org.uk/sorted (online and interactive SORTED CV seminar)
 www.selectsimulator.com (online guide to online applications)
 www.hobsons.com
 www.targetcareers.co.uk

*1 Development project 2007-08
*2 Bookings for appointments and Essential Skills Sessions can be made online by logging
   into the ‘Services to Students’ or ‘Services to graduates’ area of the Careers Centre website
   www.rgu.ac.uk/careers. Students please use your University (Novell) username and password,
   graduates follow on-screen instructions. Please see our website for ‘Drop-in’ Session times.

								
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