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					                                                                     YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                              Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                               Workshop 2 Notes

COMPILING A CURRICULUM VITAE
WHAT IS A CV?

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a Latin phrase meaning „The Story of a Life‟. A CV is a summary of your life,
which gives someone a picture of your history and abilities. The purpose of a CV is to get a job and to
convey to an interviewer, at a glance, the skills and experience that you have.


CV CONTENT & LAYOUT

A CV should cover the following areas:

Page 1

Personal Details        Set out …name, address, date of birth, telephone numbers and email address ….
                        clearly at the top of the page [Remember to use a professional email address]

Education               List the education you have had, in chronological (ie date) order, starting with
                        the most recent.

                        Give the name of the University attended, dates and degree pathway. List
                        modules studied for each year and include grades attained. Mention final year
                        project … give a brief description, technologies used and expected outcome.

                        State any secondary level education/equivalent. List your exam passes clearly,
                        showing the year you took the exams, the subjects you took and the grades you
                        achieved.

IT Skills               List all technical skills in this section including: operating systems, development
                        languages and applications. You should also give a brief description of group and
                        individual projects: briefly describe the task, IT used and skills acquired.

Page 2

Work Experience         List the job‟s you have had, in chronological (i.e. date) order, starting with the
                        most recent. Give the name and location of the employer, the dates you were
                        employed, your job title, a brief description of what was involved and skills
                        acquired. When writing about your current job, always use the present tense eg
                        „working‟. Details of part-time and/or voluntary work should be included.

Work Related Skills     List a range of work related skills in this section and explain how you have
                        acquired/developed a particular skill. For example:

                        Team Work        I am involved in may group projects at University, which require
                                         good communication, determination and teamwork for the
                                         successful completion of the project.

Achievements            Show your skills and experience in the best possible light including any
                        achievements such as awards, prizes, fund raising activities, driving licence, first
                        aid certificates, sporting prizes, promotions, targets met, etc. But never tell
                        lies.

Hobbies/Interests       Mention your hobbies and interests – especially if they are relevant to the type of
                        job that you want. The idea is to let an employer know you are a lively and
                        active person with a variety of interests who would be an asset to the
                        organisation. Also mention any relevant skills acquired as a result of partaking in
                        activities.


Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                         YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                                  Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                                   Workshop 2 Notes

Referees                  Provide names, position, addresses, telephone numbers and/or email contact
                          details for two referees who can vouch for your character and abilities preferably
                          previous employers and QUB Academic.

Optional:

        Personal Statement

         ‘I am a hardworking, committed and trustworthy individual. I work well in a team but also enjoy an
         individual challenge. I feel that by working in teams, projects tend to be more enjoyable whilst the end
         result being a more complete solution, having completed group projects in both Software Engineering and
         Project Management Modules at University. I have good communication skills and have the ability to build
         effective working relationships with a wide range of people.’




        Career Objective

         ‘To obtain a position with a major software developer which will utilize my educational background and
         develop my expertise in web design.’




GUIDELINES ON COMPILING A CV

DO….

        Clearly print your name at the top of the CV to facilitate finding it in a pile
        Date your CV – dating it helps a reviewer to check how recent it is
        Make sure the layout of your CV is clear and attractive.
        Keep to a maximum of two pages (A4 paper)
        Tailor your CV to each job.
        Ensure that the personal qualities you list match up to the job you are applying for.
        Remember, ultimately your CV is a marketing tool, designed to sell you and your skills to a
         prospective employer.
        Important points may be highlighted by bold or italic type.
        Sentences and paragraphs should be short, sharp and clearly understood.
        Use strong action words to stress achievements and results.
        Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes.
        A well-spaced layout with a clear typeface like Arial or Times looks best.


DON’T……

        Try to be clever or humorous
        Overstate your achievements….you will only be found out at interview.
        Give a long list of irrelevant personal interests.
        Omit obvious or important facts .eg. software packages you are familiar with.
        Gloss over any gaps in your employment /education record. It will raise suspicions and you won‟t
         get as far as an interview.
        Send a CV if you have been asked to fill out an application form.
        Use wide margins and over spaced text.
        Forget to include a cover letter.


REMEMBER…

        Try not to leave gaps, it can look suspicious! Career breaks are okay, but it is best to explain
         them in a positive way – by talking about interest you have developed or part time study,
         volunteer experience, travelling or having a family.

Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                              YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                                       Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                                        Workshop 2 Notes

COVERING LETTER

When you are sending a CV to an employer it should always be accompanied by a covering letter. The
purpose of a covering letter is to make sure your application is seen by the relevant person and to draw
attention to key points on your CV, highlighting your suitability for the job.

GUIDELINES…

        Keep it brief: a wordy covering letter is a positive deterrent to reading the CV. No more than 3-4
         paragraphs. Keep it short and to the point
        Do not be tempted to duplicate your CV
        The letter should be preferably addressed to a specific individual
        Use the letter to personalise your application and tailor it to the company
        End on a positive note
        Proof read it – spelling / grammar check
        Letters addressed to individuals by name should be signed with „Yours sincerely‟, not „Yours
         faithfully‟
        If you don‟t know who you are writing to then write „Dear Sir / Madam‟ and end the letter „Yours
         faithfully‟
        If there is a reference number, include this above the address of the person the letter is going to
        Mention the job you are applying for and where you saw it advertised
        Try to make the most of your experience and qualifications
        Always remember to print your name under your signature
        Keep a copy of the letter
        Use an A4 envelope and good quality white paper
        Use a suitable font e.g. Time Roman, minimum 10 point


STRUCTURE….

The appearance and format of your letter is really important. If the letter isn‟t well presented, it won‟t
be read. Your choice of paper, layout and typeface are significant. The basic letter includes four key
paragraphs.

Paragraph One            This is where you introduce yourself and identify the job you are applying for. You should
                         mention how you learned about the job and explain what other documents you are
                         enclosing [ie CV].
                         ‘I am in the penultimate year of a degree in Computer Science at the Queen’s
                         University of Belfast. I wish to apply for the position of Student Engineer
                         currently advertised in the Work Experience Centre at Queen’s.’

Paragraph Two            You explain why you are attracted to the job and/or the organisation and how your
                         qualifications meet what they are looking for. You should be as specific as possible about
                         how your skills, experience and previous work qualify you for the job.
                         ‘I wish to gain experience with a provider of E-business solutions. My main
                         interest is in the area of web design and I would consider the experience to be
                         gained with your firm to be a major asset in pursuing my career goal of
                         eventually working in this field.’

Paragraph Three          This paragraph allows you to show your knowledge of the company, its culture and ethos
                         and how you can relate it to your own interests. This „personalises‟ your letter and gives
                         evidence of how you have targeted the company specifically.
                         ‘As you can see from my enclosed CV I have a strong academic background. Last year I gained
                         experience with ……’

Paragraph Four           This is a short closing paragraph in which you thank the employer for taking time to
                         consider your application. You can mention here when you are available for interview.
                         ‘I am available for interview on most weekdays during term time and can be contacted by telephone
                         after 4.00 p.m. any afternoon. I look forward to hearing from you.’




Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                           YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                                    Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                                     Workshop 2 Notes

US RESUMES


        The US resume format offers more or less the same information as a CV but in a much more
         summarised and key point fashion. Keep it clear and concise, presenting only information
         relevant to the particular position in question and in an understandable and easy to follow
         format.

        Keep your resume to one page in length if possible as its the norm in the US and very much
         preferred. In any case it should NEVER be more than two pages long.

        ALWAYS produce your resume on a word processor – handwritten resumes will more than likely
         end up in the bin.

        A job objective is usually included in US resumes as a matter of course e.g.

         „To obtain a position with a major software developer which will utilize my educational background and
         develop my expertise in web design.‟

        Proceed with caution when including personal details. To include details of your age, date of
         birth, sex and family status or to include a photograph may contravene certain State‟s laws on
         equal employment rights and thus render your application invalid. For this reason you are best
         advised to omit such details from your application.

        In America the focus is very much on your work experience as opposed to a British CV which
         usually starts with an emphasis on educational qualifications. Begin with your most recent work
         experience and work backwards. You don‟t need to distinguish between paid and unpaid work, as
         this is usually considered irrelevant in terms of experience.

        When you do summarise your educational qualifications make sure that they are understandable
         to a US employer by indicating their US equivalent. A-levels equate to High School Diplomas. Only
         include your actual grades if they are A‟s or B‟s.

        Check your resume for mistakes that will make it look unprofessional.

        ALWAYS include a covering letter as a matter of course as it allows you to make a better “sales
         pitch” than the resume alone. The covering letter should be brief, clear, direct and follow a
         logical structure e.g.

             o     Why you want the job – show what you know about them
             o     What qualifications and experience you have – highlight the most relevant sections of your resume
             o     How you would measure up to the requirements of the position




Useful Reference Books Available in Careers Service

    The Perfect CV:                          Tom Jackson & Ellen Jackson                 Ref No‟ 014.065

    The Global Resume & CV Guide:            Mary Anne Thompson                          Ref No‟ 014.066




Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                     YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                              Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                               Workshop 2 Notes

COMPLETING APPLICATION FORMS
GENERAL ADVICE:

It is your responsibility to identify your skills, experience and other information about yourself that is
relevant. You must support these with evidence or/and examples.

Timely applications are essential
    It is always good to get your application in on time, but in a more competence climate it‟s vital.
    Start looking for jobs early and keeping closing dates for application at the forefront of your
       mind.

Be a well informed candidate…
     Keep up to date with what‟s going on in the world of IT and telecommunications


Applying For Jobs …

Making   a successful job application means convincing someone else that you are:
        qualified
        interested
        personally suited

Be aware that some employers put a lot of stress on past academic performance e.g. A-level grades. If
your A - levels are weak, stress your more recent degree course grades. Employers are also interested in
the depth of your knowledge of IT subjects.

Being interested in working for the company is an essential requirement, not just for your own job
satisfaction but from the employer's point of view. Do some research on the company, then use your
answers to application form questions to demonstrate what you have learned about them. Quote your
sources so the selector can see the trouble you have gone to.


                   “Past experience is considered the best indicator of future performance”


When trying to demonstrate your personal suitability for a job, a good approach is to use key words from
the job description. Try and match these with examples drawn from your experience



3 stages to filling in a form…

        Finding some direct links between the advertised job and your present qualifications, experience
         etc

        Drafting your application in a manner which does justice to your strengths eg qualifications,
         experience etc and shows the capacity to learn so that you can make a contribution to the
         organisation

        Cutting your application down to size to remove any relevant material




Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                   YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                            Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                             Workshop 2 Notes

HOW TO BEGIN….

1.       Amass your Evidence
             Look at the selection criteria
             Find evidence to meet these criteria

2.       Do exactly what they say
              Employers will ask you to send them a CV, a particular application form or to apply
                online
                SAF    Standard Application Form
                EAF    Employer Application Form
              Use a black pen – not a pencil or type the form
              Read the instructions carefully
              Make sure you understand all the questions. If not, ask someone to help you.
              Photocopy your application form. Keep the original form clean and tidy

3.       Target your application
             Target the company – shows that you have made an effort
             If you have experience which is relevant to the job you are applying for, make sure that
                you mention it
             Experience gained outside of work can also be very relevant to some jobs

4.       Don’t be afraid of hard forms with difficult questions
             Answers should be meaty with no waffle

5.       Don’t leave any gaps
             Account for any gaps in education / employment

6.       Get a second opinion
              Get someone to proof read your form
              Ensure that punctuation and spelling are correct

7.       When you have finished….
                    Make sure it is clear which job you are applying for
                    Check through your answers carefully, ensuring that all dates agree
                    Use a large envelope. Don‟t be tempted to cram the form into a small one
                    Send the form off to reach the employer in good time, remembering to keep a
                      copy for yourself




Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                          YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                                   Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                                    Workshop 2 Notes

Active Words

Here are some active words which will help you describe your role at work, university, interest and
activities etc

          Performance …                                Teamwork…                    Achievements ….

               Efficient                                 Counselled                     Co-ordinated
             Economical                                  Facilitated                       Created
              Consistent                                   Guided                        Developed
             Controlled                                   Managed                        Formulated
             Dependable                                 Participated                     Modernised
            Conscientious                                Presented                        Delivered
                                                         Supervised                      Negotiated
                   Problem solving …                                         Organising …

                       Implemented                                              Designed
                         Improved                                              Developed
                         Initiated                                              Devised
                          Inspired                                             Established
                         Instigated                                           Formulated
                        Interpreted                                            Motivated
                        Introduced                                             Organised
                       Investigated                                            Originated
                      Recommended                                              Presented




EVIDENCE FOR APPLICATION FORMS

Achievement…
        Academic distinction
        Acquiring new skills (eg computer skills, learning a language)
        Publishing a paper
        Successfully completing a vacation work project
        Founding a club or society
        Duke of Edinburgh Award
        Sporting success
        Running a youth club
        Working abroad


Working relationships …
        Group projects
        Team games
        Committee work/Halls rep
        Organising social events
        Amateur dramatics
        Sharing a flat
        Arguing a case in a tutorial
        Students Union welfare work
        Getting technicians to help you in the lab


Responsibility…
        Vacation work -being left in charge, showing initiative
        Committee work
        Sport eg organising an event
        Staff/Student consultative committee
        Working to support yourself whilst studying (Time Management)
        Running a Youth Club

Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                           YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                                    Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                                     Workshop 2 Notes


Problem Solving….
         Vacation work - your approach to assigned tasks
         Course projects
         Intellectual pursuits eg chess, computer programming
         Logic games

Planning & Organisation…
         Organising an inter-rail trip
         Fundraising for a charity
         Running a student society

Communication Skills….
         Listening
          o        Nightline
          o        Course or Halls Rep
          o        Reception Work
          o        Working with children in a summer camp or play scheme
          o        Teaching or tutoring

         Speaking
          o        Course presentation
          o        Staff-student committee
          o        Debating society
          o        Student politics

         Reading
          o       Reading technical journals or computer manuals
          o       Reading quality newspapers

         Writing
          o       Writing a report on a work placement
          o       Writing publicity material for an event
          o       Student journalism
          o       Drafting simple instructions for a piece of equipment eg computer




Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                          YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                                   Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                                    Workshop 2 Notes

SAMPLE APPLICATION FORM QUESTIONS


Example Questions About You ..

   Describe a situation where you have had to influence people

   Please give one or two recent examples to illustrate your abilities to work effectively with others

   Looking at your life as a whole, indicate three key events or experiences which you considered to
    have been instrumental in shaping who you are

   Please identify any major successes in your life to date


Example Questions About The Job

   What relevant skills and qualities can you bring to the organisation?

   Why do you think you would be suited to a career in consulting?/ software engineering?
    programming?

   Explain which specific factors attract you to your choice of career


Open-ended Questions
Structure is the key here:

   State why you are interested in this job and this organisation

         Describe the key qualities that you can bring to the job [with evidence that proves you have them]

       Detail any work experience or course work that has been of special relevance

       List any technical skills


Business Awareness
   Please indicate any particular sectors of our business that especially interest you, and give the
     reasons why.


Job Awareness
   Please give an indication, with reasons, of the type of work you would like to pursue, mentioning
     any relevant qualities or expertise you possess.


Problem Solving
   Describe a problem or project you have had to solve. What methods did you use?


Team Work
   Have you ever been a member of a successful team? In your opinion why was the team successful?


Planning & Organising
   Give details of your main extra curricular activities to date. What have you contributed and what
     have you got out of them?



Ann Doris_Oct 04
                                                                          YoPE Preparation Programme
                                                                                   Semester 1 2004/05
                                                                                    Workshop 2 Notes

ONLINE APPLICATIONS
GUIDELINES…


        Quicker and easier for the company

        Online forms take as long as paper ones to complete and require just as much preparation and
         thought

        If you can, download the form and fill it in before going live

        Cut and paste your perfect answers from a word processor if possible

        Save regularly in case of crashes

        Some online forms incorporate an aptitude or personality test. These may be timed and you only
         get one chance, so don‟t start them until you are ready

        Very few forms have spell checkers, so take care that your English is OK

        Don‟t rush it. Only press „submit‟ when you are happy

        If you haven‟t heard from the organisation after a few weeks, give them a call. Machines can
         have errors



PROBLEMS:

        No time for reflection

        No one around to ask for advice

        No spell checker



SOLUTION:

        On-line forms are HTML documents with form elements

        Capture the form disk using the Save As command

        Open the saved form in your browser

        Complete the saved form

        Save your work

        With your completed form open, open the blank on-line form in a second copy of your browser

        Copy your answers from the saved version and paste them into the on-line version




Ann Doris_Oct 04

				
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