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From Here to Hired!

CV, Cover Letter and Application forms - Finalists campaign 2014

Gaynor Egan

on 11 June 2014

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Transcript of From Here to Hired!

From Here to Hired!
This workshop will...
WHAT needs to go on a CV?
WHERE could it go?
CVs, Cover Letters and Applications - how to get shortlisted
Finalists campaign June 2014
look at some example CVs and Cover letters
We'll also...
have a think about the shortlisting process
facilitate peer reviewing of your CVs
Working in groups, put together what you think would make a good CV from all of the fragments you've been given.
Start with the section headings, then do the content.
Note that the finished product won't necessarily make a coherent CV.
James Caan - Entrepreneur and ex Dragon
answer any questions!

Why are you choosing one fragment and not another?
Why does something look good, or bad, to you?
What does this say about YOUR CV?
Think about...
So... what's going through an employer's mind when looking at your application / CV / Cover Letter?
Visualisation exercise
You're the boss, and are recruiting for a graduate role.
You receive
CVs, and you have
hours to shortlist
candidates for interview.

Discuss in pairs:

How might you manage this?
How long would you spend on each CV?
What sort of complaints might you have about the CVs?
What does this imply for your own CV?
employers shortlist?

Scoring matrix often (but not always) used to help with:
equal opportunities
Key points

You may meet all of the essential criteria on the job description...
but you'll do yourself a favour if you
make it easy
for them to see that you do.
How? Steps 1, 2 and 3...
We'll come back to the nitty gritty of content in a bit.
General group discussion
Knowing how this works can really help you!
Different sorts of forms, but along these lines...
Above all else, employers want to see...
So you

a) tailor your CV / application / cover letter
make it easy for them
to see that you meet their criteria
Q. How do you make it relevant?
A. By tailoring to their specific needs.
Q. How do you know what their needs are?
A. By referring to the job description.
Questions to the floor...
Job description 1:
via organisation

What's the worst / best job you've ever had?

What would be your dream job, in say 5 years time?
Discuss in pairs.
Now we've established that, onto an exercise...
Job Title: Graduate Conference Production Assistant
Salary: £20-22k
Location: London Central
Date posted: 23/05/2014
Degree Subject: Any from a top University
UCAS Points: Strong
Position Type: Full-Time
Experience: Not required
Job Category: Publishing and Media

My client is a fast growing, intelligence, networking and events company.

This is a fabulous position for a graduate looking to get into the conference industry long term but
who would like to work in more of an administrative and support role initially,
with a view to potentially becoming a Conference Producer down the line.

The company produces niche conferences in North America, Europe and Emerging Markets, and
due to recent success are looking to grow the team.
You will be
a Conference Director who has an outstanding reputation in the industry and hence you will have an opportunity to
work alongside and learn
from one of the best conference producers around.

Long term you could see yourself developing into a Conference Producer or within other areas of the company
such as Marketing, Editorial or Events.

This role may include:

Providing administrative support to the Conference Director
- Conference administration
- Contacting relevant organisations and individuals
- Acquiring delegates for their free-to-attend conferences
- Providing conference production support e.g. research support
- Supporting other areas such as marketing, editorial and events


2:1 or above in your chosen discipline
- Outstanding communication skills
- A passion for the commercial conference industry
- Confidence to talk to individuals at all levels
- Strong organisational and administrative capabilities

Job description 2:
via agency with info about client

Graduate Actuarial Trainee
Job ID #: R-13890 Location: York, Norwich, Eastleigh
Role Sector: Graduate
Hours Per Week: 35
Salary Range: £
Additional Benefits: Salary from £23,750 + £1,500 Signing On Bonus. 29 days holiday, pension, bonus and flexible benefits which include medical/dental plan, discounted Aviva and partner company products and services for you, your family and friends.

Role Description

We believe that our scheme provides aspiring Actuaries with a
stimulating, challenging and supportive environment
in which to gain their qualification and launch a
high achieving
actuarial career within one of the worlds leading insurance companies.

What you will do:
The duration of the scheme is dependant on how long it takes you to complete your professional exams, but some of our high fliers have only taken 3 years. Alongside your study you will complete a rotation every 18 - 24 months to a different actuarial team in our UK Region, either in General Insurance (based in Norwich), Life Insurance (based in York) or our Healthcare division (based in Eastleigh).

These rotations will be in a mixture of commercial and production finance departments which you will be assigned based on what best matches your developmental requirements.

Examples of some of the current rotations are; Actuarial and Financial Reporting, Capital Management, Underwriting, Protection Pricing, With Profit and Non Profit Financial Management, Risk Management, Business Partnering, Financial Development, Stochastic Modelling and At Retirement. You can be assured that the rotations will be varied, challenging and enjoyable, and provide you with an unrivalled breadth of experience to lay the foundations of your career.

By the time you are finished, you will have a broad and detailed grounding in the core actuarial principles and techniques, alongside commercial and practical experience that will stand you in good stead throughout your career. After you have finished your scheme, you will qualify as a Fellow of the IFoA and we will work with you to secure your ideal post-graduate role within Aviva.

Essential Knowledge and Skills

An excellent track record of success both academically and in your non-academic life.

A strong academic record and high verbal & numeric aptitude test scores are essential to prove capability to attain passes in your actuarial exams, which are required in order to be retained on the scheme.

You will need a minimum of 300 UCAS points (or equivalent) from 3 A Levels (excluding General Studies and AS Levels), and be on target for, or have achieved, at least a 2:1 degree.

We require our graduates to demonstrate a flair for numbers, so a degree in a relevant numerical discipline is essential, as is the ability to bring
fresh ideas to the table and alternative view points.

No specific experience is required for the role, although our recruitment process involves a review of
non-academic activities to select candidates with a broad range of skills, showing evidence of leadership and initiative.

Desirable Knowledge and Skills

We believe a positive, progressive approach
is also a crucial requirement for the role, allied to a passion for a successful career in business. We search for
self motivated individuals who have the makings of an exceptional leader and communicator.

Job description 3:
via agency, no client info
Making it easy... 1
CV Content: profile
Hand out CV profiles
Making it easy... 2
Content - evidencing criteria
A brief snapshot of where you are right now - including mention and evidence of your relevant skills and experience for the role, and what it is you're looking for. Tailoring well will = motivation.
CARL can help.
Person specification criteria:
Team player with the ability for self-direction when required
To: "My final group project involved working alongside five colleagues to create and present a pitch for a fictional product to a panel of marketing professionals. We then submitted individually written, self-analytical reviews of how we felt we had performed. Our team received the highest mark across the cohort and this experience really perfected both my teamworking skills and my report-writing abilities, as well as my presentational style."
To: “I believe my part-time work as a Retail Assistant at Next has taught me how to provide excellent customer service. I greet customers, serve at the till and often provide advice in the fitting rooms, and once travelled to another town in my free time, to collect an item for a customer and take it to their local store. I am often complimented by my customers for my enthusiasm and helpfulness, and recent quality monitoring by my managers has rated my customer service to be the highest possible level.”
From: "Gained team skills on my course. I am able to work well in a team and can also work independently."
From: "I worked as a retail assistant at Next for two summers and on Saturdays during term time. Responsibilities included dealing with customers on a daily basis in person and on the phone, plus tasks such as liaising with Head Office when necessary and handling money at tills.
Person specification criteria:
Strong customer service focus
Examples of using CARL
(and really useful in interviews too!)
Common mistakes that may stop you being shortlisted

Insufficient evidence of:
ability, motivation, attention to detail
all about what you want to get - not what you can give
What to avoid...
"Hard working, motivated, enthusiastic individual"
Are you another:
Join the queue!
If you want to stress these qualities, how can you demonstrate rather than state them?
What other qualities might the employer value?
Generalisations, or "fluff"
Be specific, rather than making unsubstantiated claims
Making it easy... 3
Format and style
More than just an afterthought - what your CV looks like will say a lot about you in terms of:
your confidence,

your organisational skills
your communication skills.

It matters!
don't make it style over substance... or think you'll stand out by doing it differently. You may, but not for the right reasons...
and discussion re. application forms
Last words...
Really last words...
Cover Letters
1 page maximum
2-3 paragraphs plus intro / conclusion
Your motivation - why that job, why that company?
Your relevance - indicate your suitability to make them read more
What you can bring - the added extra!
Optional: when you're available
Grammatically good,
spelling errors!
Easy to read contact details

This is where you can show your 'fit'
Different approach to speculative or advertised...
If advertised
, use the job description to inform content
If speculative
, explain:
why you're approaching them
what you can offer their company
show you've done some research
be confident
if you can, tell them the sort of role you'd like
Examples to take away with you
Peer review
2. Give constructive feedback- format, look, content, examples, evidence...
In pairs, swap your CV and bearing in mind what we've been learning, spend 5 minutes or so looking over the CV and write down your observations.
1. Ask if your partner has a particular job or industry sector in mind, and if so, think about their CV in this context

3. Anyone wish to share their thoughts?
If we have time, repeat with another person near to you.
15 mins.
Keep a 'master' copy of your CV on your desktop: makes referring back to jobs / roles / dates / companies much easier
When emailing your CV and Cover letter, send them as PDFs.
Ensure you have a professional email address
If company don't specify whether or not they want a cover letter, do one.
Send cover letter as a separate document, not in the body of the email unless otherwise instructed.
Application forms

The public sector and an increasing number of corporations now use on-line application forms because they:
allow employers to standardise the application and ask specific questions
help with transparency, consistency and equal opportunities
How should you approach them?
Are they different to writing a CV?
These organisations will generally include a job description and person specification and advice about filling in the form. READ the advice!
enable the easy use of shortlisting software to help them process a large number of applications
enable them to compare and contrast precise qualities they're looking for
1. What goes into your personal statement? Is it the same as you'd put into your cover letter?
2. Should you use all the word count you're given? And why do they set a word count anyway?
3. Should you write in a narrative form, or use sections and bullet points, like a report?
Top tips for applications
Give yourself enough time to complete them - some are very long, others may time you out
Create a rough draft in Word - avoids losing data and easier to proof read. And stops you from accidentally pressing 'send' before you're ready...
Save or print a copy off before submitting as you may not have access afterwards. Could be useful if called to interview!
To get shortlisted you must convince the employer that you
a) can do the job - ABILITY
b) want to do the job - MOTIVATION
c) are someone who could fit in
Write your CV, Cover Letter and Application for the employer, NOT yourself!
Any questions?
(Recruitment agencies?)
(SMEs ?)
Creative jobs
Good example of meeting criteria in a CV using CARL.
Employment Experience
Summer 2011: Administration clerk, NHS Clerical Bank, Ipswich
Full time work developing Out Patients IT system
Gained admin and clerical experience working in an office environment as part of a busy department
Worked as part of a small self-supervising team working on a specific project to a tight deadline. Required to be punctual and self motivated.
Developed excellent organisation and communication skills: the team completed the project to a high standard within the deadline.
Criteria: ability to work in a team
Enables you to add different layers to your CV:
what I did - responsibilities
what I learned - skills
what I achieved - outcome
9.63 seconds - WR 9.58 seconds
Quiz! What was Usain Bolt's winning time in the 100m final at the 2012 London Olympics?
Not long to look at, shortlisting form or not.
CARL exercise
5 mins
Enable you to understand how to make your CV / application 'stand out'
Look at what needs to go onto your CV and into a Cover Letter / application, and in what order
Show you the importance of tailoring and targeting your CV / application
Encourage you to think why - ie. put yourself into the employers' shoes.
look at some job descriptions and see how they can help inform content
Lessons learned from this?
first impressions?
what else?
Create a CV!
15 mins
2012 research 6.25 seconds per CV
Importance of clarity and making a fast impact
Key learning:
Importance of clarity
Ability to make a fast impact
Do the work for them
Meeting the criteria...
Employers are looking for:
Do you want to do the job?
Can you do the job?
Are you someone who looks like you could fit in?
How do you get this across?
Point size
2 pages
NO mistakes
Name large
Consistency of style
Bullet points / underlining
White space
'Relevant Experience' - 'Additional Experience'
Don't include everything you've ever done
Relevant modules, dissertation info
Careers Resources
Voluntary work / membership of Societies etc
(What if you don't meet all essential criteria?)
Emailed resources and link to prezi after this
Applications, CVs and Covering Letters booklet
Numerous employer videos re. CVs, Applications and Cover letters on My Resources in My Career Central
15 minute Quick Query sessions
We're here for up to 3 years now...
Full transcript