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University of Nottingham

University of Nottingham

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University of Nottingham

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  1. UniversityofNottingham Maggie Wolff and Rob James Senior Careers Advisers Careers and Employability Service Self Marketing: Application Forms and CVs

  2. The Art of a Good Application To get it right you need to: • Understand that you are marketing yourself • Know its sole purpose is to get you an interview! • Work out what the employer wants • Convince the employer you have got what they want • Be as specific as you can in the least number of words

  3. Advice from an employer • Research the job profile on Prospects e.g. chartered accountant • Research the employer What are they looking for?

  4. Tailoring your application • Select content that supports your qualifications and matches job description • Consider organising by order of importance • Use professional wording, integrating job-specific terms

  5. Make verbs work for you • Make the verb active Example • I organised a programme of speakers NOT • I was responsible for organising a programme .. • Use Action verbs linked to skills employers look for e.g. teamwork, communication skills • Avoid weak verbs like endeavoured, tried, hoped and attempted

  6. Writing about what you did • Ask yourself these questions: • Who?…With whom did you work? • What? …What duties/activities did you perform? • Where? …Where did your job fit into the organisation? • Why? …What goals were you trying to accomplish? • When? …What timelines were you working under? • How? …What procedures did you follow?

  7. Developing your descriptions EXAMPLE Before: • planned activities in a children’s summer camp Questions asked: What kinds?, How?, When?, For Whom? After: • Organised a variety of activities in a children’s summer camp. These included: crafts, netball and volleyball tournaments.

  8. Try to see your experiences as a professional would UNDERSTATED • Answered phone (receptionist) • Wiped tables (waiter/ress) PROFESSIONAL • Acted as liaison between customers and sales staff • Created healthy environment for customers and maintained positive public image

  9. Task Describe an activity you have been involved in. This can be taken from: • Previous work experience • Extra curricular activities • Academic work • Anything else.....?

  10. Putting it together Vague: I worked as a customer service assistant in a bank Specific: • Gained valuable experience working to targets within a fast moving financial sector • Worked quickly and accurately on a number of complex computer programmes • Dealt effectively and professionally with the public in a busy branch • Proved highly adaptable and flexible whilst working within a team

  11. Putting it together Weak example: I raised money for charity Strong example: I worked as part of team organising a charity parachute jump. Overcoming my fear of heights I raised £200 in sponsorship contributing to the £1,000 total.

  12. Application forms Know your market! JWT 2008 application form final question

  13. Application forms: Typical questions • Describe an occasion when you communicated your ideas effectively to influence the outcome of a situation. • Describe a major challenge you have faced and how you responded. • Give brief details of 2 situations where you have successfully contributed to a team. • Give an example of a time where you have had to use your initiative. What was the situation? What action did you take? What was the outcome?

  14. Answering Analytical questions • Make it varied – plan your answers • Use recent examples where possible STAR – Situation, Task, Action, Result • Include your input (especially on teamwork) • Be positive

  15. Sample teamwork answer S I was elected President of the Conservation Society during my final year at University. The Society consisted of 50 members with a 5 person committee. T My objectives were to double the number of members, increase the number of social events and increase awareness of conservation and environmental issues amongst students. A In order to meet these targets I had to motivate the committee and held regular team meetings to check we were achieving our objectives. R By the end of the year our membership had risen to 120 and we had met all our objectives.

  16. Answer demonstrates • Leadership • Motivation • Results focus • Influencing

  17. Example Planning and Organisational skills S As a member of the university Student Volunteer Centre, I organised an activities week for children. T My objectives were to recruit a team of ten volunteers and provide unusual activities. Factors I had to consider included safety regulations, cost, locations, and the necessary skills which the team would need in order to make the week a success. A In order to plan my time I prepared an Excel spreadsheet, which included critical dates. In order that any mishaps would not spoil the week, I also formed a contingency plan, for example I organised alternative indoor activities in case of rain. RI successfully recruited a team of reliable volunteers. We received positive feedback about the activities from the children and parents.

  18. Answer demonstrates • Organisation • Planning • Judgement • Initiative

  19. Interests and Activities • How relevant are they? • Which ones would most interest prospective employers? • Tailor them to the job. • Don’t lie as an employer could ask you about it!

  20. Two approaches Minimal approach Photography Club, University of Nottingham. Elaborated approach President, Photography Club, University of Nottingham, January 2009-Present • Organized campus contest • Increased membership with promotional efforts

  21. What is a CV? • CV stands for Curriculum Vitae which literally means the course of (your) life • A good CV should both: INFORM an employer of your skills and experience AND PERSUADE them that you are worth interviewing

  22. Why Send a CV? • An employer has specified it in a job advertisement e.g. ‘Apply in writing’ • You are approaching an employer speculatively. This type of application is where you write to an employer (typically with a CV and letter) to see if they may have a vacancy. • Because an employer says you can!

  23. Self Marketing • The CVs sole purpose is to get you an interview • It presents you in the best light • Convinces the employer that you have specific, direct benefits of use to them • It passes the employer’s screening process • It is not simply a history of your past. Write with the intention to create interest, to persuade the employer to call you

  24. CV Tips • One page is too short, four is too long • Avoid coloured or textured paper • First page: make it count - everything you want the employer to see IMMEDIATELY • Include a brief description of what you did and bring it to life with some dimensions: numbers of people, values of sales, lengths of projects, budgets • Consult resources on our web site

  25. CV Summary • Literally a brief account of your life, and therefore is • structured • concise - ideally 2 sides of A4 • a summary • It must have a purpose and therefore is • targeted • has a clear layout and is easy to read • tells the reader what you want them to know and what they need to know

  26. Evaluating CVs - Exercise Look at the CV and consider the following: • The general presentation and content • Are there any spelling and grammatical errors? • Is it a good marketing document? • Can you tell what he/she is applying for? • Would you interview this person?

  27. Covering letters always accompany a CV. It is appropriate to mention where you learned of the opening in the first paragraph. Be confident (not arrogant) about what you have to offer. I believe that my knowledge of public relations and my proven communication and leadership skills make me a strong candidate for the position of Media Relations Coordinator which was advertised on the Nottingham University Website. Covering letters

  28. Behind Schedule During the course of In the direction of In the region of Owing to the fact that At the present time Give consideration to Different from The whole of A large number of In addition too LATE DURING TOWARDS NEAR, ALMOST BECAUSE NOW CONSIDER UNLIKE THE MANY AS WELL, TOO Cut the padding (1)

  29. Cut the padding (2) • The best sentences are short. • Keep words connecting clauses to a minimum • consequently • furthermore • however • moreover • nevertheless • therefore

  30. Quality Control • Accordnig to research at an Enlingsh univertisity, it deosn’t mtater in what oredr the letteers are in a word, the olny ipmortmnt tihng is that the frist and ltast ltteer is in the rghit pclec. The rset can be a toatl msess and you can still raed it wouit porbelm. Thish is bcuseae we do not raed ervery lteter by itleslf but the word as a whloe.

  31. Dotting the i’s CHECK IT!CHECK IT!CHECK IT!

  32. RESOURCES • Writing a CV leaflet • Completing Application Forms leaflet • Reference Books • Careers and Employability Service web site • Prospects – CVs • Prospects - Applications •