10 STEPS TO THE DREAM JOB

Whether fresh out of university or looking for a career change mid-life, it’s never too late to land your dream job.

According to Jeff Poe, founder of Platinum Professional Training, there are 10 steps in the process of landing your ideal job, and they start well before the CV and long after you’ve decorated your new desk.

KNOW YOURSELF, YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

You should have an understanding of your value, your abilities, and strengths that you offer to the market. “You should also be aware of your weaknesses,” Jeff adds. Sometimes these weaknesses are essential criteria in your ideal job so understanding them may allow you to improve on them more and fine-tune your place in the position you’re after. “Use this as a chance to identify the things you need to work on to achieve your goals.”

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND WHERE YOU WANT TO EXCEL

Don’t go into something half-hearted – as it will show the second you walk into the interview, if not on your CV. “You must know what you want,” Jeff says, citing an interview with Warren Buffet, the world’s most successful investor and third richest person in the world, as an example.

“The question put to him was “what advice would you give to young people starting out?”, to which he answered “do something you love, something you are passionate about because here you are most likely to excel at this.  Furthermore, doing something you love doesn’t become work anymore.”

I.D THE OPPORTUNITY

“Identifying the opportunity no longer relies on just using the standard job search functions,” Jeff points out. “If you are dead-set on a company or industry, then you should spend time immersing yourself in the company or industry, speak to industry experts, major suppliers, and regulators”.

“Yes, it is a good idea to network using social media, but also stump up the cash to attend live industry events,” he adds. “You may uncover similar companies that you would love to work for, and this multiplies your opportunity set.” Human connections at certain industry events are also something you can’t plan – but can make all the difference. “Make no mistake, a lot of this becomes a numbers game,” he points out.

GAIN AN INTERVIEW

You need to be able to obtain an interview, and this often occurs based on your resume, so have a professional review it if needed. “Or better yet, show it to any friends or family who are Hiring Managers somewhere,” Jeff suggests. “Your resume needs to have sufficient experience, and the experience should cover the key tasks in their job description,” he says. “Look for similar ideal roles and ensure your experience discusses or has some treatment of the key tasks listed in those job descriptions. This will maximize your chances of getting the phone call to bring you in for a face to face interview.”

GO SHORT AND SHARP

Preparation for a face-to-face meeting will highlight your soft skills in communication.  Jeff explains that interviews tend to be divided into sections; “The first section normally begins with short answer questions such as “tell me about yourself”, “what are your strengths and weaknesses”, “where do you see yourself in five years”, “what are your salary expectations” and so on,” he says. “Spend the time researching the ideal answers for the common questions,” he says. Keeping it short and sharp – and only slightly scripted (but still personable) may also help with over-talking that nerves can bring on!

PREPARE FOR BEHAVIOURAL QUESTIONS

Jeff says that behavioral questions can catch people off guard because they are asked to provide a monologue of how to demonstrate a certain behaviour, “tell me about a time you had a conflict with a team member?”. Ouch! “If you are targeting a role in a large organisation, then behavioural questions will be asked because their HR departments are trained to include these questions for interviews,” Jeff explains. His advice is always to begin using the S.T.A.R (Situation, Task, Action, Result) which you can research easily online.

PREP YOUR OWN QUESTIONS

Don’t go into an interview without your own questions as these will make up part of your assessment. And don’t be afraid to detail the key concerns or worries you have, Jeff encourages. “If you ask “will there be overtime in the role?” it means you are worried you may be doing overtime,” he says. Most people are guilty of a wasted opportunity when they ask questions, he adds. “I prefer to ask questions on how to succeed in the role or questions about the team culture.”

KNOW THE COMPANY

You need to research the company you are interviewing for Jeff says, adding that this goes beyond just the company website, their social media pages, word of mouth and any public documents! “You should have an understanding of their key suppliers, their key products, how they make money, what their margins might be,” he says. “If there is a lack of information on the company, research the industry.”

This is as simple as reading industry press to identify the key trends, key changes in the law and what major news there is. “Being able to discuss this with some knowledge and authority will raise your profile in the minds of the interviewer.”

ACE THE INTERVIEW

By now you should be 100% prepared for the interview because you’ve researched the company, the industry, developed your short answer questions, behavioural questions and on top of that, you have questions for the interviewer. Right? “Now your soft skills in communication and persuasiveness need to do their work,” Jeff notes, adding that if this is a weakness, there are communications courses you can do.

“Don’t be overwhelmed by the communication side of things though as it is important to always come back to the fact that the employers are running through four key questions in their mind when interviewing you,” he says. This includes:

1.      Can you do the job?
2.      Will you stay longer than 12 months?
3.      Do I like you?
4.      Will my team like you?

“If you can sufficiently convince the interviewer of these four key questions, you will be shortlisted for the top.”

PASS YOUR PROFESSIONAL PROBATION

After getting the job offer for your ideal job, you want to pass probation and keep the job, or better yet, excel in the job encourages Jeff. “Firstly, don’t stress about probation,” he says. “They key thing they are testing is that you are broadly competent, and you don’t display bad behaviors like being consistently late or inappropriately using the office internet,” he says. Here are Jeff’s tips for  increasing your value and propelling your career forward:

  • Treat the company like it is your own: “That way all the small things will matter to you. Each dollar earned is “yours.”  Each expense is “yours” so it hurts.
  • Always ask “is there a better way of doing this?”:   Don’t do this in the first week because you could be perceived as a “know-it-all,” he cautions, but asking yourself this question and considering various solutions will be highly noticed by superiors.

Source taken from http://progilisys.com/10-steps-to-bag-the-job-of-your-dreams/

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311

HOW TO EASY APPLY ON LINKEDIN

You may have already noticed that some jobs advertised on LinkedIn have an ‘Apply’ button while others have a ‘LinkedIn Easy Apply’ button.  Here’s a run through the difference between the two and tips on how to optimise your chances in getting through to the next stage of the hiring process:

WHAT IS LINKEDIN EASY APPLY?

In short, the ‘Apply’ button will take you directly to the company’s job site while the ‘Easy Apply’ lets you apply without leaving LinkedIn.

A pop up appears and a feature allows you to select your preferred email address and phone number with an option to upload your CV.  On occasions, a second page will appear asking for a few extra details before submitting your application.

WHAT AN EMPLOYER SEES WHEN YOU 'EASY APPLY' ON LINKEDIN

Before an employer views your full profile, you have to get their attention with a few pieces of information.  An employers first impression of your applications looks like this:

LINKEDIN PHOTO

Make sure you have a good photo.  Use something professional, in focus, well lit and show a positive facial expression.

LINKEDIN HEADLINE

Your headline stays present throughout the LinkedIn application process.  By default, LinkedIn creates your headline using your current job title and company i.e. Digital Marketing Executive at Rubicon Recruitment Group. 

You have 120 characters to work with and so simply leaving your headline as the default is a wasted opportunity.  Use this as an opportunity to add in other details that describe what you can do for the company.  For more information head over to LinkedIn headline tips and examples.

LOCATION AND INDUSTRY

Make sure to match your location in relation to where you are looking for jobs, not necessarily where you currently live or work.  Also think about your career history, where you’re trying to take your career rather than where it’s historically been.

LINKEDIN PROFILE MATCHING

A recruiter has a ‘View critical match’ option that gives a breakdown of how well your profile matches with the job description.

The skills section pulls on the information you have entered into your Skills & Endorsements profile section and words you use throughout the entirety of your profile.

While you don’t need to tailor your profile for every job application unlike your CV, you do need to write a complete, keyword profile that matches the types of jobs you want.

YOUR CV AND FINAL THOUGHTS

LinkedIn sees itself as an evolution to CVs meaning they think LinkedIn profiles replace the need for a full CV.  As a result, the option to attach a CV is subtle and from the recruiters’ side, viewing an applicant’s CV is less obvious or emphasized. 

You still need to upload your CV to LinkedIn and tailor it to the job however, do not submit your application hoping your CV hoping the CV will get you to the next stage.  Remember the importance of your LinkedIn profile and ensure it is in tip-top shape.

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311, or head over to our CV builder under ‘candidates’ on our website.

7 WORK HABITS WITH LLOYD BANKS

Rubicon Recruitment’s Managing Director, Lloyd Banks, has established 7 work habits, which are implemented throughout the office for better work practices.

LLOYD'S 7 WORK HABITS IN ORDER OF EXECUTION;

GOALS

Have clear goals of what you want to achieve over the coming months and years. You should either write these down or create visual ‘mood’ boards to help you focus. The more you focus on something, the more likely it is to occur so remember to think positively.

Use the SMART acronym if this helps;

  • Specific
    What do you want to achieve? Have well-defined, exact goals.
  • Measurable
    How are your goals measured? Is it in the number of clients or the earnings you wish to generate? Is it a particular feeling you want when your goals have been accomplished?
  • Action Oriented
    Are your goals achievable and does your lifestyle enable you to reach them?
  • Relevant & Results Focused
    What is the objective of your goals and why have you set these?

Timebound
When do you want to achieve these by? Have a timeline so you know what you’re aiming for.

PLAN

Similar to using the SMART acronym, ensure you have a plan of how, why and when. Break your goals down into small, achievable tasks so each day you are closer to achieving what you want.

  • Plan for at least 15 minutes per day
  • Remember attention wavers after 45-60 minutes
  • Group different types of activities
  • Kick start the next day by starting the next days work before you leave work

START INTENSITY

Within the office we often implement ‘power hours’, starting the working day with a clear focus of what we want to achieve. This intense focus ensures the important tasks are given our full attention. Whichever task you are focusing on, give it everything you’ve got.

THE EXECUTION

You can spend forever establishing goals and planning how to achieve them, but if you never actually ‘execute’ these, nothing is going to happen. There are always examples of people who ‘talk the talk’ but real success is shown in the results of our actions. If you say you’re going to do something, commit to the task and see it through until it’s finished. Bit by bit, your goals will start to manifest through your commitment to achieve the smaller tasks along the way.

HOUR BY HOUR

Plan your day by allocating tasks to their own hour. Tell yourself this hour is dedicated to a certain task and this task only. When the next hour starts it’s time to move onto a different task. This ensures each item on your to-do list is given a certain priority and will help you work your way through the items that need attention.

DISTANCE DISTRACTIONS

Lloyd sets aside a particular time of the afternoon to check his emails. This ensures his to-do list is not interrupted by unnecessary items, which probably don’t need your immediate attention. If it’s urgent, people call!Whilst this may not be realistic for all of us, it does highlight the importance of eliminating items in your day that can cause a distraction and take away your focus from what you need to do. Turn off notifications, set aside a time to check emails and stop looking at your phone. Procrastination is not helpful.

CONTINUOUS OBSERVATION

To help keep you on track, take a moment each week to reflect on what you’ve achieved so far. This can also help to re-motivate you on the days you feel you haven’t achieved anything, or give you the extra push you need to work that little bit harder.

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311

COMPANY COUNTER OFFER TACTICS

As mentioned in our post ‘Handing in your notice’, companies are often left at a loose end when a valued employee resigns and you may experience some of following scenarios and tactics from your current employer:

THE 'COUNTER OFFER'

Some companies have been known to respond to resignations by matching or exceeding your new salary package.  If you have gone through the recruitment process in the hope that you may get a counter offer (since a colleague did, for example), then you are playing a very dangerous game.  The company is now aware of your unrest and whilst the offer may appear attractive, it may affect any future pay rises, promotional prospects and training opportunities.  Statistics show that 86% of people who accept counter offers still leave within six months of deciding to stay at their present company.

MAGIC PROMOTION

Your company does not want to lose you.  Whilst the offer of promotion is no doubt sincere, ensure you explore the real reasons why you want to leave and ask yourself, “has anything really changed?”  If it hasn’t, then graciously turn down the opportunity.

EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL

A great deal of pressure can be placed upon individuals by companies to get employees to stay.  Often, if the resignation meeting hasn’t gone well, we have heard reports of threats not to pay wages or earned bonuses or threats to give a bad reference, among other nastiness.  It is important to remember there are employment laws protecting your rights.  Try to recognise these threats for what they are – just threats and always seek advice.

PEER GROUP PRESSURE

Colleagues are often distressed or saddened at a team member leaving and may try many levels of persuasion to get you to stay.  If you have been with a company a long time, it is possible you have made good friends with certain colleagues and this security can often be difficult to leave behind.  However there is nothing to stop you keeping in touch with your colleagues socially when you start a new role elsewhere.

BAD MOUTHING

If you hear worrying information about your new company, please call Rubicon Recruitment to dispel the rumour.  We have committed to only work with companies whose core values match our own and we would never place you in a company we did not trust to look after their employee’s well-being.

SHOWN THE DOOR

Some companies feel that making an employee work their notice can upset or demotivate the rest of the workforce.  Try not to take this too personally, it is probably for the best and you can now join your new company much sooner.

ABOVE ALL

If you have any worries or doubts during this transition, please talk to us.  Moving to a new company is challenging and exciting, but can still feel daunting.  We will support you as much as professionally possible during this process and beyond.

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311

HANDING IN YOUR NOTICE

Congratulations on being offered your new position, now comes the often daunting task of handing in your notice.

Sometimes this stage of resigning can be more nerve-racking than the interview itself, especially if you’ve been with your present company for a long time.

Here are some Top Tips to guide you through this process:

PREPARATION

Once you’ve received your offer letter from your new company, you need to prepare to hand in your notice. Try not to feel guilty about resigning. Remember the reasons why you decided to leave and take comfort that those reasons are unlikely to change.

WRITE A 'LETTER OF RESIGNATION'

Keep this short and concise. Include the notice period you will serve and any outstanding pay, including: holiday pay, bonuses and expenses or commissions owed.

It is best practice to type this letter, not hand-write, and deliver the letter in person by arranging a meeting. If for any reason you’re going to email this letter save it as a PDF document first.

Don’t leave it on your desk for your boss or another colleague to find and don’t give it to them and go back to your desk without a conversation! This is one letter that will need to be discussed.

THE MEETING

Arrange a meeting with your manager as soon as possible. If there is nowhere private at your place of work, suggest having a coffee somewhere or meeting after hours. Prepare what you are going to say and don’t forget to take your letter of resignation.

Keep the meeting professional and show your appreciation for your time spent with the company. Agree your leaving date and the date you will be paid for outstanding wages plus don’t forget to ask for a written reference.

The meeting should be very straightforward, especially if you show from the start that your mind is made up. If you show any doubt about your decision it will be picked up on, remain calm and confident.

DON'T LET TIME DRAG

Companies are often shocked and upset to lose a good member of staff and they can be caught unaware when you hand in your notice. Try to remember however that your new company will be keen for you to join them and not to let your current employer drag out the leaving process for longer than needs be.

EXAMPLE OF A RESIGNATION LETTER

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311, or head over to our CV builder under ‘candidates’ on our website.

YOUR RIGHTS

Hopefully you leave your company on amicable and ideally positive terms, but how do you know when you have an employment contract that is unreasonable or you risk losing your new job because of fears of bad references?

The information below serves as a guideline only to your rights once you have resigned.  If you have an irreconcilable dispute, please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, an HR professional or a Solicitor for further advice.

NOTICE PERIOD

Statutory notice (legal requirement) is set at one week for every year of employment, to a maximum of 12 weeks for 12 years’ service or more.  You are entitled to renegotiate to a more reasonable length if you are the second scenario and is best approached in the resignation meeting.

Some people prefer to shorten their notice by deducting any outstanding holidays owed.  Don’t work longer than you legally have to.

Temporary roles have no notice period and you can leave immediately.

BAD REFERENCES

No company should give you a bad or non-factual reference even if you leave on bad terms.   Anyone who writes untruths leaves themselves wide open to be sued for ‘defamation of character’.

NO PAY

Getting your last month’s wages and entitlements can be difficult.  Whilst most settle without a hitch, there are some companies who raise disputes.   Any wages owed to you are covered under the Wages Act 1986.  As a last resort, and if phoning the company daily hasn’t worked, you can make a very simple claim in the County Court under the Act without the need of a Solicitor.  Simply call your local court for the form and information.

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311

QUESTIONS YOU COULD BE ASKED DURING AN INTERVIEW

Interviews are an opportunity for the company to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the job.

We recommend you study this list and plan your answers ahead of time, ensuring you’ll be ready to deliver them with confidence.

Candidates can often stumble through interviews, fearing any unexpected questions. Many interview questions however are to be expected, based on their purpose to help the interviewer understand you better.

*The answers provided are deliberately specific and unlikely to relate to your exact situation. It’s important you prepare your own responses based on the role you’re interviewing for.*

TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF

What are your primary selling points for this job?  This could be the number of years of experience you have, in a particular industry or area of specialisation, or your specific skill-set.  You might also want to highlight special training and technical skills.  Focus on the qualifications in the job description and how you meet and exceed the requirements.

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THIS POSITION RIGHT NOW?

You can wrap up your answer by indicating why you are looking for a new challenge and why you feel this role is the best next step.

WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

Often the most dreaded question.  Handle it by minimising your weakness through emphasising your strengths, or by describing how you are working to mitigate or improve.

Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits:

I’m always working on improving my communication skills to be a more effective presenter.  I recently joined Toastmasters, which I find very useful.”

WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?

This is a good opportunity to summarise your experiences and state your relevant and fundamental successes:

“With five years’ experience working in the financial industry, and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company.  I’m confident I’d be a great addition to your team.”

WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK HERE?

The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you have given this some thought and are not sending out CVs just because there is an opening.  Refer to any information you have gathered about the company during your preparation:

“I’ve selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices.”

WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL GOALS?

Sometimes it’s best to talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future:

“My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company.  My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes.  I hope to eventually grow into a position of greater responsibility.” 

WHY DID YOU LEAVE (OR WHY ARE YOU LEAVING) YOUR JOB?

If you’re unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context:

“I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20% reduction in the workforce, which included me.”

If you’re employed, focus on what you want in your next job:

“After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused and where my experience is valued.”

WHEN WERE YOU MOST SATISFIED IN YOUR JOB?

The interviewer wants to know what motivates you.  If you can relate to an example of a job or project when you were excited, the interviewer will get an idea of your preferences.

“I was very satisfied in my last job where I was working directly with the customers and their problems – that’s an important part of the job for me.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR US THAT OTHER CANDIDATES CAN'T?

What makes you unique?  Summarise your experiences, skills and traits:

“I have a unique combination of technical skills and the ability to build strong customer relationships.  This allows me to use my knowledge and break down information to be more user-friendly.”

WHAT ARE THREE POSITIVE THINGS YOUR LAST BOSS WOULD SAY ABOUT YOU?

This is the chance to use any past performance appraisals:

“My boss has told me that I’m the best designer he’s ever had.  He knows he can rely on me and he likes my sense of humour.”

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311

PLANNING, PREPARING FOR & HANDLING INTERVIEWS

Fully preparing for your interview is a must and is critical to ensuring you success and progression to the next stage of the hiring process.  Here are the key planning and preparation techniques to follow: 

RESEARCH

Visit the Company’s website before your interview in order to fully prepare yourself for any questions relating to the company.  Find out as much as you can about the company; it’s reputation, size, what it does and it’s history.

Your Rubicon Consultant will be able to provide you with a job description, and give you a good idea of the person who will be conducting the interview, including their name and job title. It would also be beneficial to look up the interviewer on LinkedIn where you will learn important and influential information that you can mention at interview.

It is always a good idea to make your own enquiries and find out as much as possible yourself. The Internet provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the company culture via social media, any news relating to their products and services and the opportunity to discover competitors.

Prepare answers to questions you might be asked, including facts you have discovered through your research, e.g.

“My experience in this area means I can help train new staff, I think that is important in a company growing as quickly as you have in recent months”

Based on your research, prepare questions to ask at appropriate times during the interview.

PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW

Dress appropriately and wear clothes you feel comfortable in, while remaining professional. You’ll be amazed at how much more confident you feel if you are pleased with your appearance and have made an effort.

Review the company information. It’s always a good idea to review the key information you have collected about the company so that it is fresh in your mind.

Review your CV. Refresh yourself on your key achievements and think about the questions you might be asked. Be prepared for the “tell me about yourself” prompt to ensure you get the most important messages across such as your related qualifications and why you think you suit, and want, the role.

OTHER SUBJECTS YOU MIGHT BE ASKED ABOUT INCLUDE:

Why you left your last employer.

What you liked/did not like about your previous job.

What you thought about your previous supervisor or manager.

About your salary, promotions or pay increases.

What are your strong/weak points.

What appeals to you about the job you are being interviewed for.

If you have been asked to take any documentation with you check that you have everything you need and always take a printed copy of your CV.

AT THE INTERVIEW

Arriving for the interview

Try to arrive a little early (10 minutes is good) to give yourself time to “get a feel” for the company and to glimpse through any relevant material which might be in the Reception area. You don’t want to arrive late and flustered with excuses.

Meeting the interviewee

SMILE •  SHAKE HANDS  •  SAY NAME

SMILE: Be friendly and optimistic from the moment you walk into Reception. It is surprising how many Receptionists are asked what their first impression was.

SHAKE HANDS: When you meet the person conducting the interview, shake hands firmly and don’t forget to smile.

SAY THEIR NAME: Use the interviewer’s name, where appropriate, during the conversation. It is an easy way to relate to the person you’re speaking with, just don’t overdo it!

During the interview

Be truthful, if you don’t know the answer to a question then admit it. Nobody knows everything so be honest and don’t try to bluff.

Listen carefully to what is being said but don’t be afraid to ask for a question to be repeated – if you didn’t understand it, simply say: “Could you please repeat the question for me?”

Ultimately, remember to be yourself. Interviews are an opportunity for the company to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the job. Chances are, if you are not selected for the job it wasn’t the right opportunity for you anyway, so relax!

Other Top-Tips:

Take things one-step at a time and take a moment to think before responding to questions.

Don’t smoke, even if invited to do so.

You can accept a tea, coffee or water if offered.

Speak confidently and express your views, without being argumentative.

Don’t criticise past employers or colleagues.

Above all, avoid the temptation to speak negatively about a former manager – remember who is possibly interviewing you!

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311

WRITING A CV

When applying for a job, your CV (or curriculum vitae) is a summary of your experience, skills and education and needs to be packed with relevant information about you.

Ideally, you will produce an individual CV for every position you apply for.  In truth, most people will have just the one CV.  To gain an advantage over other applicants we suggest you create a generic CV which you can then tailor before applying for a specific role. 

WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY GENERIC CV?

DO INCLUDE (IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER)

Contact Details

Include your full name, contact phone number and email address. Any professional social media presence should be clear.

Profile/Personal statement

This isn’t compulsory but a personal statement will help your CV to stand out.

A concise statement of two or three sentences will suffice; highlighting your key attributes or reasons for deciding to work in a particular field. Pick out a few significant achievements and skills, clearly articulating your career aims and focusing on the sector you are applying to. Treat this as a summary to your covering letter.

Relevant skills

Include skills you have gained through experience. For example, the ability to work in a team, manage people, customer service skills, or IT skills – keep these relevant and to the point.

List your strongest skills and talents first and include some of these towards the top of your CV in the ‘personal statement’. Set modesty aside and without boasting show confidence in your abilities.

Employment history & Work experience

When tailoring your generic CV focus particularly on this area.

Always start with your most recent positions first and work backwards chronologically, including examples of tasks carried out. This can be internships, voluntary roles or previous jobs.

Employers are most interested in your recent experience so avoid going into too much detail for positions held 10 or more years ago.

Showcase achievements by offering evidence of how targets were exceeded, ideas created, team successes, processes introduced etc. Always be honest as they could use this information at interview.

*Note – if there are gaps in your experience include an explanation as to why. If it’s ‘travelling’ include details of where you went.*

Education & Qualifications

List and date all previous education, placing the most recent first. Include any professional qualifications or training courses you have attended which add value to your CV.

If you are a recent graduate and don’t have much relevant work experience, then it is best to put your education above work experience.

When tailoring your generic CV focus particularly on this area.

Always start with your most recent positions first and work backwards chronologically, including examples of tasks carried out. This can be internships, voluntary roles or previous jobs.

Employers are most interested in your recent experience so avoid going into too much detail for positions held 10 or more years ago.

Showcase achievements by offering evidence of how targets were exceeded, ideas created, team successes, processes introduced etc. Always be honest as they could use this information at interview.

*Note – if there are gaps in your experience include an explanation as to why. If it’s ‘travelling’ include details of where you went.*

Hobbies/Extra curricular

It’s not compulsory to include hobbies in your CV, but you may want to mention any that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, e.g. learning a language in your spare time, writing a blog or reading development books.

References

List the contact details for two people who can provide positive comments on your previous employment or experiences. Alternatively, include the note ‘references are available on request’.

WHAT TO NOT INCLUDE

A Photo

It is unnecessarily encourages discrimination.

Date of birth or place of birth

It is unnecessarily encourages discrimination.

Your full home address

A town and postcode is adequate information so employers or Recruiters can see how local you are to the job.

The term ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘résumé’

‘CV’ will suffice in the UK.

HOW SHOULD I FORMAT AND PRESENT MY CV?

A standard CV is ideally no longer than two sides of A4. If you are struggling to keep this length then try reducing your ‘role’ information and ensure achievements are prominent.

Type your CV using standard business font such as ‘Tahoma’. A simple format and black font ensures readability is not affected on different computer screens, or when printed.

Bullet points should be used to highlight key points.

Keep to a chronological and descending order for work experience, qualifications and grades.

Think carefully about what style suits your occupation. Unless you are a Graphic Designer keep to a neat standard layout.

It is best practice to have both a PDF and a Microsoft Office compatible version of your CV.

When saving your CV file name it as such: [Full Name – CV]

Add page numbers to the footer of your CV along with your full name.

Write your CV in the first person i.e. ‘I am a conscientious and diligent individual with an aptitude for languages’.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD CONSIDER?

If you are applying for different kinds of work and have mixed experience i.e. hospitality and administration, it can help to tailor your CV to the specific industries by having separate versions.

It is vital to ensure your CV is relevant to each job application, rather than sending the same generic CV. A cover letter can help with this process.

There should be no mistakes in your CV. Check and double check your grammar, spelling and content and use a spell checker. It can help to take a fresh look the next day and ask for a second opinion from a trusted friend or colleague.

Try and include as many active words as possible to increase the impact of your CV for example, ‘created’, ‘analysed’ and ‘devised’ to present yourself as a person that shows initiative.

Don’t be negative about former employers.

Don’t lie or exaggerate information.

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311, or head over to our CV builder under ‘candidates’ on our website.

HOW TO WRITE A COVERING LETTER

To set yourself apart from the competition produce a positive and relevant cover letter that directly relates to the job you are applying for.

DO I NEED A COVER LETTER?

A cover letter should always accompany your CV, unless you are told otherwise. It allows you to personalise an application and highlight key areas of your CV in more depth.

HOW DO I WRITE A COVER LETTER?

Keep your cover letter brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. It can be broken down into the following sections:

First Paragraph

The opening statement should set out why you are writing the letter. Begin by stating the position you are applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you are available to start.

Middle Paragraphs

You should use the next two or three paragraphs to explain: what attracted you to this vacancy and type of work; why you are interested in working for the company; and what you can offer to the organisation. Demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description.

Last Paragraph

Use the closing paragraph to indicate your desire for a personal interview, while mentioning any unavailable dates. Finish by thanking the employer and say how you are looking forward to receiving a response.

HOW SHOULD I ADDRESS MY COVER LETTER?

Always try and address your cover letter directly to the person who will be reading it. Bear in mind that you are more likely to receive a reply if you send it to the right person.

Advertised positions will usually include a contact name, but if not, it is worth taking the time to find out who the letter should be addressed to.

If you are still a student, or recent graduate, you can access your university’s careers and employability service for additional help.

HOW DO I WRITE A COVER LETTER FOR A JOB THAT'S NOT ADVERTISED?

A speculative application can sometimes be an effective method of creating a career opening, especially in highly competitive industries.

Carry out some research on the job and the company you are sending your application to. Timing is everything when it comes to the creative career search.

SHOULD I DISCLOSE MY DISABILITY IN THE COVER LETTER?

You are not legally required to disclose a disability.

However, you should not lie and say you don’t have a disability if you do, as this could mean you lose any potential job offer. If you choose not to disclose a disability in your cover letter then you can do so at a later stage.

HOW DO I SELL MY MASTERS DEGREE TO EMPLOYERS?

Employers don’t always distinguish between a Masters and Bachelors degree when recruiting. They may value the additional maturity, but it is up to you to explain in your covering letter what skills and knowledge you have gained through this higher qualification.

Present yourself in terms of the extra abilities you have and how this relates to your career goals.

A Masters also needs to be complemented by relevant work experience, so don’t pass on the chance to mention any details of this.

SUCCESSFUL COVER LETTERS

With employers often receiving huge volumes of applications for each vacancy, you need to ensure that your cover letter makes a lasting impression.

Here are some rules you’ll need to stick to if you want to increase your chances of success:

  • Be concise and to the point – keep it to one side of A4.
  • Use the same quality plain white paper you used to print your CV.
  • Include a named contact whenever possible to show you have sent it to them personally.
  • Relate your skills to the job advert and make a case for why the employer should want to meet with you.
  • Proofread – always double-check your spelling and grammar, you could use a computer spellcheck program.
  • Target the company by tailoring your cover letter for each application.
  • The page layout should be easy on the eye, set out with the reader in mind.
  • Check to make sure you’ve got the company name and other key details right.
  • Read it and cut out any unnecessary words or sentences.
  • If sending electronically, put the text in the body of the email rather than as an attachment to avoid it being detected by spam filters.
  • Stick to your own words, avoiding jargon and formal clichés.

COVER LETTER MISTAKES

Your covering letter is an opportunity to show employers how well you express yourself and it should entice them to read your CV. If you want to ensure it is as effective as possible, avoid these common mistakes:

  • Failing to address the letter to a named individual at the company,
  • Repeating what is written in your CV,
  • Forgetting to proofread your letter and sending it full of mistakes,
  • Spilling over onto a second page,
  • Sharing unnecessary personal details and giving rambling explanations,
  • Concentrating too much on your qualifications rather than your skills and experience,
  • Failing to target your letter to the specific job you’re applying for.

For further advice speak to one of our specialist Recruitment Consultants by calling 01202 680 311