cvs and application forms: how to sell yourself on paper!

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CVs and Application Forms: How to sell yourself on Paper!. Manchester University September 2010 Fiona Bousfield. Objectives of Today…. The importance of a CV. To identify what makes a good CV. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • CVs and Application Forms: How to sell yourself on Paper!

    Manchester University

    September 2010

    Fiona Bousfield

  • Objectives of Today

    The importance of a CV.

    To identify what makes a good CV.

    To recognise the common pitfalls of CVs and applications and to try and identify what employers are looking for!

  • A very competitive market!There is little doubt that the prolonged recession has had a profound effect on the career prospects for university-leavers graduate vacancies at Britains leading employers dropped by 8 per cent in 2008 and fell a further 17 per cent in 2009. Although the number of graduate jobs on offer in 2010 is expected to improve, there remains a substantial back-log of recent graduates who failed to find work previously who are competing with this years finalists for entry-level positions.

    High Flyers Report - 2010

  • CVs and Application FormsDemonstrate suitability for a role

    Evidence of your education, skills and experience

    Snapshot of who you are elements included can be further discussed at interview

  • Types of CVChronologicalLists your education and experience in reverse chronological order

    Skills-based This focuses on the skills required by the employer more than on youreducation and work history. Tends to be used more by contractors andother skilled workers.

    Combination You may have very relevant qualifications that favour a chronologicallayout, and varied work experience that benefits from a skills-basedapproach.

    AcademicIt is built around three areas - your research, teaching and administrationexperience. Length is less important and it may be longer than two pages.

    CVs for other countriesDifferent countries have different CV formats make sure you find out whatis required!!

  • Structuring a CV

    Personal DetailsProfile/career objectiveEducational and QualificationsWork History

    Additional Skills and QualificationsHobbies and Interests

    References available upon request

  • Job AdvertComputer Operator

    Full Time Computer Operator required to join a friendly team.

    You need to be familiar with:Windows Database entry Using a computer network. Dealing with customers on the phone

    Please send your CV to . .

  • TASK Who will you recruit?15 minutesYOU are the team who has been asked to select candidates for interview and to provide feedback.

  • Congratulations, you have been invited to an interview!

    what was better about this version of the CV?

  • Summary - Top TipsPersonalKeep it concise use bullets and clear headingsKeep to 2 pages if possibleCheck your dates make sure they add up!Make sure you are selling your skills according to job description do your research!

    Include too much personal detail we dont need to see your photograph!Exaggerate or lie!Try to be too creative with your formatting keep it professional

  • Application Forms what are they? Unique to the employer and the job role

    Give employers the exact information they are looking for, in a format they want

    Usually completed online

    Competency based important to research the company and role

    Used instead of a CV make sure you include all the relevant information

    A way of highlighting specific examples you have - essential you portray them in the right manner

    Usually read in 90 seconds..

  • Dos and DontsDoFill in all the partsBe relevant, clear and specific stick to the word limitGive a variety of skills and experiencesSupport claims with evidence of achievementsUse positive languageRelate it to the criteria mentioned in the Job Specification

    DontMiss anything out use N/A if you need toTry to reformat the fields its like that for a reason!Leave it to the last minute they take time and redrafting!Include a CV and covering letter unless asked

  • Common Reasons for RejectionToo many similar examples, with little variety

    Too much detail/not enough detail

    Irrelevant answers

    Vague answers

    Not answering all the parts of the question

  • What have you got to offer?Think about the common elements many graduate employers look fore.g. TF survey of TT100 employers found most common 5 were communication, team-work, problem solving, confidence and creativity

    Selection processes are based on evidence of skills, personal characteristics and intellectual ability

    All can be demonstrated in the context of student life, employment, work experience, gap years etc

  • So, what have YOU got to offer?Before you start any form.

    Think about the last 2-3 yearsChoose key eventsWrite everything down involved in each eventBreak down into smaller partsExtract the skills acquired and lessons learnt

  • Task: What have you got to offer?Using these sub headings, break down key events in the last three years.Examine all the parts of the event and your involvementExamine what you learnt and what transferable skills you picked up




    e.g. Education Seminars team work, decision making, confidence

    10 mins

  • Top Tips!Practice in Word first dont risk internet timing out or information getting lost.Get someone else to check it before submitting SPELLING AND GRAMMAR ARE VITAL!Make sure the form is structured and your examples make sense.Remember employers are looking for potential rather than the finished article.DONT LIE you will get found out at interview!Ensure you create a positive, lasting first impression by using positive language.Ensure you are answering the questions properly.Keep a copy of the final version ready for interview.

  • Any questions?

    Fiona BousfieldGraduate Recruitment Officer

    Email: 0161 234 0073

    ***Explain that the graduate market has always been very competitive. In the current economic climate, with graduate vacancies fewer than in previous years, employers have luxury of being even more demanding in the quality they seek from their graduates. It is very important not only to gain as much experience as possible to stand you aside from others but also to be able to make that initial impact in just 2 pages!Be ahead of the game submit application forms or CVs early. Most recruiters select on a rolling basis so with the market being as competitive as it is, you cant afford to wait until deadlines!

    *Employers will only have what you give them to go on. Unfortunately many great candidates often slip through the net due to poor CVs or application forms*Go briefly over the different types of CV. Point out that most graduate candidates would probably be writing a combination CV if applying for a graduate job which would more often than not be accompanied by an application form.Also point out that if applying to jobs abroad, they should read up on what is appropriate, as different countries expect different things. EG in the UK we only ask for 2 pages where as in Canada they are much lengthier. In Korea, a CV would always include a picture of the candidate whilst in the UK this would not be considered appropriate. *Go briefly over the usual format of a CV in the UK.

    Normally should not go above 2 pagesPersonal DetailsFull namePostal AddressEmail AddressTelephone number

    Profile/career objectiveA brief outline of what you are aiming for. Impersonal statement about the writers qualities e.g.ambitious graduate enthusiastic individual.. highly motivated musician

    Educational and QualificationsInstitutionsDatesExam subjects , qualification type and grade

    Work HistoryEmployerDatesJob TitleBULLETS of key responsibilities.If relevant, any key achievements can also be added eg promotions, awards etcReverse chronological order

    Additional Skills and qualificationsTechnical (include any courses and to what level)LanguagesAny other skills or training that would be relevant eg management training course

    Hobbies and InterestsEmployers dont always look for this but it can be a good way to make yourself memorable and something employers can refer to at interview

    *Tell the students that you are going to use this as an example of a job advert that is asking for CVs. It is important that a CV is relevant to the job advertised.Ask them based on the advert what you think an employer might want to see.Answers should include: evidence of team work, lists of PC skills, including any qualifications, certificates etc and to what level, experience in dealing with people*Tell them that based on what they have learned so far about composing a good CV, how they would rate the 2 CVs you are giving them, if applying for the job on the previous slide (you may want to go back to that slide) Give each group a copy of the poor and the medium CV (saved in the file)After 10 minutes, ask the groups to discuss their findings. Ideally use a board or flip chart to take down their ideas on what was good/bad about CVs.

    Bad CV why?No need to write CV on the top it is quite evident what it is and you are wasting space!Far too much personal information just your name address, phone number and email is required legally you do not need to give your DOB and we certainly dont need to know if you are divorced or have children!Dont list something you dont have! Eg the qualificationWork History this should be short bullet points giving information of what exactly your duties were and perhaps any additional achievements. No use of paragraphsNever make negative comments about a job, employer or the people you worked with. CV is just based on facts.

    Overall, this person would come across as someone who is not hardworking (no time put into the formatting of the CV), someone with l