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Employment & Skills
When sending your tailored CV to the recruiter you will also need to include a cover letter. The cover letter is your opportunity to explain why the recruiter should read your CV. You can do this by explaining why you are interested in the job, why you want to work for the organisation and the benefits to the organisation hiring you would bring them.
The cover letter should be simple, straight to the point and sell you to the organisation.
- Address the letter to the appropriate person or ‘Sir/Madam’. Do not use ‘to whom it may concern’.
- Know what the goal of your cover letter is and express it clearly and concisely. Concentrate on the positives and sound confident and professional.
- Customise your cover letter to the position you are applying for. Indicate the job title in the cover letter. Answer these two questions: ‘why do you want this particular job?’ and ‘what can you do for the company?’
- Proof your cover letter – spell check it, get a friend to read and check it.
- Include a closing statement - Let the employer know that you want to follow up including when and how you will do so. This confirms your interest in the position and your professional etiquette. But remember, you must follow up when and how you indicated on the cover letter.
There could be hundreds of applicants for a job and recruiters and hirers are very busy, so it is important for your CV to stand out from the pack to win you an interview.
Make an impact
Your CV will need to show key information to have an impact, always include:
- Your roles and responsibilities.
- Your experience – be consistent and relevant to the job you’re applying for. Be clear where you added value and had an impact.
- Your skills - include all relevant skills gained in previous roles. Your skills should complement your experience and should illustrate your suitability for the job.
- Results and achievements – if you have had targets in your last role and achieved them, or if you have ‘gone the extra mile’ to achieve something add these to your CV.
- Your education and training – highlight relevant education and training, particularly when they’ve been listed as essential or desirable in the job criteria.
- Tell recruiters only what they want to know – you should be able to determine this by the job description or advert.
What not to put in your CV:
- Your failures - be positive.
- Bizarre fonts - have your CV on a plain white background and use common fonts like Calibri or Arial.
- Unnecessary headings – you can save space on your CV by not putting in headings and titles that are not necessary.
- Leisure activities – there’s no need to give details about your hobbies, unless of course they are related to the job you are applying for. Example: Football team player shows physical activity, ideal for physical jobs.
- Your health.
- Criticising current or previous employers.
- Religion, sexuality or political affiliations - there may be some very small occupations/occasions where you may have to provide this information but as a general rule it should not be included.
- Reasons for leaving your previous jobs.
Reasons for CV rejection:
- The experiences and achievements on your CV do not match the employers’ requirements - tailor your CV so that it matches the required skills and work experience of the job.
- Visual layout - your CV should be simple, organised and logical to make it easy for someone reading your CV to find key information about you quickly.
- Long CVs - employers prefer short interesting CVs that mention your relevant skills and achievements. An ideal CV should be no longer than two pages long.
- Too much information - do not make your CV boring and difficult to read by including irrelevant information.
- Spelling mistakes – spelling mistakes are an easy rejection for your CV. Word and other packages include a spell checker, use it and make sure it is set to UK spelling.
- Incorrect contact details – this is so obvious but happens a lot. People lose jobs by not including the correct details.
- Smudgy writing/print and poor quality paper - use quality paper and make sure your print is crystal clear.
And finally make sure:
- It’s easy to read – make sure the layout of your CV is clear and consistent, containing only one font type (bold can be used to highlight). Use bullet points to outline skills, achievements, responsibilities etc. rather than rambling sentences.
- There are no inconsistencies – make sure your CV runs in clear, reverse chronological order (soonest first i.e. 2015, 2014, 2013) and that there are no unexplained gaps in time or irregularities in responsibilities, timeframes or achievements.
- You use relevant language – avoid jargon. Think about the recruiter. They might not be the expert in the job you are applying for.
- You format and label – save your CV as a Word file or as a PDF. Most recruiters will have these software packages.
- When you save your CV include your name i.e. SmithJohn-CV in the saved title. This makes it easier to find your CV at a later date.
- You have a professional email address – employers are put off by some i.e. lozza@ hotmail.com To avoid using numbers try firstname.lastname@example.org
- Don’t fall at the first hurdle. Your CV is the key to gaining an interview. Document your skills and experience relating to the job, this is crucial to getting to the interview stage.
Our LHP tenants in the south have access to a range of employability support services thanks to two funded projects – MOVE and Steps Forward.
The MOVE project works across the whole of greater Lincolnshire, with 24 organisations working together to help people into work, training and volunteering.
The Steps Forward project also works across the whole of Lincolnshire and focuses on individuals who are furthest away from the job market.
These opportunities are completely FREE as they are supported by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF) through the Building Better Opportunities Fund.
To be eligible for this free service you need to have the right to work in the UK and be:
- Unemployed or
- Economically inactive or
- Under 18 and not in education, training or employment.
Through these schemes we offer:
- Personalised support to suit you
- Advice on a one2one basis – from writing your CV to practice interviews
- Work experience and volunteering opportunities
- Opportunities for training and qualifications.
- Financial help is also available for childcare or respite care and expenses.
Contact us for more information.
Your CV has got you an interview. Congratulations. Now you have to win the interviewer over. Here are some interview tips to land you that job.
Arriving for your interview:
- Aim to arrive at the interview 10 minutes ahead of time. Too early or too late and you may upset the interviewer.
- Take a few minutes to relax and check your appearance.
- Introduce yourself to the receptionist and mention your appointment. Chat to the receptionist or whoever greets you.
- Greet the interviewer and introduce yourself. Shake their hand firmly (not too firmly) if offered. Practice your handshake if it is a little weak.
Expand on each point with your personal experience:
Simply stating a series of headings such as “I am a good communicator” or “I am organised” is not proving that you can do something and has no impact. You need to back up the claims that you make with examples from your experience. Use the STAR method to help you achieve this.
Use active verbs and power words to describe yourself
- If you want to make a strong impact you can’t use expressions such as "I was involved in" too often as they reflect a situation in which you played a role rather than the role itself.
- You should use words and verbs such as: "I played a key role in", "managed", "elaborated/built on", "was instrumental in", "achieved", "proposed", "derived", "I am proficient/competent in", "I am confident in", etc.
- Avoid ‘we’ always use ‘I’.
- Avoid ‘may’ and use ‘will’.
- Always use the most positive words and make it about you.
Behaviour and body language:
Your body language will give a lot of information to your prospective employers about you. They probably will not be looking at it specifically (unless it is so bad that they can't miss it!) but they will be subconsciously affected by it throughout the interview. Here are some tips:
Maintain a good posture:
- When seated plant both feet onto the ground so that you remain stable.
- Put your hands on the table (people who place their hands below the table come across as having something to hide). If there is no table (or only a low table) then simply rest your hands on your lap.
- Keep yourself upright, with a slight slant forward and relax our shoulders. Slouching is bad body language!
Limit your hand and arm movement:
- It is okay in your body language to move your arms and hands around, this shows personality and enthusiasm. However, it becomes a problem if they distract and take the focus away from your face. If you have a tendency to fidget in a very distracting manner, intertwine your fingers and rest your hands on the table or in your lap.
- Never cross your arms. You will look unreceptive, guarded and lacking in confidence.
- A nervous smile is better than no smile at all.
- Smile when you are being introduced to each member of the interview panel. With this body language you can build a good rapport.
- It is also perfectly acceptable to laugh if the situation occurs (but avoid making jokes).
Maintain eye contact:
- If you do not make eye contact, you will come across as evasive and insecure which is poor body language.
- If you stare at people too much, you will make them insecure. There are two situations here: either you are being interviewed by just one person, in which case you will have no choice but to look at them all the time; or you are being interviewed by more than one person. If this case, then look mostly at the person who is asking you the question, and occasionally glance aside to involve the others (they will be grateful that you are trying to involve them into the conversation even if they have not asked that particular question).
Beware of the props:
- If you have a pen and notepad with you, avoid fiddling with it.
- If they offer you a drink (tea, coffee, water, etc.), make sure that you can cope with it and that you won't need to go to the toilet or start crossing your legs half-way through the interview. Be cautious if you are really nervous you may have a spillage or show your shaking hands to the interviewers.
Questions for the interview panel:
Always have questions ready to ask the interview panel. This is your chance to show you are confident, that you plan and are organised.
Here are some ideas…
If an interviewer prompts you to get the answers that they are looking for it can mean one of two things:
1. The interviewer likes you and is more tempted to prompt you and push you along.
2.You are not answering the questions to your fullest potential
However, be warned some interviewers mark down when they have had to continuously prompt. So again practice your STAR technique and go through some mock interviews with the questions we have provided; give as much detail as possible.
Adapted from information found on ISC Professional: http://www.interview-skills.co.uk
Searching for a job is a full time job in itself. It can take anything from one day to over a year to find one. Preparation and action is crucial. It is not going to be easy. You may get frustrated, you may feel people are not helping you and you may need to change how you look at things or your initial plans to get onto or back onto the job ladder. One thing is for sure - you need to help yourself and do a lot of it. Other people can support you but they cannot do it for you. This is all about you.
You need to accept and overcome such things as:
- Too many people chasing too few vacancies
- Lots of better qualified people chasing jobs that you want
- Finding getting an interview impossible
- Jobs going before they are advertised
- Rejection – even though it is demotivating and depressing
- Job searching making you feel like you have no control over your life.
Step one – a system
Develop a system for looking for a job. This way you focus on the process without having to worry yet about the results. Keep track of the calls you make, the CVs you send, the applications you complete and the interviews you get.
Step two – a goal
Decide on the type of job you want to do but don’t discount others as they come along. Have a goal but don’t forget the stepping stones. The administration job may not be what you want ultimately but can it be a stepping stone? The answer should be yes, it will teach you skills that you can use anywhere.
Have a goal job but don’t be above other jobs to get there. Which is the greater pain - working really hard at a number of different jobs or not having a job and not being able to pay your bills?
Remember the job you get today may not be the job you will have forever and it won’t be the job you have forever if you have already set yourself a different goal.
Step three – be ready
Have the following ready, so that you can be quick to respond to an opportunity:
- Cover letter
- Skills and attributes descriptive
- Reference details
- Interview clothes
- A positive attitude (even if you don’t feel it inside, you need to portray it from the outside).
Step four – look for a job
There are plenty of jobsites out there for job hunting. Make sure you check them regularly, get the new job alerts and have your CV uploaded to them. Registering with jobsites is a good idea then you are good to go as soon as you see a job you are interested in. They are not always the answer though - don’t use them as your only tool.
Have a list of companies that you are interested in working for and check if they have a website. If they do it is highly likely that they advertise any vacancies through their website. Get into the routine of checking them weekly, check out how they expect applicants to apply and be prepared so that you can react as soon as you see an opportunity.
Is an excellent way to interact with future employers, businesses and job forums. It allows you to network with people you would not otherwise meet and find job positions that employers are only advertising in these spaces. There are lots of types of social media that you can use to find positions including:
You could also start your own blog or website.
If you are using social media to find a job role then you must make sure that any accounts you hold are maintained in a professional manner and they do not show you in a negative light.
Target your social media search. Posting a Facebook status saying, “I want a job. Who can help me?” will get you nowhere. You are being far too vague. Be specific about what sort of job you are looking for, is it full-time or part-time etc.
Personalise your message. Just having profiles on different social networks is not enough to find a job. You need to carefully craft the messages you’re sending. Blasting generic messages is equivalent to walking down a busy street shouting that you are looking for work; you are speaking to nobody in particular and wasting your time.
It’s also worth joining social media groups that are aimed at job searchers or advertise vacancies.
People that you know
Call every person that you know and if they pass you a contact then call them. Don’t be embarrassed - be proud that you are active and working for yourself.
Sending out your CV speculatively
Sending out your CV without following it up with a telephone call is pointless. Always send a cover letter with the CV and advise the employer that you will be ringing and stick to it. Try and get the hirer’s name. It might not always be possible but you should try.
Make telephone calls to companies
You can ring companies to see if they are hiring or to find out who manages their job applications.
Job trial or work experience
You know that ‘x’ company is hiring in a few weeks or hires at the same time every year so if you can, offer your skills for free for a couple of weeks. It is one of the best ways to learn about the company, put yourself in front of those that hire and gain experience. Make yourself invaluable so that they know who you are when you apply for the job and put the experience on your application. A word of caution; make sure that you are not being exploited as a free worker and make sure that the employer insurance covers your unpaid position.
Check the local papers
It is becoming less popular but there are still a few organisations that advertise in the local press.