Career Development Workshop Year 3 day 2

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Career Development Workshop
Final Year
finding and getting the right job
workshop objectives
• acquire tools to find out about yourself
– personality
– skills and aptitudes
– values and motivations
• be able to find out about jobs for mathematicians
• understand and manage the application process
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writing a CV
writing a cover letter
applying for jobs
interviews
finding and getting the right job:
what the workshop will cover
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what is my personality profile?
what are my strengths?
what are my values?
what kind of careers are open to me?
writing a CV
writing a cover letter
applying for jobs
interviews
resources
personality profile
• based on Myers Briggs Type
• on-line questionnaire:- choose between pairs of
statements
• e-mailed report
• 16 personality “types” based on preferences
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extraversion – introversion
sensing – intuition
thinking – feeling
judging - perception
personality types suggest
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what you are most comfortable doing?
why do you work?
what kind of environment?
what type of activity?
what type of contribution?
how you manage your time
how you get results
how you manage change
interaction needs with others
relationship style
personality types also suggest
• how people see you
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as a leader
as a manager
as a decision maker
in resolving conflict
• your best assets
• your potential weaknesses
assessing your skills
• identify your strengths
• rate your skills and attributes
– be realistic
– consider evidence for high scores
– where you consider you are above average
• will suggest
– the kind of jobs to look for
– the kind of jobs to avoid
• show where you need to plan your development
Skills and Aptitudes Review
skill
what this means
how do I rate
my capability?
1 low
written communication
oral communication
problem solving
leadership
creative thinking
numeracy
team working
commercial awareness
language skills
judgment
computer literacy
negotiating
persuading
decision making
time management
project management
self motivation
ability to meet targets
and deadlines
customer relations
flexibility
practical skills
others
ability to write concisely and convey meaning in a way appropriate to
different readers presenting a persuasive argument
ability to express ideas verbally in a way easily understood by others
who are unfamiliar with the topic, including delivering presentations,
giving accurate information or acting as a spokesperson
devising and then using an appropriate method, rule, technique or logic
to solve a problem
ability to organise and motivate others
being original and inventive in order to solve problems, generate ideas or
produce novel designs
ability to understanding and interpret facts and ideas expressed in
figures and non-verbal data
working cooperatively and effectively with wide variety of other pee to
achieve a common goal
having an understanding and appreciation of the products and services
of an organisation, its markets and customers
understanding and being competent in another language
ability to think clearly and logically under pressure, giving consideration
to the potential impact upon other elements before deciding on the
wisest course of action to be taken
programming skills, competence in operating software packages
agreeing a course of action that is both appropriate and beneficial to
those involved
ability to challenge the attitudes and points of view of others in a logical,
non-judgemental way that people can understand
taking responsibility for what needs to be done and setting achievable
goals frequently within a set time frame.
ability to organise one's work prioritise and sequence what needs to be
done within deadlines
ability to take responsibility for the management and delivery of all or a
part of a programme of work
capacity to identify, address and compete tasks without needing to be
prompted or micro-managed
comfortable when faced with different tasks with different, tight
deadlines. Able to maintain accuracy under pressure
comfortable and positive in face to face contact with customers,
especially those who are dissatisfied.
able to adapt plans and change actions as circumstances demand
ability to make and fix e.g. mechanical, electrical objects. Artistic
creativity - painting, sculpture.
6 high
how much do I
enjoy doing this?
1 low
6 high
Personal Skills and Aptitudes Audit
skill
written communication
oral communication
problem solving
leadership
creative thinking
numeracy
team working
commercial awareness
language skills
judgment
computer literacy
negotiating
persuading
decision making
time management
project management
self motivation
ability to meet targets
and deadlines
customer relations
flexibility
practical skills
others
activity
(e.g course, work, club/society. volunteering
etc.)
evidence
(describe circumstances in which the skill
was demonstrated)
assessing your values and
motivations
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what is important to you?
what motivates you?
focus your research about companies
suggests questions to ask in interviews
Values and motivation
value
influence
altruism
integrity
what this means
Changing the actions or opinions of others. Having an impact in my role
Being involved in work without an emphasis on profit or significant personal gain.
Contributing my community or society, helping someone.
Promoting truth and justice, having integrity in thought and action, Honesty and
loyalty
adventure/risk
Seizing opportunities as they arise without being sure of the outcome. Taking
decisions on the basis of incomplete information. Enjoy challenge and excitement
self-direction/autonomy
Responsibility for own work, Freedom to choose when and how I do my work.
responsibility
Responsible for achieving own results. Relating on myself for achievement
feeling valued
Recognition, praise or acknowledgement of my work by others
respect
Working in an environment that is non-judgemental and where staff are respected
and give respect
ethical
Working for a company that does not compromise my moral or ethical beliefs
innovation
certainty
wealth/material benefits
Thinking creatively, coming up with new ideas, being curious. Pioneering, pushing
for change,. Helping others look at things in a new way.
Knowing what my roles and responsibilities are. Not dealing with change in the
working environment
Higher than average graduate salary, bonuses and benefits. Expensive
possessions
self promotion
Being competitive and striving to be the best
aesthetics
Creating things that have beauty or technical elegance
diversity
Appreciating and respecting differences
change and variety
Wide variety in my work tasks and situations
stability
Secure and stable employment
working with others
Co-operation with other people. Sharing ideas, decision making and
responsibilities. Being a member of a team
prestige and social
status
Status, recognition and visible success e.g. job title, company car
achievement
Sense of personal accomplishment, feeling productive
intellectual stimulation
Dealing with intellectually difficult problems that require high level understanding
and reasoning skills
work/life balance
Time for leisure, friends and family
travel
Opportunities to travel and live overseas
other
how important is
1 low
6 high
quantitative skills you should have
developed during your maths degree
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analysis and interpretation of data
designing and conducting experimental studies and tests
high computer literacy
analytical approach to problem solving, formulating and
testing theories
dealing with abstract concepts
presenting mathematical arguments with accuracy and clarity
advanced numeracy skills
clear logical thinking
“soft” skills you could have developed
through your time at university
– communications – written and verbal
– personal time management, producing results against
deadlines
– organisational skills
– teamwork skills
– ability to work independently
– potentially many others depending on your activities…
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influencing, negotiating
presenting
“hard” skills you could have developed
through your time at university
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excel / access / powerpoint
project management, PERT planning
speaking another language
programming
some jobs specifically for
mathematicians and statisticians
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actuary – insurance companies, banks, professional firms
statistician – pharmaceutical industry etc.
“quant” - banking
operations research – GORS, large companies
weather forecasting – Met Office
secondary school teaching
geophysicist
quality control engineering
postgraduate research – MSc/PhD or research and
engineering companies
occupations requiring
general numeracy skills
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accountancy
insurance
management consultancy
market research
banking and finance
programming
software engineering
taxation
social research
economist
etc….
general graduate jobs
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where degree subject is unimportant
management training schemes
you won’t be competing using your mathematical skills
the choice is enormous – use the resources available
some jobs for last year’s Surrey maths
graduates
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3M
Allianz
Bossmosix
DFDS
DSG
ES Pipeline
Geokinetics
Jardine Lloyd Thompson
News Quest
OOCL
Bank of England
Direct Line
Nomura
Accounts Assistant
Pricing Analyst
IT Administrator
Operations Co-ordinator
Retail Customer Advisor
Market Analyst
Processing Geophysicist
Pensions Administrator
Trainee Financial Accountant
Operations Controller
Management Account Analyst
Group Pricing Analyst
Financial Controller
more jobs (not counting teaching and
postgraduate research)
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Barclays Global Operations
Lloyds Banking Group
The Automobile Association
Coller Capital Investment
Atos
Debenhams
EEA Fund Management Ltd
First Actuarial
HSBC Bank
Microsoft Ltd
PriceWaterhouseCoopers
Save the Children
Australian Commonwealth Bank
Analyst
Risk Analyst
Insight Analyst
Accountant
IT Consultant
Project Administrator
Junior Analyst
Student Actuary
Analyst
Data/Web Analyst
Associate
Customer Service
Trainee Accountant
job finding resources
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www.surrey.ac.uk/careers
www.prospects.ac.uk
www.targetjobs.co.uk
www.insidecareers.co.uk
www.mathscareers.org.uk
professional bodies
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www.siam.org
www.theorsociety.com
www.ima.org.uk
www.actuaries.org.uk
• other universities’ career service websites
• use your imagination and the computer!
creating your CV
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the purpose of a CV
structure
content
cover letter
resources to help you
assess this CV
• would you select this applicant for interview?
• how many mistakes can you find?
Curriculum Vitae
Personal details:
Name:
Julie Maureen Crisp
Address:
21 Station Road
Shrewsbury
SW2 3GH
Telephone:
01483 805678
9th January 1992
Date of birth:
Place of birth: Manchester
Nationality:
British
E-mail [email protected]
Qualifications:
10/2011 – 2014
Surrey University, Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7XH
Mathematics BSC
Sept 2003 – July 2010
Oswestry School, Cheshire
2010 A levels:
-Mathematics A
- Physics B
-Computer Science A
-Chemistry A
2008 GCSEs:
English Language A
-Maths A
-Biology A
-Physics A
-Chemistry A
-French B
Geography A
Economics C
Business Studies B
Work Experience
2011
Norwood Finance Ltd, 27 Winterbourne Road,
Birmingham B 7 3 HF
Summer internship, 8 weeks
2009 – 2010
Toys R Us, part time sales assistant
Developed communications skills through being on customer
services desk, and ability to work under pressure at peak times
2005 – 2007
Direct Call Services, Part time customer services clark
Promoted to senior clark
Interests and Achievements
I enjoy building computers and developing websites.
Voluntry work: Working on a talking newspaper for the blind
Fund raising for the RNIB, eg organised raffles and an auction
Music: play saxophone in jazz group
Reading, watching films, listening to music.socialising
Playing computer games, especially violent kinds
References available on request
Curriculum Vitae
Personal details:
Name:
Julie Maureen Crisp
Address:
21 Station Road
Shrewsbury
SW2 3GH
term time?
Telephone:
01483 805678
home or university?
9th January 1992
Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Nationality:
E-mail
Manchester
British
[email protected]
Qualifications:
[email protected]
Education
10/2011 – present 2014
Surrey University, Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7XH
Mathematics BSC BSc
year 1 marks, year 2 marks?
Sept 2003 – July 2010
Oswestry School, Cheshire
2010 A levels:
2008 GCSEs:
9/03 – 7/10
-Mathematics A
on one line only
- Physics B
-Computer Science A
-Chemistry A
English Language A
-Maths A
-Biology A
-Physics A
-Chemistry A
-French B
Geography A
Economics C
Business Studies B
on one or two lines only
Work Experience
2011
Norwood Finance Ltd, 27 Winterbourne Road,
Birmingham B 7 3HF
don’t break a section
Summer internship, 8 weeks
2009 – 2010
2005 – 2007
Toys R Us, part time sales assistant
Developed communications skills through being on customer
services desk, and ability to work under pressure at peak times
 list what you did and the results you got in bullet
points
Direct Call Services, Part time customer services clark
Promoted to senior clark what did you do?
skills and Aptitudes?
Intrests and Achievements
 bullet points, punchy and specific
I enjoy building computers and developing websites.
Voluntry work: Working on a talking newspaper for the blind
Fund raising for the RNIB, eg organised raffles and an auction
Music: play saxophone in jazz group
Reading, watching films, listening to music. socialising
Playing computer games, especially violent kinds is this a sensible thing to put?
References available on request
purpose of a CV
• from your point of view
– to get the interview, not the job
– to demonstrate in the CV that you have the skills, experience
and motivation
• from the employers’ point of view
– to weed out unsuitable candidates quickly
– to make a short list
imagine that you are the product
and the CV is your advertisement
• get your unique selling propositions (USPs) across
• you only have a few seconds attention from the reader
– your particular strengths
– unique combinations of attributes
– what do you have that the competition doesn’t?
things to think about
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first impressions are critical in job hunting as in life.
the CV and the covering letter are your first contact with a potential employer.
your CV is competing with all the other CVs
the CV needs to show immediately that you have
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the relevant aptitudes, skills and knowledge
the necessary experience
the motivation
these features can be demonstrated by your CV
how the CV is written is as important as what it contains
structure
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Up to you – it’s your CV
must be logical and easy to follow
everything the reader needs must be clear and easy to find
typical example
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education
employment (includes work experience, volunteering)
skills and aptitudes
interests
bio data
references
• two pages of A4 – and be able to produce a one page version
• explore internet for examples
style
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sharp, positive and focussed
most space given to most important aspects
make every word count
reverse chronological order for education and
employment
bullet points – short and punchy, not prose
active verbs – e.g. organised, managed, presented
don’t use the word “I”
don’t repeat yourself
education
• give your overall marks for years 1, 2 and S1 year 3, don’t list
modules studied
• individual module marks if very good and relevant to the job
• A levels and year, AS if different subjects
• list GCSEs briefly but mention specifically English and foreign
languages
• awards, scholarships and prizes (most emphasis on
university)
possible education template
Education
2012 – present
BSc Mathematics
2010 – 2012
A level
2005 – 2010
GCSE
University of Surrey
year 1 mark 68%
year 2 mark 66%
St John’s College, Wigan
Maths (A*) Biology (B) Physics (A)
Templecourt School, Warrington
7 A, 3 B, 1 C including English (A),
French (B)
employment
• company name, location (not address), job title, dates e.g.
6/11 – 9/11
• describe company’s business
• list what you did and the results you achieved and any
achievements
• describe any training given
• include volunteering or internships in same detail
• briefly mention short work experience
• don’t cover skills used or developed
possible employment template
Employment
4/10 -9/10 Courtauld’s Ltd, Coventry
Artificial and Synthetic Fibres Division
Laboratory technician
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set up apparatus for preparation of novel compounds
carried out syntheses and tested resulting products using mass spectrometry
wrote up reports of work carried out
presented verbal report on work at weekly meetings
skills and aptitudes
• developed from studies, employment, volunteering, interests …
– either integrate into sections with the activity - but risk of repetition
– or a specific section
• give evidence for each claimed skill
• no clichés
• select your key strengths
– where you think you are better than most
Skills and Aptitudes
written communications
oral communications
problem solving
leadership
creative thinking
numeracy
team working
commercial awareness
language skills
judgment
IT
negotiating
persuading
decision making
time management
project management
self motivation
ability to meet targets and deadlines
customer relations
flexibility
practical skills
aptitudes that employers want most
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verbal communications
team working
integrity
intellectual ability
self-confidence
organisational skills
interpersonal skills
writing ability
numeracy
analytic skills/decision making
Skills and Aptitudes Review
skill
what this means
how do I rate
my capability?
1 low
written communication
oral communication
problem solving
leadership
creative thinking
numeracy
team working
commercial awareness
language skills
judgment
computer literacy
negotiating
persuading
decision making
time management
project management
self motivation
ability to meet targets
and deadlines
customer relations
flexibility
practical skills
others
ability to write concisely and convey meaning in a way appropriate to
different readers presenting a persuasive argument
ability to express ideas verbally in a way easily understood by others
who are unfamiliar with the topic, including delivering presentations,
giving accurate information or acting as a spokesperson
devising and then using an appropriate method, rule, technique or logic
to solve a problem
ability to organise and motivate others
being original and inventive in order to solve problems, generate ideas or
produce novel designs
ability to understanding and interpret facts and ideas expressed in
figures and non-verbal data
working cooperatively and effectively with wide variety of other pee to
achieve a common goal
having an understanding and appreciation of the products and services
of an organisation, its markets and customers
understanding and being competent in another language
ability to think clearly and logically under pressure, giving consideration
to the potential impact upon other elements before deciding on the
wisest course of action to be taken
programming skills, competence in operating software packages
agreeing a course of action that is both appropriate and beneficial to
those involved
ability to challenge the attitudes and points of view of others in a logical,
non-judgemental way that people can understand
taking responsibility for what needs to be done and setting achievable
goals frequently within a set time frame.
ability to organise one's work prioritise and sequence what needs to be
done within deadlines
ability to take responsibility for the management and delivery of all or a
part of a programme of work
capacity to identify, address and compete tasks without needing to be
prompted or micro-managed
comfortable when faced with different tasks with different, tight
deadlines. Able to maintain accuracy under pressure
comfortable and positive in face to face contact with customers,
especially those who are dissatisfied.
able to adapt plans and change actions as circumstances demand
ability to make and fix e.g. mechanical, electrical objects. Artistic
creativity - painting, sculpture.
6 high
how much do I
enjoy doing this?
1 low
6 high
interests
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demonstrate breadth of personality
if you don’t have any – get some!
socialising with friends doesn’t count
current/recent most important
sports, clubs, charities, cultural activities…
interesting travel, projects…
be specific – what, when, what level, where…
be aware of current affairs
– listen to radio 4, Today programme
– read a quality newspaper
bio data
• start CV with addresses, phone (mobile) and nonquirky e-mail
– [email protected][email protected]
• d.o.b., nationality optional
• two referees at the end
– academic, employment/volunteering
– not “references supplied on request”
a reader friendly CV
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logical structure
all key information clear and easily available
no jargon, no acronyms
professional looking presentation
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text balanced over 2 pages
good use of white space
good quality paper
single conventional font e.g.
• verdana
• ariel
• times new roman
• 11 or 12 point size, but headings can be larger, use bold, italic and
underline appropriately CAPITALS CAN BE UGLY
putting the CV together
• sweet spot – middle of first page – should have your
best aspects
• get someone else to check it before you send it –
especially if English is not your mother tongue
• spelling and grammar must be perfect
• never rely on spell check e.g. hobbit
• never tell lies
– everything on the CV must be true
– not everything that is true must be on the CV
• blow your own trumpet but no hyperbole
some signs of a bad CV
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more than 2 pages long
poorly word processed or printed
section breaks over page
gaps in chronology
spelling or grammar mistakes
irrelevant, trivial details
gimmicky fonts
quirky presentation
employers’ pet hates in CVs
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typos
inappropriate e-mail addresses
no section on key skills
more than two pages
decorative paper
with a photo
61%
35%
30%
22%
20%
13%
personal statements?
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“I have a real passion for learning and I approach all tasks with great
enthusiasm. I am a responsible and reliable student who is willing to
work hard in order to develop my career.”
actual statement from a student on 72% overall
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“I have a real passion for learning (obvious – you got a first) and I
approach all tasks with great enthusiasm (where is the proof?). I am a
responsible and reliable student (repeated what you just said in the
first sentence) who is willing to work hard in order to develop my
career (can you imagine someone saying that they are not willing
to work hard to develop their career?).”
use the “not” test
• I am a hardworking and honest individual and an excellent
timekeeper
• I don’t work hard, I’m not particularly honest and I am a poor
timekeeper
• but when might these three attributes be worth putting down?
sending CVs to employers
• use original print hard copies not photocopies
• send to named individual with cover letter
• electronically use a PDF
cover letters
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grab the reader’s attention and interest
highlight the relevant skills and experience in your CV
show you have done your research on the job/activity and employer
demonstrate why you want to work for that employer
could be applying for a vacancy or speculative
writing the cover letter
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no more than ¾ of a page of A4
addressed to a named individual
specific for particular application even with a template
written in formal business style
well laid out, clear and easy to follow
perfect spelling and grammar
good quality paper
cover letters are formal
• written English is not spoken English written down
• some words to avoid
– don’t, can’t, I’d, Dad, shouldn’t, it’s (which only means it is!)
• don’t start sentences with “and”, “but” …
• typed, not handwritten but signed by hand if a paper copy
• could use an electronic signature for letter sent by e-mail
• short sentences each with a verb, subject and object
typical structure of cover letter
• your address and the address of the company
• subject e.g. professional placement/ job title
• para 1 introduce yourself, what job you are applying for, where you
saw it advertised
• para 2 why do you want to work in this job/activity?
• para 3 why do you want to work for this company?
• para 4 why you are a suitable candidate, what relevant skills and
experience you bring
• positive ending
• your signature
• your name
useful resources
CVs and cover letters
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www.surrey.ac.uk/careers/current/leaflets/index.htm
www.surrey.ac.uk/careers/current/work/cv/index.htm
www.prospects.ac.uk/cvs_and_cover_letters.htm
www.surrey.ac.uk/destinations/units/unit-cv005.shtml
http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/job-hunting-toolsdownloads
Applying for jobs abroad:
• www.surrey.ac.uk/careers/current/work/abroad/index.htm
doing your research
• sector
– e.g. retail distribution
• activity/occupation
– e.g. operations research
• company or organisation
– e.g. Tesco
• specific job
– e.g. transportation planner
researching the sector
• e.g. retail, oil, manufacturing, financial services, transport etc.
• find out
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main organisations in the sector
history and market trends
types of products and services being sold
customer types
language and terminology
job roles and associated skills
major company websites – “about us” pages
books, newspapers, magazines – “bluffers’ guides”
blogs e.g. search “blog transport” and pod casts
on-line chat rooms
researching the activity/occupation
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what are the jobs?, what are the requirements? what are the
career prospects and the rewards?
professional bodies e.g.
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society of actuaries
accountancy bodies: CIMA, ACAA, CIPFA
mathematics societies: SIAM, Operations Research Society
engineering societies
search careers websites for “occupations” e.g.
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http://www.prospects.ac.uk/types_of_jobs.htm (UK)
http://careerplanning.about.com/od/careersatoz (US)
researching the company
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company history, structure and strategy
its products, services and markets
its corporate values and culture
latest news and achievements
analysts’ reports
competitor information
resources
http://careers.theguardian.com/careers-blog/research-employers
http://www.careers.salford.ac.uk/page/research_company
http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=2142
Typical Selection Process
Final
interview
First Interview /
Telephone Interview
Online tests (aptitude, psychometric)
CV, letter, application, online application
application forms
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usually on-line
employer decides questions
look for evidence of specific competencies
easy to compare candidates
transparent and fair approach
cost efficient with large number of applications
application forms - types of questions
• fundamental data – do you meet the basic requirements?
• open ended questions – also for interviews
– motivation for the job
– what attracts you to the organisation?
– competency based questions
completing the form – top tips #1
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allow plenty of time
take as much care on-line as on paper
take as much care as in a CV
read the whole form first before you start
read the instructions and do exactly as they say
answer all the questions unless instructed otherwise
print or copy and paste the questions into a new document to plan
what goes where
top tips #2
• understand the organisation’s business functions
• if there is an option of ticking different kinds of job select those that
are similar
• save a copy as you go along, else copy and paste into a separate
document
• write formally, no abbreviations no txtspk
• use active words
– organised, improved, managed, planned…
• companies may scan for key words
– make sure they are there
• if there is an additional information section use it for special details
you think are important but not covered
top tips #3
• check spelling, punctuation and grammar
• spell-check must be English (UK)
• keep a copy of the application, date submitted and any contact
details given
but be aware
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you may not be able to view the whole form before you start
you may be required to complete the form in one go
you may get timed out of a page
options in drop-down menus may not be the choice you want
may not be a spell-checker
keep within any set word counts
likely questions to expect
on application forms
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why do you want to work for us?
show me that you understand the business/industry/job
what are your interests?
give examples of when you have had leadership positions or shown
leadership
why are you the best candidate for the job?
what are your strengths/achievements/additional qualifications?
computer literacy
language capability
examples of working in a team
examples of problem solving
what have you learnt from previous jobs/work experience, volunteering?
give examples where you have provided excellent customer service
competency questions
• “the following questions are designed to encourage you to
provide evidence of specific abilities”
• analyse the competencies required by the company and think of
occasions when you have used them
• choose the best examples from all aspects of your life –education,
employment, volunteering, interests not just coursework
• use different scenarios to answer each competency question
• keep your examples to the last five years
• draft answers in Word and spell-check then copy
application forms - style
• short, punchy sentences, no waffle
• action: verbs in active not passive (improved, not was
improved)
• answer questions with evidence of your skills not opinions
• your motivation should be what they can get from you, not
what you hope to get from them
• explain why you want the job and what you will bring to it
• don’t use the word “I”
• be truthful and positive - without exaggeration
typical competency question #1
• “describe a challenging project, activity or event which
you have planned and taken through to a conclusion.
Include your objectives, what you did, any changes you
made to your plan and how you measured your success”
• structure your answer using STAR
– situation
– task = objective
– action = what I did
– result = what happened
typical question #2
• “describe a team in which you have worked with other
people. How would you describe your contribution?”
• structure of your answer
– individual role
– what skills did you demonstrate?
– consequences of your actions
– interactions with the team
typical question #3
• “Describe your most significant non-academic
achievement. Why did you regard it as significant?”
• structure of your answer
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–
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importance of the situation for you
evidence of a goal
motivation
obstacles overcome
enthusiasm
what skills/aptitudes have you gained from the experience?
typical question #4
• “why do you want to apply for this job? What do you
have to offer this role?”
• sell yourself – but don’t hype!
• know the work involved and have researched the company
• self assessment of your strengths
• think what contribution you could make to the aims of the
business
some more examples
• tell us about an occasion when you dealt with conflict.
How did you resolve it? (100 words)
• what is your greatest achievement? (50 words)
• give an example of a time when you successfully led a
team (200 words)
answering open ended questions
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follow the instructions to the letter
plan your answer logically
right amount of detail
emphasise skills
make sure the form explains
– why you want a career in this area
– how your skills, interests and experience make you suited to the job
common causes of rejection at the
application stage
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examples all from the same part of your life
not enough detail
too much detail
vague or woolly answers – be specific
not answering the questions
not following instructions e.g. word limit
lack of attention to detail
poor spelling, punctuation and grammar
not convincing as to why you want the role
useful resources – on-line applications
• http://www.selectsimulator.com/
• http://www.surrey.ac.uk/careers/career_videos.htm (‘Online
applications’)
• http://www.prospects.ac.uk/job_applications_online_applications
.htm
• http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/applications-and-cvs
• http://www.insidecareers.co.uk/career-advice/2611
purpose of an interview
• conversation not interrogation
• opportunity for the company to find out about you
• opportunity for you to find out about the company
interview skills
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understand what to expect at a selection interview
know how to prepare effectively
gain an insight into possible questions
answering competency questions
know where to get help
types of interview
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telephone
first
second
format
– one to one
– panel
– competency based
– technical
– case study
preparation for an interview
“if you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail”
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research the employer and the job
know your application inside out
why do you want the job?
your future ambitions
at least two examples of each skill they are seeking
in front of your mind
– achievements – academic, employment etc….
– strengths and “areas for development”
key preparation
• what kind of interview will it be?
• who will be doing the interview?
• how are you going to travel to the interview?
– where is it?
– how long will it take to get here?
– give yourself plenty of time
• what will you wear (smart)?
more preparation on the
company and the job
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what are the company’s values?
why are you interested in this company?
what will the job entail?
what questions are they likely to ask?
what do you want to know in more detail?
..from the interviewer’s perspective
• can you do the job?
– ability, qualifications, knowledge, experience
• will you do the job
– motivation, attitude, enthusiasm
• will you fit in?
– personality
– fit with the team
– fit with the culture
practicalities
• on the day
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copy of CV/application and list of your questions
plan your journey
arrive 15 minutes early
switch off your phone
• travel arrangements
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check location
plan your route
check timetables/book ahead
trial run?
• be polite to everyone
mental preparation
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believe in yourself – think positive!
visualize a successful outcome
practice answering questions – talk to yourself
focus on your USPs
what are the questions you’d least like to answer?
types of questions
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why this job? why this organisation?
open ended questions
– “tell me about yourself”
– “tell me about your course”
•
scenarios
– “what would you do if..?”
– “How would you..”
•
technical skills
– specific to your area of expertise
– specific to the job
– your approach to technical problems
•
competency based
examples of
competency based questions
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teamwork
“can you think of a recent example where you have worked effectively as
part of a team? What was your role. What challenges did you face?”
communication
“describe a situation where you had to negotiate to achieve a desired
outcome”
initiative
“give us an example of an occasion when you have come up with a new
idea or process”
persuasion
“tell me about an occasion when you have persuaded others to adopt your
course of action”
flexibility
“describe a time when you have had to deal with a changed direction or
deadline mid way through”
follow the STAR
• situation
– what was the situation in the example?
• task
– what was the problem, goal or challenge?
• action
– what action did you take
– be specific about your role
• result
– what was the outcome?
– what would you do differently next time?
example of a
role specific competency question
for a role in customer services
• “describe a situation where you had to deliver
excellent customer service.”
hard questions (actually asked!)
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if you were to win £1m what would you do with the money?
what do you think is the most useful function in Excel?
what is it about this job that you would least look forward to?
tell me about a time when you failed at something
how would you explain Facebook to your Grandma?
what have you done in the past to get out of a tricky situation?
what do you mean by “leadership”?
who is your biggest hero?
do you think the quality of our menswear products is as high as our home
department products?
by what criteria do you judge your own performance?
what are your weaknesses?
how would your friends describe you?
where do you want to be in five year’s time?
what makes you get up in the morning?
obscure questions (actually asked!)
• how do you fit a giraffe in a frig?
• would you rather fight a horse sized duck or 100 duck-sized
horses?
• why is 99% not good enough?
• how many ways can you get a needle out of a haystack?
• in a fight between a lion and a tiger, who would win?
non-verbal communication
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at least as important as verbal
firm handshake and genuine smile
appearance – neat, clean, polished
make and hold eye contact with the interviewer
confident tone of voice
speak clearly, measured pace and project your voice
sit with an alert but relaxed posture
demonstrate interest
first impressions count – the first five minutes are crucial
your questions for the interviewer
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always have some interesting questions ready
do your research on the company – especially recent news
who, which departments would I be working with?
how do you see the company developing in the future?
what is the best thing about working here?
don’t ask about questions already answered in material sent to you
e.g. pay, holidays
performing in the interview
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keep calm, slow down
don’t fill the silences
never be derogatory – be positive
have answers to the obvious questions ready
give evidence for any assertions you make about yourself
• positive body language
– sit up straight, smile
– try not to fold your arms or cross your legs
– look at the interviewer
common causes of rejection at the
interview stage
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examples all from the same part of your life
not enough detail
too much detail
verbose, vague or woolly answers
irrelevant answers
not answering the questions asked
not convincing as to why you want the role
mumbling and muttering
poor body language
Have you ever had a bad experience with
an employer?
“Yes. I had a temp job over the summer and my boss was
away a lot, which meant I was basically expected to do her
job as well as mine, and I was completely overloaded with
really boring, mundane tasks. I posted something about the
situation on my Facebook page and got the sack.”
• what is wrong with this answer?
• how could the question have been answered?
a better answer
“I had a summer office job and my boss was away a lot. That meant that I had
to take responsibility for her work as well as mine, which gave me a lot of
interesting experience. However I also had to do my own job and there was
no extra support, so I was working late most evenings (without extra pay) and
occasionally at weekends. I eventually found it too stressful and decided to
leave. But I learnt a lot from that experience about managing time and the
need to prioritise.”
end of the interview
• thank them for seeing you
• remain confident throughout
• afterwards
– reflect on and learn from the experience – what went well/less
well, what will I do next time?
– note any difficult questions
• ask for feedback if you get rejected
telephone interviews
• be flexible in arranging a time
• take the call in a quiet room, no interruptions, table in
front of you with paper and pen
• have your CV/application form in front of you
• have your examples for competency questions ready
• listen carefully
• speak clearly, don’t rush
• don’t be afraid of silences
help with interviews
www.surrey.ac.uk/careers (including online videos)
www.prospects.ac.uk/interview_tips.htm
http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/interview-techniques
www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/common-interview-questions
• mock interviews – book through Careers Service
what are Assessment Centres?
• a selection method consisting of a variety of exercises
aimed at measuring your suitability for the job
• usually last for a half or full day, occasionally two days
• the exercises are aimed at measuring specific
competencies
assessment centres are about:
Meeting people:
selectors, current
graduates, senior staff,
other candidates
Gathering
information:
Demonstrating
your potential:
about the organisation,
the job, and the
working culture
tests and exercises
about your
competencies
examples of exercises
which might be used
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group discussions
personality and aptitude tests
in-tray exercise
presentations
role plays
case studies
interviews
written tests (drafting a letter or report)
social events
preparation
• research the organisation’s website
• draw up a list of your main strengths, focusing on those most
relevant to what you have applied for
• think of questions you may want to ask
• plan to arrive in good time for the start
• converse with other candidates - this will help break the ice
when it comes to group exercises later
your performance
• you are not being assessed on what you know but on how
you think. Be yourself
• listen carefully to the instructions given to you at the start of
the day and always read the information thoroughly
• the assessment centre will give you a number of chances to
show your strengths and meet their criteria
• stay focused and motivated throughout the day
• you are being measured, not against other candidates, but
against certain criteria
structure of a typical one day
assessment centre
09.00 - 09.45
09.45 - 11.15
11.15 - 11.30
11.30 - 13.00
13.00 - 14.00
14.00 - 15.00
15.00 - 15.15
15.15 - 16.00
16.00 - 17.00
Arrival, administration,
‘ice breaker’ introductions
Psychometric Tests
Coffee
Group Exercise
Lunch
Presentations followed by
Interview 1
Tea
Interview 2
Feedback on tests etc. and
final briefing
example structure of a two day
Assessment Centre
Day One:
14.00 – 15.00 Arrival, administration,
icebreaker, introductions
15.00 – 15.30 Tea
15.30 – 17.30 Tests (verbal, numeric, etc.)
19.30 – 22.00 Informal dinner at hotel or
company premises
example structure of a two day
Assessment Centre – day 2
08.30 - 09.30
09.30 – 10.30
10.30 – 11.00
11.00 – 12.30
12.30 – 13.15
13.15 – 14.00
14.00 – 15.45
15.45 – 16.15
16.15
Test feedback
Group Exercise # 1
Coffee
Group Exercise #2
Lunch
Group Exercise feedback
Interviews (2 x 45 mins)
Final Briefing
Depart
typical competencies being assessed
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interpersonal skills
team working skills
communication
problem solving
analytical thinking
time management
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planning and organising
initiative
flexibility
business awareness
creativity
aptitude and psychometric tests
• aptitude/ability
– timed, multiple choice, often online.
– test capability in numeracy, verbal reasoning, diagrammatic
reasoning.
– need to work quickly and accurately
– you can practise!
• personality questionnaires
– establish your preferred style of working e.g. in a team or
independently
– you cannot really practise for these
aptitude tests – how can you
practise?
• take practise tests online - numerical, verbal, abstract
reasoning.
– www.surrey.ac.uk/careers
– Click on link to ‘Practice Aptitude Tests’ for login details
• practise online www.shldirect.com
• BPS Testing Centre www.psychtesting.org.uk
group activities
• leaderless discussion group
• assigned group roles - each member of the team may be
given a role to play
• case study - undertaken individually or as a group
• practical team exercises
– both indoors and out
– build something using restricted materials
– teams may be in competition with each other
What are employers looking for in
group exercises?
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influence and persuasiveness
participation within the group
verbal fluency
quality of thought
determination
originality of ideas
open mindedness
facilitation of discussion
group discussions - tips
• make an early contribution
• listen, include others, summarise, compliment, build on what
others have said
• try not to interrupt
• make interventions crisp and frequent
• watch the time
• be yourself
in-tray exercises
• business simulation exercises
– in-tray or electronic inbox full of emails, company memos, telephone
messages, reports and correspondence
• provided with information about the structure of the
organisation and your place within it
• you are expected to
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take decisions
prioritise your workload
draft replies
delegate tasks
recommend actions
• each exercise is designed to test how you handle complex
information within a limited time.
• may be asked to give a verbal or written report of your
decisions/recommendations
in-tray exercises – tips and practice
• fast-paced and evolving interactive e-tray exercise aiming to portray
working life in the civil service:
http://faststream.civilservice.gov.uk/applicationprocess/application-advice
• Deloitte discuss the use of E-tray exercises in their recruitment
process:
http://mycareer.deloitte.com/uk/en/university/applynow/selection-process/etray-exercise-and-examples
• www.assessmentday.co.uk/in-tray-exercise.htm
• www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/students/applicationsinterviews
/assessmentcentres (Click on ‘In-tray exercise guide’)
presentations
• may receive topic in advance or on the day
• find out if you can use visual aids and if so what equipment is
available
• practise out loud and keep to time
• structure it with a clear introduction, middle and conclusion
• try to keep to six main points
• use cards as prompts
• start with a good opening line
• make eye contact
• project your voice
• smile and use humour if appropriate
• make sure you know your material and be prepared for
questions
written exercise or case study
• you may have to write a summary of a report, if so keep it
concise
• use your judgement to analyse the text and only include what
is relevant
• demonstrate your clear thinking
• use your imagination if asked for a solution
• be diplomatic
• watch the time – skim read long documents
essays/written exercises
• write an essay or letter on a topic of your choice or one given
by them
• give you a document to review and improve
• the selectors are testing
– how you express yourself
– your spelling
– your grammar
– whether you can communicate professionally and effectively
tips on tackling case studies #1
• practise with sample case studies in advance
• research the organisation, its markets and be up to speed on
relevant current affairs
• read the instructions carefully and thoroughly
• read any background information you are given about the
organisation, the staff and your role.
• focus on key points and make brief notes to get a feel for what
is important
tips on tackling case studies #2
• scan through all items to get an overall view of everything that
will need to be considered
• stay calm
• keep a note of the time and pace yourself correctly
• work as quickly and as accurately as you can
• when presenting your conclusions or discussing your rationale
– be as clear as possible
– don’t be afraid to disagree with the selector
role plays
• for certain types of role e.g. customer facing posts, sales
positions or human resource management roles
• one to one situational role plays.
– an assessor or fellow candidate may take the part of a customer or member
of staff with you being required to deal with a particular problem
social events
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•
remember that your social skills will be observed
be careful at dinner!
be equally nice to everyone you meet
ask employees about their own career paths and try to find
out more about the organisation
final tips
• you may not perform your best in one exercise but this does
not mean that you will be rejected - it is your overall score that
counts
• it is not a competition - you will be successful if you meet the
requirements
• be yourself
useful resources - assessment centres
• Careers Service: www.surrey.ac.uk/careers
Aptitude tests & online videos (including assessment centre video), information
leaflets, events including assessment centre workshops
• targetjobs: http://targetjobs.co.uk/careersadvice/assessment-centres
• prospects: www.prospects.ac.uk
• www.assessmentday.co.uk/assessmentcentre
• www.ratemyapprenticeship.co.uk/articles/applicationadvice/assessment-centre
• University of Kent Careers & Employability Service:
www.kent.ac.uk/careers/selection.htm
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