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Acknowledgements and thanks Thanks to Jennifer Nisbet who wrote the publications, Career and Life Planning Workbook and Job Search Guide, on which this workbook is based. Our thanks go also to Christine Adams, Anna Alston, Mary Guthrie, Anne Milne, Clare Riding, Ian Tawse and Jo Ward for their additional material and work on the book, and to other colleagues for comments, editorial suggestions and other production help. Produced by the Student Services Communications Team Copyright © 2006 The Open University While every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this book is up to date at the time of going to press, the material in it may be altered or amended. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United Kingdom by Thanet Press Ltd, Margate ISBN 978-0-7492-1258-2
This book consists of six sections that take you in a progressive series of steps through the process of career review and choice, and applying for jobs:
01 Knowing yourself 7
1.1 What am I like? 8 1.2 What work would suit me? 13
Information and activities which help you build up a file of your skills and experience, interests and achievements, weaknesses and strengths. This will help you to discover career opportunities that are likely to match your strengths and circumstances.
04 Getting the job 57
4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 What do employers look for in graduates? 57 Matching vacancies 59 Application forms 62 The curriculum vitae (CV) 65 The covering letter 78 The interview 81 Other selection techniques 87
02 Exploring possibilities 35
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43
This will guide you through some important areas. It discusses what employers look for and how to tell exactly what skills vacancy adverts are seeking. This section also shows you how to produce high-quality application forms, CVs and covering letters, and discusses how to perform to your best ability in interviews and other selection procedures.
This section suggests how and where you might find information to help in the process.
05 Equality and diversity issues 93
5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Age 94 Criminal record 95 Disability or additional requirements 96 Gender/sex 98 Race 100 Sexuality and sexual orientation 101 Religion or belief 102
03 Making decisions and taking action 47
3.1 Making decisions about your life 47 3.2 Goals, restrictions and resources 48 3.3 Plan of action 52
How to move forward – this section gives you an opportunity to look at your ‘framework of choice’, to consider the restrictions and resources in your life, and to create a ‘plan of action’ for managing change and making things happen.
Explores a range of issues related to equality of opportunity.
06 The next steps 105
6.1 Open University Careers Advisory Service 105 6.2 Open University study materials 106 6.3 Other sources of help 107
Further sources of help – useful organisations, websites and resources.
open. 4 and 6. You may To find out more. and to define what you’re really looking for. To begin with. then settle back secure in the knowledge that you won’t have to do it again. Time It’s difficult to foresee exactly how much time you’ll need. • Will my age be a problem in changing career? Look at Sections 2.uk/careers We recommend working through the workbook sections in order. they can act as a sounding board and suggest different ways of looking at things. people and materials are all useful resources. Activities We encourage you to take time over the activities suggested in this book. make a note of the recommended sections: • I don’t know where to begin Look particularly at Section 1. designing a curriculum vitae (CV) and presenting yourself at interviews. This is a reference source that can stand on its own. They’re likely to be helpful when you reach the stage of completing application forms. but you could become distracted by the mechanics of the process. The workbook outlines the practical steps needed for looking for a job. planning a strategy. The more open minded. It is you who will be in the work situation. • I know what I want to do but don’t know how to achieve it Look at Sections 2.ac. and you might well need to return to them as your ideas develop. the more productive they’ll be. with a careers adviser or perhaps through your appraiser at work or your line manager. the basis of our original plans inevitably shifts. so the clearer you are about your own characteristics. You’ll certainly find it helpful to get comments and opinions from people who know you well.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook How to use this book Use this workbook to help you to: • Take stock • Review your career and life • Evaluate your aptitudes. Ways of working Give some thought now to how you might work with these materials before you begin. Career planning has to be a recurring process – you can’t do it once and for all.ac. • I need to find a job in a particular geographical area Look at Section 2. If you have particular concerns If you recognise concerns of your own – you may find more than one – in this list. completing application forms. The best place to start is with yourself. and • Begin to plan how you might achieve it. agencies. Working through the activities at your own pace gives you scope for quiet reflection.uk/careers 5 . support and encouragement. working with a partner or friend. find some of them particularly time consuming. • How should I use the internet in looking for jobs? Look at Section 2. As we make changes and as circumstances change around us. make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with. but it also complements information on our careers website. positive and constructive you are. but you might want to dip into different areas at different stages of your career planning and job seeking. Whatever approach you decide on. or set up a more formal relationship. This book invites you to recognise your own qualities and abilities. The website for the Careers Advisory Service is at: www. Working with others can give you ideas. You might find it useful to link up with another person or a small group. they can’t make things happen for you Remember. • How should I update my CV? Look at Section 4. values and personal needs • Decide what you want to achieve. Keep your activities as you work through them. so that you can build a sound foundation for later steps in reviewing your career. 4 and 5. putting your CV together or preparing for an interview. interests. You could take a relatively informal approach. and the more time and effort you put into them. visit our website at www. you might prefer to tackle the process in stages. This book focuses on you because although organisations. 3. the more precisely you can specify what you want and communicate it to employers. skills. Working through the activities should be challenging but rewarding.open. the most important influence on your career and life planning is you. perhaps when you’re not in the midst of your studies.
work and leisure activities. for example. This kind of self-knowledge is the soundest basis for making decisions about your future. The section starts by asking you to look back. The activities in this section ask you to think about a series of questions as a beginning to your career review. as far as work is concerned? • What do I really want from work? • How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? • What kind of work would I like to do? You may like to try out some of these activities in writing using this section. You’ve gained knowledge and skills from your experiences. Some of these resources and links are provided by The Open University and some by external agencies such as Graduate Prospects www. This section will help you to develop your self-awareness.uk/careers 7 . Note.uk/careers Here you will find links to lots of different activities and resources to assist in career planning and job seeking. visit our website at www. You might be able to reduce your mortgage by moving to a smaller house or a cheaper area. after exploring them. your education.ac.2 What work would suit me? 13 Remember that you may have potential that has yet to be developed. At intervals you’ll be asked to ‘pause for thought’ and note down your responses. Your past has shaped you through your family background.open. so that you can learn new skills or take up more enjoyable.open. You may find that some seemingly unchangeable things can be changed. and consider the questions ‘What am I like?’ and ‘What can I do?’ It will help you to review your life and work experience and the skills and qualities that have grown out of them. This is the first step in the career-review process. there’s good reason to. training.uk To find out more. that some of the activities (and others) are also available online on the Careers Advisory Service website at: www. The questions are: • Who am I? What were my early influences and decisions? • What are my main achievements? • What roles do I play in life? • What have I learnt in my spare time? • How big a part of my life is work? • What work experience have I had? • What roles do I play at work? • What sort of person am I to work with? • What am I good at. however. and reject them only if.ac. and learnt how you cope with things and respond to different tasks and challenges. take a clear view of your career and life. less well-paid work.1 What am I like? 8 1.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Knowing yourself In this section 1.ac.prospects. Try to keep an open mind when considering future possibilities. They offer different ways of considering what you’re like and what you can do.
this activity revealed to one person that all her high points were associated with praise from others and her low points with geographical moves. marriage.1 Who am I? What were my early influences and decisions? The two activities in this section will help you to develop an overview of your career so far. Diploma) Daughter Bought flat (Improvement Grant) Bought house – garden-mortgage! Changes in company policy (new job.1 In this activity you’re going to draw a ‘lifeline’. Example When you’ve drawn a lifeline that reflects your experiences. consider it as a whole. and to consider how your early history contributed to it. Pause for thought Would someone who knows you well have drawn your lifeline differently? What would that person have said? 8 To find out more. children. You’ll be asked to refer back to your lifeline later on.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. showing high and low points at different times of your life. to help you think about the pattern of your life. Think about the feelings aroused by each experience and answer these questions. noting any thoughts or ideas that occur to you: • What does the lifeline say about you and how you’ve lived your life? • Are there recognisable themes that have run through your life? • Is the pattern generally up or down? Is it steady or changeable? What sorts of incident were associated with the highs and lows? Are the highs generally associated with your own choices and the lows with the unexpected? Are there some experiences you cope with easily and others that really throw you? • Are there any lessons to be learnt? For instance.ac. You may find it useful to talk through any difficult emotions with someone you trust. Moved House HIGH POINT Secondary School Qualified (production engineer) Marriage Son Became management trainee (part time study. and he saw that each disappointment motivated him towards a change and offered opportunities. A third recognised someone else as consistently and unobtrusively acting as a mentor. Activity 1. and to discover aspects of yourself that you might want to develop or change. This activity can help you to gather insights that can influence your future choices. retirement and so on.1. Another noted that all his positive job changes followed disappointments in his private life. Put them in the form of a diagram like the one here.uk/careers . Note down key events. such as education. visit our website at www.1 What am I like? 1. project engineering) NOW Hospital (appendix removed) Left School (apprenticeship) Promotion (problems due to lack of experience Father died Moved sideways (into sales and marketing) Company hit hard time (redundancy) LOW POINT The lifeline exercise can result in a lot of emotions coming to the surface as you review your experiences.open.
perhaps.open. concentrating on your childhood and school life. with dates. Make notes under the headings below. the subjects you were good at and enjoyed. such as strong aspects of your personality or talents. visit our website at www. 3 Schooling List the schools you went to. how your teachers saw you. activities you participated in. experiences you had. The activity may take some time. Pause for thought Now spend some time considering what your notes say about you – what you’re like. and you might want to return to it later to change or add points. 4 Teenage years What activities were you good at or did you enjoy? How did your friends see you? What were you like as a teenager? What did you want to be? 1 Family influences If applicable. what your parents expected of you. Some of this information will be useful when you put your CV together (see Section 4). could you have made different choices? Make a note of any insights you’ve gained through remembering and reflecting. the area and house you lived in. family lifestyle. school sports or activities you took part in. For instance. Looking back. say something about any occupational influences on you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. was one of your parents a mechanic or another a teacher? 5 Any further education or training What did you do? How did you choose it? How did you get on? What prompted you to begin studying with the OU? 2 What do you remember about your early childhood? For example. To find out more. how you got on with other children. your role in the family. why and how you arrived at where you are today.uk/careers 9 . how you saw your teachers.ac.2 This activity brings out some of the early themes from your lifeline. Maybe you had various abilities but developed one rather than another – sporting ability rather than artistic talent. You may see themes appearing.
3 Looking back at your lifeline. It can be a particularly useful approach if you haven’t had much formal experience like paid work – it’s easy to assume that skills gained outside work somehow don’t count. visit our website at www. For example. 10 To find out more. Set them out in the table below.uk/careers .2 What are my main achievements? The activity in this section can help you to recognise skills and qualities that you might not always be conscious of. recent or a long time ago.ac. passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student. passing your driving test on the fifth attempt may say a lot about your staying power and determination. Activity 1. things you do in your spare time.open. They could be workrelated or to do with relationships.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.1. note the achievements you’re most proud of and what they say about you. My achievements 1 2 3 4 5 What they say about me 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Which of the skills or qualities you’ve listed could be used in a work situation? What kind of work? The chances are that you’ve highlighted ‘transferable skills’ and qualities that would be welcome in many kinds of work.
By chairing meetings of a club. visit our website at www. delegating. Again.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. time management. project manager).uk/careers 11 . If you are a parent. Activity 1. Each role demands different skills. You may be a parent (cook.ac. My main roles 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Looking at all your roles. you have needed to develop skills of budgeting. are you surprised at the number of things you do and take for granted every day? Look at the skills you’ve listed. and so on.1. gardener and household manager). you develop skills of briefing and dealing with people as well as those of managing meetings. Circle the ones that are particular strengths. cooking.open.4 Now complete the table below. you’ve developed not only practical skills but planning and organising skills as well. As a student. as many skills are learnt outside paid work. If you enjoy DIY. this is a particularly useful exercise if you have little work experience to draw on. time management. communication and keeping to schedules.3 What roles do I play in life? Another way of looking at your skills is to consider the roles you’ve played in your life. you need skills of learning. You may take part in voluntary work (counsellor. working group member. How do you feel about them? Which do you most enjoy using? How could you use them in work? To find out more. listener or organiser). You may be an employee (team leader.
ac.open.uk/careers . but your spare-time activities could help you to demonstrate skills and qualities. they need not be barriers to the future. It’s easy to forget that leisure activities can give us as many skills and abilities as work. My main strengths 1 2 3 4 5 6 My main weaknesses 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 To find out more.4 What have I learnt in my spare time? What hobbies do you have or have you had in the past? You may not turn your hobby into a career. Activity 1. What are the possibilities in your interests? Swimming? DIY? Photography? Have you held positions of responsibility in any of them? What have you contributed to your household for instance? Can you see any interests or hobbies that might be helpful to future work plans? For example.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. what would you now say are your main strengths and weaknesses? They can be skills. What have you learnt about yourself? Bringing some of your answers together.1. Remember that strengths can be built on for the future and weaknesses can be reduced by your efforts. personal characteristics or interests. abilities. visit our website at www. although you may not have financial responsibilities at work you might be treasurer to your local darts team or do the audit for the youth club funds.5 My main activities outside work are (or have been) 1 2 3 4 5 Review Think about what you’ve done so far in this section.
ac. have little concern about getting on in your career. You have some concern about doing well and making progress. you need to be clear about how important work is to you. it’s time to think about work.open. You might even be seen as ‘workaholic’! If you have a minus (–) score You don’t see work as the most important aspect of your life. for example if you scored –20. 1 I always aim high in my work 2 My ambition isn’t necessarily to get to the top 3 I set myself difficult goals to achieve 4 I don’t like to let work disturb my social life 5 I want to do well at whatever I’m doing 6 Being a success in life isn’t too important to me 7 I like being seen as dedicated to my job 8 I don’t like to aim too high 9 Work always comes before pleasure 10 People wouldn’t describe me as very ambitious Pause for thought Think about the way you scored in this activity.6 Rate each of the following statements Use this scale – try to avoid choosing 3 if you can: 5 4 3 2 1 Always true Usually true Neither true nor untrue Usually untrue Always untrue Add up your scores From the odd-numbered questions From the even-numbered questions Take the ‘even’ score away from the ‘odd’ score (even if it produces a minus score) What did you score? If you have a plus (+) score The higher your score. If you have a more central score You keep a balance between work and leisure.1 How big a part of my life is work? Before considering what you want to do. At the lower end of the scale. or you may prefer something that can give you a better balance between work and home life. Activity 1.2 What work would suit me? Now that you’ve spent some time considering the skills and qualities you’ve developed through experience. The next activity can help you to think about this. visit our website at www. even workaholic. How does this feel? Is it right for you or would you like to change this aspect of your life? To find out more. You might be highly ambitious. think about your approach to activities or projects.2. If you don’t have much experience of paid work. or you might avoid positions that regularly eat into your leisure time. You may have found yourself in a post that takes over and leaves little time for family life. you would put your social life before work. but you don’t let work rule your life.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. the stronger your ambition. 1. for example. This is something that varies from person to person. you would always put work first and aim high in your achievements.uk/careers 13 . If you scored +20. and might be seen as ‘laid back’.
unpaid or voluntary) by noticing how you feel about different tasks and respond to work situations. fundraising for a charity or involvement in a conservation project. If you have limited or no experience of paid employment.open. visit our website at www. delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’. Many will be ‘transferable skills’ that you can use in other situations. make a similar list of unpaid or voluntary experience for example. note the range of tasks or activities you had to do. The next activity helps you to explore your experience. The activity may take some time. what factors seemed important in deciding to take it up? 3 For each job. You may also have learnt from others. helping readers at school. Do you see any patterns? Can you see particular strengths or areas of difficulty? Do you enjoy some things more than others? Do others turn to you for help with particular things? 14 To find out more.2 What work experience have I had? Most people would agree that work experience is very important when considering future directions. enjoyable or rewarding? Why? 6 What were your particular achievements? 7 How did you get on with the other people? 8 What was your style of working? 9 Were you known for particular things? 10 What were you most proud of? 11 What were the things you disliked or found frustrating? Pause for thought Look back at what you’ve written. but it’s easy to take yourself for granted and not recognise the wide range and high level of skills and abilities you have.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. 2 For each job. with dates. Activity 1.7 1 List the jobs you’ve had.ac. either through formal appraisal or from informal comments and reactions. note how it came about. or how well you perform particular activities in comparison with other people. 4 Did you have to deal with any difficulties? 5 Which tasks or activities did you find most appealing. You will have learnt a huge amount through work (whether paid.uk/careers . Did you volunteer or were you directed into it? If you had some choice. and you might want to come back to it later.2. and will be useful when preparing for interviews (see Section 4).
All the words describe positive qualities. cross it out. apply this to whatever activity has taken up a lot of your time. If work hasn’t been a major part of your life. put a tick beside it. Can you think of any specific activities or actions at work or in non-work activities that show that they describe you? What evidence can you give to prove them? How do you feel about them? Which do you most relish carrying out? You’ll find this list useful when you come to preparing a CV.uk/careers 15 .3 What roles do I play at work or elsewhere? This activity should help you to become aware of the skills and experience you’ve developed through the typical roles you play at work. completing an application form or attending an interview (which you will cover in more detail in Section 4). Activity 1. Does it sound like you? If it comes to you easily. visit our website at www. Work through each role in the list.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. INITIATE IMPLEMENT MONITOR MAINTAIN IMPROVE CONTROL ALLOCATE SELECT DEVELOP CREATE ENHANCE DELEGATE SEEK ORGANISE SOLVE DECIDE LIAISE COORDINATE EXPLORE INVESTIGATE LINK SELL PLAN TEACH COMMUNICATE HARMONISE CHECK CAMPAIGN PERSUADE MEASURE SUPERVISE CHOOSE GUIDE MAKE TRAIN EVALUATE Pause for thought Look at the roles you’ve ticked. If you’re not sure or if it’s only partly true.8 Some work roles and areas of competence are listed below. Circle any that describe you particularly.ac. To find out more. if it isn’t a usual role for you.2. leave it blank.
circling your position on the scale. deciding how you compare with other people. negotiating (s) Tend to worry. show feelings (f) Happy to be in charge of others (s) Prefer traditional ways of action (t) Equable.open. More Plan ahead and keep to it (t) Stickler for detail or accuracy (t) Easy mixer. Activity 1. not easily upset (f) Tend to influence people (s) Ambitious to get on at all costs (f) 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Average 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Less 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 16 To find out more. caring for others (s) Always like to win. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Again. think more generally about your life if your workplace experiences are limited. act independently (s) More practical than theoretical (t) Determined (f) Sympathetic. socially confident (s) Pessimistic (f) Energetic (f) Solitary (s) Like lots of change and variety (t) Very much affected by events or people (f) Go my own way.ac.2. get anxious (f) Like deadlines and timetables (t) Usually take a leading role (s) Good with complex ideas or data (t) Demonstrative.uk/careers . come in top (f) Like persuading.9 Work through the following descriptions.4 What sort of person am I to work with? Your personality affects your style of operating in the workplace and the way you respond to situations. Try to use the full range of ratings from 5 (much more so than most) to 1 (much less so than most).
Pause for thought What have you learnt about your typical way of operating? What kind of work situation would be likely to suit you? To find out more. to do with your approach to work tasks (t). If you think about your colleagues you’ll be aware how they differ from each other. some people are at ease giving a presentation while others find it very nerveracking. one is a stickler for detail while another is not too concerned about fine accuracy.ac. While one is reserved.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. another is very chatty and communicative.open. There’s no right or wrong personality. A work situation that suits a very sociable person won’t suit someone who prefers to work alone. the more opportunities you create for finding a situation that will suit you. but you do need to take your own traits into account.uk/careers 17 . visit our website at www. Where did you score the most highly? Or did you score evenly across the three categories? For instance. The better you know yourself.9 continued Now look over your ratings. You can group them into those to do with relating to people and social situations (s). and to do with your drives and emotions (f).
relation or a careers adviser. Activity 1. Some people have been taught or have learnt particular skills for themselves – competence in a computer language. it’s helpful to reflect on your past as you approach a decision that will significantly affect your life.2.uk/careers . for example. Some people have a creative imagination. rather than simply thinking through these questions. temperament or way of dealing with the world. Others have specialist knowledge. There’s generally some connection between what we can do well and what we enjoy doing.ac. What I achieved 1 2 3 4 5 Knowledge/abilities used 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Examine and reflect on what you’ve put under the headings. by observing others. such as accounting standards or employment law. by trial and error. by reading and so on. The next activities are based on your own knowledge. You should also remember that you’ll go on developing as you cope with different demands. as it affects the work or the parts of a particular job that you can perform best. It’s also important for you to know what you’re good at. This question is of particular interest to employers. visit our website at www. You may have learnt more about your personality. Now list some of your work/voluntary/domestic achievements. ambitions. You might discover that your strengths are grouped in some areas rather than others. What have you learnt? It can help. as it enables you to recognise the talents you have and also to see whether there are gaps you want to work on. but do use any other information you can get. Consider your answers so far.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. It’s also useful as evidence when you’re completing a CV or attending an interview. by going on training courses. needs and values. etc. Review As you may be discovering. It’s useful to know this. Then think about the knowledge and abilities you needed to apply in order to achieve the result. but it’s not a necessary connection. Perhaps you had to learn a new technique. as you learn through your own study. You may have begun to gain more insights or realisations about your own nature. Your discoveries might be to do with your skills and abilities or your attitudes. through taking psychometric tests (which are discussed in more detail in Section 4) or from your own perceptions of how well you cope with different tasks. 18 To find out more. others are skilful with statistics. You can learn about your aptitudes from other people’s comments.open. You can be good at something without particularly enjoying it. or perhaps you used or developed a skill you already had. initiatives you’ve put into practice. others a photographic memory.5 What am I good at as far as work is concerned? This section should help you to think about your aptitudes – what you can do and how well you can do it. projects you’ve tackled successfully. to have someone else with whom to talk through your answers – perhaps a friend.10 Look back at your list of achievements and what they say about you.
visit our website at www. Consider how well you can carry out each one in comparison with other people.uk/careers 19 . The activity is grouped into skills which are of particular importance to employers. reliably perform better than average Good level. not usually adequate No significant level of skills Communication Rating 1 Listening.open. often referred to as ‘employability’ or ‘transferable skills’. just acceptable skills Very basic level. outstanding performance High level. giving a presentation 6 Using the telephone effectively: few misunderstandings 7 Reading efficiently: readily taking in written information 8 Writing effectively.11 This activity will help you to assess your skills in more detail. matching style to purpose 9 Structuring reports and other written communications logically 10 Using a wide vocabulary accurately and appropriately 11 Speaking (accent and pronunciation) in a way that’s acceptable in a wide range of social situations 12 Spelling and grammar Total score To find out more. taking in what others say and checking your understanding of the information 2 Clear verbal expression. Try to use the full range of ratings.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. Rate each of the following statements Use this scale – try to avoid choosing 3 if you can: 6 5 4 3 2 1 Very high. words flowing easily 4 Drawing people out. to encourage them to speak 5 Commanding an audience.ac. Be as honest as you can both in admitting lack of skill and in acknowledging your competence. generally able to do it quite well Reasonable level. ability to convey information without confusion 3 Fluent speech.
visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Dealing with people 1 Showing sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others.open. dealing with conflict 9 Interviewing. getting the best out of others 7 Counselling: helping with personal problems 8 Negotiating: mediating.ac. encouraging. motivating. chairing a meeting 6 Encouraging. taking account of this in dealing with them 2 Getting on with a variety of people and building up working relationships 3 Instructing.uk/careers . teaching or coaching others 4 Delegating and managing others 5 Leading a work group. changing others’ views 11 Consulting and building agreements 12 Acting assertively (not aggressively) Rating Total score Financial activities 1 Understanding book-keeping 2 Preparing a budget 3 Using a spreadsheet 4 Understanding VAT and taxation 5 Producing a cash-flow forecast 6 Producing annual accounts 7 Carrying out a cost–benefit analysis 8 Interpreting management accounts 9 Working knowledge of volume and expenditure-related variances 10 Operating PAYE 11 Understanding types. assessing or appraising 10 Persuading. uses and sources of loan finance 12 Operating costing system Rating Total score 20 To find out more.
practical problems 9 Using manual dexterity.ac. estimating orders or probability 7 Flow-charting 8 Rational decision-making 9 Carrying out analysis and evaluation 10 Researching and gathering information 11 Carrying out mathematical operations 12 Carrying out stock or inventory control Rating Total score Technical/practical 1 Competence in using tools and technical equipment 2 Understanding data-processing equipment 3 Applying craft or technical ability 4 Aptitude for diagnosing mechanical or electrical faults 5 Constructing or assembling materials or equipment 6 Understanding current technical developments 7 Using laboratory equipment 8 Dealing with tangible.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Thinking and analysis 1 Using critical path analysis 2 Using statistics 3 Logical thinking. visit our website at www. working out implications 4 Applying critical ability in recognising potential weakness or problems 5 Making logical use of facts or information 6 Using mental arithmetic.uk/careers 21 . hand-eye coordination 10 Understanding physical sciences 11 Understanding engineering 12 Maintaining or repairing complex equipment Rating Total score To find out more.open.
events or courses 5 Being insightful. filing system or recording procedures Rating Total score 22 To find out more. sounds and patterns 12 Innovating and improving procedures in your own field Rating Total score Administrative/organisational 1 Managing your time 2 Planning systematically 3 Operating procedures precisely 4 Making things run like clockwork 5 Handling in-trays efficiently 6 Meeting deadlines 7 Producing clear operational structures 8 Developing resources to achieve objectives 9 Organising working time 10 Monitoring procedures and progress 11 Making detailed plans of action 12 Having a well-organised work space. visit our website at www. systems. layouts.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Creative/innovative 1 Generating alternative solutions to problems 2 Creating original ideas 3 Improvising or adapting for other purposes 4 Designing new things.open. intuitive or imaginative 6 Developing others’ products or ideas 7 Writing with imagination or creativity 8 Seeing new possibilities or openings 9 Appreciating new or unconventional aspects 10 Visualising: imagining how something will look 11 Working creatively with shapes. colours.uk/careers .
Write them in this space: Communication Dealing with people Financial activities Thinking and analysis Technical/practical Creative/innovative Administrative/organisational Total score Circle the skills that you’d most like to use in the future. you can use the information when you come to consider alternatives.uk/careers 23 . Remember that skills can always be developed simply by using them more.ac. Look at the skills you scored most highly in and those you most enjoy. and that the wider the range of skills you have. the greater the variety of job options open to you. List those here: Pause for thought What does this activity tell you? Are there any surprises or does it confirm your expectations? Either way.open. To find out more. but would like to develop.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Summary Now add up all your total scores. Now look through the original ratings to see whether there are skills you’re not yet very competent in. visit our website at www. Recognising the skills you have to offer is key in being able to market yourself to an employer (see also Section 4).
developing skills Being part of an important organisation Having lots of stimulus. business and trading Value AUTONOMY VARIETY INTELLECTUAL SOCIAL ECONOMIC SPIRITUAL USING ABILITIES COMMITMENT EXCITEMENT AUTHORITY AESTHETIC ADVANCEMENT ALTRUISM COMFORT CREATIVITY PHYSICAL COMMERCIAL Rating Pause for thought Does this make clear your reasons for wanting to work? Does it suggest the kind of work you like to do or the type of organisation you feel most at home working for? Clearly. people. Try to think through which would suit you best.12 Rate the values below for importance.open. expensive possessions Expressing ethical code or religious beliefs Using talents. study. some kinds of work have more to do with ALTRUISM and others with ECONOMIC or CREATIVE values. the next step is to recognise what you’re satisfied with and what you’re dissatisfied with. places Scope to learn. a manufacturing company.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. 4 Very important 3 Important 2 Less important 1 Not important Description Making decisions. developing new ideas Activity. keeping moving. not to limit yourself by concentrating so much on restrictions that you achieve less than you might. Try to use the full range of scores. independent action Change or variety in tasks. analyse Making friendly contacts with others Large income. This doesn’t mean that you can achieve everything you wish.uk/careers . visit our website at www. a local authority. career progression Helping or caring for others Concern for surroundings or location Being original. though. excitement.2. In the same way. a charity. handling things Taking risks. 24 To find out more. Activity 1. thrills Having influence or power over others Enjoying or making beautiful designs or things Getting promotion. a financial institution and so on will each have a different ‘feel’ as a place to work. think.ac. as restrictions of one kind or another will limit everyone’s range of choice. It is important.6 What do I really want from work? Now that you’ve thought about who and where you are and the skills you have. a newspaper office.
7 How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? Activity 1. visit our website at www. To find out more. Circle the level that applies to your present or most recent job.2. complicated demands repeatedly made on us can be stressful.13 To complete your examination of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Money Clearly. chatting over coffee or working in a team. but on the other hand having a high level of responsibility (being a managing director.open.ac. Too little About right Too much Opportunity to use skills Most of us enjoy using and developing our skills and competence. But having very high-level. Too little About right Too much Clear boundaries A work situation where boundaries aren’t clear can cause uncertainty and conflict. For work satisfaction it’s important to feel that there’s some match between your contribution and the position you hold. Too little About right Too much Goals People function best when there are demands to be met. being in a tightly defined job can feel restricting. repetitive. challenges to rise to. Note any ideas that occur to you. Equally. consider the following. but it’s stimulating to have some change and variation in the work environment. It may begin to suggest either the kind of work you’d like to do or the kind of organisation you’d like to work for.uk/careers 25 . inadequate income causes many problems and dissatisfactions. Too little About right Too much Opportunity for control Simple. Too little About right Too much Pause for thought Which of these are the most important to you? Answering that may clarify sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in your current or most recent job. targets to be achieved. for example) can be stressful. Too little About right Too much Social contact Everyone’s need for contact is different.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Too little Adequate Well paid Variety Individuals differ in the amount of variety they prefer. closely controlled work is generally far from satisfying. Too little About right Too much Respect Most of us like to be thought well of and respected by others. We all have our own preferred level of demand. but most of us get satisfaction from being with others.
ac. it’s important that it should be fulfilling. 26 To find out more. If your occupation is to ‘feel right’. agree with your beliefs in general and allow you to express your personality.open.14 Review You’ve now considered the reasons why you work (other than financial necessity) and which things you most enjoy doing. Take time to reflect on the results of the activities in this section. Note your thoughts here. visit our website at www. perhaps discuss them with a confidant and if necessary modify them.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.uk/careers . Any significant mismatch is likely to leave you feeling dissatisfied or stressed or becoming cynical about your job.
uk/careers 27 . Activity 1.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Not sure or No according to how you feel about each activity. Assume that you could do the activity if you wanted to. visit our website at www. you also need to consider your interests. Try to imagine whether you’d like doing the others or not. Interests are to do with the things you find most appealing or enjoyable.ac.8 What kind of work would I like to do? To help you decide on the kind of work you’d like to do.2. You will have had experience of some of them.15 Look through these kinds of work and consider whether you would like to carry each one out. but only of your own preferences.open. Yes 1 Supervise staff dealing with correspondence 2 Design a staff appraisal scheme 3 Monitor quality control activities 4 Keep up to date with computing developments 5 Put budgeting procedures into practice 6 Develop a marketing plan for a new service 7 Keep abreast of scientific developments 8 Write information booklets 9 Supervise process control staff 10 Organise renewal of insurance cover 11 Plan staff training schemes 12 Forecast drawing office work schedules 13 Find new areas for computer applications 14 Keep abreast of money market changes 15 Negotiate prices with suppliers 16 Plan research and development (R and D) 17 Handle public relations issues (PR) 18 Revise road delivery schedules 19 Plan introduction of new clerical procedures 20 Interview job applicants 21 Organise installation of an internal telephone system Not sure No To find out more. It’s not a question of your ability or qualifications. Tick Yes.
ac. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.15 continued Yes 22 Instruct computer users on procedures 23 Coordinate work of audit staff 24 Brief sales staff 25 Design new technical equipment 26 Collect and collate information 27 Supervise warehouse staff 28 Report on legal matters affecting the organisation 29 Set up a staff-grievance procedure 30 Plan equipment-maintenance schedules 31 Review data-processing installations 32 Monitor productivity of operations 33 Analyse effectiveness of advertising 34 Organise scientific research 35 Design publicity leaflets 36 Monitor productivity of operations 37 Implement new administrative procedures 38 Investigate staff turnover problems 39 Monitor laboratory testing services 40 Write computer documentation 41 Brief colleagues on effects of taxation changes 42 Report on sales performance 43 Produce design specifications 44 Manage external relations 45 Supervise a building-maintenance programme 46 Take minutes of meetings 47 Prepare a staff handbook 48 Carry out an energy usage audit 49 Deal with computing problems Not sure No 28 To find out more.open.uk/careers .
15 continued Yes 50 Prepare financial reports 51 Review a product range and pricing 52 Develop and improve mechanical or electronic equipment 53 Edit a newsletter or magazine 54 Improve plant layout to increase productivity Not sure No Scoring Give 4 points for each ‘Yes’ response Give 2 points for each ‘Not sure’ response Give 0 points for each ‘No’ response Now add up the scores for the groups of questions shown here: Total Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F Group G Group H Group I Questions 1. 32. 41. 43. 45. 39. 34. 37. 54 To find out more. visit our website at www. 35. 12. 53 Questions 9.uk/careers 29 . 22. 29. 42. 52 Questions 8. 28. 20. 31. 27.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. 16. 15. 13. 17. 14. 48 Questions 4. 18. 25. 36.open. 40. 44. 46 Questions 2. 33. 26. 50 Questions 6. 11. 38.ac. 24. 47 Questions 3. 23. 10. 49 Questions 5. 30. 51 Questions 7. 21. 19.
and motivations.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.ac. visit our website at www.prospects.g. interests. It will then match your profile with an occupational database to produce a list of job suggestions for you to consider.g. IT consultant. retail buyer. dancing. quality assurance manager. creative. If so. the pattern may suggest a move to a different area of work. you’ll need to register. this is a reassuring confirmation and suggests that you should consider continuing in that or related work.16 You may also find it useful to work through Prospects Planner. management accountant.15 continued What your scores mean Your scores relate to different kinds of work activity: Score A Administrative/legal/secretarial e. interpreter I Operational/production/distribution e. charity officer. Access Prospects Planner via the Prospects website by logging on to: www.uk/careers . primary teacher. 30 To find out more. craft and natural environment areas. like similar programs. electronics engineer. do take account of them in considering your future. architect H Information/communication e. Alternatively. Simply click on Login/Register in the My Prospects account box on the home page and go from there. transport planner. Activity 1.open. you might find it helpful to look again at the section on the roles you play in your life and any possibilities you noted there. Use Section 2 of this workbook to help you research the results you have got in the above activities. This is an online career-planning tool that will help you explore your skills. nor those that depend on performance skills such as acting.g. It doesn’t include artistic. It might be that you work or have worked in your highest-scoring area and enjoyed it. Before carrying on. The result may be no surprise. The list of interests we’ve considered in this activity reflects common graduate and managerial areas of work. laboratory technician D Data processing e.g.g.ac.g. sales manager G Scientific/engineering/research and design e. but it will give you a starting point to explore areas of work that may interest you.uk/links/Pplanner First. playing a musical instrument. recruitment manager C Technical support e. health service manager B Personnel/training/education e. Prospects Planner. If you have interests outside this ‘managerial scheme’.g. tax inspector F Marketing/sales/purchasing e. doesn’t tell you what you should do.g. even if in a different kind of organisation.g. database administrator E Accounting/finance e. production manager Write in your total score for each group. librarian.
you may want to look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. You should by now have a much clearer picture about: • • • • Your aptitudes Your skills and interests Your achievements and experience Your values At this stage you might like to discuss things either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. Summary chart What am I good at? Write down the aptitudes that you’d most like to use What are my main work values? Write down the values you’d like to fulfil What would I like to do? Write down the occupations or job areas you’d like to work in To find out more.open.uk/careers 31 .ac. When you’ve done that. or you might prefer to move on to the possibilities that this knowledge could open up for you in Section 2. visit our website at www. Now complete the summary chart below.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Review Read through the results of your work and reflect on the notes you’ve made.
What changes would I like to make? Write down some changes you would like to make to help in your job searching 32 To find out more.uk/careers .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Summary chart continued How would I like to work with people? What kind of environment? Write down the kind of contact you’d like to have with people.open. travel. and the kind of environment you’d like What other aspects are important to me? Write down any other factors that are important to you. visit our website at www.ac. organisational structure. etc. such as location.
co. You need to register (free) to use it at: www. good luck with the next step! Further resources Try these resources for developing self-awareness. Windmills consists of seven stages or ‘tactics’. You could take a look at the Windmills website. The content of Section 1 can provide a really useful starting point to an individual consultation with a careers adviser. The tactics you will find most relevant at this stage are: • Tactic 1: Focusing your skills – self-reliance.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook You may wish to talk over some of your initial thoughts with a careers adviser before you go on to the next section. It covers job roles at all levels of responsibility rather than those just at graduate level as covered by Prospects Planner. You may prefer. You may find it useful to complete this section before you book an interview.uk/careers Whichever route you choose. which OU students can do by contacting your regional centre. to explore further by continuing to read the remaining sections in this book or by looking at information and activities on the Careers Advisory Service website at: www. It will help if you’re feeling uncertain about where your career is heading and is very useful if you have some work experience but feel as if you are currently under-employed.ac.open. visit our website at www.learndirect-futures. general and specialist skills analyses • Tactic 2: Finding your ideal job – includes a motivation assessment You can access the website at: www.uk/careers 33 .uk To find out more.windmillsprogramme.com Learndirect Futures is another career interestassessment website that generates job suggestions. This is a virtual career coach which teaches individual career-management skills.open. however.ac. people.
The local sawmill is likely to approach the task differently from a multinational advertising agency. • Don’t forget that you need to review and evaluate your progress from time to time. If you haven’t yet got a clear picture of the kind of work or job you want to pursue. • Get a general view before you start to draw up a shortlist.) Otherwise. As a result. a key fact you need to grasp immediately is that it is vital that you plan your strategy for job hunting in order to get the job you want. Another key fact you need to understand is that different sectors and employers have their own traditional methods for recruiting. • Look into and follow up all sources of information. 2. private and voluntary sectors.2 Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Exploring possibilities In this section 2.uk/careers 35 . So.1 Planning your strategy Many job-seekers actually have very little knowledge of how the job market works and how people are in fact recruited.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43 2.open. • Build up a file of background information about companies. and be prepared to ask for comments on how you’ve done. so be organised and systematic. This means that you must be flexible enough to adapt your approach to the diversity of methods used by potential employers.ac.1 A typical strategy A strategic approach pays dividends. (In fact. people’s job-seeking methods can be disorganised and inefficient. We are assuming at this stage that you know what you want to do. By planning your job-search strategy. • Do some research: find out how.1 2. Always keep copies of your applications. the only thing they might have in common is that they probably use an interview during the selection procedure. To find out more. A typical strategy means that you will: • Consider all the opportunities open to you: public. when. Are graduates usually recruited? Are there formal channels? What are the essential qualities sought in candidates? How do you match up? • Apply for jobs and attend interviews. visit our website at www.3 2.1.2 2. rather than carefully organised and systematic. work through Section 1 ‘Knowing yourself’ before going any further. you will be able to focus much more accurately on what you need to do to achieve your goal. the recruitment process will be quite different. What information they do have can often be based on personal experience or rumour. where and how often vacancies are advertised.4 2. or for jobs that don’t fit your needs or meet your expectations. jobs and developments in sectors you’re interested in. It’s also important that you don’t spend valuable time applying for jobs where you have little chance of success.
professional bodies.open. for all graduate job-seekers and job-changers.2 Graduate-level jobs Another important aspect of any job-search strategy is to consider your options realistically in the context of the current and future employment market. File copies of letters and applications and record the progress on each one. • Acknowledge those who have helped you – quick telephone calls or thank-you notes may pay dividends. employment seeking strategies have had to be flexible and responsive to the employment market.open.ac. look into trends in the area.uk/careers . To review your progress: • Consider what appears to work and what doesn’t.1 What is a ‘graduate’ job? One of the main reasons employers recruit graduates is that they expect them to be more flexible.2. alumni.1. • Use a range of job-search methods. there has been a development of new professional areas requiring graduate-level qualifications. for instance. useful company and sector contacts. A high level of interactive and communication skills is usually required for these areas in addition to having received training in the specific area.uk/links/SectorBs 2.1.prospects. • Use local career libraries.prospects. relevant journals. and capable of learning new skills. It’s becoming apparent that it isn’t always the classification of the job that’s important. and don’t forget to follow up useful contacts from job advertisements. regional representatives. They’ll all have a bearing on employment. This is still so. details of salary bands. and ask yourself why. • Get to know the main sources of information about careers and jobs. both on the number of people employed and on the work that they do. look at the OU Career Links scheme where you can talk to a ‘career helper’ from the OU community at www. fellow students. Modern graduate occupations Since the expansion of higher education in the 1960s. so that you can present yourself effectively. 2. The dramatic reductions in graduate recruitment during the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s and the rise in the numbers of people studying for a degree have meant that. You need to find out as much as you can about the job(s) and the companies you’re applying to.uk/links/ CSDSevenYears) grouped graduate jobs into five distinct categories: 1 Traditional graduate occupations Established professions for which a degree has historically been required. Research conducted by Elias and Purcell in 2004 (Seven Years On: Graduate Careers in a Changing Labour Market.ac. the better the choices you make will be. • Constantly reassess your assumptions about questions such as your mobility and your job preferences. 2. the graduate labour market boundaries are blurring.ac. 2 36 To find out more. but the nature of the graduate’s experience and aspirations. • Be prepared to persist. solicitors or research scientists. job descriptions and person specifications.3 Review your progress Keep records of all contacts and applications you make. representatives from professional bodies. The fuller your awareness of the opportunities open to you. • Be realistic about the skills and experience you have and those you need to acquire. sample advertisements. As you research the main occupational areas that interest you. www. useful articles. visit our website at www. • Follow up this information by talking to professional careers advisers and people in the job areas that interest you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. and the more you know about each possibility. specialist and general trade directories. • Keep notes of your conversations. As large numbers of graduates enter an increasingly diverse range of jobs. However. for example. • Set up a file of job information. websites.ac. • If you are a student. press releases etc.2 Information Information is an essential tool in job hunting. You can do this by exploring jobs in sectors on the Prospects website at www. more adaptable to change. and graduates are now entering a much wider range of jobs. it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define exactly what’s meant by a ‘graduate job’. The graduate has to be an expert in a very specific area. journalism or social work.uk/careers/links • Personal contacts can be invaluable: tutors.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3 4 5 New graduate occupations These reflect changes in technology and organisational structures and priorities. Many are in nongraduate jobs but using the skills that they have developed as a result of their studies. Niche graduate occupations This is an expanding area.1 per cent six months after leaving. marketing. retail management. environmental health). Barclays) only 14 per cent of respondents had a place on a graduate training scheme with a blue chip employer. According to the Graduate Experience 2002 Report (DTI. the data shows the unemployment figure for OU students from the 2003/4 survey to be 2.ac. there were 3. Here are some ideas on the difference between working for SMEs versus blue-chip organisations: SMEs • • • • • • Fastest growing sector of UK economy Local Early responsibility No formal induction Less red tape and bureaucracy Lower starting salary Blue chip • • • • • • Easily identifiable opportunities National Small cog in big wheel Structured training programme Formal structures embedded Perks and higher starting salary To find out more.ac. In fact. For more information on SMEs go to: www.2 New and expanding opportunities for graduates Structured graduate programmes still exist with large ‘blue chip’ companies but competition is fierce and fewer graduates now enter through these schemes. The ability to access and use specialist information is an additional skill for these areas.uk In 2004 unemployment among all students was 6.uk/careers 37 . This data is published annually and can be seen at www. a growing proportion of graduates find their first jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).open. There are many instances of graduates in these occupations demonstrating their potential and developing their initial role to fit their skills. Non-graduate occupations Increasing numbers of graduates don’t immediately enter the ‘graduate labour market’. At the beginning of 2002.5 per cent. What sort of organisation are you suited to? You need to consider what type of opportunity might be right for you and think about the pros and cons of working for an SME or a large blue chip company.uk/links/wdgd and on the Teaching Quality website at www.ac.2.prospects.prospects.8 million SMEs in the UK and it is predicted that they will create a further 2 million jobs by 2010. graphic design. Most jobs in this category don’t usually ask for a degree but have some areas that are deemed as ‘specialist’ and increasingly ask for a degree at entry – for example. nursing.ac. 2. visit our website at www.uk/links/SectorBs Destination of Leavers in Higher Education in the UK Each year universities in the UK are required to ask their graduates about what they are doing and how studying has changed or developed their careers.tqi. engineering. Although we know that OU students start from a different point as many are working while they study. Some are relatively new occupations whereas the nature of others has changed so that an increasingly common route into them is via a graduate level qualification (for instance.
4.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. and customise them with a particular opportunity or employer in mind (see Section 4 ‘Getting the job’).5. you need to play by a set of new rules. You may want to ask to meet people. how can you do a creative job search? Here are a few essential steps to get you started: • You need to ‘market’ yourself. What will your job search strategy look like? 2. • Use employment agencies. • Find out about getting appropriate training or study with work experience. [Adapted from the AGCAS booklet Job Seeking Strategies] Pause for thought Ask yourself what you can take forward from these ideas. and be sure to get constructive comments on your applications and overall approach (you will find out more about recruitment and executive search agencies in Sections 2. how long for.2. including those in organisations you’ve already worked for (if any). See Section 2. To succeed. This may give you an identifiable edge in the job market.org. Most of us need to review our careers now and again to take account of changes in ourselves and the opportunities open to us. and what benefits you hope to gain from the experience. • Find contacts in the sorts of organisation and job you’d really like.2. • Don’t limit your marketing to letters of application.5. or talk to them in person.uk • Don’t forget the increasingly important nontraditional graduate recruiters (small and mediumsized enterprises – SMEs. 38 To find out more. 2. knowledgeable people. it’s estimated that 7 out of 10 jobs are ‘hidden’. Consider temporary or part-time work to enhance your marketability.4. this hidden job market increases as some employers shy away from the administrative burden of dealing with the overwhelming number of responses their recruitment advertisements produce. but don’t let them use you. None of us can predict what kind of jobs might be available in the next few years. in that they are never even advertised! Often.4. • Investigate the possibility of employment through a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’.uk/careers .2). which were discussed above in Section 2. and to foster contacts. in times of recession. Today’s labour market is increasingly diverse. So.1 Applying for hidden jobs Hidden jobs are produced: • by organisational changes that make old jobs obsolete and create new ones. • Cultivate well-placed. may not advertise so as not to be inundated with applications. • Think about doing voluntary work.ktponline.open. In fact.4 Finding vacancies When it comes to job vacancies. in particular.6 for details. Try to contact the person who makes the decisions and might be interested in your talents.10). Consider what you can do for them. Learn how to use the telephone effectively – there’s some advice about this in Section 2. or redefine old ones • because an organisation doesn’t recruit enough graduates to warrant much expenditure of effort or money on advertising • because of the volume of unsolicited applications • when an organisation doesn’t particularly demand a degree.9 and 2.ac. • Use the internet to research into companies and job vacancies. visit our website at www.3 Creative job search The career-review process isn’t something you do once and for all and then never do again. The best advice is to start as early as possible and be creative in your job search. Make sure they keep you in mind for suitable vacancies. Be clear about what you’re offering to do. skill development and knowledge of the industry or job area. they are classified as either ‘open’ or ‘hidden’. • Develop an excellent CV and application letter. qualities and experience. • Use the contacts you’ve made to get opportunities to work-shadow or to carry out job study interviews that will give you useful knowledge. but prefers specific skills. SMEs. a partnership between employers and higher education institutions – look at www.
This approach gives you the initiative. You want a meeting: say so clearly when you write. jobs and areas most appeal to you. sectors. Yellow Pages. Familiarise yourself with its problems and needs. for example. If a fulltime appointment isn’t practical. show where you can fit in. a very nervous jobhunter. Economic. • Get a meeting No one ever got a job merely by writing a letter. • Contact a named individual Approach only the person who can take the decision to employ or help you (you might be asking for information rather than a job).2 Making speculative approaches Please note that making speculative approaches to companies is not permitted in Northern Ireland. Offer dates and times. Research the organisation. The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book.uk/links/occupations to see if there are any. Prepare for the meeting as you would for a job interview.4. • Look at company websites and find out more about them. Prove that they need your abilities and would benefit from your expertise. com) • Specialist trade directories for different occupational areas.g. And be sure you can deliver the goods! • When you meet Be businesslike and professional in making your proposals. even open jobs are hidden during the early stages. Be prepared to fit in with the employer’s availability. Does the profession you’re interested in produce one? Use www. promotion and retirement continually create new job opportunities. KOMPASS (www. Thompson Directory.uk/careers 39 . selection dates. Get any agreements – proposals or contracts – in writing as soon as you can. advertising space and so on. • Always follow up If you hear nothing within two weeks of writing. Consider what’s right for you and your ‘target’ area. explaining what you offer and what you can do. Check with the organisation to make sure that names. develop or help it become more effective. Marketing yourself means keeping ahead of the competition. • Give a specific reason for contact Have a peg to hang your letter on. teaching. 2. visit our website at www. Remember. there may be a possibility of employing you for a particular shortterm project. Be prepared to negotiate. • Consult the main directories in your local reference library.3 To make an effective speculative contact • Pick out likely targets Be discriminating and choose worthwhile prospects. perhaps to arrange a meeting through a secretary. To find out more. follow up by telephone. You must prepare a thoroughly argued case to prove that the cost of employing you is more than outweighed by the benefits. job titles and addresses are correct. Ask questions about the employer’s needs. nor appropriate in some areas of employment. ac. Each approach must be tailor made and will take time to prepare. and how you would improve. showing how your abilities can contribute to the success of the enterprise. To get started try: • General trade directories e. and concentrate on those. Treat the employer as a client. You’re not asking for a job or hoping there might be a vacancy. Which organisations have the sort of position that attracts you? Who is recruiting. relocating? Use all your information sources and network contacts (which we will discuss in more detail below) to select a portfolio of companies.prospects. while decisions are being made about internal versus external recruitment campaigns. Demonstrate that they can’t afford not to employ you. telephone call or email must reach the right person.open. Speculative approaches can even create new jobs. This approach isn’t comfortable for some people for example.kompass. The effective job-seeker must tap the hidden market by making speculative approaches to prospective employers. Be flexible. 2. You’re not sending out a mail drop or a circular letter.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook To find the kind of company that can use your skills and satisfy your needs: • Look at the resources suggested in this section. technological and organisational change always affect employment patterns.4. You decide which organisations. Your letter. Turnover. Convince employers that you have exactly the skills they need to solve their business problems. It isn’t enough just to wait for jobs to be advertised in the media. You’re making a business proposition. reorganising.ac. for instance.
If you are an OU student. For now.com 2. Make a note of advertising patterns in your local press.ac.4.thepaperboy.4. it may seem a little strange to seek out hidden jobs. 21 per cent of OU students reported that they had got their job as a result of personal contacts and networking.4. and responses may be slow and few. But experience supports the practical wisdom of doing so. The big Sunday papers advertise a variety of jobs. Many employers send very poor information.4 Networking In the 2003/4 Destination of Leavers Survey. you may need to look at them every day. or none at all. Independent. visit our website at www. smaller employers often rely on local advertisements in the regional press because it’s less expensive and brings in a more manageable number of replies. but their relatively high advertising rates tend to restrict the salary range to the higher end.open.uk/ careers and to the section entitled ‘Moving on’ and look at the ‘Advertised Jobs’ and ‘Virtual Employer Fair’ pages.prospects. Because advertising in national newspapers is costly. Even if you have no luck with a particular employer. 2. after an initial refusal. Advertised jobs can be found through: • The OU Careers Advisory Service We are currently developing services for students that advertise vacancies notified to us by employers.5 below. Making speculative contacts can pay off in several ways. 2. advertising is reduced. especially in particular companies • get an introduction to a key decision-maker in a company. ‘Networking’ is the systematic use of personal contacts to: • gather information about an industry or company • discover hidden jobs. If you’re going to make speculative approaches. Each rejection may be one step nearer to the job you want.5 Applying for advertised jobs Many jobs are of course advertised and here we look at where. go to www. or to concentrate on particular companies just because they appeal to you. You may have to do some detective work if the advertisement doesn’t give a telephone number.uk/links/occupations 2. Daily Telegraph. trade and professional journals Professional associations Recruitment agencies Executive search firms In all these cases. start planning early in your job search. Here you will find links to jobs notified to the OU Careers Service and access to other UK wide and local vacancies.ac. We will deal with networking in more detail in Section 2. If it says write.uk/careers . just keep in mind that research into how managers change to jobs with other organisations has shown that over half get an introduction through networking. you may be referred or recommended to another.6 Replying to advertised jobs If you reply to an advertisement. there’s no point in sending a CV. as recruiters seldom place their advertisements more than once. the day on which most papers are sold. Local and regional papers sometimes concentrate their job advertisements on Thursdays. You will find links to national and regional papers from www. Use these meetings to get more information about the job market. Make a note of the advertising patterns: you will find that most of the quality daily papers (The Times. Elias and Purcell (2005) in Class of 99 (Study of the early Labour Market Experiences of Recent Graduates) highlight the value of networks for getting into new employment. • develop further contacts to expand your network. and familiarise yourself with the kinds of advertisement placed in each paper. Each employer you see is a new contact. Remember every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’! • • • • • The internet Newspaper. look for sources through www. August to mid-September and December. always follow the instructions given. • Persevere Occasionally persistence will pay off and. Make the most of it. During holiday periods. 40 To find out more.open. Financial Times) advertise certain kinds of work on particular days of the week. At the start. you may be offered a meeting. whom you can convince of your qualities as a candidate. Show initiative by telephoning or emailing if you need to know more. Guardian. The best place to consult newspapers and journals is your local library or online if you have access to the internet. about the job advertised or the selection methods they use.7 Newspapers and journals You will find many job vacancies advertised in newspapers and specialist or trade journals. telephone or email for an application form.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Take a long-term view It takes time to build up a mailing list.ac. At first.4.
4.9 Recruitment agencies Recruitment agencies tend to deal with lowerlevel salaried positions.4. not to help you sort out your career plans.ac. the British Psychological Society and the Training and Development Agency for Schools.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. about what the agency is offering you. They often act for small to medium-sized employers that have no personnel or recruitment departments of their own.com and in most major libraries.8 Professional associations Many professional associations and institutions.open. though. Services are free to you – the employing company is charged a fee. visit our website at www. and in some areas of employment (such as medical sales) they are almost the standard source of recruits. Addresses and other details are in the Directory of British Associations at www. To find out more. usually a percentage of your first year’s salary.cbdresearch. Many specialise in particular kinds of work or industry. Some produce yearbooks and lists of members. Remember that it’s there to fill its clients’ posts. 2. for example. have a regional education or training officer and sometimes specialist careers adviser whom you can contact.uk/careers 41 . Be clear.
entering it into the database of an organisation (usually recruitment organisations) that will either try to find a suitable match for you or allow an employer to search the information and perhaps select you for interview.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook To find out about recruitment agencies: • Making the Most of Your Recruitment Consultancy A guide obtainable from Badenoch and Clark recruitment consultancy at: www. You can access this at: www. Some employers let more than one contingency firm work on a particular job. If you decide to use a search firm.uk. published annually by Kogan Page. Remember that: • Websites may not always deliver what they promise. their role is limited by the high fees they charge to employers (typically 30–35 per cent of annual salary).uk/links/MyProspects 42 To find out more.com Consultants often don’t share information with one another. they can be a useful source of information about how you were received by the client. As noted above.ac.strath.html You can also register free on My Prospects. visit our website at www. There are also opportunities to ‘post’ your CV on the web. • Contingency firms are paid only when the company hires someone they have presented. The average search firm has only three or four consultants. they prefer to receive a CV to judge whether you fit what they have on their books at that moment. Although some firms deal only with positions above £50. Most graduate recruiters now recruit online as well as using other methods.badenochandclark. Most consultants limit interviews and initially are likely to carry out a telephone screening with you. They seldom divulge information about their clients.uk/graduatejobsearch/ index. and always include details of your former salary and the range you’re looking for.4. If they send you to an interview they’ll want to know how things went.rec. Try to make sure you use vetted or recommended websites only to post your CV. Always try to cross-check information. specialist IT skills.uk/careers . so if you apply to a large firm operating in many locations you need to send your CV to all of them. You can search for agencies by geographical location and by type of work from their website at: www. send a CV and covering letter. As a result.000. edited by Patricia Leighton. Sometimes contingency firms will distribute your CV widely in the hope of generating new business. While they are important in the market place. and your personal details may become public property.open.11 The internet Most jobs are now advertised on the internet through national websites directly associated with particular careers. 2. You could find yourself treated like a trading commodity. 2.ac. • Websites sometimes go online while still under development. You can also receive the Prospects Graduate Digital magazine. They may interview you and construct a pen picture to go with your CV.prospects. Many sites change rapidly and there are no guarantees about the accuracy of the information displayed. They receive enormous numbers of CVs and often don’t bother to acknowledge them. They get most of their fee whether the employer hires their candidates or not.10 Executive search firms There are more than 200 executive search firms in the UK. or when commercial confidentiality is essential.4.ac. They are of two main kinds: • Fee/assignment firms are given sole charge of a particular search. You can find this at: www. Bear in mind that not all sites offer confidentiality.com • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is the national association for the recruitment and staffing industry. Further resources Look at the following website developed by Strathclyde University Careers Service which directs job seekers to vetted job websites. they’re worth considering if you have skills that are in short supply – accountancy is a particular example. the online news and CV-matching service that brings tailored information about jobs and career events to your email address and lets employers search your electronic CV. if the website’s main interest is simply to capture personal details and sell on a CV. similarly. • It’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees – not everyone has a brilliant web designer.careers. or are marketable enough to fit something that might turn up in the future. They tend to be used for jobs that are at a high level or require scarce specialist skills for example. You can find addresses of search firms in The Daily Telegraph’s Recruitment Handbook. search firms may deal with a limited type of vacancy.
information and ideas. or to refer you to someone else who can. Through building up a network of contacts. To take some of the stress out of the situation. Think what they can do for you: • keep you informed • comment on your strategy and approach. relatives. So. you may be able to discover: • • • • • a company’s competitive position whether it’s in a state of growth. A number of methods are possible but you need to decide what is right for you. Establish: • • • • What you’re seeking How your contact can help you How much time you’re asking for (15–20 minutes) Time and place for a meeting. It’s often difficult getting through to someone during the day. all potential sources of information or advice. any business contacts you have. Others. Even if these people can’t help you themselves. tutors. 2.ac. so that you don’t get confused over important details. By telephone Your first approach is likely to be by telephone.open. Most people will be only too glad to help.1 Building up a network Draw up a list of everyone who might be able to help you – friends.5 Building a network of contacts Personal contacts can be a fantastic source of help in your job search. stability or decline its working climate and culture its business strategy the background of key managers. As you work towards developing and extending your network. In fact. or they may lead to other secondary sources. former colleagues.uk/careers 43 . smiles and so on. plan the format and content of your call: To find out more. what is appropriate for the area of work and what might be effective.2 Using the telephone effectively You may be making a speculative call. These secondary contacts can act as a bridge between you and the decision makers in the companies you’re interested in. how do you build your network? Your primary contacts are people who know you directly. voluntary work or casual part-time jobs. keep a record of each letter. Your network of contacts can include friends. telephone call. They may not have the job openings you want. visit our website at www.1 Approaching your contacts You need to decide how you will approach your contacts. Some people are natural and relaxed on the telephone. fellow students. the impression you make • get you noticed.5. Make a note in your career file of your list of contacts. Be persistent. what you’re doing is making the most of them as sources of advice. conversation and so on. own business contacts. Busy managers are usually in early and late. Some will be able to give you names of their Activity 2. but they can become your publicity agents and your information sources.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.5. so try outside normal office hours if you can. Unease usually arises from the misconception that using contacts means asking people for jobs. tutors or people you’ve met through leisure interests. so it’s difficult to judge what impression you’re making. or telephoning to follow up a contact you’ve been given or to make an appointment for an interview. Be very succinct. are stilted and anxious. they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. Pause for thought Perhaps you feel uncomfortable about networking in this fashion. Getting the approach right is important. Put contacts at ease about this to avoid embarrassment. family. You don’t get the usual clues from nods. even after years of practice. 2. especially those in the function that interests you.
Whilst this person won’t necessarily be familiar with a specific company. • Get the contact interested straight away – make notes beforehand of what you want to say.4 Career Links As an OU student.g. you might find it helpful to look again at the advice in Section 2-3 ‘Creative job search’.5. trading problems/ opportunities (for me). and how I am going to present myself. • Try to avoid being interviewed over the phone unless this is pre-arranged. and decided on further preparation.open. (A discussion with an ex-employee could be particularly revealing. visit our website at www. • State the objectives of your call. journal and newspaper stories).5.open. to get a ‘feel’ for the culture.) – Put myself in the shoes of my prospective boss. It was produced by one of the students who tried out this pack before publication and was preparing to approach a particular company. • Introduce yourself succinctly. • Use the name of the referral source discreetly. • Suggest times and dates for an appointment. Make sure that you’ve done your research thoroughly. • Clarify the exact place of the appointment. • Offer your telephone number or email in case of a change in arrangements. You can access career links at: www. > Talk again to contacts.3 Making an approach in person Making an approach in person can be an opportunity to test your interview skills and make a good and lasting impression. they are likely to have general knowledge about making contacts. you need a carefully planned agenda.g. (Think about what sort of help the company may need. 2. and to read the following example. etc. considering what further preparation you need at this point. > List which issues I want to investigate (e. preferably decision-makers for your kind of job who you can ask about opportunities in the industry. > Re-read the advice in Section 4 about job applications and interviews. you can register with Career Links. • Get to the point quickly – treat it like a minicommercial for yourself. before you talk to your contacts. It might cover: • Why you’re thinking of leaving your present job (or why you left your last one) • Your job goals and some alternatives • Your strategy for getting there • A discussion about the industries you’re interested in and the companies you’ve picked out • Questions about names and referrals to key people.ac. possible openings.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • If they have a secretary.uk/careers . Before reading on. 2. prospects for development/training/promotion). 44 To find out more.uk/careers/links Pause for thought Building a network of contacts plays a key part in creative job search. exposure to risk. • Advice and comment on your job-search strategy Example One of my network contacts led to an introduction to the head of a department in a company I was targeting. get their full name if you can. as follows: > Carry out more research on the company (e. Pause for thought Meetings need to be well planned and purposeful. I set up an appointment with her. political battles. They will respect you more and be more prepared to help if they have evidence of your professional approach.) > How do my strengths match the needs? > Plan which of my strengths/ accomplishments I am going to mention. Other people have their own agendas. This could be a vital step in your networking – it allows you to link up with others in the OU community who have work experience in the area you are aiming for. For a productive meeting. and there’s a lot to cover in twenty minutes.ac. using published sources.
In addition.uk Employee Volunteering www.open. etc. From here you can link to the various volunteer bureaus for your areas of the UK www. Go to www.cev.citizensadvice. 2.uk/careers.uk along with links to information about New Deal initiatives.co.crsearch.charityjob.jobcentreplus. Your letter must list accomplishments that correspond to these reasons.lgjobs.thepaperboy.uk CR Search and Selection www.be/members. For example.htm lists member organisations for EU countries including the UK and Ireland. Be critical over matters of style.gov. go to Section 2 to research jobs or the section ‘Moving on’ if you want to find out more about looking for jobs and if you want access to vacancies both locally and UK wide.org.jobs. You will also find links to professional bodies and related sites from the ‘Broad Career Areas’ within the above site. visit our website at www. • You should include Key achievements and relevant experience Only the last five to ten years A maximum of two uncrowded pages • Exclude Personal data (marital status.co. Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ offers advice to help you with the practical side of drawing up a letter to accompany a CV.co.do-it.5. If you are a student.uk The European Volunteer Centre www. etc.uk Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) www. Includes non graduate jobs on this site www.5 Drawing up your letter When it comes to drawing up a letter.csv. national and international newspapers www.ac.ac.com/uk/ Local Government Jobs at www.employeevolunteering. etc.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Note in your career file what preparation you want to make at this point.org. describe a relevant problem. To find out more.uk Community Service Volunteers www.6 Voluntary work Voluntary work can be a fantastic way of getting experience and building networks as well as showing commitment to an area you are interested in. membership.prospects.com Job Centre vacancies are online at www. 2. grammar and layout.uk Search facility with links to regional.open.) To decrease expenses To obtain specialist expertise that leads to an increase of sales or a decrease in expenses On the Prospects site you can register free and have information about jobs emailed to you.uk Citizens Advice www.5.uk Charity People www. A speculative letter will need many drafts in order to polish it. hobbies. • Get someone else to check your spelling.uk Do-it-: search this database for a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the UK.org. Local centres seek to place people into suitable voluntary work – meals on wheels.connexions-direct. Use it to mention an achievement related to the job you’re seeking and strike a chord of need in the reader.uk/links/MyProspects Here’s a selection of other sites that you might like to look at: Vacancies in higher education and related organisations www. you may find the following websites helpful for exploring opportunities to work with charities and voluntary organisations: Charity Job www.com allows you to search by occupation and location. Further resources For further information and resources go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www.charitypeople.vso.uk/careers 45 . outline how you tackled it and state what results you got. ac.ac.org.) Dates Salary Copies of references • The first paragraph is crucial. and prune ruthlessly.org. keep in mind that there are three main reasons why someone might want to employ you: 1 2 3 To increase sales (or the employer’s equivalent – service volume.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook
Making decisions and taking action
In this section 3.1 Making decisions about your life 47 3.2 Goals, restrictions and resources 48 3.3 Plan of action 52
If you’ve developed self-awareness and explored opportunities and now need to make decisions and plan how to put them into action, this section is for you. It will help you to consider the advantages and disadvantages of different decisions, find sources of help and plan for action. You’ve probably put a lot of time into analysing your life and career. You should have considered your strengths, skills and experience, and researched the occupational areas that interest you. Before going on to make decisions, it’s helpful to look at the framework within which you may be making choices about the future.
3.1 Making decisions about your life
It’s not our claim that everyone can achieve everything they want. Obviously you have to be realistic, as life imposes restrictions on us all. But many people don’t achieve all that they’re capable of, because they’re not clear about what they want to do and how to make decisions. It’s important to aim for what you want while being aware of what’s achievable. One way to consider the range of options is to look at your goals alongside your personal restrictions and resources.
3.1.1 Managing your situation
Whenever you’re in a situation you’re not happy with, you have four basic options. You might think about them both in the short term and in the long term. For example, you may be clear that long term you want to change jobs, but in the short term you might be able to ‘change yourself’ to make things easier. • Work for change Try to change the situation to make it more as you want it to be.
If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to do this, you’re left with the other three options. • Change yourself Examine your own attitudes, behaviour, ambitions, skills, lifestyle and so on, and consider how, if you changed any of those, your situation might improve. • Live with it This means much more than ‘putting up with it’. You need a strategy to minimise the aspects of the situation you don’t like and maximise those you do. For example, you might put more energy into activities outside your job if you’re dissatisfied at work, change the way you work so that it reduces your contact with troublesome elements, or spend more time doing the things you enjoy and cutting down those you don’t. • Leave Find a constructive way to move on out of the situation, job, relationship or problem.
Pause for thought
Consider the four options. Which could apply to your present situation? How?
To find out more, visit our website at www.open.ac.uk/careers
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook
3.2 Goals, restrictions and resources
Whatever your decision about the four options, you need a goal and a plan to get there. In the next section we are going to look at your goals and then examine the restrictions and resources that may affect how you reach them.
What is a goal? • Goals are what you want to get out of life. • You may use other words to describe your goals – results, outcomes, aims and ambitions. • Unlike dreams, hopes, fantasies and wishes, goals are specific and expect the outcome to arrive. • While short or long term, goals should be realistic but challenging. • Remember: your goals may change over time.
What are your goals?
Write them down here. You may not yet have fully identified your goals but put what you can here and add to it later.
To find out more, visit our website at www.open.ac.uk/careers
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook
3.2.2 Restrictions and resources
We’re all affected by our own restrictions and resources. Sometimes the same thing is both a restriction and a resource. If you’re buying a house on a mortgage, it’s both a liability and an asset; a friend or relative might need support but might also be a source of support to you.
What are your restrictions and resources?
Think about your resources – the things, people and attitudes that could help you. Then think about your restrictions – the things you need to take into account or that may be problems. Write them down on the chart.
Money Financial resources
Equipment, tools, premises I have I haven’t got
People, family, contacts Who can help me? Who needs my help or support?
Health Good points Bad points
Beliefs, outlooks Positives Negatives
Pause for thought
Consider your answers. How will they affect the kind of opportunities open to you? Are there other things you need to consider? For example, do you need to work near your home? Could you move to a new area? Might your age be important?
To find out more, visit our website at www.open.ac.uk/careers
giving a balanced picture of the situation. You now need to consider each of your goals in terms of all the resources that could be helpful or cause restrictions. Make the most of resources Look at the resources you underlined. Activity 3. Each restriction is set against a helping resource. The next activity will help with this.2. visit our website at www. You’ve probably noted some factors that will help you in the direction you want to take and others that you need to find a way round. What actions would help you to make the most of them? Minimise restrictions Now look at the restrictions you underlined.1 are the most important? Underline them.3 Balance helpful resources against restrictions Now look back to the restrictions and resources you listed. Example Goal – Promotion Resources Line manager’s support Personal ambition/determined Prepared to take responsibility Project management experience Restrictions Colleagues’ reactions Limited mobility Little experience of managing people No experience of managing budgets Now balance resources and restrictions for your own goal(s) Which of the goals you’ve listed in Activity 3.3 Look first at the example below. What actions would help you to reduce their effects? You’ve now listed actions you can take towards your goals.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3.ac. 50 To find out more.uk/careers . but there’s more to do. It was produced by someone who wanted to apply for promotion.open.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 3.uk/careers 51 . You should also be clear about the main helping forces and problems you need to deal with.3 continued Bring actions and resources together List the resources that can help you to carry out each step.ac. Look at the example. Actions Attend course on finance for non-managers Attend outside course in the evenings Find out about the budget process Family support Now do this for each of the actions you listed. To find out more. Resources Internal training courses Local college has course Line manager’s support Actions Resources Actions Resources Actions Resources Pause for thought You should now have a clear picture of what you really want and what ideas you want to develop.open. visit our website at www. ‘No experience of managing budgets’ was listed as a problem.
you’re ready to start taking action. after doing that.1 Back-up plan You should always try to have a back-up plan. measurable.3 Plan of action The next stage is to bring everything together into a detailed plan of action. and then revise your targets if necessary. 3. you might have to reconsider it. 52 To find out more. and perhaps discuss your plans either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. If you want to plan your career effectively. ‘Is it realistic?’ If it isn’t. achievable. This process will involve making a number of decisions. Set aside time to review your goals and see how you are progressing. Put a note in your diary or ask someone to remind you. medium and short term) • Deciding which actions you need to take • Identifying your restrictions and resources • Working out a realistic timescale to achieve each step. And of course if you change your mind about your end goal then you can go back to your original plan to make necessary adjustments. information. gather information or get access to a particular resource.open.3. Ask yourself.uk/careers and find ‘Action Planning and Decision Making’ using the ‘A-Z’. You could also look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. You should consider five factors when drawing up your action plan: 1 2 3 4 5 What you need to do How you are going to take action Resources that could help you (e. If. Further resources Look at the careers website at: www.open. You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations.g.learndirect-advice.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3. keep an eye on progress and adapt your plan if necessary. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life.uk/helpandadvice/dmr/ You could also look at Tactic 5 (Master the art of action thinking – how to attain your goals and action plan) on the Windmills Virtual Career Coach at: www. To discover what kind of decision maker you are. This means taking a few different steps: • Setting out your goals (long. Review At this stage it might be useful to read through the work you’ve done in this section.uk/careers . you are going to amass a lot of information from which you will need to identify realistic options and create suitable goals. try the learndirect activity at: www.windmillsprogramme. You might need to gain experience or qualifications. but you’re setting out on a potentially exciting journey. finance.com Action plans need to be SMART (specific. realistic. To achieve what you want. time based). you’ll have to revise it. If you monitor your progress by checking your plan from time to time you can identify what you have achieved. with all its potential for improvement and advancement. visit our website at www.ac. So. You may need to improve it or change it completely. friends) When you will achieve your targets How you will know when you have achieved your goal Pause for thought You might want to complete action plans for several goals.ac. Once you’ve done this. you still find that you’re unable to reach your goal. it might be necessary to go through several stages. If you don’t manage to meet your goals it may be that your first plan wasn’t good enough.co.
My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal Find out about courses Difficulty of funding Explore educational or career development loans Investigate letting flat for year of the course Afraid of rejection Friend will provide support and encouragement Actions required Constraints Resources.ac. visit our website at www.4 Showing a worked example of an action plan Look at the worked example below. then fill in your own plan on the following page. weekly Find someone else keen to do it To find out more.who or what can help me? Target date for actions To become a journalist Postgraduate course in journalism Next week Apply early By the end of the month Within two months Gain relevant voluntary/paid experience Write freelance articles and submit Find out where classes are offered locally Cost? Motivation to complete? Write to local newspapers Take an evening class in shorthand or word-processing Check if special arrangements are possible for payment e.g.uk/careers Tomorrow Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 53 .open.Activity 3.
4 Your action plan To find out more.open.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 54 Actions required Constraints Resources.who or what can help me? Target date for actions Activity 3.uk/careers My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal . visit our website at www.
open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more. visit our website at www.uk/careers 55 .ac.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Getting the job In this section 4.5 4.3 4.4 4. They particularly value skills such as communication. students should engage in extra curricular activities and obtain work experience in order to develop skills that will make them better prepared for the world of work.open. it shows you how these specific skills can be developed: To find out more. visit our website at www.ac. Association of Graduate Recruiters ‘What do Graduates 2006 do?‘ (HECSU/AGCAS/AGR/UCAS) Analysis of years of national employer surveys suggests the desired skills of graduates fall into four broad areas: 1 Self-reliance skills 2 People skills 3 General employment skills 4 Specialist skills. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage.6 4. teamworking and problem solving. Chief Executive.1 overleaf is taken and adapted from the 2006 version of What do Graduates do? It shows very clearly what types of skill employers want.’’ Digby Jones. Confederation of British Industry.1 What do employers look for in graduates? ‘‘A degree alone is not enough. Forward to Prospects Directory 2004/5 ‘What do Graduates 2006 do?‘ (HECSU/AGCAS/AGR/UCAS) ‘‘Twenty-first century graduates need to demonstrate to employers that they can ‘hit the ground running’.2 4. It is also important for students to become self aware and develop the confidence to market themselves effectively when the time comes to apply for jobs. Equally importantly perhaps.1 4.uk/careers 57 . Table 4. Together they make up what is referred to as ‘employability skills’. In addition to working hard to gain a good degree.7 What do employers look for in graduates? 57 Matching vacancies 59 Application forms 62 The curriculum vitae (CV) 65 The covering letter 78 The interview 81 Other selection techniques 87 4.’’ Carl Gilleard. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. Director-General.
assertive Oral communication – communicator. caring. first aid at work qualification. web design skills. methodical Commitment – dedicated. multi-skilled Business acumen – entrepreneurial. conscientious Specialist skills Specific occupational skills – specialist relevant knowledge. focused. Proactivity – resourceful. enthusiastic Self-promotion – positive. influencer Leadership – motivator. roles within work e. keyboard skills. drive. e. coordinating others Self-reliance skills Self-awareness – purposeful. persistent. journalism.g. co-operative. results skills orientated Flexibility – versatile.uk/careers . planner. deliverer Caring responsibilities. relationship-builder. member of orchestra. guide/scout leader. 58 To find out more. motivated. engineering. Skills that employers want and how they can be developed Type of skill “Buzz” words Examples of how the skills can be developed through interests. ambitious Networking – initiator. self-reliant Willingness to learn – inquisitive.open. work experience OU study. NVQ qualification. work responsibilities in a team. organised.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Table 4.1. willing. voluntary work. competitive. energetic. visionary Customer orientation – friendly. software packages Numeracy – accurate. able to prioritise People skills Team working – supportive. Involvement in community groups. sales Source: HECSU. use of IT. fundraising for charity. coordinator. sport. Roles within the home – planning.g. resourceful Planning action – decision-maker. diplomatic Foreign language – specific language skills General employment Problem-solving – practical. realistic Interpersonal skills – listener. work and education OU study. quick-thinker. IT Technical skills – e. Roles within your working situation.g. AGCAS. adviser. language skills. travel. logical. risk taker IT/computer literacy – office skills. languages. UCAS and AGR Roles within the home – budgeting. visit our website at www. trustworthy. presenter. European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). self-belief.ac. accounting.
qualifications and personal qualities.) To find out more. Remember to use this evidence when you apply for jobs! If you don’t shout about it. or even in the face of resistance. Rehearse your introduction and be prepared for the question. (It might help to refer to Section 1. If the opportunities seem limited. ‘multinational’ …? How does the organisation see itself and what image does it want to project? Do you feel comfortable with its choice of words? Will your personality fit the organisation? Are your values similar? • Brief job description Does the work genuinely interest you? Does it match your needs? What are the key tasks? What skills are needed? Can you produce evidence of your ability to deal successfully with each task? How will you demonstrate your potential for coping with tasks you haven’t handled before? Is there anything that seems unclear? • Qualifications Are they preferred or essential? For example. Many OU graduates have lots of evidence with which they can demonstrate these skills: • experience of the world of work and working environments both paid and unpaid • commitment to their own personal development demonstrated by undertaking OU study • time management and organisational skills required to successfully combine OU study and other responsibilities. attention seeking? What does this tell you about the organisation? What is the vocabulary used to describe the organisation – ‘dynamic’. You may have to motivate yourself with little support or encouragement.uk/careers 59 . and be honest about whether your personality and needs match what the employer wants.open. ‘What would you like to know about us?’ Be ready to highlight your suitability for the post. but it’s worth bearing in mind that candidates who apply for ‘graduate’ jobs are also expected to demonstrate at least some if not all of these skills. As we show here. but be prepared when you do. Now you want to make sure you have a ‘match’. but may also mean that no training is provided. low key. as the contact will form an impression of you from the very beginning. before finding out more about the position.ac. you need to try and match yourself to the requirements of the job to judge whether or not you want to apply for it. nobody will do it for you! 4. • Salary Usually a good guide to the level of qualifications and experience required. flamboyant. or other specified qualification? • Experience Is it preferred or essential – will you be ruled out? What experience can you offer from any aspect of your life that demonstrates close or transferable skills? • Qualities Note the language used to describe the ideal applicant. So. how much of a problem would this be for you? • Age Are there any obvious age implications? It’s important not to lose sight of the positive aspects of age and experience. visit our website at www. Find out what this will mean in practice. it’s important to see how you can use it to develop your skills and experience. 4. so you need to consider how you can show that you meet the requirements. especially if there isn’t a specified salary? • Named contact Is a name given to contact for further information? It’s a good idea to follow up such offers. you need to analyse the information you already have. but you have to be aware of the going rate for that occupation. even a brief newspaper advertisement can reveal a great deal of useful information. They’re usually set out under headings such as experience.2 Matching vacancies You’ve seen a vacancy advertised that you’d like to apply for. ‘committed self starter’ could imply that there’ll be little supervision.1 Matching the requirements Once you’ve analysed your advertisement. do you need a driving licence. Analyse each noun and adjective for its implications. Look at your advertisement and analyse it under these headings: • Style and language What’s the general style of the advertisement – formal. The advert should specify what the employer is looking for. • Location and geographical mobility How far would you travel each day? Would you consider moving house? If you need to travel around. For example. • Prospects What opportunities are there for advancement in this job? The employer may be looking for evidence of your willingness and ability to progress.2. First of all you need to read between the lines.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook The requirements an employer sets out in a job advertisement are likely to be much more specific. What are you looking for.
and the second column shows how a candidate would provide evidence of having the necessary experience.uk/careers . Here the key experience requirements are listed. tutorials and revision alongside a part-time job and voluntary work. Active member of RSPB > I have organised several meetings between the RSPB and the local branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England to look at the decline of the bluetit in Cheshire and preventive measures. Marketing knowledge > Temporary job (with full induction and training) over two summer holidays as a market research interviewer. anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. > Marketing module completed as part of my degree studies (12 months) – identifying. Interest in wildlife e.g.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Look at the following example. current part-time study.g. > I am a regional fundraiser for BTCV and the PDSA.g. visit our website at www. Presentation skills > I have used Power Point to present information on the decline of local bird populations to a community group and to councillors. assignments. > I have also organised and facilitated presentations to local schools and governors using a variety of media. > I am an avid reader and subscriber of the Warbler and make regular contributions to this national magazine. > I work alternate Sundays at the local animal hospital as a volunteer. From recent employment. Keyboard skills > Self-taught packages in order to produce a dissertation for my degree. > Worked in Windows based environment for numerous holiday jobs – secretarial role. > I have worked unsupervised as a treasurer for a local Residents Association for two years and have always met deadlines for reports. Treasurer of Residents’ Association: > Draw up budget bids or plans within agreed guidelines and procedures for submission to internal and external bodies. Ability to work on own e. My evidence 60 To find out more. Example Vacancy: Fundraiser for Scottish Wildlife Preservation Society Analysis of key requirements Experience Numeracy e. > As a part-time student I have worked within a thirty-two week study calendar and managed a weekly workload of reading. as it helps you to focus on the important aspects as you complete your application form or prepare a CV.ac.open. > Responsible for assessing potential expenditure in terms of value for money and taking appropriate action to ensure this is achieved. This is a useful way of approaching any job advert.
uk/careers.4.ac. values. Alternatively.ac.jobs.prospects.ac.1 Begin by looking at an advert or job description for a position that interests you.ac.uk/careers 61 . If you don’t have a specific one in mind you might look in a careers publication or website such as www. interests. you can also try the ‘Job Analysis Activity’ on the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www. try to produce evidence of your suitability against each point. To find out more.open.10 below.open.uk. look at the occupational information on the Prospects website: www. You should also take a look at Section 4. In the right-hand column. ask yourself: • Does the work genuinely interest me? • Does it match my personality.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. Go to the section ‘Personal and Career Development’ from the site map. needs? • What are the key job requirements? • What skills are required to perform them? • Can I produce evidence of these skills? In the box below. Vacancy/job description: Analysis of key requirements My evidence If you are an OU student. These kinds of activities are really helpful in preparing for the completion of application forms or for producing your CV.uk/links/occupations Whichever way you choose. note down in the left-hand column the key characteristics and requirements of your selected vacancy. visit our website at www.
if possible. you may be surprised at the probing nature of some of the questions they ask. Some are designed for recruiting people for a particular function or training scheme (e. most large organisations now make their forms available online (which can save you time and postage).3 Application forms Application forms come in all shapes and sizes.ac. • Don’t cram sections too full. because many large employers now optically scan applications to enter them into their recruitment databases.uk/careers .open. • Make a photocopy of the blank form (or print it from the screen) and use it for your rough draft. like a CV or a speculative letter. • Usually. and not only for senior jobs. In fact. underlined topic headings.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. • When answering extended (multi-part) or difficult questions. Layout can help – consider using bullet points.2 . • If there isn’t enough space for general interest information (e. ‘Give names. Bear in mind that employers often receive a lot of forms. You may find the Select Simulator useful for practising completing online forms. the space allowed for each question indicates its relative importance. You can also research online. When completing online forms you may find that some of your experiences do not fit neatly into the categories provided. Use it effectively to include or to emphasise information that you think is relevant and isn’t allowed for on the form.g.2 Filling in your form • Complete all sections of the form. Convince them that they need to see you. think of: 62 To find out more. unless you’re told that you must not attach any other papers. is to get an interview. • Many larger employers ask you to complete an online application. visit a career service or large library to look for other information.3.g. You must keep to the prescribed format. it shouldn’t just repeat what’s on your form. Being able to write succinctly is evidence of your written communication skills. Keep the following points in mind when it comes to completing an application form: • The purpose of a completed application form. Ask the organisation for more details and. as most organisations will have comprehensive information on their websites. • Remember that presentation can be as important as content.g. • Be sure to answer all the elements of each question (e. • Read through the whole form before you fill in any of the sections. so it is crucial that you sell yourself effectively. graduate engineer).g. to clarify your points. OU students can access this on the Careers Advisory Service website. 4. an NHS Trust). If you haven’t looked at employers’ application forms for some time. etc. Most are intended for a wide variety of posts in the organisation (e.g. the principles for completing application forms are very similar. • The only information the selectors will have about you is what you’ve given them in your written application – emphasise the positive and leave it to them to spot the negative. Look for ‘online applications’ in the ‘A–Z’. Whatever format they come in though.3. ‘What are your spare time activities. as that makes them difficult to read. attach a separate sheet. what do you contribute and what do you get out of them?’). Often – but not always – you’re told that you may also enclose a CV. write ‘N/A’ or ‘Not applicable’ to show that you haven’t overlooked it. You’ll come to some sample questions below in Section 4. ‘What have been the significant factors in your life to date?’) prioritise and keep it within the space allowed. • If there isn’t enough space for factual information (e. the kind of person the organisation wants to employ. addresses and dates of all previous employers’).3. don’t send a CV instead. If a question doesn’t apply to you. • Your aim is to convince the employer that you’re worth interviewing – you appear to be a suitable candidate for the job and. also. This means that on an initial read through they may spend as little as two minutes looking at your form.1 Before you start your application form • Find out as much as you can about the vacancy and the organisation. We suggest you contact the employer for advice on how to approach this. 4. • Comply with instructions such as using black ink or block capitals. If you do. visit our website at www. If you’re asked to submit an application form.
• Look over the presentation. go to the sections on ‘Personal and Career development’ and ‘Moving on’. If you’re applying for a job related to your degree subject. Look at Section 6 if you are or have been an offender.3 Skills you have attained as an OU student As an Open University student. It’ll also take some of the tedium out of tackling other forms. These may have been expressed as learning outcomes. visit our website at www. Make the most of these skills as well as your academic success.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • • • • • • • What you’re going to say (understanding the purpose of the question) Who you’re saying it to (someone who doesn’t know you but will make decisions about your future) How you’re going to say it (presenting an accurate picture of yourself) Why you’re saying it (showing that you have the qualities. 4. give their full titles and status. Tailor your responses to the post you’re applying for. Learning outcomes will give you some help in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. The skills you’ve developed in one context may well be transferable to another and employers will look for evidence that you recognise them: e. to be a teacher) while some put emphasis on transferable skills (which you dealt with in Section 1. you can stress the personal qualities and skills that OU study demands. Make sure you’ve been consistent in style (e. interesting and personal (say ‘I’. Some jobs may require subject-specific knowledge (e. working odd hours. working under pressure.2. in your use of personal pronouns). Use positive language. give fuller details of your course than you would if it’s not particularly relevant. If you are a student. If you want to do this in a more structured way. Always send it by first class post. flexibility and time management skills. You may be able to look back at the course descriptions To find out more. • Make a note of the job you’ve applied for.open. Inaccuracy in one section can raise doubts about other areas of the form.ac. If you’ve been unemployed. Give evidence and avoid bland generalities (e. Leave no unexplained gaps in your employment record. ideally get someone else to check rather than relying on a spell checker. If appropriate. • Use an envelope of suitable size so that the form isn’t folded. self-discipline. and the date you sent it.uk/careers. for several applications. Practise answering the typical questions in the next activity. the name and address of the person you sent the form to. You will find that by studying with the OU – whatever the subject area – you will have developed a range of both subject knowledge and transferable skills that many employers will value.g.5 above) and some look for a mixture of both. You can often use the same material.g. Every employer values determination. with a little editing. You’ll rarely find the perfect application form that exactly suits your background and experience. Get your referees’ agreement before giving their names. one should be an academic referee. ask someone else to look over your application before you send it. It is up to you to pick these out from your own experience so that you can present this on an application form. Your regional centre can provide you with a confidential reference – name the Regional Director as the referee. Usually. • Make a copy of your completed form so that you can re-read it before the interview. or not more than once. Be convincing. and keep them well briefed so that they can write supportive references. and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied and pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop. another someone you’ve worked for who can write about you as an employee.open. not ‘we’). there are a number of resources in the Careers Advisory Service website at www.3.g.uk/careers 63 . dealing with members of the public. They can help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course.4 When you’ve completed the form • Check it thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. You’ll need to adapt your answers to the questions you find. Use the ‘any other information’ section to draw attention to activities and qualities not covered elsewhere on the form. Be positive and honest. Generalised waffle convinces no one. 4.ac.g. handling money. say so.3. but mention any part-time or voluntary work you did during that period. If possible. interests and skills the employer is looking for) Make your points relevant. ‘I worked as a volunteer classroom assistant for three years’ rather than ‘I love children’).
Remember to cover ‘planned.1 and consider answers based on the evidence you’ve already gathered. events or experiences that have influenced you. Tell us what you did and how you achieved results. This section will tell them more about you as an individual than any other part of the form. You’ll need a lot of time. There is 80mm space available on the form.2 Read the sample questions below. There is 30mm space available on the form to show that you understand what the job involves and what you have to offer. Explain why we should select you ahead of other candidates.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4.ac. Question 3 Write a short autobiography. visit our website at www. Question 2 Outline any activities you have planned and organised. drafts and fine tuning.’ ‘what you did’ and ‘results’. There is 180mm space available on the form to influence the selectors.uk/careers . Every word should justify its inclusion. Don’t forget that you can ask a careers adviser for advice on what to include in your application. Look back at the answers you gave to Activity 1. 64 To find out more.’ ‘organised. your ambitions and aspirations. Include such details as your achievements and responsibilities.open. Go for key points and give evidence from your record. the people. All are genuine questions from graduate application forms used by large companies. Question 1 On the first page of this application you stated a preference for a particular job or function.
uk/links/CVwriting We also show you sample CVs in Sections 4. visit our website at www.3 Preparing your CV How you organise and present information about yourself and your activities will convey significant messages about your suitability as a potential employee.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. such as the legal profession.4 The curriculum vitae (CV) Like an application form. To use the same approach for. Most people tend to prefer one style over the others (though as you will see. it should be flexible enough to allow modification to match the job you’re seeking.4. not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies you found in the Yellow Pages. You can tailor the style. The right one is the one that works for you in your situation and succeeds in getting you interviews.4. you need to make a decision about the kind of CV to use as most employers will not specify. The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight.4. When researching jobs. Bear this in mind when you design your own CV. when it comes to preparing your CV. Instead. In addition. 4. For more information on CVs. prefer CVs in a chronological format.prospects. some professions. Whichever format you choose. you need to ask yourself a few key questions: • What’s the area of work I’m after? • Which employers or organisations am I approaching? • What messages do I want to send about myself. For most jobs.1 The importance of tailoring your CV However.ac. so you have more control over the impression it will create. a CV is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you. However. as well as the work I want? There’s no right or wrong way to write a CV.2 What style of CV? The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation it’s addressed to. look at: www. You want to make sure that you present yourself positively and accurately. To find out more. applications to marketing organisations or to the publishing industry can be successful if the style and layout suggest a flair for lively prose or graphic design. So. It is important that you find out if there is a preferred format for the type of job that you are applying for by doing further research into the job and if necessary seeking advice from a careers adviser (or the professional body if there is one). Here we will just provide some guidelines on good practice and offer examples of four possible formats: 1 2 3 4 A chronological CV A functional CV A targeted CV and An academic CV. This is only likely to work if you always apply for the same function in several very similar organisations. it’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you.4. For example. say.7 below. Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements.ac.open. some job areas have expectations that a particular kind of CV is submitted. go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website and choose the ‘Moving on’ section if you are a student at: www. but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual company.open. look at what the expectations might be. content and design to show off your strengths and present you in the most positive light. For instance. an academic CV is used mainly for applying for academic posts). for tips and example CVs. 4.) And you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter. it is useful to highlight this in a separate section as it draws attention to it. your CV doesn’t need to conform to a set format.uk/careers 65 .4. it is more often the case much more effective if you adapt your CV to suit the particular organisation or job you’re applying for (easy enough to do if it’s word-processed). When you have work experience that is directly relevant. Be prepared then to spend a considerable amount of time on creating and reworking an effective document.uk/careers Alternatively. (So you may in fact be doing just that. my strengths and qualities? • What experiences shall I emphasise? • How can the style of my CV match the culture of the organisation(s) I’m sending it to. 4.ac. a financial institution or a local authority might have an adverse effect. and what to leave out or minimise.4 – 4.
if you’ve changed jobs frequently. However.4. • It has for many years been recognised as a standard approach to CVs. with a chronological CV. the period you were employed.open. responsibilities and key achievements. beginning with the most recent. it isn’t always easy to spot key achievements or skills which might get ‘buried’ under different job titles. • It allows prospective employers to see very quickly how an individual has progressed and increased responsibility./fax 01903 562366 email mcrlewis@wizard. where you worked. your job title(s). In addition. looking for an opportunity to take on wider responsibilities within the industry. The advantages of a chronological CV are: • It can be very easy to produce. highly motivated CIMA professional with in-depth knowledge of the financial services and strong team-working skills.4 The chronological CV You are probably most familiar with a chronological CV. visit our website at www. Employment Current position: 1996 – Ace Holdings Plc Portsmouth Main responsibilities: Key achievements: • Preparing financial reports • Supervising office of 25 staff • Planned and co-ordinated computerisation of management accounts system • Trained staff in use of new system • Strengthened and simplified reporting of financial information • Reduced staff costs by 11% in 1999/2000 • Researched a detailed marketing study leading to refocused annual marketing plan • Negotiated £2m loan for major construction project • Handled credit analyses and made credit recommendations Deputy Finance Manager 66 To find out more. This lists jobs by date. it can suggest instability and will require explanation – particularly if you’ve changed profession or career direction.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. As a result.com Profile An experienced. the disadvantages to a chronological CV are that any gaps in your employment stand out. showing the name of each employer.uk/careers .ac. The chronological CV Malcolm Lewis 16 London Road Portsmouth PO9 6AL Tel.
open. History. French Training 1990–95 Passed all stages of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants examinations Various short professional courses In-house interviewing. Languages: conversational Spanish and French Interests Keen member of local amateur dramatics society and have been stage manager for the last four years Currently treasurer of my children’s primary school PTA Regular swimming to keep fit References available on request To find out more.uk/careers 67 . staff appraisal course Additional skills IT skills: competent in the use of Microsoft Office and SAGE financial management software. handled cash Education 2001–2005 The Open University 1995–2000 The Open University Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Professional Diploma in Management.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Previous experience: 1988–96 Management Accountant Southern Finance Plc Portsmouth Organised and prepared accounts for District Manager Planned and managed the introduction of new financial information system Supervised office of nine staff 1986–8 Southern Finance Plc Southampton Accounts clerk Assisted with ledger accounts and budget preparation. English. by part-time study Courses: B784 The effective manager B785 Accounting for managers B786 Managing customer and client relations B751 Managing development and change B752 Managing resources for the market 1981–1986 Hampshire High School O-levels: Maths. Chemistry.ac. Physics. visit our website at www. interviewed clients.
com Skill profile A graduate biologist with strong food industry experience in quality assurance. Capable of achieving personal objectives. making recommendations for new procedures which led to an entirely new quality control system.uk/careers .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. The system alerts operators when to change the process parameters without disturbing production flow. This kind of CV shows that you’re conscious of the demands of the prospective employer and of what you have to offer. Cambridge 1999 to present Quality Assurance Coordinator (2000) Quality Assurance Auditor (1999) Responsible for – all quality control. Its advantages are: • It can highlight your skills rather than job changes.4. highly organised and energetic. a functional CV allows you to place more emphasis on relevant strengths and experience from earlier periods. • You can group different achievements together to match the job that you are applying for. • If your current or most recent experience isn’t related to the position you’re applying for. This facilitated a faster. presented according to the function or responsibilities you’ve undertaken rather than according to individual jobs. visit our website at www. sanitation and pest-control programmes – creation of statistical programmes to help with the transition of quality assurance responsibility to individual operators 68 To find out more. with a clear and concise vision of future objectives. Achievements • Analysed the quality assurance system at Continental Kitchens Ltd. • Developed and instituted a statistical quality control programme to cover all critical control points in the manufacturing process. • Created computer applications for environmental microbiological trends for control of plant cleanliness. Experience CONTINENTAL KITCHENS LTD. analytic. Keen to find a challenging position that offers long-term potential in quality assurance and/or new product development. The disadvantages are that it takes more thought to prepare a functional CV and you have to ensure that it is clear and relevant to the chosen job without looking as though you might be hiding something! The Functional CV Sandra Simpson 5 Malvern Road Cherry Hinton Cambridge CB1 4LX Tel.open. more accurate means of inspection. Goal orientated. Career orientated.ac. Contributed to the development of a new line of Polish foods for wholesale distribution. • Formulated new and improved existing food products. as demonstrated by successful completion of my degree by part-time study while employed full time. saving £200K annually. 01788 529445 email: Sandra@hotmail. research and development and creation of new products.5 The functional CV A functional CV focuses attention on your skills and achievements. resulting in significant improvement in overall sanitation.
I took a ‘year out’ to travel the world and consider my future. From 1995–99.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook – setting up a new product recall procedure to facilitate any possible product retrieval due to failures reported in post-manufacturing integrity testing – supervision of the sanitation crew of eight during needed microbiological clean-ups BOW WOW PET FOODS LTD. CB10 3QY Tel. Mathematics (D) 8 GCSEs Grove Comprehensive School Leicester 1986–1992 Additional information After ‘A’ levels. Leicester Research Technician Responsible for 1993–1995 – – – – formulating new and improving existing product lines performing shelf-life studies on a range of products supervising in-plant testing of laboratory formulations analysing waste water to ensure it met all government standards Education The Open University 1994–2000 BSc (Hons). My other interests include cycling and mountaineering. I have been interested in watersports since school. 01233 364721 To find out more. I served as a Regional representative on the OU Students Association for three years and contributed to student feedback on two courses in their first year of presentation.ac.open. particularly scuba diving.uk/careers 69 . CB2 1PF Tel. On return to Britain. I took time out of work to raise a family. Full driving licence Referees Mrs Joan Whitaker Director of Quality Assurance Continental Kitchens Ltd 12–16 London Road Cambridge. 01223 599886 Regional Director The Open University in the East of England 12 Hills Road Cambridge. I gained employment as a research technician and applied to study part time with The Open University. Upper Second Class Courses studied: S101 Science: A Foundation Course S203 Biology: form and function U205 Health and disease U206 Environment S324 Animal physiology S327 Living processes S328 Ecology S365 Evolution 2 ‘A’ levels: Biology (C). visit our website at www.
70 To find out more.ac. implementation and evaluation of new systems and their effect on staff at all levels.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. 2. Sound judgement. A Participant: An Individual: An Enthusiast: Education 1987–1994 The Open University. • You can lead the reader in the direction you want to go – your skills and achievements. Both my work as a nurse and in banking has demanded a high level of personal responsibility. Distinctions obtained in Social and Cognitive Psychology.1 Courses chosen to obtain recognition by the British Psychological Society. It combines elements from both the chronological and the functional CV. I have become used to seeking and learning from criticism. I am hardworking and have always put considerable energy and enthusiasm into all of my activities. It has to change to match each job. this one isn’t easy to prepare. My main research topic involved interviewing a wide cross-section of both adults and children in small groups and on an individual basis. with the skills required and the evidence of them clearly laid out at the beginning. BSc. in Biology: Brain and Behaviour. effort and skill that implies. like the functional CV. Skill profile A Coordinator: As a project manager currently working simultaneously on a range of demanding projects. I am a member of a small steering group set up within the bank as a result of the recent major changes in working practices.open. visit our website at www.6 The targeted CV A targeted CV is even more closely matched to the needs of a particular employer.4. whilst working in a team. making sure that I always fulfil my function and deliver to deadlines. The Targeted CV Vigla Kozlowski ADDRESS: 45 Longhurst Avenue. No less important has been my ability to express myself clearly and effectively both face-to-face and on paper. The advantages are: • It focuses straight away on your strengths. believing that this is the key to achieving worthwhile results. London.net Career aim Building on my previous experience of working in a large organisation at a time of change to train and work as a professional personnel manager. I have been responsible for cultivating a spirit of teamwork and cooperation. The disadvantages are that. • You can adapt it to suit the job you’re after without sacrificing quality. • It is more likely to catch the reader’s interest. Hons. autonomy and judgement. I have to be able to prioritise work within both strict financial and time constraints and ensure that others do too. devising questionnaires and analysing data. followed by the details.uk/careers . combined with organisational sensitivity and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. with all the time. Most candidates for managerial posts use this format. I thrive on the challenge of change. N10 8EP TELEPHONE: 020 8887 5131 EMAIL: Vkozlowski@wizard. and in Principles of Social and Educational Research. dates and so on. in projects and reports. and to resolving potentially disruptive differences of opinion. The work involves planning. This experience has shown me the importance of good interpersonal and communication skills. have been essential to the success of my section.
working with the personnel of companies and other institutions with a financial interest in the company’s future. I would now like to broaden my experience into personnel in a large retail organisation. working with adults on a one-toone basis and in small groups. clean driving licence. record keeping. Lloyds Bank.open. Counter Clerk – Responsible for serving customers. Lloyds Bank. Personnel Assistant – Personnel administration. 1989–1992 1987–1989 1986–1987 1983–1986 Additional skills • Sound working knowledge of Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. This involves initial discussions with individuals and. during my training I realised that this career was not for me. Student Nurse Although I could have gone to university when I left school I had always wanted to be a nurse. Chemistry (D) Training 1992 1987 IPM Certificate in Personnel Practice Lloyds Bank short in-house course in Personnel Management. Dbase IV and Q&A databases and word-processing using Word 2000 and Word NT • Interviewing • Psychological test administration and interpretation • Car owner.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1979–1983 Parsifal Comprehensive. Activities and interests • I am teaching myself to play the saxophone and enjoy getting together with my friends for musical improvisation. London Three ‘A’ levels: English (C). Lloyds Bank. Finchley Road. To find out more. handling cash. Business Loans Section Responsible for assessing loan applications and making loan decisions. Referees Names available on request. visit our website at www. Work experience 1992 to date. Lloyds Bank. • I spend one evening a week as a volunteer tutor with a literacy project. Banking attracted me because it offered a structured training and a wide range of opportunities within each department. frequently for larger loans. Biology (D). Section leader with responsibility for the work of six staff who report directly to me. pay and pensions. • I keep fit by swimming and running regularly each week.uk/careers 71 . three staff. Recruitment Officer – Recruitment interviewing. However. in charge of four staff. Full. I decided to apply for a job and combine this with part-time study with The Open University.ac. As I had enjoyed the studying and wanted to further my academic studies in a related subject. North London Hospital. so I decided to train at the local hospital.
visit our website at www. haemopoietic cell differentiation and malignancies.MSc in Immunology (distinction) 2001– 2002 Dissertation project: ‘Neutrophil spontaneous apoptosis is mediated through the acid sphingomyelinase dependent generation of ceramide. and physiology.uk EDUCATION The Open University . This was a broad-based degree in biochemistry with the second year spent studying at Oregon State University.ac. USA. Jordan and Dr. depending on what you are applying for. University of Manchester . MK6 3DY Tel. it is expected that candidates (for academic jobs such as lecturer and postdoctoral research posts) will produce an academic CV.co.PhD in Medicine 2002–2005 Thesis Title: The regulation of leukocyte migration away from the subendothelial compartment. Because of this. validated and implemented a “novel” assay to investigate leukocyte migration and survival. you should do this without using any subject-specific jargon so that it is understandable to the employer.open. skills or targeted CV. The Academic CV Hilary Michelle McArthur 18 Poole Avenue.’ Modules studied included: cell biology. such as communication. Milton Keynes. immunology. 07900 543 21 E-mail: h.uk/careers . James Project synopsis: Adapted. oncology.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. 72 To find out more. Identified phenotypic alterations in T-cell subpopulations following migration through an endothelialfibroblast bilayer. You should also include three referees rather than two. transplantation biology and cell adhesion. analysis and working to deadlines. you should consider a chronological. In presenting your research. genetics. Remember to emphasise the transferable skills that you have developed in undertaking higher level study. • If you are a postgraduate or research student who is applying for a job outside academia.4. University of Salford . They are likely to include information on some or all of the following: • The title of your PhD and the names of your supervisors • Teaching/administrative experience • Professional memberships (if relevant) • Fellowships and awards • Conferences attended/presentations given • a detailed abstract of research should be appended to the end of the CV • full details of publications. These CVs place more emphasis on the subject matter of the degree and/or research and on the knowledge and achievements gained.mcarthur@yahoo. • Remember to include examples of the skills that you have developed through your research. D. Ask someone who knows nothing about your research subject to read through what you’ve written and check it makes sense to the lay reader. microbiology.7 The academic CV For academic jobs in universities. academic CVs are often longer than other types of CV. Supervisors: Professor R.BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (first class) 1998– 2001 Dissertation project: ‘Autoimmunity: A genetic perspective. Systematically investigated the role of soluble mediators and adhesive interactions in the survival of neutrophils following transendothelial migration.’ Modules studied included: tolerance and autoimmunity.
2004. A... Student Mentor for the Open University’s Outreach Programme 2002 . July 2005. (Paper submitted to the UK Medical Biology Journal) Bennett. H. and McArthur. J.. PUBLICATIONS Bennett. To find out more.M. and McArthur.. and McArthur. A. Jones. International Conference..M. • Isolation of leukocytes subsets and endothelial cells.. British Society of Immunology. Laboratory Assistant. as well as showing visiting work experience students laboratory protocols. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. H.ac. along with presentation and communication skills. H. J. Rapidly recruited TNF-stimulated endothelial cells – is this a novel route for neutrophil clearance from inflamed tissue? International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis.M. • Adaptation of a novel co-culture system: culture stromal cells on the apical and basal surface of Transwell inserts. • Image-based analysis of leukocyte behaviour in static and flow adhesion and migration assays. Bennett A. • Developed technical writing skills for industry purposes. Identification of a phenotypically and functionally distinct population of neutrophils in a model of reverse endothelial migration. RESEARCH AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE Tutor on an Open University Summer School.M. PowerPoint and Prism. • Marked undergraduate work and provided individual guidance to undergraduate students. A. Summer 1998 • Worked independently on an assigned project. POSTERS AND PRESENTATIONS Bennett. • Microscopy: phase contrast and fluorescence. July 2005 • Trained undergraduates in basic laboratory skills • Allocated tasks and ensured their completion. H.open. J.2004 • Responsible for communicating and demonstrating technical skills to A level science students at a local college..M. Excel. and McArthur. Scientific Laboratories.. Jones.. S. visit our website at www..Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook RESEARCH EXPERIENCE AND TECHNICAL SKILLS • Development of static adhesion and migration assay. and a working knowledge of WinMDI and Image Pro. • Flow cytometry. COMPUTER SKILLS Extensive experience of Microsoft Word. January 2006 ABSTRACTS. Layerton. H. Ceramide rich lipid rafts and acid sphingomyelinase activity are required for spontaneous neutrophil apoptosis. Jones. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. American Journal of Medicine. Layerton S. Manchester. A.uk/careers 73 . Salford. and McArthur. • Subcellular fractionation. March 2005 Bennett.
r.mayes@open. give more detail about particular 74 To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook ACHIEVEMENTS Received awards for best overall academic achievement and best dissertation project at the end of my MSc (2002). For more recent jobs.uk Dr David James d. At home. Other personal details There’s no need to include such details as date of birth. but you may find the following ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ helpful. Include an email address if you have one. It’s acceptable practice these days to put your name in the centre in larger bold font instead of giving the document the title Curriculum vitae. they’re unnecessary at this stage and may confuse matters. experience education training interests. marital status.d. so that you can be reached as easily as possible. give your number and say that it’s a work number. where your aim is to get yourself invited for interview.f.g. Received award for best overall academic achievement at the end of my BSc (2001).open. say during the last ten years. 4. However. number of children.8 What to include (and not to include) in your CV Your CV is uniquely yours in style. you don’t need to give initials or middle names. personal profile (optional) references. Telephone It’s important to give a telephone number where you can be reached or where a message can be left. These are irrelevant on a CV. when you have more opportunity to negotiate any difficulties. nationality.jordan2@open. number and firstname.lastname@example.org. activities additional skills career aims. but don’t give the address or the name of your manager at this stage.ac. visit our website at www. Include the nature and place of your employer’s business if it isn’t obvious from the name. CVs usually contain: • • • • • • • • personal data employment.uk All referees can be contacted via The Open University Davis Medical Building Milton Keynes MK7 6AA Or by phone on 01908 456 789 The above example of an academic cv has been published with the permission of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS). REFEREES Professor Rebecca Jordan r.ac. Include your mobile number if you have one. If you’re employed and prospective employers can contact you during office hours. You can discuss them at the interview if appropriate. Personal data Name Give the name you want to be known by if you’re called for interview or appointed.ac. Always give the full area code. It should be quite obvious what it is. consider investing in an answering service or machine. content and layout.uk Dr Steven Mayes s. gender. so that the caller will be discreet. since invitations to interview are often sent at short notice and speedy delivery is in your interest.uk/careers . Address Be sure to give a full address with postcode.ac. Employment experience Your aim here is to stress your achievements at work.
should be followed by a statement of achievements. but it’s more appropriate for senior managers to include a brief résumé of schools attended and exams passed. with appropriate detail. Whichever system you use. • If you had a series of short-lived jobs and you want to abbreviate the list. with figures such as staff. • Start with the most relevant work experience. fulltime course.open. • If you’re offering professional qualifications it might be worth specifying not only the qualification (with the S/NVQ level. Learning outcomes can assist you in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. assignments and results achieved. So much depends on the nature and relevance of your previous employment to the job you’re applying for. If you’ve worked your way up from the bottom and lack formal qualifications altogether. projects. Some possible sequences are: • Put your present or most recent job at the head of the list. They can also help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. visit our website at www. some jobs do require subject-specific knowledge (e. By studying with the OU – whatever the subjects are – you will find that you will have developed a range of both subject knowledge and transferable skills that many employers will value. If you have served time in prison.g.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook responsibilities. knowledge or training. and play down other.5 of this workbook). or training in relevant specialist skills. state this. you could expand your work achievements and contract the education section. For a technical post or one that requires special knowledge. • If you have no higher-level educational qualifications you could list secondary school educational history in chronological order – that can be easier to digest than in reverse chronological order – but use the same order you used in ‘Experience’.uk/careers 75 . But everyone agrees that the most relevant job should appear at the top of the list. This allows you to highlight the experience the employer is likely to be most interested in. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps. enabling the employer to see at once that you meet the requirement. • Divide your experience under the headings Related and Other. Of course. then the rest of the employment history in backward or forward chronological order. which are often listed as learning outcomes. activities This section has various uses. Training Don’t give an exhaustive list of all the training courses and seminars you’ve attended. • If your qualifications were awarded overseas. names and towns. There’s no need to include the full address of each school or college – condense the information to dates. but also how you obtained it. Some look for a mixture of both. make sure it’s clear and that the way you present starting and leaving dates is consistent. e. Avoid specialised language unless you’re sure the reader will understand it. Education How far back should you go? School or young college-leavers should be quite explicit about their education since age 11. A onesentence description of the scope of your job. budget etc. then work backwards or forwards chronologically. Your hobbies To find out more. that you keep yourself fit. You might find the course descriptions and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied very useful: pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop.2. mention the British equivalent so that the employer knows what level you’ve reached. Interests. day-release. please refer to Section 6 below for tips on dealing with this. to be a teacher) while others place more emphasis on transferable skills (see Section 1. so that the reader is encouraged to read on.. • Be specific about what you studied in your Open University courses.g. It is up to you to identify them from your own experience so that you can present this on a CV. even if it’s not the most recent. less important jobs. preferably in quantitative terms. Include useful information about training and development – courses of a week or more. For example. consider giving additional information to show that you have the relevant work experience. you could say something like ‘In the five years 1995-2000 I worked in various temporary positions in the catering industry’. Present your qualifications in the way that makes the most of them: • If the job requires a degree or diploma it’s best to start with that. There are different opinions about whether you set your experience out in forward or reverse chronological order. if appropriate) and the awarding institution. It can show that you have a well-rounded life and don’t live for work alone. and highlight in a covering letter or skill section the personal qualities and skills that this kind of study requires. that you’re a sociable person who gets on with others. if you’ve had time out of paid work to bring up a family.ac.
Use an ‘easy-to-read’ font. Space makes text easier to read and more attractive. One way to do this is from the job description. additional skills such as foreign languages (if possible. done voluntary work that demonstrates organisational and management skills. • Your CV should be produced to a high standard.g. If you need to demonstrate an interest in design (e. we’ve chosen a description for human resource management. for some media jobs) more elaborate graphics and perhaps coloured paper might be appropriate. Write the words out in full the first time you use them and put the abbreviation in brackets. underlining). • Two sides of A4 is usually the right length (unless it is a CV for an academic position which is usually longer as it includes listings of published work and/ or research). Keep a copy of your CV (and disk) in a safe place. 4. bold. personal profile Including career aims and a skill profile can be particularly effective if you’re seeking a career change. course tutor).g. 76 To find out more. you’ll need to analyse the job itself. Consider using an appendix for very detailed information such as a list of publications. • Make sure that your CV arrives looking like a quality document. Word and Excel. Use an A4 envelope with cardboard reinforcement. one your present or last employer. and in particular the skills it calls for. An unusual hobby such as sky-diving or genealogical research can be worth mentioning. • Seek other people’s views on your draft. you’re a mature graduate. It is also important to outline your level of IT and keyboard skills. run a computer club. Concentrate on the aspects that are most important for the employer to know. visit our website at www. which is designed for this area of work. The employer may not bother to read on if there’s nothing of interest to begin with. chronological order) and in your layout. and their status or relationship to you (e. Have headings in the same style (capital letters. • Make it easy to read and follow. even though it has no obvious relevance to the job. jargon and abbreviations the reader may be unfamiliar with.9 Presentation of your CV To produce an effective CV . References You’ll usually need two referees. or you’re applying for a job for which the competition is particularly keen. Include details you think a prospective employer really ought to know – driving licence. give an indication of your level of competence). Career aims. follow it up by sending a hard copy straight away. such as Arial 11 point.open.g. • Put the most important information on the first page and as near the top as possible. after that you can use it on its own. It gives your CV an interesting feature and makes it memorable. and so on. It might be helpful to read it alongside CV Example 3. • If you send your CV by email. complicated sentences.10 Analysing a job description In order to construct a CV that’s effectively related to the job you’re seeking. you have an unconventional record. Additional skills The diversity of individual careers sometimes makes extra sections desirable: you can make up your own subheadings. and the notes that follow it suggest some inferences that can be drawn from them about the nature of the work of personnel management.4. word-processed and printed or copied on goodquality white or cream paper. You might prefer to omit referees on the CV and put ‘Available on request’. first aid training. to adapt for other employers. particularly if you want to offer a targeted CV. Some of the key words in the description have been emphasised. • Don’t cram the page. 4. line manager. To illustrate this. Use bullet points to make reading quicker. • Avoid long. You’ll need it again. • The space you give to each section should reflect its importance. addresses and telephone numbers.g. and don’t clutter it up with unnecessary punctuation. and proofread the final version carefully. say so in your CV or covering letter. Give their names.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook may have given you opportunities to tackle roles and develop skills that you haven’t had scope for at work – perhaps you’ve been a school governor. including software you are familiar with e. Don’t use clichés. If you don’t want your employer approached at this stage. pay attention to its appearance as well as its content. • Be consistent in how you present the information. Yours will be one of many that the employer has to read.ac. Don’t fold it. (e.4.uk/careers . Make sure the copies are sharp and clear.
uninteresting.uk/careers 77 . (Indeed.) You may well decide that a quite different layout and format are more appropriate for your individual circumstances. • Words such as arranging and records imply the need for administrative skills. the subject of the next section. developing and administering policies in relation to staff recruitment and training. Some typical tasks may include. but the style is standard for academic CVs in general. as appropriate. And bear in mind that covering letters. None was perfect. general conditions of employment and other personnel matters. • Words such as analysing. • If you already have a CV. advising and negotiations imply the need for skills in dealing with people. visit our website at www. – Maintaining staff records. – Helping to undertake staff appraisals and. • Look again at the example CVs to see whether any of the three formats would be particularly appropriate to convey what you want.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example Human Resource Management Advising on. (undertaking job analysis and evaluations as appropriate). interviewing applicants and advising on the selection of those most suitable. • Words such as consultations. ask yourself whether it presents the information you want to give in the way you want it to be seen. staff promotion schemes and other matters. • If you think that your CV looks feeble. it probably is. the academic CV showed that the applicant studied medicine which you can’t do with the OU. – Assisting in negotiations in the field of industrial relations and ensuring observance of regulations and agreements relative to personnel matters.open. industrial relations. The examples (all fictitious by the way) illustrated each of the four main CV formats in turn – chronological. career development. records of labour turnover and other necessary information and assisting with human resource planning procedures and programmes. wordy. working conditions. discussing. human resource planning and forecasting imply the need for skills in evaluating information and reaching appropriate conclusions. • Make sure that you’ve: analysed the requirements of the job listed your skills composed your examples of key achievements Then go ahead and construct or redesign your own CV. functional. targeted and academic. It’s time to redesign it. To find out more. appraisals. especially the ability to communicate effectively with them.ac.3 Take some time to reflect again on the CV guidelines and examples. The examples of the CVs above illustrated some of the points you should consider when designing your own CV. personal welfare and other matters with individual members of staff. • Think about the general style of your CV in relation to the person who’s going to read it. – Arranging for dissemination of vacancy details by internal and external means. interviewing. discussing career development. management/ staff communications. evaluations. would accompany these CVs. – Analysing staffing requirements in consultation with department and other managers. – Advising management on standards of remuneration. messy …. Activity 4.
Stress how you think the organisation can benefit from employing you. interests and activities. and say where and when you saw the vacancy. 4. Application forms often allow you reasonable scope to sell yourself and may need only a brief covering letter. mention them in the letter. or highlight aspects of your CV which you feel are particularly important.5.open. a speculative approach is not allowed in Northern Ireland. You’re trying to find out whether there are any vacancies. A CV will usually require more of an introduction. steer clear of stilted expressions like ‘re your advertisement of 29th July. Highlight your strongest selling points. If you haven’t received an acknowledgement within two or three weeks. appropriate qualification. If you’ve worked through Section 2 in this book.3 Drafting your letter • If possible. • Use plain A4 paper of good quality. Add some other detail to reinforce your suitability. The first is a speculative approach asking for an advice interview from an executive the writer doesn’t know.5.1 Applying for a job in a vacancy list or answering an advertisement Mention the job title (including any reference number).’ and ‘I beg to remain’. especially as it may be based on US spelling. on the lefthand side. type or word-process your letter (though very occasionally an employer will ask for a handwritten letter). • Put your name. and when you would be able to start. usually accompanied by your CV. 4. It introduces your application and draws attention to the main factors that make you suitable for the job. If you do have to resort to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. • Print your name clearly below your signature. 4. not repeat what’s on the application form or CV. and that you’ve expressed yourself clearly. your qualifications and what you have to offer. what you’re studying. such as a relevant degree. Ask someone else to read it – don’t rely on your computer’s spelling check. such as a disability and how you overcome potential difficulties. then highlight the relevant points in the CV such as work experience. translate into being someone the employer ought to see. send a brief follow-up letter or telephone to make sure that it’s been received.ac. The second letter accompanies a CV in response to a newspaper advertisement. • If there are any special circumstances not covered in the application form or CV. • Although you should be business-like. the name. If there’s a vacancy this will. Always include a covering letter unless the employer specifically tells you not to. • When writing to a named individual. • You can use your covering letter to give additional information such as reasons for an unusual change in career. Switchboard staff can be very helpful in supplying this information if it isn’t otherwise available. • Keep it brief – usually not more than one side of A4. Say why you want to work for that particular organisation.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.uk/careers . without duplicating what’s on the application form. end ‘Yours sincerely’. job title and organisation of the person you’re writing to. It will usually be read first.5 The covering letter Your covering letter is your opportunity to market yourself. Convey clearly what kind of work you’re seeking. so make sure that the reader will want to find out more about you. where you are.5. It should enhance your application. At the same time you must leave the impression that you’re someone it’s useful for the employer to know about. end ‘Yours faithfully’. telephone number and date at the top right-hand corner and. you’ll know that to make a speculative approach you have to present your case in a letter. address. 78 To find out more. So make clear who you are. or whether vacancies will arise in the near future. Keep a copy of your letter. visit our website at www. • Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. related experience. if done well. Two examples of covering letters are set out overleaf.2 Applying speculatively Remember. • Address your letter to an individual person by name and job title.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example 1 Speculative letter Joginder Singh 123 Warwick Road Kenilworth Warwickshire CV8 1EJ Mr George Black Export Sales Director Blank Distribution Company 5 Blank Street Royal Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV35 8EE 10 February 2006 Dear Mr Black. visit our website at www. Having had over ten years’ experience in export sales. I noted in yesterday’s Financial Times that your company received an export award from the Department of Trade and Industry. I am now seeking a career change that will build on this experience. • Selecting and working with local distributors throughout the world. your advice and suggestions would also be helpful and influential in helping me research my options to develop my career. I should appreciate a personal meeting with you and will contact you in the next week to discuss this.open. Some of my key achievements have been: • Locating new lines of products and developing international sales for them. • Increasing sales by 26 per cent in one year when the pound was at its highest exchange rate. and I wish to congratulate you.ac. With your knowledge of exporting. Your success in selling computer components to Asian countries has been something few companies have achieved in the last few years. Although I would like to work for your company. Yours sincerely Joginder Singh 01926 850973 To find out more.uk/careers 79 . I should appreciate your advice concerning the development of my career. including experience of exporting electronic. and computer based control equipment.
I am a qualified accountant with substantial professional experience. Yours sincerely Margaret Minty 80 To find out more. I have brought about a sustained improvement in my office’s financial performance over the past five years. and discussed specific aspects with the Finance Director over the telephone yesterday. I am confident that I could make a significant contribution to Fairplay Industries Ltd.ac. I have particular interest in computer-based accounting procedures and extensive staff management experience. Having read the detailed description of the post. My decision was based on a desire to change employers in order to broaden my professional experience as I am keen to develop my career in a managerially demanding environment. Assistant Finance Director. I have recently taken voluntary redundancy as a consequence of a nationwide organisational restructuring programme. visit our website at www.open. I am enclosing my CV in response to your advertisement for the above post which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 1 March. Although I currently live in Edinburgh.uk/careers . Working in a team alongside other senior management colleagues. Fairplay Industries Ltd. I look forward to hearing from you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example 2 Response to an advertisement Margaret Minty 8 Milton Avenue Edinburgh EH10 3PQ 0131 668 1394 Mrs Shirley Barrett Personnel Manager Fairplay Industries Ltd 123 Evergreen Way Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire MK10 8VS 6 March 2006 Dear Mrs Barrett. I am free to relocate to another area and see this as a positive addition to my professional and personal development.
This suggests that a good interview performance is likely to impress. Don’t be panicked into responding too quickly. • A few seconds silence in an interview can seem an eternity. • Interviewers may be poor at assessing the personality characteristics of individual candidates with any validity. perhaps in an illogical way.ac. initial answers are critical. If the interview has already covered that. It’s up to you to help them out and make them feel comfortable. while the interviewer sets the format. • A candidate’s body language (for example. although as the candidate you should do most of the talking – in effect determining the content.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. • Guard against being too open. • Interviewers too may be inexperienced or nervous. Neither should psychologically dominate the discussion. To find out more. so the sequence of interviews assumes an importance of its own. • When faced with a panel of interviewers you should address the majority of your response to the interviewer who has asked you a question whilst ensuring that you still have some eye contact with the rest of the panel. • Show acceptance of the interviewer as a person. use the opportunity to add relevant information about yourself that you haven’t had an adequate opportunity to express. visit our website at www.open. go first. it can be useful to ask about future business plans. They’ll be asking themselves ‘Could we get on?’ ‘Would this person be supportive?’ • Balance the initiative-taking. • When asked whether you have any questions. Interviews tend to exclude rather than to include. some important insights for candidates emerge: • Some interviewers make up their minds about candidates within the first four minutes of an interview. Remember that interviewers want to be liked and hope to be supported in their day-to-day work and career by your appointment. From the vast amount of research into interviews as a selection method. and aren’t easily swayed by factual information thereafter.uk/careers 81 . but they make very consistent judgements and assessments between candidates. • Interviewers are more likely to be swayed by negative information or behaviour on the part of the candidate than positive. not maintaining eye contact) in an interview can be more important in determining its outcome than experience or qualifications. First impressions count. • Interviewers’ judgements about a candidate are always made in relation to judgements about earlier candidates. Here are some initial tips for interviews: • Interviewers want you to do yourself justice. If you’re given a choice. I need a moment or two to think about it. You can set a standard against which the others will be judged. The ideal interview should flow like a conversation.6 The interview Interviews remain the most common method of filling vacancies. Fill a thinking gap with comments such as ‘That’s an interesting question.’ • Always try to be positive in what you say and never be critical of a previous employer. They’re hoping that you’ll be an excellent candidate and that the interviewing time and effort will be well spent. reaching greater depths as the rapport develops between the two parties.
Practice is essential. often astute and very sensitive Acting as internal screener.1 Interviewers There are as many kinds of interviewer as there are people. solutions. within a broader organisational framework May have standard questions. • Practise by role-play with a partner. • Reflect on your experience. achievements and personal ambition Considering how you’ll fit with the rest of the team May have to ‘sell’ you to more senior colleagues Serious but relaxed. Read the section on ‘Tough questions’ in Section 4. network contacts.6.6. How you project yourself through your social and communication skills will determine your success whenever you speak with potential employers. • Think about the interview and plan for it. problems. Human resource/recruitment managers Well-trained and experienced. judgement valued by others Likely to concentrate on personality and organisational ‘fit’ May have a fund of knowledge about company culture Line manager or decision-maker Trying to assess your style of working Concerned about your motivation. and may not be entirely their usual selves. Practise speaking on the phone to a friend and ask what impression you’re making. If you can.uk/careers .open. • Learn from observing others – take the role of interviewer with a partner. Below we list the four main types of interviewers you may come across.2 Before your interview • Research the job and employer thoroughly beforehand. Why have you been invited for interview? What are your unique selling points? Questions are likely to focus on: Your achievements Your motives for applying Your likely contribution • Prepare by marshalling your material in advance.9 below and practise some answers out loud.ac. Consult some of the books listed at the end of this booklet. visit our website at www.6. • Review your CV. Don’t let your own stereotyping of the interviewer affect your interview technique. or interviewers who have rejected you. Collect as many concrete examples of things you’ve done as you can. into a tape recorder. Find out all you can about interviewing techniques and be ready to cope with them: • Read about the process. Remember that when managers interview they’re playing a role to a set of social rules. Even experience as an interviewer doesn’t make for a flawless performance. find out something about the people interviewing you. Evaluate your performance and incorporate the learning into your next interview. • Practise your answers in the weak areas. Do it out loud.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. Try to foresee questions or situations and work out possible answers. for insight often leads to heightened anxiety. • Ask for comments from a partner. pick bits from CV Concerned about your professional competence and the rapport between you Managing director or company founder May digress into lengthy company history Concerned about cultural fit. • What are your weak spots and what do you feel uncomfortable talking about? • Why would you not employ yourself? Produce convincing counter-arguments. Practise some answers into a tape recorder and listen critically to yourself. Their perspectives may differ according to their job function: You could read all the books ever written on how to do well at interview and still not be good at it. or use audio or video recordings. 82 To find out more. may try to ‘sell’ the job Head of a group or department A technical expert with wider managerial experience Will talk shop. may look for shared vision May be looking for someone who’ll question or act as an agent of change Will seek views from all those who’ve come into contact with you 4. How you sound will be crucial.
and keep your hands away from your mouth.3 On the day .5 Body language • Walk and sit with good posture. so that if it doesn’t feel right you’ve got time to change your plans. • Maintain good eye-contact with the person you’re speaking to. . • Don’t fold your arms. • If delayed. • Use your natural gestures – there’s no need to look frozen! • Avoid fidgeting. umbrellas. professional. which will give you clues to whether you are answering the questions and timing your replies appropriately. Avoid jargon.6. confident first impression.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Plan travel and arrival times. Try the whole outfit some days before. and achievment profile. or groups of characteristics – your personal. • Decide what to wear. • Use plain language that doesn’t confuse or divert. • Speak concisely. • Speak clearly. If you’re very unsure about this. • Remember to take a copy of your application with you. warmth. • Listen attentively to the questions. . 4. • Arrive in good time. Personal profile Intellectual ability Communication skills Listening skills Confidence Job motivation Energy and drive Endurance Development Financial motivation Professional profile Knowledge Reliability Integrity Commitment Achievement profile Effectiveness Efficiency Economy To find out more. Watch the interviewer’s behaviour. and if possible do a dummy run. the interviewer will be working to a mental model consisting of three related profiles. • Don’t smoke anywhere on the premises. • Remember the need for a poised. Show that you know the interview ‘rules’ by wearing smart clothes. If in doubt ask ‘Would you like me to go on?’ • Show through your answers that you’ve done your research into the company. papers. • Prepare some questions that you would like to ask. friendliness and sincerity. allow yourself time to relax. polishing your shoes and so on. • Convey the right amount of enthusiasm. • Shake hands firmly and briefly. Don’t drop your voice towards the end of sentences.uk/careers 83 . Dress appropriately for the culture. ask for repetition or clarification.6. It’s your task to provide evidence in your answers that demonstrates these characteristics.ac. If there’s no suitable literature you could telephone and ask the person on the switchboard or the secretary of the person interviewing you.4 How you sound • Sound as if you have confidence in yourself.6 Answering questions Whatever the nature of the job. visit our website at www. • Don’t be overburdened with bags. Some people need to practise this. and judge when you’ve said enough. 4. 4. Conservative dress is more likely to pay off than flamboyance.open. look at company literature to get an idea of how people dress. telephone. clichés. 4.6. Smile! • Avoid negative statements.6. • Don’t forget to turn off your mobile phone. A lucid style is a transparent window on the content.
marketing or telesales staff. • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. There’s some general advice about using the telephone effectively in Section 2. Look through the next examples – you’re bound to come up against some of them in one form or another. Even if you’re unsuccessful this time. keep your answer simple and short. • In response to embarrassing – rather than simply tough – questions.ac. or monotonous or tentative? • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone. In general: • If you feel yourself under pressure. as you would when talking to someone face to face. stop and leave it at that. ‘Would this just be in the UK or the whole of Europe?’ designed to establish whether or not you have the required skills for the job. When you’ve answered. write a letter asking for some constructive comment by telephone.’ • Hypothetical questions test speed and quality of thought. ‘Tell me about the three years you spent studying with The Open University. you plan to fail. e.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook You need to also be prepared to adapt your responses to the different kinds of question: • Specific questions invite factual replies.g. • If you’re rejected. e. • Try to show that you understand why the interviewers have asked you the question. The smile won’t be seen but it can be heard. 4.open.6.9 Tough questions Everyone has a different perception of what constitutes a tough question. visit our website at www. If you can show that you know what they’re getting at. take time and keep to the point. and say where you’d need more information. you’ll tend not to listen so acutely.g. state assumptions you’re making. • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview. This technique is used for recruiting sales. ‘What problems did you encounter in the early planning stage of the building extension?’ • Open questions used by skilled interviewers encourage expansive replies incorporating both facts and attitudes or feelings. • Some candidates dress in the clothes they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind. often with a technical content.7 After the interview • Think about the questions and your answers. Did you do yourself justice? Did you allow negative information or negative expressions of feelings to creep in? • Send the employer an informal thank-you note soon afterwards. The questions are 84 To find out more. but some things are especially important: • Do you speak loudly enough? • Is your voice clear or do you have a tendency to mumble? • Do you sound confident and interested. there may be other positions coming up.6. • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone. A wide range of questions is covered in Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions by Martin Yate (see the end of this section for further details). Pause for thought If you fail to plan. ‘What if the policy changed to carrying more freight by rail?’ In reply be methodical. at the employer’s convenience. The advice that follows about personal interviews below applies just as much to telephone interviews. Here are some tips to help you through them followed by some examples and how to approach them. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response. e.g. Ask for the question to be repeated. They do this in several ways: • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring. This reinforces recollections of you.6. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained interviewers. 4.g.uk/careers . • Standing up while talking can make you sound more confident. e.8 Interviews by telephone Increasing numbers of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process. 4. you’re half way to giving an appropriate answer.
professional and achievement – we discussed in ‘Answering questions’ above to produce a rounded picture.open.ac. This question needs practice. emotional stability. Remember that this question isn’t simply about your factual history so don’t give too much detail. Use phrases like ‘learning a valuable lesson’ rather than admitting to making a mistake. Q A A Q A Q A To find out more. Having worked for one company for so long.g. Isn’t it a bit late in your working life to change career? It is perhaps unlikely that you would be asked this. Either choose one that isn’t particularly significant. Try to restrict yourself to four or five as too long a list will confuse the interviewer. Q A What are your weaknesses? Don’t claim to be faultless! Most strengths taken to the extreme become weaknesses. Negotiations like this might seem strange to you if your only experience is of fixed salary scales. It is your chance to provide an overview and at the same time to throw in leads that you hope the interviewer will take up. Describe how you’ve adapted to different subcultures you’ve encountered by doing different jobs in your career. freedom from childcare. for example: Early years (if appropriate) Education Work experience Significant events Keep your answer short (three to four minutes). Draw attention to the possibilities of bringing in skills or experience that the company would benefit from. Tell me about yourself. Concentrate on the many positive features of your greater maturity: experience of life and work. Then express your motivation and drive. Or explain how you had a weakness (e. time management) but have taken action to overcome it. particularly in view of age leglislation in 2006 but you never know…! The interviewer could be suggesting either that you’re too old to adapt or that you haven’t got a realistic appreciation of the demands of the new job. Mention your previous salary and any financial commitments that lead you to raise or lower your expectations. what difficulties do you expect in adapting to our culture? Make it clear that you understand the importance of the concept of culture by mentioning the internal diversity of companies and organisations you’ve had contact with. domestic stability.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Examples of tough questions and how to answer them Q A What are your strengths? You’ll have become aware of these through your self-analysis. Why should you be appointed rather than an internal candidate? This is an invitation to list your main strengths.g. Include any particular characteristics that you feel relate to the job. and the ‘political’ gains of instigating change through appointing an outsider. to counter any thoughts that you might simply be looking for a refuge. the fresh perspective of Q an outsider. You could also provide evidence of being a quick learner. wellreasoned argument for your choice of this new kind of work. coaching and mentoring skills. conscientiousness) to end on a positive note. Cover relevant aspects of your life. visit our website at www. Add a balanced.uk/careers 85 . or pair one with something that can be turned from a weakness into a strength (e. Draw on examples from the three profiles – personal. credibility with clients. Q A How much are you worth? Try to delay answering this until you know the responsibilities and scope of the job. and the typical salary ranges.
If possible. relate this to the job you are applying for. Emphasise that you are adaptable and respond positively to circumstances and would not necessarily expect to use all of your skills in the first instance.) A A Quote samples of your own recent learning. Include a reference to how important work is to you. How would you describe your management style? Have a well thought-out answer ready. and your hope that some of these needs will be met. Include examples of support and how you kept your manager informed. What sort of relationship did you have with your last manager? Concentrate on understanding your manager’s expectations and objectives. You might start by briefly describing how your style has developed as you’ve grown in experience and social expectations have changed. Why do you want to work for us? Your research will pay off here. Concentrate on flexibility. If you had complete freedom of choice of jobs and employers. A trite or bland answer will seriously undermine your application. Do you not feel that you might be overqualified (or too experienced) for the position we are filling? A strong company needs highly competent people with appropriate experience to deal with current problems. Plead ignorance about other potentially boring duties.uk/careers . finding an appropriate job takes time. filling in expense claim forms). visit our website at www.open. What interests you least about this job? Choose a routine activity (filing.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Q How have you tried to stay up to date? (Age is commonly associated with obsolescence of skills or knowledge and ineffectiveness. what would you choose? Talk about the kind of work you’re being interviewed for and why this company interests you. Relate your answer in the final stages to the job you’re applying for. It is also important to emphasise IT skills and keeping up with professional journals/research in the area. mentally sharp and so on. either at work or at leisure. your variations in style according to different people and different tasks. Create a favourable impression based on the things you’ve done to help yourself. What are your ambitions? Concentrate on your desire to do the job well and to develop your skills and confidence. Why has it taken you so long to find a new job? Finding any sort of job is easy. What were the circumstances of your leaving your last employer? Keep your reply short and don’t touch on any conflict or bitterness. Make clear statements about your willingness to shoulder responsibility and say that you would consider career progression within the company at an appropriate time. Uncertainties in the business environment will probably lead to growth opportunities for the company and you. There’s no research evidence to support this assumption. Mention steps you’ve taken to keep up to date.ac. Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q 86 To find out more. Emphasise your desire to develop your skills by moving to a more demanding job. Statements about far-reaching ambitions should sound realistic. but be careful that it isn’t a core function of the job. Be honest.
exercises and interviews) for recruiting new employees. group discussions.1 Assessment centres This approach has been defined as ‘the use of any selection device. are increasing their use of additional tools. what do/did you spend most time on. medium and long-term goals? • Why have you decided to change careers? • What are the main challenges facing (e. All the other candidates will be nervous too.g. here are some general guidelines: • Don’t be intimidated.4 Here are some more examples of interviewers’ questions to think through yourself. and why? • Do/did you have any frustrations in your present/last job? • What did you learn from (e. as well as interviews and psychometric tests. 4. 4.ac. education. It can include situational activities. being a manager…)? • How do you react to criticism? • How do you feel about the progress you made in your present/last position? • In your present/last job.7. aware that interviews have many shortcomings. in-tray exercises and the like. your last job)? • What is the most difficult decision you have faced? • What kind of decisions are most difficult for you? • What area of your skills or professional development would you like to improve? • Describe your ideal job.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. this job. this company…) today? Do you feel well equipped to meet those challenges? • None of your experience is at managerial level.uk/careers 87 . the Health Service. they are fairer to you. visit our website at www. One such tool is the use of assessment centres – these are not places. Because assessment centres are more thorough. in any combination.7 Other selection techniques Larger employers. To find out more. How would you cope with the transition? • How long would you expect to stay here? • How would you describe yourself? • In your present/last job. beyond the interview’. If you are asked to attend an assessment centre. • What would you find easy about teaching undergraduates and what would be challenging? Don’t forget that you can ask a careers adviser for help in preparing for interviews.g. what do/did you like most/least? Why? What was your greatest success? What has been your biggest failure? • What do you see as the most difficult aspect of (e.open.g. but a technique (a mixture of tests. You would normally find out about the way an organisation uses these by researching their recruitment literature or website. particularly at graduate level. • Why did you decide to study with The Open University? • The classic three-part question: What kind of people do you like to work with? What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with? How have you worked successfully with this difficult type of person? • What are your short. • Why should we appoint you? • Have you any questions? For academic jobs: • What publication are you most proud of and why? • What do you see as the main benefits of your research? • Tell me about your PhD research assuming that I have no background knowledge.
social confidence and persuasiveness would be considered important characteristics). You might be asked to prepare something in advance.uk/careers and look for ‘Assessment Centres’ in the ‘A.ac. Decisions about senior appointments are never based on test results alone. Tests are designed so that you have a few items to practise on first. • Assume that you’ll be closely observed the whole time. make sure you take them with you. The selectors aren’t looking for a rigidly ‘typical’ personality. paying attention to any special instructions. You may face hours of hot sticky work in examination conditions. • Assessment centres sometimes have the advantage that they give you longer to judge the organisation and the people within it. they have no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. Study it carefully. If you wear glasses for reading. or how you respond to different situations. failure in one or two elements won’t automatically mean rejection. • If you have a disability and need special arrangements (e.shldirect. Unlike aptitude tests. • Go to the loo before major exercises. Further resources For further information and resources on assessment centres go to: www.ac. both mentally and physically: • Your invitation may include a programme of events.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Decisions are made by drawing on all the evidence. ability or intelligence tests These aim to assess your capabilities in tests of reasoning: that is. choose something that’s cool as well as smart to wear.prospects. • Try to focus on your own performance rather than that of others and don’t assume that she or he who shouts loudest will win. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. induction loop. The tests are used in a variety of ways. In fact.g.7. • Take care at social events: rich food and drink dull the brain! • Try to ensure that you talk to as many of the company representatives and other candidates as possible – don’t just limit yourself to one or two who seem the most friendly. The ability to listen and support others is also highly valued. You will find practice tests at: www.g. They’re designed to assess your reasoning abilities. special seating) discuss it with the selector in advance. A highlighter pen could be useful. have no time limits • Ask during the practice session if you don’t understand.ac. Get yourself ready. • Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. • In summer. often in the form of multiplechoice questions. There are two main kinds of psychometric test: Aptitude.uk/careers . When the time comes: • Arrive in good time. independence.2 Psychometric tests Psychometric tests are structured pencil-and-paper or computer exercises. depending on the organisation and more usually by large blue chip companies: • as a selection exercise before an interview • to accompany an interview selection • as part of a number of selection exercises at an assessment centre.open. or bring your own calculator. they can last several hours. for example. for sales personnel. • Make sure that you know exactly what you’re required to do.open.uk/links/AssessmentCntrs www. cognitive. such as personality and interest questionnaires. verbal.Z’. the level and nature of your thinking skills (typically. 4. They look at how you react or behave in different situations. a good test can offset weaknesses in interview performance – it never seems to work the other way round. The tests should have been carefully researched and tried out to ensure that they’re fair to everyone who takes them. Your results are usually compared with how others have done on the tests in the past. although certain characteristics will be more or less appropriate for the job (e. Personality questionnaires These gather information about how and why you do things in your own particular way. numerical and perceptual skills). 88 To find out more. • Take the pens and pencils you like to write with. visit our website at www. and your preferences and attitudes. but if you’re anxious about them. getting in some practice will probably make you feel better.com When it comes to completing the tests: • Read the instructions carefully and follow them precisely • Some ability tests have tight time limits and too many questions to do in the time allowed • Others.
sometimes during the assessment centre. You’ll probably have only five minutes of presentation time. and if more information might be needed say what it is. • What’s usually wanted is a business report. Be cooperative. applicants who fail selection tests often do so because they don’t answer the questions. Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em Tell ’em Tell ’em what you’ve told ’em Keep in mind some general advice about presentations: • Whatever the instructions.7. Make it a lively delivery. remember that getting the best out of others is a skill in itself. Candidates often fail through producing two to three times too much material.ac.4 Presentations These are often used as part of an assessment exercise. Like examination candidates.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Personality tests are easy to fake. You may need to make your presentation just to the selectors. but there are dangers in trying to do this. verbal expression.uk/careers 89 . with the selectors acting as observers. • Don’t be tempted to produce complex visuals.7. • Make assumptions explicit. • Recommendation of an option. • Keep a careful eye on the time. and faking then becomes very difficult to sustain. you’ll be given a lot of written data and asked to write a report. most tests contain ‘lie scales’. but make good use of your allowance. see it as a task in which you have to convince or persuade the selectors. There could be questions afterwards. Very often you’ll be set a task as a group or given a case study to look at. Don’t ignore the possibility of recombining parts of different options. They’re easy to set up and provide a useful sample of logical thinking.7. A suitable structure for your answer is likely to be: • A redefinition of the problem (by drawing out the key issues) • Setting out the main options. • Don’t rework chunks of the brief. Some selection procedures include a discussion about the test results with a psychologist. • You won’t get any marks if the marker can’t read your writing. for another you’ll have to guess what sort of personality the company is looking for. not an essay. The marker will be looking for original thought. If you’ve been asked to prepare in advance. To find out more. 4. • Don’t spend so much time thinking and planning that you haven’t got time to write the report. don’t over-run. or sometimes to the other candidates as well. • Remember to put your name on all the sheets of paper you use.open. If you have a disability that you believe may affect your ability to do these tests. but you’re always given time to prepare. with their pros and cons. with reasoning to support your choice. Make liberal use of subheadings and bullet points to make your answer easy to read. You’re not going to be judged on your ability to dominate. communication skills and persuasiveness. Sometimes you’re told the topic before the day. • Be supportive and pleasant to the other candidates. If asked to do so. The observers will be making notes about the quality of your contribution (logic. Talk directly to them. not enough to do them justice.5 Group discussions Three to eight candidates sit in a group and discuss one or more topics. outline a proposal or draft a letter. For one thing. but not necessarily the first. and how?) If you’re faced with a written exercise: • Follow the instructions. Concentrate your thinking and be succinct in your expression so that you have less to write. • Make an early contribution. Honesty is the best policy. don’t use a ballpoint pen – it tends to make things worse.3 Written exercises Typically. and you may have access to audio-visual materials. practise so that you’ve got the timing right. it is advisable to talk to the employer about this beforehand to discuss whether there are any alternative arrangements that would be appropriate for your situation. 4. If you have trouble with it. Never read from a prepared script. Remember the rubric: 4. Keep the presentation simple. How you say it is as important as what you say. relationship with other participants). • Be clear about the aims of the exercise: keep the group focused on the task. with your reasons (is it practicable. come to a conclusion or recommendation. visit our website at www.
Most candidates find these tests tough. 4.g.7. The qualities most likely to be assessed are analysis. A cleverly constructed in-tray will generate emotional responses that can cloud decision-making. You’re likely not to know that graphology is being used. other than statistical correlation. Intervene if there’s loss of direction. 4. Best marks are obtained by candidates who produce the largest volume of appropriate written output.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Mentally ‘stand back’ occasionally and evaluate what’s happening.7 Graphology Graphology . If you have to reach a decision within thirty minutes.6 In-tray exercises These simulations of the administrative aspects of a job can be very taxing. take care over presentation as well as content. However. decisionmaking. • Read the instructions carefully and plan your time accordingly. remind the group if necessary. set timescales. and that can be a clue. Studies indicate that graphologists can produce generalised personality descriptions. 4.analysis of handwriting – is used a lot for managerial selection in continental Europe. Information may be collected from the standard application form. but they’re not as detailed or as accurate as information gathered from psychometric tests and exercises. some employers ask candidates to submit a handwritten piece on a management topic. A well constructed test in-tray will contain distracting trivia. not on what went through your head. a contraction of ‘biographical data’. Related tests of ‘potential for proficiency’ (trainability) assess characteristics such as hand–eye coordination. Treat the whole exercise like real life. How to go about it: • It may be possible to take the in-tray apart and sort it into heaps. Signal in your comments that you’ve spotted these links.8 Biodata analysis ‘Biodata’.7. 4. follow this up by tackling the items according to those you set.ac. colour perception and hearing. 4. • Look for links within an in-tray. means that details of an individual’s history are correlated with the biographical details of others who have succeeded in the same occupation. you’ll be maximising your chance of success. if you’re asked to submit a demonstration piece. • You can be judged only on what you’ve written down. Don’t just put your head down and plough through the lot. particularly in France. 90 To find out more. Pause for thought Getting the job you want is always a challenge. • Give reasons for your decisions. colleagues are ill. Evidence offers little support for its use as a predictor of performance. If you like to work like that. even if you’re not asked to do so. • Keep a careful eye on the time. By taking the trouble to reflect and to prepare. • Don’t be discouraged.10 Medical tests The job advertisement or person specification should state clearly whether a certain level of physical fitness is required. medical tests cover sight. The biographical data need not have any recognised link with performance. You may be allowed to use the floor if the desk isn’t big enough.open. for example. • If the first part of the exercise asks you to set priorities. it’s Saturday afternoon). abroad. They’re usually set in an unrealistic scenario that prevents you from talking to other people in the organisation (e.uk/careers . judgement. or 90 words per minute wordprocessing. and ability to communicate in clear English.7. As well as general fitness. make reporting and follow-up clear. visit our website at www. or conflict between the other participants. but is a controversial technique in the UK.7. Staffing issues are most likely to spring this trap.9 Proficiency tests These tests are used to find out whether candidates have the skills they claim – 120 words per minute shorthand. with appropriate levels of formality and informality in your responses. organisation.7. just like a real one. but often a special form is needed. So. make sure that it’s permitted. • Remain balanced in your judgement. and between intrays if there’s more than one. and may take time. Make a point of discussing your strategy and interpretation of the group discussion with the interviewer later. use your diary and your secretary well. You may be asked to respond quickly (in timed conditions) to a number of typical questions or issues that may crop up in a job and say what you would do and how you would prioritise tasks.
uk/learning M.prospects.uk/careers If you are an OU student look at the ‘Moving on’ section on the Prospects website at: www. M. Parkinson (2004) How to master Psychometric Tests. M.ac.uk/careers 91 .uk/links/AppsInterviews To find out more. The OU careers website at: www. Kogan Page. Byron (2003) How to pass the Civil Service Qualifying Tests.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Further resources For giving presentations.open.ac. Kogan Page. Yate (2005) Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions. ask for the OU Toolkit on Presentations from your regional centre or look under Study Strategies for the link to Student Toolkits at: www. visit our website at www. Kogan Page.open.ac.open.ac.
This section will explore a range of issues related to equality of opportunity in relation to • age • criminal record • disability or additional requirements • gender/sex • race • sexuality and sexual orientation.5 5. on a covering letter.2 5.4 5. However.ac.1 5. strategies to help you in your job search and further resources that you may find helpful. go to www.ac. In this section we highlight some of the additional challenges that may be faced by students and graduates. Many employers have well-developed equal opportunities policies to help them to recruit a diverse workforce.uk/links/ discrimination Pause for thought Keep in mind that disclosure of personal information during the recruitment process can be a concern for some people. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Equality and Diversity Issues In this section 5. before or during an interview will be considered later in Section 5. For more information and links on job-seeking strategies when facing discrimination.prospects. when or how you should do so.uk/careers 93 .3 5. the same principles of career planning and job seeking apply to everyone.7 Age 94 Criminal record 95 Disability or additional requirements 96 Gender/sex 98 Race 100 Sexuality and sexual orientation 101 Religion or belief 102 Regardless of their background. and you will often see this highlighted in job advertisements. the legal position. some organisations aim specifically to recruit a workforce that reflects the community they serve. The issues of whether. In fact. Each section includes a discussion of some of the issues you may encounter.open. To find out more. there is evidence that certain groups of people are at a disadvantage and may experience difficulty in achieving their career aims.6 5. on your application form.
that you are automatically going to be offered a job. Then contact the Careers Advisory Service in your region to get help with your marketing plan. your age will count against you in the job market? 5. please contact your regional centre who will arrange this. They are saying. having completed your degree. Employers are looking for more than a qualification. look at the Careers Advisory Service website for contacts for volunteering opportunities. we will be happy to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs. juggling study and home responsibilities. as a mature graduate. This should also help you to feel confident about what you can offer to the workplace.open.1. you have a degree and. So. especially when you have used all your spare time to get the degree in the first place.1. Having a degree is not enough to secure a job. If you have additional requirements that may lead to difficulties accessing any of our services. to offer a range of transferable skills and experience to an employer.uk/careers . hone your CV to highlight that ‘extra’ you can offer to enhance your application.. plan ahead and make use of the study breaks and any contacts you have to find out all you can about the area of work you are interested in. For example..1 Note here any issues that could affect you at work. For instance. So. gender. if you need any information in an alternative format such as an audio recording. 5. Braille or large print. If you haven’t had any recent work experience (paid or voluntary). Employers vary a great deal in their attitudes towards age and recruitment and with the increasing numbers of mature and overseas applicants offering a wide range of qualifications and experience.2 How to help yourself in the job market Take a look at Section 4 on applying for jobs. 5. The Employers Forum on Age states that ‘being an employer of choice in an environment with an ageing population means ensuring that employment policies and practices are attractive to all age groups’. It’s not enough to think that because you have completed a part-time degree.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 5. visit our website at www. you need to present your experience and skills positively and highlight your ‘added value’. and paid work. 94 To find out more. ‘Yes.1 Age Are you concerned that. or contact your local OU Careers Advisory Service. You may need to allow some time for appropriate arrangements to be made. sexual orientation and religion. which you might like to discuss with a careers adviser.ac.1 Your rights By October 2006. then you could consider exploring your local options. disability. Remember. This is where you are able. selection procedures in large organisations are being reviewed.’. there will be legislation in force in the UK that will ensure that anti-age-discrimination will become as much an offence as discrimination against race. This may feel unfair.
Don’t be put off by negative reactions if at first you don’t succeed! One graduate wrote: My method worked because of planning.ac.prospects.org.g. Available for reference in your regional centre or at: www.g. to do so. • Identify the skills you developed in previous work. adaptability.uk/links/Mature AdvantAGE – A magazine published by ‘realworld’ to help ‘mature’ students to take control of their future. • Be confident if you are offered an interview as this means your CV/application form has obviously been successful. teaching. and view life experience as an advantage e. occupational therapy. visit our website at www. • Convey your reliability. you have just spent a number of years improving these through part-time study. psychotherapy.2. go to Employers Forum on Age at: www. • Highlight your time management. studies and general life experience e.uk/links/Discrimination 5. Be prepared to produce more than one CV. • Create your own network using contacts from previous jobs/friends/family. Here are some tips from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) to help you maximise your potential for job seeking: • Produce a concise CV and match your experience to the job requirements.org.asp Age diversity at work – A practical guide for business.uk/careers 95 . teamwork. Published by Age Positive at: www. (A level playing field. organisational and self-motivational skills.realworldmagazine. 5.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. it’s vital – whatever your aims – to research your chosen area thoroughly and market yourself effectively.ac. • Stress your ability to hit the ground running – you know all about working for a living. And you must be determined and active in your approach. including a section for mature students. social work. communication.gov.prospects. some areas of work look for maturity. AGCAS) Tell employers about your skills and what you have had to do to get an OU qualification. You do need to be clear about what you want and what you can offer.efa. or need. counselling. Some of your concerns may include: • Whether you must declare any convictions. You can access the network at: www. and archive work. • Use positive language in applications and interviews and never apologise for your age.ac. investment of time and 143 stamps and envelopes. work and earn for as long as they want. some have started new careers in their 50s.taen. when and if to disclose a conviction to a prospective employer. good targeting and carefully written documentation.agepositive. Further resources For the latest information on age legislation 2006. • How. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. loyalty and confidence to manage change.com/mat_home. you may be confused about its implications for working in the future. • Fully research each employer. Most employers will be impressed by your commitment and motivation! Indeed. • What impact a criminal record will have on your gaining and keeping employment. • Demonstrate your experience when making effective business decisions and give examples.open.uk Mature students – the way forward (AGCAS publication) is available at: www.uk The Third Age Employment Network (TAEN) works for better opportunities for mature people to continue to learn.2 Criminal record If you have a criminal record. starting by using the company website (if there is one available). For some areas To find out more. Nonetheless.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Many OU graduates have changed careers in midlife. research.1 Your rights Do note that there are legal requirements regarding disclosure of certain convictions. • Demonstrate your flexibility and experience of studying and working in mixed-age environments.
Part II of the DDA is intended to prevent discrimination against disabled people at work and in recruitment. All employers are covered except for the armed forces.crb.drc-gb. This covers people who have had a disability. or applying for jobs. • Market yourself as positively as possible (see Section 4). Before you start studying for a specific career area. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments both to the workplace and to the job description. Employers must show that they have looked into the costs of adaptations.disclosurescotland.open. in the past.2. particularly in relation to employment and access to goods. You count as disabled according to the Act if you have ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.apextrust. and what funding is available from other sources. You can access them at: www.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. but smaller companies with lesser funds may not have to do so. altering hours or buying equipment. Here is a range of strategies to help you: • Discuss your situation with a careers adviser at your regional centre. 5.gov. such as ‘regularly caring for. including recruitment.1 Your rights The Disability Discrimination Acts (DDA) of 1995 and 2005 make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you whether you are applying for a job or are in employment. Keep in mind that there are certain jobs for which convictions never become spent.uk Scottish Criminal Record Office (Scotland) at: www.co. • Be realistic about the employment area you wish to enter. without the need for specific adjustments or support. services and facilities. They define rights for disabled people. and then to consider the next steps as outlined below. It does not apply to employers who employ workers on board ships or aircraft.org Further resources Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) at: www. supervising or being in sole charge of persons aged under eighteen’. 5. Large companies will probably be expected to adapt the workplace. visit our website at www. For some students. The effectiveness of the adjustment in reducing the disadvantage must be taken into account.com The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) publishes a number of advice leaflets. and people with severe disfigurements. 5.prospects. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www.3 Disability or additional requirements Many students and graduates with disabilities have the same skills and abilities to offer as anyone else. those who have recurring or progressive conditions.uk/careers . training.uk/links/Discrimination 96 To find out more. additional support can help to enable access to work. as defined by the Act.3. training and selection for redundancy or dismissal. including a section for offenders. • Make use of other agencies that can help and advise you.ac. These may include adjusting premises. and so must the finances of the employer.org. it can seem a challenging task to seek employment.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook of work.nacro. do check the legal situation carefully. promotion.uk The Apex Trust – support.ac. You can find out more from the Disability Rights Commission: Disability Rights Commission www. Discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment. employers are required to seek disclosure of criminal records from the relevant criminal records office. information and advice for ex-offenders seeking work at: www. The key starting point is to explore career areas that are relevant to your interests and skills.2 How to help yourself in the job market If you have unspent convictions.
• You may think that an employer will automatically see you as a potential expense. you risk losing your job. training and self-employment. Many employers have equal opportunities policies. Do you tell them on your application form? In a covering letter? Before or after an interview? There are no clear-cut answers to these questions. though you may find it helpful to talk it over with a careers adviser at your regional centre.uk Each is committed to creating and developing opportunities for people with disabilities. You should always point this out to employers. Here are some reasons why it might be a good idea to disclose your disability • Some employers are keen to employ people with disabilities and use the disability symbol – this shows they are positive about employing disabled staff. To find your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. If you’re concerned about losing the job you’re already in for a reason associated with disability. However.co. not what you can’t. Specialist DEAs can discuss your current employment situation with you to plan the best way into work.gov. 5.3 Resources for employment and training Jobcentre Plus Jobcentre Plus is a network of jobcentres provided by the government to offer information to all adults on jobs.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. Many application forms ask about disability and health.uk or look up Jobcentre Plus in the Yellow Pages. the DEA can provide advice to you and your employer and explore practical ways to help you keep your job. If you give false information and an employer finds out the truth later. • A job matching and referral service.employers-forum. your coping strategies. • Information on employers in your area who are Disability Symbol users. • Don’t assume that an employer will view your disability in a negative way. When you apply for jobs and you are considering whether to disclose your disability: • Always focus on what you can do. • Referral if needed to an occupational psychologist.jobcentreplus. • Referral where appropriate to a work preparation programme. If you do decide to disclose your disability. look at the website: www. • Don’t restrict your applications only to employers who are keen to recruit disabled people. • You might feel that you will be discriminated against and rejected straight away. • • • • • To find out more. Services the DEAs can offer include: • An employment assessment to identify what work or training suits you best. look for employers who make these kinds of positive statements even if they don’t use the disability symbol. The majority of disabled jobseekers who find work through Jobcentre Plus are assisted by a disability employment adviser (DEA). Access to Work – a Jobcentre Plus programme (see below) can provide support for you in a job. For instance.uk/careers 97 . So. If you declare your disability and believe that you have been discriminated against during the application process.3. You must make your own judgement. visit our website at www. You will be able to describe things in a positive light – your strengths.open. Access to Work – Can help you make the most of your opportunities in work by helping you to tackle some of the practical obstacles you may meet at work if you have a disability.2 How to help yourself in the job market You may need to decide whether or not to tell an employer that you have a disability.ac. the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 entitles you to take your case to a tribunal.3. • Perhaps you prefer not to discuss your disability with a stranger. you will need to consider the method and timing. it may fund specialist equipment or transport costs. There are now over 400 member companies in the Employers’ Forum on Disability www. Here are some reasons why it might be a good a idea to not disclose your disability • You may believe that your disability has no effect on your ability to do the job. many employers do not use the symbol but there may be practical evidence that they are positive about disability – such as offering information in alternative formats and alternative ways of contacting them. • Referral where appropriate to specialist Jobcentre Plus programmes for disabled people including: Job Introduction Scheme (JIS) – To help you and an employer with employment costs for the first few weeks if you or your employer is not sure whether a job may be suitable.
this can help you in presenting yourself in your application for work. Look in the ‘A-Z’ under ‘Disability’ for further resources.open.uk/careers . June 2003.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook WORKSTEP – Individual programme of support through a variety of different job opportunities – leading to unsupported employment.skill. and in fact.uk Disabled Entrepreneurs Network: www.ac. There is a lot of discussion about the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from achieving ‘top jobs’. and in employment.disabled-entrepreneurs.ac.adp.open. or • work that is proved to be of equal value. yes: despite the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). (You might also want to check whether a prospective employer has an equal opportunities policy. • Information on local and national disability organisations of and for disabled people. and graduate case studies.4. If you live outside the UK you will need to check the legal position for your country of residence. to request flexible working.prospects.uk SKILL – The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – has a large range of relevant information sources: www. • Details about work-based learning for adults.) The Equal Pay Act 1970 (EPA) gives an individual a right to the same contractual pay and benefits as a person of the opposite sex in the same employment. The EPA applies to England.ac. The OU provides information about DSAs on the website at: www.uk/disability Further resources Association of Disabled Professionals at: www. education. where the man and the woman are doing • like work. we still find gender discrimination in the workplace. 5. and in ongoing communication with your employer. needing time off work for parenting duties. Disabled students’ allowances (DSAs) Disabled students’ allowances (DSAs) are grants available to disabled students in higher education to help with the extra costs of services and facilities they need for their studies because of a disability or specific learning difficulty.4 Gender/sex Does it make a difference if you are a man or a woman when applying for a job? Unfortunately. the necessity for a work/life balance is highlighted by the legal right for mothers and fathers of children under 6.open. includes employers’ case studies. If you check on the legal situation. including a section on disability. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of employment. available for reference in each regional centre. published by AGCAS and available online at: www. facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises.ac.org.ac.uk/careers 5. and the provision of goods.org.) Other equality issues that you might encounter include harassment at work. there is still a 15 per cent pay gap between male and female graduates by the age of 24 – even when they have the same qualifications in the same subject. There is also an interactive web-based service providing dedicated information. It also prohibits discrimination in employment against married people.uk Diversity Works at: www.scope. advice and resources for students with disabilities.uk/links/Discrimination The Hobson’s guide for Disabled Students – This is a free annual publication for disabled students.disabilitytoolkits. or • work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study. visit our website at www. and looking for flexible working arrangements. www.net The Open University Careers Advisory Service web pages have some useful links. Times are changing: for instance. Wales and Scotland.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. which came into force in the UK on 6 April 2003.diversityworks. 98 To find out more. It’s important that you are aware of the issues concerning sex and gender discrimination – at both recruitment stage.1 Your rights (The following information is from the EOC website. and disabled children under 18. academics involved in work placements and prospective employers: www. Employers are not required to provide the same pay and benefits if they can prove that the difference in pay or benefits is genuinely due to a reason other than one related to sex.org.
org.5 How to help yourself in the job market So. Strict time limits apply. • Provide clear evidence of your ability to do the job.3 Indirect sex discrimination Indirect sex discrimination is where a condition or practice is applied to both sexes but it adversely affects a considerably larger proportion of one sex than the other. • End sexual harassment at work. one type of direct sex discrimination is sexual harassment.numberten. • Discuss your application with a careers adviser in your regional centre. England.uk/careers 99 . Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. • Secure comprehensive equality legislation in Europe. including children and prohibits direct and indirect sex discrimination. The EPA has been interpreted to cover indirect sex discrimination as well as direct discrimination. • Break free of male and female stereotypes.co. there are special provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment in employment. and this will help to counter any negative stereotypes that may exist.uk No. 10 – Top Careers for Women – careers publication focusing on issues relating to graduate women in the labour market. However. to apply that condition or practice. irrespective of sex.uk Work life balance centre – available at: www.4. Three months (less one day) from the act of the discrimination for employment tribunal cases. there is a good argument that the general definition of sex discrimination prohibits this. Therefore.4 Discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment With certain exceptions. Employment-related claims are brought in an employment tribunal.4. how can you help prevent discrimination against yourself – whether you are female or male – in the job market? Here are a few suggestions: • Plan your application effectively in order to minimise the possibility of unfair discrimination. including a section on gender.org A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. to apply a condition or practice. There are no express provisions prohibiting discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in the other fields covered by the SDA. an unnecessary requirement to be under 5’ 10” would discriminate against men.eoc. You can access this at: www. For instance. irrespective of sex. 5. 5.open. For instance.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Victimisation because someone has tried to exercise their rights under the SDA or Equal Pay Act is also prohibited.6 Resources for employment and training Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is the leading agency working to eliminate sex discrimination in the UK. • Concentrate on your strengths. Scotland and Wales. The EOC campaigns to: • Close the pay gap between women and men. visit our website at www.4. Part I of the SDA describes the forms of discrimination to which the SDA applies.worklifebalancecentre.prospects. 5. • Increase the number of women in public life. it is not justifiable.uk/links/Discrimination To find out more. although there is not yet any legal authority on this point.4. • Make public services relevant to the differing needs of men and women.ac. 5. 5. This is especially important if you are looking to enter a field of employment that is traditionally dominated by the opposite sex. Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission at: www.2 Direct sex discrimination Direct sex discrimination is where a woman (or man) is treated less favourably than a person of the opposite sex in comparable circumstances because of her (or his) sex. another is treating a woman adversely because she is pregnant. The SDA applies to women and men of any age. Indirect discrimination is where the pay difference is due to a condition or practice that applies to men and women but which adversely affects a considerably larger proportion of one sex than the other and it is not justifiable.ac. • Make it easier for parents to balance work with family responsibilities.4. There are special provisions about discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment. a requirement to work full-time might be unlawful discrimination against women.
5. And even those individuals who achieve academic success do not necessarily reap the rewards in the workplace that their qualifications merit. the UK government launched a new strategy to remove the barriers to employment success for job-seekers from minority ethnic backgrounds. 5. has been treated more favourably than you.5. If you think you have been discriminated against on racial grounds. 5. 5. it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different racial group who. you have the right under the amended Act to take your complaint before an employment tribunal. In general. and to challenge unfair discrimination? Here are some suggestions: 100 To find out more.5 Race According to research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. colour and nationality are protected by the law. you can apply to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). This happens when a person is treated less favourably because they have complained about racial discrimination or supported someone else who has. race. or work at an appropriate level to their qualifications. to target employers. and you want to prove it.3 Indirect racial discrimination Indirect racial discrimination occurs when a person from a particular racial group is less likely to be able to comply with a requirement or condition that applies to everyone but which cannot be justified. racial equality councils. law centres. 5.uk/careers .2 Direct racial discrimination Direct racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. and you need to plan your own job-seeking strategies to maximise your opportunities. most racial discrimination in Britain is against people from minority ethnic groups. citizens advice bureaux and other advice agencies. colour. Racist abuse and harassment are also forms of direct discrimination. and national or ethnic origin. in similar circumstances. you have three months to file an employment case and six months to file a case in the county court or sheriff court.5. nationality (including citizenship). ‘white graduates were more likely than those from minority ethnic groups to be in full-time paid work and less likely to be unemployed six months following graduation’. or to one of a number of other organisations such as trade unions. despite legislation.5 Time limits Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for filing your case at an employment tribunal or court.ac. If you think you have been discriminated against at work. or when applying for work. 5. This is recognised by the UK government: The Race Relations Act identifies three main types of racial discrimination: • direct racial discrimination • indirect racial discrimination • victimisation.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5.5.4 Victimisation Victimisation has a special legal meaning in the Race Relations Act. in 2004.6 How to help yourself in the job market So what can and should you do to market yourself. March 2003 5. Government initiatives take time to implement however. for help. Some ethnic minority groups have done well in the education system and in the labour market. the amended Act gives you the right to take your complaint before an employment tribunal or a county court (or sheriff court in Scotland). visit our website at www.5. In March 2003.1 Your rights The Race Relations Act 1976 (which was amended in 2000) makes it illegal to treat a person less favourably than others on racial grounds. so don’t delay.open. The report proposes a fresh approach to address the many barriers that can get in the way of success in jobs and careers. So. but people of every background. discrimination continues to exist for students from minority ethnic groups who do meet barriers to getting work. If you are thinking of bringing a case of racial discrimination. These cover grounds of race.5. In practice. But too many members of ethnic minority communities are being left behind. Tony Blair. If you think this has happened to you.
• Check if the organisation is a member of Business in the Community (BITC) www.7 Resources for employment and training Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is the national organisation for monitoring racial equality.uk 5. campaigns and services as well as vacancies in the commission Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) www. Race for Opportunity is a programme. and this will depend on your own experience and lifestyle.blackandasiangrad.org. Further resources KAL – Careers publication for students from minority ethnic groups (formerly Kaleidoscopic). the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 came into force in the UK. application forms and covering letters. Contact them for information on legal issues. and how much to disclose to a potential employer and to work colleagues is of course a matter of personal choice. This relates to England.windsor-fellowship. your CV. Windsor Fellowship The Windsor Fellowship is a charitable organisation that offers skills development programmes to undergraduates and graduates from minority ethnic groups. For advice on finding positive employers take a look at: www. • Develop contacts and make the most of your networking skills.2 Transsexuals In May 1999.ac.cre.com 5. that is dedicated to ethnic minority issues. Target employers with a reputation for good equal opportunity policy and practice. which apply to the Sex Discrimination Act (1997). You can log onto their website at: www.6. when to.teacherworld.uk/careers 101 .3 How to help yourself in the job market There are a number of measures that you can take to help yourself in the job market: • Many employers now have Equal Opportunities Policies that include lesbians and gay men.6. Scotland and Wales. The amendments.uk/links/Discrimination • Understand the relevant legal situation. Their website is: www. National Mentoring Consortium Unit The National Mentoring Consortium Unit works with employers.uk.prospects.6 Sexuality and sexual orientation Are you worried about possible discrimination in the workplace because of your sexuality? Whether to. It holds an annual careers day for black and Asian students and graduates.com Black and Asian Graduates –The UK’s official website for black and Asian graduates. run by BITC. • Discuss your plans and approach with a careers adviser in your regional centre. • Many employers have sub-groups for minority ethnic groups. plus details of work experience and career-enhancement programmes www.open. You can find more information at the Press for Change website (see Section 5.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Make use of Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ to prepare your marketing tools. Includes job-hunting techniques.uk 5. universities and schools to support learners from minority ethnic groups. formally made illegal a whole catalogue of discrimination against transsexual people in employment.bitc.ac.6.6. especially public sector and large private employers. TeacherWorld UK TeacherWorld UK provides information and support for teachers (and those intending to teach) from minority ethnic backgrounds. You will need to consider how comfortable you will be in an area of work where you are not open about your sexuality.4).nmc-online. You can ask for a copy of the policy before applying for a job. visit our website at www.org To find out more.ac. available for reference in your regional centre or at www. vacancies.gov.uk 5.org. students and recruiters. 5.1 Your rights The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment. If the EOP is incorporated into your contract you might be able to directly rely upon it.kalmagazine.5. Find out more about the unit at: www.
uk/stonewall In December 2003. The most usual ways in which employers may discriminate might be around the way in which they recruit new staff.ac. including a section on sexuality and sexual orientation. Published by AGCAS and available online at www. these employers are at the cutting edge of innovation in business and public service.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Consider joining a trade union where you will receive support and legal advice.7 Religion or belief I greatly value IBM’s participation in the Diversity Champions Scheme. where they advertise. You should be aware that many organisations now do take proactive measures to promote flexible and integrated working through surveys and staff development and training to promote inclusion and raise awareness.co. gender. gay men.dircon. This is a forum in which employers work with Stonewall to encourage diversity in the workplace. Working with Stonewall enables us to share and learn best practice from others and to ensure IBM is an inclusive and positive company in our dealings with employees and customers alike. Under the new regulations it is unlawful. At IBM we employ the best people irrespective of religion. Scotland and Wales and similar regulations were also introduced in Northern Ireland. gay men and bisexual people and launched Diversity Champions in 2001.org. to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone. The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) were introduced to protect against discrimination in employment and vocational training in England. through legislation and social change www. www. contact their headquarters to check which is the most progressive on lesbian and gay issues: some produce specific material and some have lesbian and gay groups. • If your employer recognises more than one union.uk Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission www. • Find out about employers who belong to the Diversity Champions group set up by Stonewall in 2001. Press for Change Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational organisation. age or disability. General Manager. It is also unlawful to harass or bully someone because of their religion or belief.gba.6.org.org. visit our website at www. Larry Hirst.org. IBM (UK and Ireland) says: 5. the support of a trade union can protect you where the legislation doesn’t. www.eoc.prospects. staff development or training days clashing with days of worship or festivals and promotion. 102 To find out more. Usually.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.open. unless the employer can show that there is a legitimate business need.uk Regard – the national organisation of disabled lesbians.uk Gay Business Association www.stonewall. A number of motions passed at TUC conferences have made it clear that all affiliated unions should adhere to equal opportunities for lesbians and gay men. on the grounds of religion or belief.4 Resources for employment and training Stonewall Stonewall works to achieve legal equality and social justice for lesbians. which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the UK. race.regard.pfc. If you encounter discrimination. bisexuals and transgender people. days when they choose to interview. and Diversity Champions allows employers to focus on the new challenges and opportunities for addressing issues of diversity in the workplace.uk/links/Discrimination 5.uk/careers .ac. sexual orientation.
there is very little case law at present – greater understanding of how the legislation is interpreted and practised will come with time. if this is a concern for you. In the meantime. it is important (as is the case with all job applications and career decisions) to research jobs and organisations to ensure that they are right for you.pdf To find out more. Alternatively.7. • Read the information in the recruitment pack. Disclosure is a personal decision that will be influenced by a number of factors (you may want some reassurance before you apply or before you accept a job) and you may want to discuss in more detail with a careers adviser before you decide what to do. someone from human resources may be able to help.1 Disclosure The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) do not impose a duty on individuals to tell an employer or prospective employer about their religion or belief. 5. unless it is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR).ac.gov. It is unlikely that you will find questions relating to religion or belief on an application form (other than for equal opportunity monitoring) or that you would come across it in an interview.uk/careers 103 . keep up to date on the law and your rights.lowpay.uk/docs/RFO_Religion.uk/er/equality/eeregs Managing the New Legislation on Religion and Belief www.bitc. • Speak to the equality and diversity officer. visit our website at www. Further resources The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 www. it doesn’t necessarily mean that the employer doesn’t care about this. As it is recent legislation. if the organisation has one. But how do you know this? • Look out for race equality schemes/equality and diversity policies. • Look out for employee profiles on employer websites. Does it include information about equality and diversity? If not.org.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook If this is an area that is of concern to you.open.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook
The next steps
In this section 6.1 Open University Careers Advisory Service 105 6.2 Open University study materials 106 6.3 Other sources of help 107
When you’ve worked through this book there’s a lot to gain not only by reflecting and reconsidering things, but also by discussing them either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. You might want to arrange this through your regional centre.
As you clarify your objectives, you’ll be able to develop a plan of action. In order to achieve what you want, you may need to go through several smaller steps such as gaining particular experience or qualifications, gathering information or getting access to a particular resource. Look through the information and resources that we recommend. Remember that many of the resources listed are concerned primarily with the UK job market. Readers outside the UK should look at www.prospects.ac.uk/links/ countries
6.1 OU Careers Advisory Service
The Open University Careers Advisory Service provides access to appropriate careers information, advice and guidance for prospective and current students and recent graduates. Ask your regional centre for a copy of the OU Careers Advisory Service Statement of Service, which outlines the range of services available, or you can view it on our website from the ‘About the OU Careers Advisory Service’ page. You may want to request an individual consultation with one of the OU’s careers advisers. This is usually conducted by telephone, and you can arrange this by contacting your regional centre. Some careers advisers may also be available at large regional events such as course choice meetings. Most one-week residential schools provide an opportunity to talk to a careers adviser.
6.1.1 Open University Careers Advisory Service website
Have a look at our website at: www.open.ac.uk/careers You can either work your way through the site or go straight to the sections that are of particular interest to you. (There are also links to other useful websites.) The site takes you through the various stages of planning your career, from analysing your potential to applying for jobs. The section ‘OU Study and your Career’ contains information on occupational areas linked to relevant OU courses and qualifications.
6.1.2 Career Advisory First Class Conference
All OU students have access to our online ‘Career Advisory Conference’ in FirstClass. We use this to post notices about events and any other careers information that is relevant to OU students. We also periodically run topic- or subject-based conferences where students can post questions and receive replies from a careers adviser – see: www.open.ac.uk/careers/ conferences
To find out more, visit our website at www.open.ac.uk/careers
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook
6.1.3 Career Links
This is an OU networking scheme run by the Careers Advisory Service where OU students who want to enter a specific career can register as Career Seekers. They are then matched with a suitable Career Helper who is already working in that career and who can share their personal experiences. For more information and to register for Career Links visit www.open.ac.uk/careers/links.
Applications and interviews: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/AppsInterviews ‘Beyond nine to five’ (flexible working): www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Flexiblework Prospects website also includes the free online career planning tool ‘Prospects Planner’. This asks users to answer questions on a range of factors related to their career choice and a list of potential occupations is generated according to their responses. OU students may find it helpful to discuss their results with a careers adviser. You can access this at: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Pplanner. Your regional centre may also be able to provide or suggest other sources of information.
6.1.4 Publications and information
There are also a number of useful publications and sources of careers information available to all students of The Open University. OU study and your career – Looking at the career benefits of OU study and how your choice of course may affect your career plans. You can ask your regional centre for a copy or download it from the careers website. Recognition leaflets – Information about external recognition of some OU qualifications, transferring credit, membership of UK professional bodies, funding and sources of support. See: www.open.ac.uk/recognition You can also look at and/or download careers information written by members of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) on the Prospects website at: www.prospects.ac.uk This includes information such as: Opportunities linked to your degree: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/options Information about specific jobs: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/occupations An overview of job sectors (for example, education, information technology, legal and social care): www.prospects.ac.uk/links/SectorBs You will also find information on special interest topics, for example: Mature students: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Mature
6.2 Open University study materials
6.2.1 Y154 Open to change
The Openings programme of short introductory courses has been specially designed to give you a chance to ‘test the water’ before committing yourself to full undergraduate study. Y154 Open to change can help you to assess your skills and explore possibilities for further learning. The course is for people who are thinking about returning to education or training as well as those who are unemployed or hoping to get back into employment. The cost of the course is £85 (£99 from September 2006). Some financial assistance is available for students receiving state benefits. You will find more information about Open University courses on our website at www.open.ac.uk/courses
To find out more, visit our website at www.open.ac.uk/careers
visit our website at www.com Scotland www.ac. To find out about services offered by the Open University library at Walton Hall. Look in larger libraries for other publications mentioned in this book.3 Other sources of help 6.open.careers-scotland. Good luck and best wishes for your future! To find out more. but remember that you’re setting out on an exciting journey.guidancecouncil.3.ac.open.uk/library Finally You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations.uk/careers 107 . go to: www.com Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland www.uk www. Some may be available for reference at your regional centre. You are advised to ring first.gradireland.egsa. look at these websites: England www. Further resources A list of further resources is given at the end of each section of this book.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 6.uk Wales www. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life.1 External guidance providers Other university careers services may be happy for OU students to use their information rooms. with all its potential for improvement and advancement.careerswales.com Keep in mind that the extent of advice and guidance provided for adults varies and there may be charges for some of the services. Look at the following website to find details of the nearest service to you: www.org.uk/links/careersservices For details of adult advice and guidance services in the following countries.prospects.ac.org.
open.uk/careers . visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 108 To find out more.ac.
open. visit our website at www.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.uk/careers 109 .
open.uk/careers .ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 110 To find out more. visit our website at www.
open.uk/careers 111 .ac. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.
open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 112 To find out more.ac. visit our website at www.uk/careers .