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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.
the more productive they’ll be. • Will my age be a problem in changing career? Look at Sections 2. the most important influence on your career and life planning is you. Keep your activities as you work through them. working with a partner or friend. and the more time and effort you put into them. 4 and 5. with a careers adviser or perhaps through your appraiser at work or your line manager. but you could become distracted by the mechanics of the process. The best place to start is with yourself. • I know what I want to do but don’t know how to achieve it Look at Sections 2. Working with others can give you ideas. they can act as a sounding board and suggest different ways of looking at things. Activities We encourage you to take time over the activities suggested in this book. positive and constructive you are. It is you who will be in the work situation. or set up a more formal relationship. If you have particular concerns If you recognise concerns of your own – you may find more than one – in this list. support and encouragement. make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with. This book focuses on you because although organisations. the basis of our original plans inevitably shifts. This book invites you to recognise your own qualities and abilities.uk/careers We recommend working through the workbook sections in order. perhaps when you’re not in the midst of your studies. To begin with. The more open minded. You could take a relatively informal approach. The website for the Careers Advisory Service is at: www. The workbook outlines the practical steps needed for looking for a job. find some of them particularly time consuming. Ways of working Give some thought now to how you might work with these materials before you begin. so that you can build a sound foundation for later steps in reviewing your career.open. they can’t make things happen for you Remember. You might find it useful to link up with another person or a small group. You may To find out more. the more precisely you can specify what you want and communicate it to employers. but you might want to dip into different areas at different stages of your career planning and job seeking. Working through the activities should be challenging but rewarding. but it also complements information on our careers website. interests. 3. This is a reference source that can stand on its own. you might prefer to tackle the process in stages. and • Begin to plan how you might achieve it. visit our website at www. putting your CV together or preparing for an interview. completing application forms. 4 and 6. Working through the activities at your own pace gives you scope for quiet reflection. As we make changes and as circumstances change around us.uk/careers 5 . • I need to find a job in a particular geographical area Look at Section 2. agencies. then settle back secure in the knowledge that you won’t have to do it again. 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. planning a strategy. values and personal needs • Decide what you want to achieve.ac.open. • How should I use the internet in looking for jobs? Look at Section 2. designing a curriculum vitae (CV) and presenting yourself at interviews. They’re likely to be helpful when you reach the stage of completing application forms. people and materials are all useful resources. skills. and you might well need to return to them as your ideas develop. and to define what you’re really looking for. make a note of the recommended sections: • I don’t know where to begin Look particularly at Section 1. • How should I update my CV? Look at Section 4. so the clearer you are about your own characteristics.ac. Time It’s difficult to foresee exactly how much time you’ll need. Whatever approach you decide on. Career planning has to be a recurring process – you can’t do it once and for all.
prospects. 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. This kind of self-knowledge is the soundest basis for making decisions about your future.open. You’ve gained knowledge and skills from your experiences. Note.2 What work would suit me? 13 Remember that you may have potential that has yet to be developed. and learnt how you cope with things and respond to different tasks and challenges. for example. The activities in this section ask you to think about a series of questions as a beginning to your career review.ac. there’s good reason to. This section will help you to develop your self-awareness. This is the first step in the career-review process. visit our website at www. and reject them only if. training. The section starts by asking you to look back. work and leisure activities.uk To find out more. however.1 What am I like? 8 1. Some of these resources and links are provided by The Open University and some by external agencies such as Graduate Prospects www. They offer different ways of considering what you’re like and what you can do. 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. after exploring them. your education. that some of the activities (and others) are also available online on the Careers Advisory Service website at: www. At intervals you’ll be asked to ‘pause for thought’ and note down your responses. 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.ac.open. take a clear view of your career and life. Your past has shaped you through your family background. less well-paid work.uk/careers 7 . so that you can learn new skills or take up more enjoyable. You may find that some seemingly unchangeable things can be changed.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Knowing yourself In this section 1. Try to keep an open mind when considering future possibilities.uk/careers Here you will find links to lots of different activities and resources to assist in career planning and job seeking.ac. You might be able to reduce your mortgage by moving to a smaller house or a cheaper area.
You may find it useful to talk through any difficult emotions with someone you trust.1. 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.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. 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. showing high and low points at different times of your life. to help you think about the pattern of your life. 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.uk/careers . Put them in the form of a diagram like the one here. and to discover aspects of yourself that you might want to develop or change. visit our website at www. Moved House HIGH POINT Secondary School Qualified (production engineer) Marriage Son Became management trainee (part time study. Activity 1.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. and he saw that each disappointment motivated him towards a change and offered opportunities. Think about the feelings aroused by each experience and answer these questions.ac. children. Diploma) Daughter Bought flat (Improvement Grant) Bought house – garden-mortgage! Changes in company policy (new job. Example When you’ve drawn a lifeline that reflects your experiences.1 In this activity you’re going to draw a ‘lifeline’. You’ll be asked to refer back to your lifeline later on. Another noted that all his positive job changes followed disappointments in his private life. Note down key events. This activity can help you to gather insights that can influence your future choices. such as education.open.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. retirement and so on. consider it as a whole. A third recognised someone else as consistently and unobtrusively acting as a mentor. and to consider how your early history contributed to it.
ac.open. your role in the family.2 This activity brings out some of the early themes from your lifeline. the area and house you lived in. activities you participated in. Make notes under the headings below. visit our website at www. You may see themes appearing. how your teachers saw you. 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. why and how you arrived at where you are today. 3 Schooling List the schools you went to.uk/careers 9 . To find out more. and you might want to return to it later to change or add points. what your parents expected of you. concentrating on your childhood and school life. how you saw your teachers. experiences you had. could you have made different choices? Make a note of any insights you’ve gained through remembering and reflecting. Maybe you had various abilities but developed one rather than another – sporting ability rather than artistic talent. say something about any occupational influences on you. perhaps. Looking back. how you got on with other children. such as strong aspects of your personality or talents. 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. with dates. Some of this information will be useful when you put your CV together (see Section 4).Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. the subjects you were good at and enjoyed. The activity may take some time. school sports or activities you took part in. Pause for thought Now spend some time considering what your notes say about you – what you’re like. family lifestyle. For instance.
Set them out in the table below. passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student. visit our website at www. 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.uk/careers . recent or a long time ago. note the achievements you’re most proud of and what they say about you. 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. They could be workrelated or to do with relationships.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.open. Activity 1. passing your driving test on the fifth attempt may say a lot about your staying power and determination.ac. 10 To find out more.1. things you do in your spare time. For example.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.3 Looking back at your lifeline.
gardener and household manager). Again. you need skills of learning.1. My main roles 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Looking at all your roles.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. time management. You may take part in voluntary work (counsellor. You may be an employee (team leader. and so on. Each role demands different skills. listener or organiser).uk/careers 11 . communication and keeping to schedules. visit our website at www. How do you feel about them? Which do you most enjoy using? How could you use them in work? To find out more. If you enjoy DIY.4 Now complete the table below.ac. as many skills are learnt outside paid work. Activity 1. You may be a parent (cook. this is a particularly useful exercise if you have little work experience to draw on. project manager). Circle the ones that are particular strengths. As a student. cooking. are you surprised at the number of things you do and take for granted every day? Look at the skills you’ve listed. working group member. delegating. By chairing meetings of a club.open. you’ve developed not only practical skills but planning and organising skills as well.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. If you are a parent. you develop skills of briefing and dealing with people as well as those of managing meetings. you have needed to develop skills of budgeting. time management.
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. It’s easy to forget that leisure activities can give us as many skills and abilities as work. What have you learnt about yourself? Bringing some of your answers together. My main strengths 1 2 3 4 5 6 My main weaknesses 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 To find out more.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.1. they need not be barriers to the future.uk/careers . Activity 1. but your spare-time activities could help you to demonstrate skills and qualities. visit our website at www. 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. what would you now say are your main strengths and weaknesses? They can be skills.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. Remember that strengths can be built on for the future and weaknesses can be reduced by your efforts. abilities. personal characteristics or interests.
If you scored +20. or you may prefer something that can give you a better balance between work and home life. You might be highly ambitious. 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. you would always put work first and aim high in your achievements. or you might avoid positions that regularly eat into your leisure time. This is something that varies from person to person. for example.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.6 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. for example if you scored –20.2 What work would suit me? Now that you’ve spent some time considering the skills and qualities you’ve developed through experience. At the lower end of the scale. 1. Activity 1. If you don’t have much experience of paid work.1 How big a part of my life is work? Before considering what you want to do. it’s time to think about work. You may have found yourself in a post that takes over and leaves little time for family life. the stronger your ambition. 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. If you have a more central score You keep a balance between work and leisure. How does this feel? Is it right for you or would you like to change this aspect of your life? To find out more.ac. You have some concern about doing well and making progress. even workaholic.2. have little concern about getting on in your career. you would put your social life before work.uk/careers 13 . but you don’t let work rule your life. think about your approach to activities or projects. visit our website at www. The next activity can help you to think about this.open. you need to be clear about how important work is to you. and might be seen as ‘laid back’.
make a similar list of unpaid or voluntary experience for example. Many will be ‘transferable skills’ that you can use in other situations. with dates. unpaid or voluntary) by noticing how you feel about different tasks and respond to work situations. or how well you perform particular activities in comparison with other people.uk/careers . what factors seemed important in deciding to take it up? 3 For each job. Activity 1.open. and you might want to come back to it later. helping readers at school. The next activity helps you to explore your experience. 2 For each job. and will be useful when preparing for interviews (see Section 4). You will have learnt a huge amount through work (whether paid. fundraising for a charity or involvement in a conservation project. note the range of tasks or activities you had to do. You may also have learnt from others.2 What work experience have I had? Most people would agree that work experience is very important when considering future directions. 4 Did you have to deal with any difficulties? 5 Which tasks or activities did you find most appealing.7 1 List the jobs you’ve had. 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. visit our website at www.2. 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. note how it came about.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. The activity may take some time. Did you volunteer or were you directed into it? If you had some choice. either through formal appraisal or from informal comments and reactions.ac. delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’. but it’s easy to take yourself for granted and not recognise the wide range and high level of skills and abilities you have. If you have limited or no experience of paid employment.
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. visit our website at www. if it isn’t a usual role for you.8 Some work roles and areas of competence are listed below. Does it sound like you? If it comes to you easily. Circle any that describe you particularly. apply this to whatever activity has taken up a lot of your time.2. To find out more. If work hasn’t been a major part of your life.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. cross it out. If you’re not sure or if it’s only partly true. All the words describe positive qualities. Work through each role in the list.uk/careers 15 . completing an application form or attending an interview (which you will cover in more detail in Section 4). put a tick beside it.open. 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.ac. Activity 1. leave it blank.
caring for others (s) Always like to win. come in top (f) Like persuading. circling your position on the scale.uk/careers . Again. Activity 1.open. show feelings (f) Happy to be in charge of others (s) Prefer traditional ways of action (t) Equable.2. negotiating (s) Tend to worry. Try to use the full range of ratings from 5 (much more so than most) to 1 (much less so than most). 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. More Plan ahead and keep to it (t) Stickler for detail or accuracy (t) Easy mixer. act independently (s) More practical than theoretical (t) Determined (f) Sympathetic. visit our website at www. deciding how you compare with other people.9 Work through the following descriptions.ac.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. think more generally about your life if your workplace experiences are limited.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 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. get anxious (f) Like deadlines and timetables (t) Usually take a leading role (s) Good with complex ideas or data (t) Demonstrative.
open. Where did you score the most highly? Or did you score evenly across the three categories? For instance. You can group them into those to do with relating to people and social situations (s). If you think about your colleagues you’ll be aware how they differ from each other.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. some people are at ease giving a presentation while others find it very nerveracking. There’s no right or wrong personality. but you do need to take your own traits into account. to do with your approach to work tasks (t).uk/careers 17 .9 continued Now look over your ratings. 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. one is a stickler for detail while another is not too concerned about fine accuracy.ac. The better you know yourself. While one is reserved. the more opportunities you create for finding a situation that will suit you. another is very chatty and communicative. visit our website at www. and to do with your drives and emotions (f). A work situation that suits a very sociable person won’t suit someone who prefers to work alone.
for example.2. You may have begun to gain more insights or realisations about your own nature. it’s helpful to reflect on your past as you approach a decision that will significantly affect your life. others a photographic memory. Some people have been taught or have learnt particular skills for themselves – competence in a computer language. by going on training courses. to have someone else with whom to talk through your answers – perhaps a friend. You may have learnt more about your personality. Some people have a creative imagination. by trial and error. You should also remember that you’ll go on developing as you cope with different demands. ambitions. It’s also useful as evidence when you’re completing a CV or attending an interview. This question is of particular interest to employers. Others have specialist knowledge. Then think about the knowledge and abilities you needed to apply in order to achieve the result. You can be good at something without particularly enjoying it.uk/careers . others are skilful with statistics. There’s generally some connection between what we can do well and what we enjoy doing. It’s also important for you to know what you’re good at. but it’s not a necessary connection. It’s useful to know this. such as accounting standards or employment law. temperament or way of dealing with the world. needs and values.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. relation or a careers adviser. as it affects the work or the parts of a particular job that you can perform best. You might discover that your strengths are grouped in some areas rather than others. as it enables you to recognise the talents you have and also to see whether there are gaps you want to work on. projects you’ve tackled successfully. Perhaps you had to learn a new technique.10 Look back at your list of achievements and what they say about you. Consider your answers so far. rather than simply thinking through these questions. Your discoveries might be to do with your skills and abilities or your attitudes.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Activity 1. or perhaps you used or developed a skill you already had. visit our website at www. by observing others. You can learn about your aptitudes from other people’s comments. as you learn through your own study.open. but do use any other information you can get. etc. 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. 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. Review As you may be discovering. 18 To find out more. What have you learnt? It can help.ac. The next activities are based on your own knowledge. by reading and so on. initiatives you’ve put into practice. Now list some of your work/voluntary/domestic achievements.
11 This activity will help you to assess your skills in more detail. ability to convey information without confusion 3 Fluent speech. outstanding performance High level.open. Be as honest as you can both in admitting lack of skill and in acknowledging your competence.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. Consider how well you can carry out each one in comparison with other people. words flowing easily 4 Drawing people out. 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.uk/careers 19 . giving a presentation 6 Using the telephone effectively: few misunderstandings 7 Reading efficiently: readily taking in written information 8 Writing effectively. generally able to do it quite well Reasonable level. The activity is grouped into skills which are of particular importance to employers. reliably perform better than average Good level. to encourage them to speak 5 Commanding an audience. 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. not usually adequate No significant level of skills Communication Rating 1 Listening. taking in what others say and checking your understanding of the information 2 Clear verbal expression. just acceptable skills Very basic level. visit our website at www. often referred to as ‘employability’ or ‘transferable skills’.ac. Try to use the full range of ratings.
uk/careers . visit our website at www.open. teaching or coaching others 4 Delegating and managing others 5 Leading a work group.ac. getting the best out of others 7 Counselling: helping with personal problems 8 Negotiating: mediating. taking account of this in dealing with them 2 Getting on with a variety of people and building up working relationships 3 Instructing. uses and sources of loan finance 12 Operating costing system Rating Total score 20 To find out more. motivating. chairing a meeting 6 Encouraging. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Dealing with people 1 Showing sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others. dealing with conflict 9 Interviewing. assessing or appraising 10 Persuading. encouraging.
practical problems 9 Using manual dexterity.uk/careers 21 . visit our website at www. hand-eye coordination 10 Understanding physical sciences 11 Understanding engineering 12 Maintaining or repairing complex equipment Rating Total score To find out more.ac. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Thinking and analysis 1 Using critical path analysis 2 Using statistics 3 Logical thinking.open. 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 Creative/innovative 1 Generating alternative solutions to problems 2 Creating original ideas 3 Improvising or adapting for other purposes 4 Designing new things.ac. visit our website at www. systems.open. filing system or recording procedures Rating Total score 22 To find out more.uk/careers . 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. 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. layouts. events or courses 5 Being insightful. colours.
Recognising the skills you have to offer is key in being able to market yourself to an employer (see also Section 4).ac. Remember that skills can always be developed simply by using them more. Now look through the original ratings to see whether there are skills you’re not yet very competent in. the greater the variety of job options open to you.open. List those here: Pause for thought What does this activity tell you? Are there any surprises or does it confirm your expectations? Either way. Look at the skills you scored most highly in and those you most enjoy. you can use the information when you come to consider alternatives. visit our website at www. To find out more.uk/careers 23 . but would like to develop. and that the wider the range of skills you have.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Summary Now add up all your total scores. 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.
a newspaper office.2. visit our website at www. some kinds of work have more to do with ALTRUISM and others with ECONOMIC or CREATIVE values. 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.6 What do I really want from work? Now that you’ve thought about who and where you are and the skills you have. the next step is to recognise what you’re satisfied with and what you’re dissatisfied with. independent action Change or variety in tasks. though. Try to use the full range of scores. study. developing skills Being part of an important organisation Having lots of stimulus.12 Rate the values below for importance. not to limit yourself by concentrating so much on restrictions that you achieve less than you might. think.open. handling things Taking risks. a local authority. 4 Very important 3 Important 2 Less important 1 Not important Description Making decisions. developing new ideas Activity. thrills Having influence or power over others Enjoying or making beautiful designs or things Getting promotion. keeping moving. In the same way. people. excitement.ac. as restrictions of one kind or another will limit everyone’s range of choice. career progression Helping or caring for others Concern for surroundings or location Being original. a financial institution and so on will each have a different ‘feel’ as a place to work.uk/careers . analyse Making friendly contacts with others Large income. This doesn’t mean that you can achieve everything you wish. Try to think through which would suit you best. expensive possessions Expressing ethical code or religious beliefs Using talents. places Scope to learn. a charity. 24 To find out more. It is important. a manufacturing company. Activity 1.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.
ac. Equally. visit our website at www. Too little About right Too much Clear boundaries A work situation where boundaries aren’t clear can cause uncertainty and conflict. We all have our own preferred level of demand. but it’s stimulating to have some change and variation in the work environment. for example) can be stressful. but on the other hand having a high level of responsibility (being a managing director. Too little About right Too much Opportunity for control Simple.7 How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? Activity 1.uk/careers 25 . Too little About right Too much Opportunity to use skills Most of us enjoy using and developing our skills and competence. 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 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. chatting over coffee or working in a team. but most of us get satisfaction from being with others. complicated demands repeatedly made on us can be stressful. Too little Adequate Well paid Variety Individuals differ in the amount of variety they prefer. Too little About right Too much Respect Most of us like to be thought well of and respected by others. Too little About right Too much Social contact Everyone’s need for contact is different.2. To find out more. repetitive. closely controlled work is generally far from satisfying. 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. consider the following. being in a tightly defined job can feel restricting. inadequate income causes many problems and dissatisfactions. targets to be achieved. Money Clearly.13 To complete your examination of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Note any ideas that occur to you.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Too little About right Too much Goals People function best when there are demands to be met. But having very high-level. challenges to rise to. Circle the level that applies to your present or most recent job.
it’s important that it should be fulfilling.uk/careers .ac. If your occupation is to ‘feel right’. agree with your beliefs in general and allow you to express your personality.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.open. perhaps discuss them with a confidant and if necessary modify them. Note your thoughts here. Any significant mismatch is likely to leave you feeling dissatisfied or stressed or becoming cynical about your job. visit our website at www.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. 26 To find out more.
15 Look through these kinds of work and consider whether you would like to carry each one out.uk/careers 27 . you also need to consider your interests.2. Assume that you could do the activity if you wanted to. Interests are to do with the things you find most appealing or enjoyable.open. You will have had experience of some of them. Tick Yes. Try to imagine whether you’d like doing the others or not. but only of your own preferences.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. 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.ac. visit our website at www. Activity 1. Not sure or No according to how you feel about each activity.8 What kind of work would I like to do? To help you decide on the kind of work you’d like to do.
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.ac.uk/careers .open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. visit our website at www.
39. 53 Questions 9. 49 Questions 5. 45. 52 Questions 8. visit our website at www.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. 31. 10. 38. 35.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. 12. 28. 17. 30. 11. 20. 43. 24. 27. 14. 36. 42. 40. 26. 19. 44. 34. 51 Questions 7. 33. 25. 32. 23. 48 Questions 4. 18. 13. 37. 47 Questions 3.open. 46 Questions 2. 15. 16. 54 To find out more. 21. 22. 41.ac. 50 Questions 6. 29.uk/careers 29 .
Activity 1. transport planner. management accountant. this is a reassuring confirmation and suggests that you should consider continuing in that or related work. The result may be no surprise. Access Prospects Planner via the Prospects website by logging on to: www.g. creative. doesn’t tell you what you should do. charity officer. the pattern may suggest a move to a different area of work. quality assurance manager. If so.g.g. primary teacher. Prospects Planner. interests. sales manager G Scientific/engineering/research and design e.uk/links/Pplanner First. electronics engineer. nor those that depend on performance skills such as acting.prospects. Use Section 2 of this workbook to help you research the results you have got in the above activities. interpreter I Operational/production/distribution e. you’ll need to register.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. If you have interests outside this ‘managerial scheme’.g. recruitment manager C Technical support e. production manager Write in your total score for each group. Before carrying on.g. like similar programs.ac. 30 To find out more.15 continued What your scores mean Your scores relate to different kinds of work activity: Score A Administrative/legal/secretarial e. do take account of them in considering your future.uk/careers .open.g. but it will give you a starting point to explore areas of work that may interest you. health service manager B Personnel/training/education e. librarian. even if in a different kind of organisation. playing a musical instrument. database administrator E Accounting/finance e. It might be that you work or have worked in your highest-scoring area and enjoyed it. Simply click on Login/Register in the My Prospects account box on the home page and go from there. tax inspector F Marketing/sales/purchasing e.g.ac.16 You may also find it useful to work through Prospects Planner. dancing. craft and natural environment areas. This is an online career-planning tool that will help you explore your skills. 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. It doesn’t include artistic.g. and motivations. laboratory technician D Data processing e. Alternatively.g. visit our website at www. IT consultant. The list of interests we’ve considered in this activity reflects common graduate and managerial areas of work. architect H Information/communication e. It will then match your profile with an occupational database to produce a list of job suggestions for you to consider. retail buyer.
you may want to look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. When you’ve done that.open.uk/careers 31 .ac. 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. 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. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Review Read through the results of your work and reflect on the notes you’ve made. Now complete the summary chart below.
organisational structure.open. 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. travel. visit our website at www.ac. such as location.uk/careers . etc.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. 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.
visit our website at www. which OU students can do by contacting your regional centre. You may prefer.uk To find out more. general and specialist skills analyses • Tactic 2: Finding your ideal job – includes a motivation assessment You can access the website at: www. It covers job roles at all levels of responsibility rather than those just at graduate level as covered by Prospects Planner. The content of Section 1 can provide a really useful starting point to an individual consultation with a careers adviser.ac.co.windmillsprogramme. good luck with the next step! Further resources Try these resources for developing self-awareness. You could take a look at the Windmills website. people. Windmills consists of seven stages or ‘tactics’.uk/careers 33 .uk/careers Whichever route you choose.open. 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. however. You may find it useful to complete this section before you book an interview.open. 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. 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. You need to register (free) to use it at: www.learndirect-futures.ac. This is a virtual career coach which teaches individual career-management skills.com Learndirect Futures is another career interestassessment website that generates job suggestions.
you will be able to focus much more accurately on what you need to do to achieve your goal.2 Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Exploring possibilities In this section 2. private and voluntary sectors. jobs and developments in sectors you’re interested in.1.1 A typical strategy A strategic approach pays dividends. • Get a general view before you start to draw up a shortlist. or for jobs that don’t fit your needs or meet your expectations.2 2. 2. • Do some research: find out how. 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.4 2. • Don’t forget that you need to review and evaluate your progress from time to time. and be prepared to ask for comments on how you’ve done. The local sawmill is likely to approach the task differently from a multinational advertising agency. so be organised and systematic. 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. • Build up a file of background information about companies. Always keep copies of your applications.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.open. If you haven’t yet got a clear picture of the kind of work or job you want to pursue. the only thing they might have in common is that they probably use an interview during the selection procedure. rather than carefully organised and systematic. A typical strategy means that you will: • Consider all the opportunities open to you: public.uk/careers 35 .ac. when. people’s job-seeking methods can be disorganised and inefficient. To find out more. work through Section 1 ‘Knowing yourself’ before going any further. As a result. visit our website at www. where and how often vacancies are advertised. Another key fact you need to understand is that different sectors and employers have their own traditional methods for recruiting. By planning your job-search strategy. What information they do have can often be based on personal experience or rumour. the recruitment process will be quite different.) Otherwise.3 2.1 2. It’s also important that you don’t spend valuable time applying for jobs where you have little chance of success. (In fact. So.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43 2. This means that you must be flexible enough to adapt your approach to the diversity of methods used by potential employers. • Look into and follow up all sources of information. We are assuming at this stage that you know what you want to do.
journalism or social work. As you research the main occupational areas that interest you. more adaptable to change. alumni.open. the better the choices you make will be. As large numbers of graduates enter an increasingly diverse range of jobs. employment seeking strategies have had to be flexible and responsive to the employment market.ac. there has been a development of new professional areas requiring graduate-level qualifications.1.1. look into trends in the area. This is still so.uk/links/ CSDSevenYears) grouped graduate jobs into five distinct categories: 1 Traditional graduate occupations Established professions for which a degree has historically been required. 2. It’s becoming apparent that it isn’t always the classification of the job that’s important. Research conducted by Elias and Purcell in 2004 (Seven Years On: Graduate Careers in a Changing Labour Market.2 Information Information is an essential tool in job hunting. • Get to know the main sources of information about careers and jobs.1 What is a ‘graduate’ job? One of the main reasons employers recruit graduates is that they expect them to be more flexible. websites. You can do this by exploring jobs in sectors on the Prospects website at www.open. useful company and sector contacts. specialist and general trade directories. look at the OU Career Links scheme where you can talk to a ‘career helper’ from the OU community at www. solicitors or research scientists. • Use a range of job-search methods. They’ll all have a bearing on employment. 2 36 To find out more. details of salary bands. press releases etc.uk/careers . and the more you know about each possibility. However. www. and capable of learning new skills. Modern graduate occupations Since the expansion of higher education in the 1960s. • If you are a student. sample advertisements. and ask yourself why. professional bodies. File copies of letters and applications and record the progress on each one. • Be prepared to persist. You need to find out as much as you can about the job(s) and the companies you’re applying to. • Acknowledge those who have helped you – quick telephone calls or thank-you notes may pay dividends. both on the number of people employed and on the work that they do. representatives from professional bodies. • Be realistic about the skills and experience you have and those you need to acquire. so that you can present yourself effectively. fellow students. and don’t forget to follow up useful contacts from job advertisements. regional representatives. • Set up a file of job information. but the nature of the graduate’s experience and aspirations.uk/links/SectorBs 2.2. job descriptions and person specifications. for example. • Use local career libraries. A high level of interactive and communication skills is usually required for these areas in addition to having received training in the specific area. it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define exactly what’s meant by a ‘graduate job’. 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. useful articles. for instance.prospects. for all graduate job-seekers and job-changers. The graduate has to be an expert in a very specific area.prospects. To review your progress: • Consider what appears to work and what doesn’t. relevant journals. and graduates are now entering a much wider range of jobs.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.ac. 2.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.ac. • Keep notes of your conversations.uk/careers/links • Personal contacts can be invaluable: tutors.ac. the graduate labour market boundaries are blurring. • Constantly reassess your assumptions about questions such as your mobility and your job preferences. visit our website at www. The fuller your awareness of the opportunities open to you.3 Review your progress Keep records of all contacts and applications you make. • Follow up this information by talking to professional careers advisers and people in the job areas that interest you.
visit our website at www.uk/links/wdgd and on the Teaching Quality website at www. marketing. Although we know that OU students start from a different point as many are working while they study. There are many instances of graduates in these occupations demonstrating their potential and developing their initial role to fit their skills.8 million SMEs in the UK and it is predicted that they will create a further 2 million jobs by 2010. 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.tqi. the data shows the unemployment figure for OU students from the 2003/4 survey to be 2. Niche graduate occupations This is an expanding area.ac. 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.2.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. At the beginning of 2002. According to the Graduate Experience 2002 Report (DTI.5 per cent.ac. For more information on SMEs go to: www. This data is published annually and can be seen at www.ac. Non-graduate occupations Increasing numbers of graduates don’t immediately enter the ‘graduate labour market’.prospects. environmental health).uk In 2004 unemployment among all students was 6.2 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. engineering. In fact.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3 4 5 New graduate occupations These reflect changes in technology and organisational structures and priorities. The ability to access and use specialist information is an additional skill for these areas. 2. nursing. retail management.open.uk/careers 37 . Many are in nongraduate jobs but using the skills that they have developed as a result of their studies. 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.prospects.ac. a growing proportion of graduates find their first jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).1 per cent six months after leaving. 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. graphic design. Barclays) only 14 per cent of respondents had a place on a graduate training scheme with a blue chip employer.
may not advertise so as not to be inundated with applications. • Investigate the possibility of employment through a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’. The best advice is to start as early as possible and be creative in your job search. which were discussed above in Section 2. Today’s labour market is increasingly diverse. • Think about doing voluntary work. This may give you an identifiable edge in the job market.3 Creative job search The career-review process isn’t something you do once and for all and then never do again. or talk to them in person.uk • Don’t forget the increasingly important nontraditional graduate recruiters (small and mediumsized enterprises – SMEs. 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.2).4 Finding vacancies When it comes to job vacancies. you need to play by a set of new rules. in that they are never even advertised! Often.ktponline. • 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. Be clear about what you’re offering to do. Consider what you can do for them.2.10). but don’t let them use you. See Section 2.5. and what benefits you hope to gain from the experience.2. Try to contact the person who makes the decisions and might be interested in your talents.9 and 2.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. how long for.ac. To succeed. it’s estimated that 7 out of 10 jobs are ‘hidden’. in times of recession.4. and to foster contacts. but prefers specific skills. • Use employment agencies. and customise them with a particular opportunity or employer in mind (see Section 4 ‘Getting the job’). including those in organisations you’ve already worked for (if any). 38 To find out more. So. You may want to ask to meet people.5. None of us can predict what kind of jobs might be available in the next few years. Consider temporary or part-time work to enhance your marketability. [Adapted from the AGCAS booklet Job Seeking Strategies] Pause for thought Ask yourself what you can take forward from these ideas. SMEs. a partnership between employers and higher education institutions – look at www. qualities and experience. • Don’t limit your marketing to letters of application. Learn how to use the telephone effectively – there’s some advice about this in Section 2. • Cultivate well-placed. What will your job search strategy look like? 2. in particular. skill development and knowledge of the industry or job area.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.4. • Develop an excellent CV and application letter.4. • Use the internet to research into companies and job vacancies. • Find out about getting appropriate training or study with work experience. In fact. Make sure they keep you in mind for suitable vacancies. 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 2.6 for details. 2.uk/careers . they are classified as either ‘open’ or ‘hidden’.1 Applying for hidden jobs Hidden jobs are produced: • by organisational changes that make old jobs obsolete and create new ones. knowledgeable people. • Find contacts in the sorts of organisation and job you’d really like. 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. how can you do a creative job search? Here are a few essential steps to get you started: • You need to ‘market’ yourself.open. visit our website at www.
Convince employers that you have exactly the skills they need to solve their business problems. • Look at company websites and find out more about them. Treat the employer as a client. reorganising. jobs and areas most appeal to you.4. Prove that they need your abilities and would benefit from your expertise. Familiarise yourself with its problems and needs. Remember. Offer dates and times. The effective job-seeker must tap the hidden market by making speculative approaches to prospective employers. 2. And be sure you can deliver the goods! • When you meet Be businesslike and professional in making your proposals. To find out more. com) • Specialist trade directories for different occupational areas. Consider what’s right for you and your ‘target’ area. and how you would improve. KOMPASS (www. technological and organisational change always affect employment patterns.open. Prepare for the meeting as you would for a job interview. Thompson Directory. It isn’t enough just to wait for jobs to be advertised in the media. • Consult the main directories in your local reference library. explaining what you offer and what you can do.g. advertising space and so on.ac. teaching. Check with the organisation to make sure that names. while decisions are being made about internal versus external recruitment campaigns. You’re not sending out a mail drop or a circular letter. perhaps to arrange a meeting through a secretary. there may be a possibility of employing you for a particular shortterm project. nor appropriate in some areas of employment. Which organisations have the sort of position that attracts you? Who is recruiting. • Always follow up If you hear nothing within two weeks of writing.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. This approach isn’t comfortable for some people for example. Turnover.uk/careers 39 .kompass. Does the profession you’re interested in produce one? Use www. job titles and addresses are correct. If a fulltime appointment isn’t practical. and concentrate on those. ac. Ask questions about the employer’s needs. Each approach must be tailor made and will take time to prepare. You’re not asking for a job or hoping there might be a vacancy. relocating? Use all your information sources and network contacts (which we will discuss in more detail below) to select a portfolio of companies. Get any agreements – proposals or contracts – in writing as soon as you can. Be prepared to negotiate. Speculative approaches can even create new jobs. You’re making a business proposition. even open jobs are hidden during the early stages.3 To make an effective speculative contact • Pick out likely targets Be discriminating and choose worthwhile prospects. Research the organisation. Marketing yourself means keeping ahead of the competition. for instance. • 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. sectors. 2. You decide which organisations.uk/links/occupations to see if there are any. develop or help it become more effective. Demonstrate that they can’t afford not to employ you. promotion and retirement continually create new job opportunities. visit our website at www. Be prepared to fit in with the employer’s availability. showing how your abilities can contribute to the success of the enterprise. selection dates. telephone call or email must reach the right person. Yellow Pages. follow up by telephone. Economic. • Give a specific reason for contact Have a peg to hang your letter on. • Get a meeting No one ever got a job merely by writing a letter.prospects. The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book. Be flexible. for example. show where you can fit in. You must prepare a thoroughly argued case to prove that the cost of employing you is more than outweighed by the benefits. Your letter.4. To get started try: • General trade directories e. You want a meeting: say so clearly when you write. This approach gives you the initiative. a very nervous jobhunter.
Make a note of advertising patterns in your local press.ac.uk/links/occupations 2.ac. as recruiters seldom place their advertisements more than once.open. you may be referred or recommended to another. visit our website at www.open. you may be offered a meeting. 21 per cent of OU students reported that they had got their job as a result of personal contacts and networking. Even if you have no luck with a particular employer. Guardian. trade and professional journals Professional associations Recruitment agencies Executive search firms In all these cases. telephone or email for an application form. start planning early in your job search. • Persevere Occasionally persistence will pay off and. 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.5 Applying for advertised jobs Many jobs are of course advertised and here we look at where. 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. Making speculative contacts can pay off in several ways. • develop further contacts to expand your network. 2. always follow the instructions given.prospects. August to mid-September and December. or none at all.uk/ careers and to the section entitled ‘Moving on’ and look at the ‘Advertised Jobs’ and ‘Virtual Employer Fair’ pages. Daily Telegraph.ac.4.5 below. 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. During holiday periods.4. the day on which most papers are sold. Show initiative by telephoning or emailing if you need to know more. after an initial refusal. You may have to do some detective work if the advertisement doesn’t give a telephone number. and responses may be slow and few. At the start. it may seem a little strange to seek out hidden jobs.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Take a long-term view It takes time to build up a mailing list. We will deal with networking in more detail in Section 2. Many employers send very poor information. and familiarise yourself with the kinds of advertisement placed in each paper. Financial Times) advertise certain kinds of work on particular days of the week. there’s no point in sending a CV. The big Sunday papers advertise a variety of jobs. especially in particular companies • get an introduction to a key decision-maker in a company. about the job advertised or the selection methods they use. For now. If you are an OU student. but their relatively high advertising rates tend to restrict the salary range to the higher end. The best place to consult newspapers and journals is your local library or online if you have access to the internet. At first. advertising is reduced. But experience supports the practical wisdom of doing so. You will find links to national and regional papers from www. Make a note of the advertising patterns: you will find that most of the quality daily papers (The Times.4 Networking In the 2003/4 Destination of Leavers Survey. Use these meetings to get more information about the job market. Remember every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’! • • • • • The internet Newspaper.4. Each employer you see is a new contact. If it says write.uk/careers . Local and regional papers sometimes concentrate their job advertisements on Thursdays. look for sources through www. Make the most of it. whom you can convince of your qualities as a candidate. 2.6 Replying to advertised jobs If you reply to an advertisement.thepaperboy. ‘Networking’ is the systematic use of personal contacts to: • gather information about an industry or company • discover hidden jobs. Here you will find links to jobs notified to the OU Careers Service and access to other UK wide and local vacancies. 40 To find out more. or to concentrate on particular companies just because they appeal to you. Independent.com 2. Because advertising in national newspapers is costly.7 Newspapers and journals You will find many job vacancies advertised in newspapers and specialist or trade journals.4. you may need to look at them every day. If you’re going to make speculative approaches. go to www. 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. Each rejection may be one step nearer to the job you want.
for example.com and in most major libraries. Addresses and other details are in the Directory of British Associations at www.ac. usually a percentage of your first year’s salary.4. They often act for small to medium-sized employers that have no personnel or recruitment departments of their own. the British Psychological Society and the Training and Development Agency for Schools.cbdresearch. Remember that it’s there to fill its clients’ posts.uk/careers 41 . 2. Many specialise in particular kinds of work or industry. and in some areas of employment (such as medical sales) they are almost the standard source of recruits. though. have a regional education or training officer and sometimes specialist careers adviser whom you can contact. Be clear.4. visit our website at www. Services are free to you – the employing company is charged a fee.8 Professional associations Many professional associations and institutions. about what the agency is offering you.9 Recruitment agencies Recruitment agencies tend to deal with lowerlevel salaried positions. To find out more. not to help you sort out your career plans.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.open. Some produce yearbooks and lists of members.
You can search for agencies by geographical location and by type of work from their website at: www. visit our website at www.11 The internet Most jobs are now advertised on the internet through national websites directly associated with particular careers. There are also opportunities to ‘post’ your CV on the web. • Contingency firms are paid only when the company hires someone they have presented. if the website’s main interest is simply to capture personal details and sell on a CV. As a result. or are marketable enough to fit something that might turn up in the future. They are of two main kinds: • Fee/assignment firms are given sole charge of a particular search. Further resources Look at the following website developed by Strathclyde University Careers Service which directs job seekers to vetted job websites. You can access this at: www. similarly.ac.4.uk/links/MyProspects 42 To find out more. send a CV and covering letter.badenochandclark. • Websites sometimes go online while still under development. The average search firm has only three or four consultants. or when commercial confidentiality is essential. Remember that: • Websites may not always deliver what they promise.uk. specialist IT skills. They receive enormous numbers of CVs and often don’t bother to acknowledge them. edited by Patricia Leighton. they prefer to receive a CV to judge whether you fit what they have on their books at that moment. 2. 2.rec. You can find this at: www. and your personal details may become public property. You could find yourself treated like a trading commodity. Some employers let more than one contingency firm work on a particular job. While they are important in the market place.com • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is the national association for the recruitment and staffing industry. They tend to be used for jobs that are at a high level or require scarce specialist skills for example.html You can also register free on My Prospects. You can find addresses of search firms in The Daily Telegraph’s Recruitment Handbook. They seldom divulge information about their clients.uk/graduatejobsearch/ index. Bear in mind that not all sites offer confidentiality.com Consultants often don’t share information with one another. Although some firms deal only with positions above £50. Most consultants limit interviews and initially are likely to carry out a telephone screening with you.open. published annually by Kogan Page.prospects. Sometimes contingency firms will distribute your CV widely in the hope of generating new business. 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. They may interview you and construct a pen picture to go with your CV. Always try to cross-check information. search firms may deal with a limited type of vacancy.ac. They get most of their fee whether the employer hires their candidates or not.4.ac. • It’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees – not everyone has a brilliant web designer. their role is limited by the high fees they charge to employers (typically 30–35 per cent of annual salary). they can be a useful source of information about how you were received by the client.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. As noted above. so if you apply to a large firm operating in many locations you need to send your CV to all of them. You can also receive the Prospects Graduate Digital magazine. Many sites change rapidly and there are no guarantees about the accuracy of the information displayed. If you decide to use a search firm.10 Executive search firms There are more than 200 executive search firms in the UK. and always include details of your former salary and the range you’re looking for. they’re worth considering if you have skills that are in short supply – accountancy is a particular example. Try to make sure you use vetted or recommended websites only to post your CV. Most graduate recruiters now recruit online as well as using other methods.careers.000.strath. If they send you to an interview they’ll want to know how things went. 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.uk/careers .
plan the format and content of your call: To find out more. 2. so try outside normal office hours if you can. all potential sources of information or advice. any business contacts you have. By telephone Your first approach is likely to be by telephone. Through building up a network of contacts. or to refer you to someone else who can. Some will be able to give you names of their Activity 2. or telephoning to follow up a contact you’ve been given or to make an appointment for an interview. own business contacts. Pause for thought Perhaps you feel uncomfortable about networking in this fashion. Be very succinct. tutors. tutors or people you’ve met through leisure interests. how do you build your network? Your primary contacts are people who know you directly. Put contacts at ease about this to avoid embarrassment.open. especially those in the function that interests you. Some people are natural and relaxed on the telephone. so that you don’t get confused over important details.1 Approaching your contacts You need to decide how you will approach your contacts. even after years of practice. or they may lead to other secondary sources. Even if these people can’t help you themselves. These secondary contacts can act as a bridge between you and the decision makers in the companies you’re interested in. they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. conversation and so on. are stilted and anxious. Think what they can do for you: • keep you informed • comment on your strategy and approach. They may not have the job openings you want.1 Building up a network Draw up a list of everyone who might be able to help you – friends. 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. information and ideas. so it’s difficult to judge what impression you’re making. 2. Your network of contacts can include friends.5.ac. what is appropriate for the area of work and what might be effective. You don’t get the usual clues from nods. but they can become your publicity agents and your information sources. Unease usually arises from the misconception that using contacts means asking people for jobs. telephone call. Make a note in your career file of your list of contacts.5.2 Using the telephone effectively You may be making a speculative call.5 Building a network of contacts Personal contacts can be a fantastic source of help in your job search. relatives. keep a record of each letter. the impression you make • get you noticed. Most people will be only too glad to help.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. Getting the approach right is important. what you’re doing is making the most of them as sources of advice. Others. To take some of the stress out of the situation. A number of methods are possible but you need to decide what is right for you. fellow students. you may be able to discover: • • • • • a company’s competitive position whether it’s in a state of growth. As you work towards developing and extending your network. Be persistent. visit our website at www. In fact.uk/careers 43 . family. former colleagues. It’s often difficult getting through to someone during the day. smiles and so on. Busy managers are usually in early and late. stability or decline its working climate and culture its business strategy the background of key managers. voluntary work or casual part-time jobs. So.
44 To find out more. considering what further preparation you need at this point. you might find it helpful to look again at the advice in Section 2-3 ‘Creative job search’. • Offer your telephone number or email in case of a change in arrangements.ac. • Try to avoid being interviewed over the phone unless this is pre-arranged.) > How do my strengths match the needs? > Plan which of my strengths/ accomplishments I am going to mention. They will respect you more and be more prepared to help if they have evidence of your professional approach. and there’s a lot to cover in twenty minutes. prospects for development/training/promotion). Pause for thought Meetings need to be well planned and purposeful.g. 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. Whilst this person won’t necessarily be familiar with a specific company. 2. • Introduce yourself succinctly. > Re-read the advice in Section 4 about job applications and interviews. > List which issues I want to investigate (e. possible openings. Other people have their own agendas. Before reading on. using published sources. 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. (A discussion with an ex-employee could be particularly revealing.uk/careers/links Pause for thought Building a network of contacts plays a key part in creative job search.5. For a productive meeting. (Think about what sort of help the company may need. journal and newspaper stories).5. It was produced by one of the students who tried out this pack before publication and was preparing to approach a particular company. • Get the contact interested straight away – make notes beforehand of what you want to say.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • If they have a secretary. • State the objectives of your call.open.g.uk/careers . to get a ‘feel’ for the culture. • Clarify the exact place of the appointment. they are likely to have general knowledge about making contacts. • Suggest times and dates for an appointment. political battles. trading problems/ opportunities (for me).4 Career Links As an OU student. you can register with Career Links. and how I am going to present myself. • 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. you need a carefully planned agenda. • Use the name of the referral source discreetly. get their full name if you can. Make sure that you’ve done your research thoroughly.ac. and to read the following example. preferably decision-makers for your kind of job who you can ask about opportunities in the industry. as follows: > Carry out more research on the company (e. and decided on further preparation. etc. > Talk again to contacts. visit our website at www. exposure to risk. before you talk to your contacts. You can access career links at: www. 2.open. • Get to the point quickly – treat it like a minicommercial for yourself. I set up an appointment with her.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.) – Put myself in the shoes of my prospective boss.
charityjob. To find out more. Includes non graduate jobs on this site www.gov.ac.com Job Centre vacancies are online at www.org. outline how you tackled it and state what results you got.prospects. you may find the following websites helpful for exploring opportunities to work with charities and voluntary organisations: Charity Job www.ac.uk Community Service Volunteers www.) 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 Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) www.uk Do-it-: search this database for a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the UK.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Note in your career file what preparation you want to make at this point.org. If you are a student.crsearch. 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.open.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. 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.co. • 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. Local centres seek to place people into suitable voluntary work – meals on wheels.) Dates Salary Copies of references • The first paragraph is crucial.org.connexions-direct. etc. For example.uk The European Volunteer Centre www.uk/careers.thepaperboy.do-it.cev.jobcentreplus. A speculative letter will need many drafts in order to polish it.5.htm lists member organisations for EU countries including the UK and Ireland.org. Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ offers advice to help you with the practical side of drawing up a letter to accompany a CV. Go to www.employeevolunteering.vso. Your letter must list accomplishments that correspond to these reasons. Use it to mention an achievement related to the job you’re seeking and strike a chord of need in the reader.csv. ac. grammar and layout.uk Search facility with links to regional. visit our website at www. In addition. 2.org.5.uk Citizens Advice www.co.5 Drawing up your letter When it comes to drawing up a letter. describe a relevant problem. 2. You will also find links to professional bodies and related sites from the ‘Broad Career Areas’ within the above site.jobs. From here you can link to the various volunteer bureaus for your areas of the UK www.lgjobs.uk along with links to information about New Deal initiatives. etc. national and international newspapers www. Be critical over matters of style.citizensadvice.com/uk/ Local Government Jobs at www. etc.ac. • Get someone else to check your spelling.uk Charity People www. hobbies.be/members.co. and prune ruthlessly.uk Employee Volunteering www. Further resources For further information and resources go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www.charitypeople. membership.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.uk CR Search and Selection www.open.com allows you to search by occupation and location.uk/careers 45 .
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
but there’s more to do.ac.2. It was produced by someone who wanted to apply for promotion. visit our website at www.open. 50 To find out more. 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. Each restriction is set against a helping resource. What actions would help you to make the most of them? Minimise restrictions Now look at the restrictions you underlined.uk/careers . Activity 3.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3. 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. 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. giving a balanced picture of the situation. What actions would help you to reduce their effects? You’ve now listed actions you can take towards your goals. The next activity will help with this.3 Look first at the example below.3 Balance helpful resources against restrictions Now look back to the restrictions and resources you listed.1 are the most important? Underline them.
To find out more. ‘No experience of managing budgets’ was listed as a problem.open.3 continued Bring actions and resources together List the resources that can help you to carry out each step.uk/careers 51 . visit our website at www. Look at the example.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 3. You should also be clear about the main helping forces and problems you need to deal with. 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. 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.ac.
Ask yourself. If you monitor your progress by checking your plan from time to time you can identify what you have achieved. after doing that. time based). ‘Is it realistic?’ If it isn’t. with all its potential for improvement and advancement.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3.windmillsprogramme. You might need to gain experience or qualifications.1 Back-up plan You should always try to have a back-up plan. but you’re setting out on a potentially exciting journey. realistic.open.3 Plan of action The next stage is to bring everything together into a detailed plan of action. This process will involve making a number of decisions. try the learndirect activity at: www. Put a note in your diary or ask someone to remind you.learndirect-advice.uk/careers and find ‘Action Planning and Decision Making’ using the ‘A-Z’. If you want to plan your career effectively.uk/careers . 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. You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations. gather information or get access to a particular resource. Review At this stage it might be useful to read through the work you’ve done in this section. 52 To find out more.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. 3. 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 perhaps discuss your plans either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. To achieve what you want. you still find that you’re unable to reach your goal.3. If.g. achievable. you are going to amass a lot of information from which you will need to identify realistic options and create suitable goals. This means taking a few different steps: • Setting out your goals (long. information. you’ll have to revise it. 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. visit our website at www. Set aside time to review your goals and see how you are progressing. Once you’ve done this.ac. 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. keep an eye on progress and adapt your plan if necessary.open.com Action plans need to be SMART (specific.ac. You could also look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. measurable.co. you might have to reconsider it. finance. and then revise your targets if necessary. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life. you’re ready to start taking action. Further resources Look at the careers website at: www. You may need to improve it or change it completely. So. To discover what kind of decision maker you are. 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.
visit our website at www. weekly Find someone else keen to do it To find out more.open.Activity 3.ac.g.4 Showing a worked example of an action plan Look at the worked example below.uk/careers Tomorrow Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 53 . then fill in your own plan on the following page. 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.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.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 54 Actions required Constraints Resources.4 Your action plan To find out more.uk/careers My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal .ac. visit our website at www.open.who or what can help me? Target date for actions Activity 3.
uk/careers 55 .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.open. visit our website at www.ac.
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’.’’ Carl Gilleard.3 4. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage.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. Confederation of British Industry.uk/careers 57 .1 What do employers look for in graduates? ‘‘A degree alone is not enough.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 4.4 4. Director-General. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Getting the job In this section 4. 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.ac.2 4.open. 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.5 4. Chief Executive. In addition to working hard to gain a good degree.1 4. teamworking and problem solving.’’ Digby Jones. it shows you how these specific skills can be developed: To find out more. They particularly value skills such as communication. Table 4. Together they make up what is referred to as ‘employability skills’. 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.6 4. visit our website at www. Equally importantly perhaps.
co-operative. deliverer Caring responsibilities. multi-skilled Business acumen – entrepreneurial. sport. drive. web design skills.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Table 4. trustworthy. coordinating others Self-reliance skills Self-awareness – purposeful. persistent. adviser.g.ac. member of orchestra. able to prioritise People skills Team working – supportive. IT Technical skills – e. AGCAS. guide/scout leader. NVQ qualification. travel. organised. language skills. sales Source: HECSU. work experience OU study. risk taker IT/computer literacy – office skills. relationship-builder. accounting. voluntary work. assertive Oral communication – communicator. journalism. roles within work e. 58 To find out more. Proactivity – resourceful. work and education OU study. languages. energetic. diplomatic Foreign language – specific language skills General employment Problem-solving – practical. focused. caring. coordinator. Involvement in community groups. planner. ambitious Networking – initiator. UCAS and AGR Roles within the home – budgeting. fundraising for charity. realistic Interpersonal skills – listener. competitive. keyboard skills. self-belief. results skills orientated Flexibility – versatile.1. engineering.open. logical. willing. work responsibilities in a team. first aid at work qualification. software packages Numeracy – accurate. visit our website at www. influencer Leadership – motivator. visionary Customer orientation – friendly. Roles within your working situation. methodical Commitment – dedicated. enthusiastic Self-promotion – positive.g.uk/careers . use of IT. motivated. presenter. conscientious Specialist skills Specific occupational skills – specialist relevant knowledge. self-reliant Willingness to learn – inquisitive. European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).g. resourceful Planning action – decision-maker. Roles within the home – planning. e. 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. quick-thinker.
• Prospects What opportunities are there for advancement in this job? The employer may be looking for evidence of your willingness and ability to progress. ‘What would you like to know about us?’ Be ready to highlight your suitability for the post. qualifications and personal qualities. Look at your advertisement and analyse it under these headings: • Style and language What’s the general style of the advertisement – formal. ‘committed self starter’ could imply that there’ll be little supervision. low key. • Salary Usually a good guide to the level of qualifications and experience required. What are you looking for.2 Matching vacancies You’ve seen a vacancy advertised that you’d like to apply for.ac. (It might help to refer to Section 1. but be prepared when you do. 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 try and match yourself to the requirements of the job to judge whether or not you want to apply for it. Find out what this will mean in practice. You may have to motivate yourself with little support or encouragement. For example.1 Matching the requirements Once you’ve analysed your advertisement.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook The requirements an employer sets out in a job advertisement are likely to be much more specific. 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. 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. before finding out more about the position. and be honest about whether your personality and needs match what the employer wants. but may also mean that no training is provided. or even in the face of resistance. 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.2. They’re usually set out under headings such as experience. do you need a driving licence. as the contact will form an impression of you from the very beginning. visit our website at www. ‘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. The advert should specify what the employer is looking for. attention seeking? What does this tell you about the organisation? What is the vocabulary used to describe the organisation – ‘dynamic’. Analyse each noun and adjective for its implications. 4.) To find out more. • Location and geographical mobility How far would you travel each day? Would you consider moving house? If you need to travel around. First of all you need to read between the lines. 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. If the opportunities seem limited. Remember to use this evidence when you apply for jobs! If you don’t shout about it. it’s important to see how you can use it to develop your skills and experience. you need to analyse the information you already have. Now you want to make sure you have a ‘match’. flamboyant. so you need to consider how you can show that you meet the requirements. even a brief newspaper advertisement can reveal a great deal of useful information. nobody will do it for you! 4.uk/careers 59 . Rehearse your introduction and be prepared for the question. As we show here.open. So. but you have to be aware of the going rate for that occupation.
and the second column shows how a candidate would provide evidence of having the necessary experience. as it helps you to focus on the important aspects as you complete your application form or prepare a CV. Ability to work on own e. Example Vacancy: Fundraiser for Scottish Wildlife Preservation Society Analysis of key requirements Experience Numeracy e. > I have worked unsupervised as a treasurer for a local Residents Association for two years and have always met deadlines for reports. This is a useful way of approaching any job advert. 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.g.open.uk/careers . > I am an avid reader and subscriber of the Warbler and make regular contributions to this national magazine. From recent employment. Marketing knowledge > Temporary job (with full induction and training) over two summer holidays as a market research interviewer. > Responsible for assessing potential expenditure in terms of value for money and taking appropriate action to ensure this is achieved. > I have also organised and facilitated presentations to local schools and governors using a variety of media. tutorials and revision alongside a part-time job and voluntary work.ac. > Marketing module completed as part of my degree studies (12 months) – identifying. > As a part-time student I have worked within a thirty-two week study calendar and managed a weekly workload of reading. Here the key experience requirements are listed. assignments. My evidence 60 To find out more. Treasurer of Residents’ Association: > Draw up budget bids or plans within agreed guidelines and procedures for submission to internal and external bodies. Interest in wildlife e. > Worked in Windows based environment for numerous holiday jobs – secretarial role.g.g. visit our website at www. > I am a regional fundraiser for BTCV and the PDSA.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Look at the following example. current part-time study. Keyboard skills > Self-taught packages in order to produce a dissertation for my degree. anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. Presentation skills > I have used Power Point to present information on the decline of local bird populations to a community group and to councillors. > I work alternate Sundays at the local animal hospital as a volunteer.
10 below.uk/careers.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4.uk.prospects. look at the occupational information on the Prospects website: www. values.uk/links/occupations Whichever way you choose. Alternatively. try to produce evidence of your suitability against each point. You should also take a look at Section 4.ac. interests.ac. Vacancy/job description: Analysis of key requirements My evidence If you are an OU student.ac.jobs. If you don’t have a specific one in mind you might look in a careers publication or website such as www. To find out more. visit our website at www. you can also try the ‘Job Analysis Activity’ on the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www. note down in the left-hand column the key characteristics and requirements of your selected vacancy. These kinds of activities are really helpful in preparing for the completion of application forms or for producing your CV.open. ask yourself: • Does the work genuinely interest me? • Does it match my personality. Go to the section ‘Personal and Career Development’ from the site map.open.uk/careers 61 .1 Begin by looking at an advert or job description for a position that interests you. In the right-hand column. 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.4.ac.
because many large employers now optically scan applications to enter them into their recruitment databases.3.uk/careers . • If there isn’t enough space for factual information (e.2 Filling in your form • Complete all sections of the form. ‘Give names. an NHS Trust). If you haven’t looked at employers’ application forms for some time. you may be surprised at the probing nature of some of the questions they ask. If you do. • If there isn’t enough space for general interest information (e. If you’re asked to submit an application form.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. Often – but not always – you’re told that you may also enclose a CV. think of: 62 To find out more. and not only for senior jobs. • Many larger employers ask you to complete an online application. • Be sure to answer all the elements of each question (e. don’t send a CV instead. attach a separate sheet. unless you’re told that you must not attach any other papers.1 Before you start your application form • Find out as much as you can about the vacancy and the organisation. most large organisations now make their forms available online (which can save you time and postage). Keep the following points in mind when it comes to completing an application form: • The purpose of a completed application form.g. This means that on an initial read through they may spend as little as two minutes looking at your form. Bear in mind that employers often receive a lot of forms. write ‘N/A’ or ‘Not applicable’ to show that you haven’t overlooked it.2 . We suggest you contact the employer for advice on how to approach this. the kind of person the organisation wants to employ. to clarify your points. • Make a photocopy of the blank form (or print it from the screen) and use it for your rough draft. If a question doesn’t apply to you.g. visit our website at www.g. • 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. Layout can help – consider using bullet points.3 Application forms Application forms come in all shapes and sizes.open. • Your aim is to convince the employer that you’re worth interviewing – you appear to be a suitable candidate for the job and.3. if possible. Use it effectively to include or to emphasise information that you think is relevant and isn’t allowed for on the form. Being able to write succinctly is evidence of your written communication skills. • Don’t cram sections too full. OU students can access this on the Careers Advisory Service website. underlined topic headings. 4.3. the space allowed for each question indicates its relative importance. 4. so it is crucial that you sell yourself effectively. also. Look for ‘online applications’ in the ‘A–Z’. Ask the organisation for more details and. • Remember that presentation can be as important as content. it shouldn’t just repeat what’s on your form. Convince them that they need to see you. visit a career service or large library to look for other information.g. ‘What are your spare time activities.ac. Some are designed for recruiting people for a particular function or training scheme (e. addresses and dates of all previous employers’). etc. the principles for completing application forms are very similar. graduate engineer). You must keep to the prescribed format. Whatever format they come in though. You may find the Select Simulator useful for practising completing online forms. 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. • Comply with instructions such as using black ink or block capitals. • When answering extended (multi-part) or difficult questions. like a CV or a speculative letter. You can also research online. • Usually. what do you contribute and what do you get out of them?’). is to get an interview. as that makes them difficult to read. as most organisations will have comprehensive information on their websites. When completing online forms you may find that some of your experiences do not fit neatly into the categories provided. • Read through the whole form before you fill in any of the sections.g. Most are intended for a wide variety of posts in the organisation (e. In fact.
• Use an envelope of suitable size so that the form isn’t folded. another someone you’ve worked for who can write about you as an employee. ask someone else to look over your application before you send it. You’ll rarely find the perfect application form that exactly suits your background and experience. ‘I worked as a volunteer classroom assistant for three years’ rather than ‘I love children’). 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. Be positive and honest. Some jobs may require subject-specific knowledge (e. Look at Section 6 if you are or have been an offender. Generalised waffle convinces no one. to be a teacher) while some put emphasis on transferable skills (which you dealt with in Section 1. 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. for several applications. Give evidence and avoid bland generalities (e. interests and skills the employer is looking for) Make your points relevant. You can often use the same material.g. 4. They can help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. It is up to you to pick these out from your own experience so that you can present this on an application form.3. • Make a note of the job you’ve applied for. one should be an academic referee. If you want to do this in a more structured way. Leave no unexplained gaps in your employment record.2. in your use of personal pronouns).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. ideally get someone else to check rather than relying on a spell checker. Inaccuracy in one section can raise doubts about other areas of the form. Make sure you’ve been consistent in style (e. Always send it by first class post. the name and address of the person you sent the form to. visit our website at www. • Look over the presentation. give their full titles and status.g. These may have been expressed as learning outcomes.3 Skills you have attained as an OU student As an Open University student. Usually. 4.g. • Make a copy of your completed form so that you can re-read it before the interview.ac.5 above) and some look for a mixture of both. with a little editing. Make the most of these skills as well as your academic success. If appropriate.ac. flexibility and time management skills. go to the sections on ‘Personal and Career development’ and ‘Moving on’. Use the ‘any other information’ section to draw attention to activities and qualities not covered elsewhere on the form. working odd hours. Your regional centre can provide you with a confidential reference – name the Regional Director as the referee. You’ll need to adapt your answers to the questions you find. You may be able to look back at the course descriptions To find out more. say so.open. but mention any part-time or voluntary work you did during that period. If you’ve been unemployed. If you are a student. and keep them well briefed so that they can write supportive references.open. If you’re applying for a job related to your degree subject.uk/careers 63 . interesting and personal (say ‘I’.uk/careers. not ‘we’). dealing with members of the public.4 When you’ve completed the form • Check it thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. Get your referees’ agreement before giving their names. and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied and pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop. Every employer values determination. If possible. you can stress the personal qualities and skills that OU study demands. working under pressure. handling money.g. Be convincing. Practise answering the typical questions in the next activity. It’ll also take some of the tedium out of tackling other forms. give fuller details of your course than you would if it’s not particularly relevant. Use positive language.3. Learning outcomes will give you some help in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. Tailor your responses to the post you’re applying for. or not more than once. and the date you sent it. there are a number of resources in the Careers Advisory Service website at www. self-discipline.
There is 180mm space available on the form to influence the selectors.’ ‘what you did’ and ‘results’. your ambitions and aspirations. events or experiences that have influenced you.1 and consider answers based on the evidence you’ve already gathered. drafts and fine tuning.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. This section will tell them more about you as an individual than any other part of the form. Question 3 Write a short autobiography. All are genuine questions from graduate application forms used by large companies. Every word should justify its inclusion. You’ll need a lot of time.ac.2 Read the sample questions below. Question 1 On the first page of this application you stated a preference for a particular job or function. Look back at the answers you gave to Activity 1. Go for key points and give evidence from your record.’ ‘organised. Remember to cover ‘planned. There is 80mm space available on the form. the people. Explain why we should select you ahead of other candidates. Tell us what you did and how you achieved results. There is 30mm space available on the form to show that you understand what the job involves and what you have to offer. Include such details as your achievements and responsibilities. Question 2 Outline any activities you have planned and organised.uk/careers . Don’t forget that you can ask a careers adviser for advice on what to include in your application. visit our website at www. 64 To find out more.open.
4.) And you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter. Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements. In addition.uk/careers Alternatively. 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 more information on CVs. 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). go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website and choose the ‘Moving on’ section if you are a student at: www. You can tailor the style.4 – 4. 4. some job areas have expectations that a particular kind of CV is submitted. look at what the expectations might be.7 below. 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). Instead. Bear this in mind when you design your own CV. as well as the work I want? There’s no right or wrong way to write a CV. When researching jobs. you need to make a decision about the kind of CV to use as most employers will not specify.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.uk/careers 65 . look at: www.4. Whichever format you choose. To find out more.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. For most jobs. Most people tend to prefer one style over the others (though as you will see. However. The right one is the one that works for you in your situation and succeeds in getting you interviews. This is only likely to work if you always apply for the same function in several very similar organisations. a financial institution or a local authority might have an adverse effect.4 The curriculum vitae (CV) Like an application form. 4. so you have more control over the impression it will create. and what to leave out or minimise. not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies you found in the Yellow Pages.open. (So you may in fact be doing just that. it’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you. an academic CV is used mainly for applying for academic posts).open. your CV doesn’t need to conform to a set format.uk/links/CVwriting We also show you sample CVs in Sections 4. So. 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. When you have work experience that is directly relevant. but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual company. it is useful to highlight this in a separate section as it draws attention to it. content and design to show off your strengths and present you in the most positive light. for tips and example CVs. Be prepared then to spend a considerable amount of time on creating and reworking an effective document. some professions. when it comes to preparing your CV.ac.4. For example.2 What style of CV? The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation it’s addressed to.4. 4.4. visit our website at www. such as the legal profession. it should be flexible enough to allow modification to match the job you’re seeking.prospects.ac. For instance. 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. prefer CVs in a chronological format.ac. To use the same approach for. a CV is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you. say.1 The importance of tailoring your CV However. 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. You want to make sure that you present yourself positively and accurately. The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight.
The chronological CV Malcolm Lewis 16 London Road Portsmouth PO9 6AL Tel. your job title(s).com Profile An experienced. • It has for many years been recognised as a standard approach to CVs. As a result. • It allows prospective employers to see very quickly how an individual has progressed and increased responsibility. if you’ve changed jobs frequently. looking for an opportunity to take on wider responsibilities within the industry.4 The chronological CV You are probably most familiar with a chronological CV. it can suggest instability and will require explanation – particularly if you’ve changed profession or career direction. beginning with the most recent. it isn’t always easy to spot key achievements or skills which might get ‘buried’ under different job titles. the disadvantages to a chronological CV are that any gaps in your employment stand out.4. the period you were employed. highly motivated CIMA professional with in-depth knowledge of the financial services and strong team-working skills./fax 01903 562366 email mcrlewis@wizard. visit our website at www. showing the name of each employer. This lists jobs by date. The advantages of a chronological CV are: • It can be very easy to produce. responsibilities and key achievements.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. In addition.open. where you worked. with a chronological CV. 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.uk/careers . However.ac.
Physics. History. 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. handled cash Education 2001–2005 The Open University 1995–2000 The Open University Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Professional Diploma in Management. French Training 1990–95 Passed all stages of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants examinations Various short professional courses In-house interviewing.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.ac. English.uk/careers 67 .open. staff appraisal course Additional skills IT skills: competent in the use of Microsoft Office and SAGE financial management software. 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. interviewed clients. Chemistry. visit our website at www.
Cambridge 1999 to present Quality Assurance Coordinator (2000) Quality Assurance Auditor (1999) Responsible for – all quality control. This facilitated a faster. Career orientated.uk/careers . • Formulated new and improved existing food products. • You can group different achievements together to match the job that you are applying for. Keen to find a challenging position that offers long-term potential in quality assurance and/or new product development. as demonstrated by successful completion of my degree by part-time study while employed full time.open.4. more accurate means of inspection. analytic. 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. highly organised and energetic. Contributed to the development of a new line of Polish foods for wholesale distribution. The system alerts operators when to change the process parameters without disturbing production flow. Capable of achieving personal objectives. Its advantages are: • It can highlight your skills rather than job changes. a functional CV allows you to place more emphasis on relevant strengths and experience from earlier periods. research and development and creation of new products. Achievements • Analysed the quality assurance system at Continental Kitchens Ltd. resulting in significant improvement in overall sanitation. 01788 529445 email: Sandra@hotmail.com Skill profile A graduate biologist with strong food industry experience in quality assurance.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. making recommendations for new procedures which led to an entirely new quality control system.5 The functional CV A functional CV focuses attention on your skills and achievements. • If your current or most recent experience isn’t related to the position you’re applying for. visit our website at www. This kind of CV shows that you’re conscious of the demands of the prospective employer and of what you have to offer. • 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. saving £200K annually. presented according to the function or responsibilities you’ve undertaken rather than according to individual jobs. 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. Experience CONTINENTAL KITCHENS LTD. with a clear and concise vision of future objectives. Goal orientated.
Mathematics (D) 8 GCSEs Grove Comprehensive School Leicester 1986–1992 Additional information After ‘A’ levels. particularly scuba diving. I took time out of work to raise a family. 01223 599886 Regional Director The Open University in the East of England 12 Hills Road Cambridge. I have been interested in watersports since school.open. I took a ‘year out’ to travel the world and consider my future. My other interests include cycling and mountaineering. 01233 364721 To find out more. 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).ac. Full driving licence Referees Mrs Joan Whitaker Director of Quality Assurance Continental Kitchens Ltd 12–16 London Road Cambridge. On return to Britain. CB2 1PF Tel. visit our website at www. From 1995–99. CB10 3QY Tel. I gained employment as a research technician and applied to study part time with The Open University. 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.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. 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).uk/careers 69 .
with the skills required and the evidence of them clearly laid out at the beginning. believing that this is the key to achieving worthwhile results.ac. I have been responsible for cultivating a spirit of teamwork and cooperation. • You can lead the reader in the direction you want to go – your skills and achievements. BSc.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. effort and skill that implies. Most candidates for managerial posts use this format. have been essential to the success of my section. London. • It is more likely to catch the reader’s interest. No less important has been my ability to express myself clearly and effectively both face-to-face and on paper. • You can adapt it to suit the job you’re after without sacrificing quality. and in Principles of Social and Educational Research.open.1 Courses chosen to obtain recognition by the British Psychological Society. combined with organisational sensitivity and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. autonomy and judgement. devising questionnaires and analysing data. Hons. visit our website at www. 70 To find out more.6 The targeted CV A targeted CV is even more closely matched to the needs of a particular employer. It has to change to match each job. like the functional CV. Distinctions obtained in Social and Cognitive Psychology. whilst working in a team. followed by the details. in projects and reports. The work involves planning.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. in Biology: Brain and Behaviour. I have to be able to prioritise work within both strict financial and time constraints and ensure that others do too. this one isn’t easy to prepare. The Targeted CV Vigla Kozlowski ADDRESS: 45 Longhurst Avenue.4. Sound judgement. with all the time. implementation and evaluation of new systems and their effect on staff at all levels. I thrive on the challenge of change. N10 8EP TELEPHONE: 020 8887 5131 EMAIL: Vkozlowski@wizard. 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. 2.uk/careers . 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. Skill profile A Coordinator: As a project manager currently working simultaneously on a range of demanding projects. My main research topic involved interviewing a wide cross-section of both adults and children in small groups and on an individual basis. and to resolving potentially disruptive differences of opinion. A Participant: An Individual: An Enthusiast: Education 1987–1994 The Open University. making sure that I always fulfil my function and deliver to deadlines. It combines elements from both the chronological and the functional CV. The disadvantages are that. This experience has shown me the importance of good interpersonal and communication skills. Both my work as a nurse and in banking has demanded a high level of personal responsibility. The advantages are: • It focuses straight away on your strengths. dates and so on.
Referees Names available on request. Lloyds Bank. pay and pensions. Dbase IV and Q&A databases and word-processing using Word 2000 and Word NT • Interviewing • Psychological test administration and interpretation • Car owner. Finchley Road. during my training I realised that this career was not for me. This involves initial discussions with individuals and. Personnel Assistant – Personnel administration. record keeping. Full. I would now like to broaden my experience into personnel in a large retail organisation. clean driving licence. • I spend one evening a week as a volunteer tutor with a literacy project. so I decided to train at the local hospital. Biology (D). Section leader with responsibility for the work of six staff who report directly to me. I decided to apply for a job and combine this with part-time study with The Open University. However. Chemistry (D) Training 1992 1987 IPM Certificate in Personnel Practice Lloyds Bank short in-house course in Personnel Management. Banking attracted me because it offered a structured training and a wide range of opportunities within each department.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1979–1983 Parsifal Comprehensive.ac. handling cash. visit our website at www. Lloyds Bank. Work experience 1992 to date. Recruitment Officer – Recruitment interviewing. working with adults on a one-toone basis and in small groups.uk/careers 71 . London Three ‘A’ levels: English (C). Activities and interests • I am teaching myself to play the saxophone and enjoy getting together with my friends for musical improvisation. As I had enjoyed the studying and wanted to further my academic studies in a related subject. working with the personnel of companies and other institutions with a financial interest in the company’s future. To find out more. North London Hospital. in charge of four staff. Counter Clerk – Responsible for serving customers. 1989–1992 1987–1989 1986–1987 1983–1986 Additional skills • Sound working knowledge of Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. Business Loans Section Responsible for assessing loan applications and making loan decisions.open. Student Nurse Although I could have gone to university when I left school I had always wanted to be a nurse. three staff. frequently for larger loans. • I keep fit by swimming and running regularly each week. Lloyds Bank. Lloyds Bank.
7 The academic CV For academic jobs in universities. In presenting your research. and physiology.’ Modules studied included: tolerance and autoimmunity. haemopoietic cell differentiation and malignancies. oncology. such as communication.’ Modules studied included: cell biology. Jordan and Dr. USA. 07900 543 21 E-mail: h. D. visit our website at www. 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. • If you are a postgraduate or research student who is applying for a job outside academia.uk/careers . Systematically investigated the role of soluble mediators and adhesive interactions in the survival of neutrophils following transendothelial migration. skills or targeted CV.mcarthur@yahoo. This was a broad-based degree in biochemistry with the second year spent studying at Oregon State University. analysis and working to deadlines. genetics.uk EDUCATION The Open University .BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (first class) 1998– 2001 Dissertation project: ‘Autoimmunity: A genetic perspective.ac. These CVs place more emphasis on the subject matter of the degree and/or research and on the knowledge and achievements gained.open. University of Salford . University of Manchester .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. immunology. Milton Keynes.MSc in Immunology (distinction) 2001– 2002 Dissertation project: ‘Neutrophil spontaneous apoptosis is mediated through the acid sphingomyelinase dependent generation of ceramide.co. Because of this. You should also include three referees rather than two. • Remember to include examples of the skills that you have developed through your research. it is expected that candidates (for academic jobs such as lecturer and postdoctoral research posts) will produce an academic CV. transplantation biology and cell adhesion. Identified phenotypic alterations in T-cell subpopulations following migration through an endothelialfibroblast bilayer. validated and implemented a “novel” assay to investigate leukocyte migration and survival.PhD in Medicine 2002–2005 Thesis Title: The regulation of leukocyte migration away from the subendothelial compartment. Supervisors: Professor R. academic CVs are often longer than other types of CV. 72 To find out more. 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. Remember to emphasise the transferable skills that you have developed in undertaking higher level study. James Project synopsis: Adapted. depending on what you are applying for. you should consider a chronological. microbiology.4. The Academic CV Hilary Michelle McArthur 18 Poole Avenue. MK6 3DY Tel. you should do this without using any subject-specific jargon so that it is understandable to the employer.
To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook RESEARCH EXPERIENCE AND TECHNICAL SKILLS • Development of static adhesion and migration assay. J.M. Jones.M...uk/careers 73 .. J.. Ceramide rich lipid rafts and acid sphingomyelinase activity are required for spontaneous neutrophil apoptosis. • Flow cytometry. Excel.. PUBLICATIONS Bennett.M. July 2005. POSTERS AND PRESENTATIONS Bennett. 2004. RESEARCH AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE Tutor on an Open University Summer School. • Image-based analysis of leukocyte behaviour in static and flow adhesion and migration assays.. visit our website at www.M. H. A. • Microscopy: phase contrast and fluorescence. Student Mentor for the Open University’s Outreach Programme 2002 . Jones. and McArthur. January 2006 ABSTRACTS. Rapidly recruited TNF-stimulated endothelial cells – is this a novel route for neutrophil clearance from inflamed tissue? International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis. H. Laboratory Assistant.. A. International Conference.ac.open. Salford. along with presentation and communication skills. and McArthur. Jones. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal.. Layerton S. and a working knowledge of WinMDI and Image Pro. • Marked undergraduate work and provided individual guidance to undergraduate students. (Paper submitted to the UK Medical Biology Journal) Bennett. J. Scientific Laboratories. • Isolation of leukocytes subsets and endothelial cells. March 2005 Bennett. July 2005 • Trained undergraduates in basic laboratory skills • Allocated tasks and ensured their completion. Summer 1998 • Worked independently on an assigned project. • Developed technical writing skills for industry purposes. and McArthur.M. British Society of Immunology. PowerPoint and Prism. A. H..2004 • Responsible for communicating and demonstrating technical skills to A level science students at a local college. COMPUTER SKILLS Extensive experience of Microsoft Word. Layerton. and McArthur. as well as showing visiting work experience students laboratory protocols.. American Journal of Medicine. Manchester. H. and McArthur. • Adaptation of a novel co-culture system: culture stromal cells on the apical and basal surface of Transwell inserts. Identification of a phenotypically and functionally distinct population of neutrophils in a model of reverse endothelial migration. S. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. A. Bennett A. • Subcellular fractionation. H.
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. Employment experience Your aim here is to stress your achievements at work. Address Be sure to give a full address with postcode.ac. give more detail about particular 74 To find out more. For more recent jobs.ac.uk Dr David James d. marital status. It should be quite obvious what it is. since invitations to interview are often sent at short notice and speedy delivery is in your interest.ac. number of children. Include an email address if you have one.mayes@open. where your aim is to get yourself invited for interview. consider investing in an answering service or machine.uk Dr Steven Mayes s.8 What to include (and not to include) in your CV Your CV is uniquely yours in style. so that the caller will be discreet.g. However. 4. gender. If you’re employed and prospective employers can contact you during office hours. Received award for best overall academic achievement at the end of my BSc (2001). visit our website at www. At home.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). Include the nature and place of your employer’s business if it isn’t obvious from the name. nationality. content and layout. You can discuss them at the interview if appropriate. give your number and say that it’s a work number.f. so that you can be reached as easily as possible.4. they’re unnecessary at this stage and may confuse matters. These are irrelevant on a CV. say during the last ten years.jordan2@open. REFEREES Professor Rebecca Jordan r. CVs usually contain: • • • • • • • • personal data employment. but you may find the following ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ helpful. Personal data Name Give the name you want to be known by if you’re called for interview or appointed.open. personal profile (optional) references. experience education training interests.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). but don’t give the address or the name of your manager at this stage. Telephone It’s important to give a telephone number where you can be reached or where a message can be left. number and extension.r. activities additional skills career aims. when you have more opportunity to negotiate any difficulties.uk/careers . Other personal details There’s no need to include such details as date of birth. Include your mobile number if you have one. you don’t need to give initials or middle firstname.lastname@example.org. Always give the full area code.ac.
please refer to Section 6 below for tips on dealing with this. or training in relevant specialist skills. preferably in quantitative terms. fulltime course. day-release. to be a teacher) while others place more emphasis on transferable skills (see Section 1. should be followed by a statement of achievements. So much depends on the nature and relevance of your previous employment to the job you’re applying for. Education How far back should you go? School or young college-leavers should be quite explicit about their education since age 11. if you’ve had time out of paid work to bring up a family. if appropriate) and the awarding institution. Some possible sequences are: • Put your present or most recent job at the head of the list. assignments and results achieved. • 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’. knowledge or training. with figures such as staff.ac. that you’re a sociable person who gets on with others. • Divide your experience under the headings Related and Other. with appropriate detail. budget etc. even if it’s not the most recent. 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. and play down other. projects. They can also help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps. For a technical post or one that requires special knowledge. Learning outcomes can assist you in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. It is up to you to identify them from your own experience so that you can present this on a CV.open. then the rest of the employment history in backward or forward chronological order. you could expand your work achievements and contract the education section. If you’ve worked your way up from the bottom and lack formal qualifications altogether. state this. Your hobbies To find out more. • If you had a series of short-lived jobs and you want to abbreviate the list. but it’s more appropriate for senior managers to include a brief résumé of schools attended and exams passed.g. that you keep yourself fit. Whichever system you use. e. enabling the employer to see at once that you meet the requirement.uk/careers 75 . 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’re offering professional qualifications it might be worth specifying not only the qualification (with the S/NVQ level. Some look for a mixture of both. then work backwards or forwards chronologically. • If your qualifications were awarded overseas. Of course. If you have served time in prison. names and towns. But everyone agrees that the most relevant job should appear at the top of the list. For example. some jobs do require subject-specific knowledge (e. make sure it’s clear and that the way you present starting and leaving dates is consistent. Avoid specialised language unless you’re sure the reader will understand it. This allows you to highlight the experience the employer is likely to be most interested in. Training Don’t give an exhaustive list of all the training courses and seminars you’ve attended. consider giving additional information to show that you have the relevant work experience.5 of this workbook). so that the reader is encouraged to read on. • Be specific about what you studied in your Open University courses. mention the British equivalent so that the employer knows what level you’ve reached. It can show that you have a well-rounded life and don’t live for work alone.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook responsibilities. Include useful information about training and development – courses of a week or more. There are different opinions about whether you set your experience out in forward or reverse chronological order. Interests. visit our website at www. A onesentence description of the scope of your job. 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. you could say something like ‘In the five years 1995-2000 I worked in various temporary positions in the catering industry’.2. • Start with the most relevant work experience. which are often listed as learning outcomes. less important jobs. 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. and highlight in a covering letter or skill section the personal qualities and skills that this kind of study requires.g. activities This section has various uses.
It might be helpful to read it alongside CV Example 3. personal profile Including career aims and a skill profile can be particularly effective if you’re seeking a career change. and so on. or you’re applying for a job for which the competition is particularly keen. Use an A4 envelope with cardboard reinforcement. Keep a copy of your CV (and disk) in a safe place. give an indication of your level of competence).4. underlining). particularly if you want to offer a targeted CV.g. An unusual hobby such as sky-diving or genealogical research can be worth mentioning. which is designed for this area of work.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. first aid training. • Be consistent in how you present the information. such as Arial 11 point. complicated sentences. Write the words out in full the first time you use them and put the abbreviation in brackets.10 Analysing a job description In order to construct a CV that’s effectively related to the job you’re seeking.g. 4. addresses and telephone numbers. • 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). If you don’t want your employer approached at this stage. run a computer club. say so in your CV or covering letter.open. Use an ‘easy-to-read’ font. including software you are familiar with e. 4. one your present or last employer. and don’t clutter it up with unnecessary punctuation. Don’t use clichés. Use bullet points to make reading quicker. Yours will be one of many that the employer has to read. To illustrate this. Additional skills The diversity of individual careers sometimes makes extra sections desirable: you can make up your own subheadings. • Your CV should be produced to a high standard.4. additional skills such as foreign languages (if possible. line manager. • If you send your CV by email. after that you can use it on its own. The employer may not bother to read on if there’s nothing of interest to begin with. Space makes text easier to read and more attractive. and their status or relationship to you (e. visit our website at www. If you need to demonstrate an interest in design (e. Have headings in the same style (capital letters. • Avoid long. for some media jobs) more elaborate graphics and perhaps coloured paper might be appropriate. Career aims. and in particular the skills it calls for. Concentrate on the aspects that are most important for the employer to know. You’ll need it again. • Make it easy to read and follow. you have an unconventional record. • Make sure that your CV arrives looking like a quality document. Give their names. • Don’t cram the page. even though it has no obvious relevance to the job. you’ll need to analyse the job itself. word-processed and printed or copied on goodquality white or cream paper. 76 To find out more. Don’t fold it. jargon and abbreviations the reader may be unfamiliar with. References You’ll usually need two referees. and the notes that follow it suggest some inferences that can be drawn from them about the nature of the work of personnel management.g.ac.9 Presentation of your CV To produce an effective CV . Some of the key words in the description have been emphasised.uk/careers . It gives your CV an interesting feature and makes it memorable. (e. It is also important to outline your level of IT and keyboard skills. • The space you give to each section should reflect its importance. done voluntary work that demonstrates organisational and management skills. You might prefer to omit referees on the CV and put ‘Available on request’. follow it up by sending a hard copy straight away. and proofread the final version carefully. One way to do this is from the job description. course tutor). to adapt for other employers. Consider using an appendix for very detailed information such as a list of publications. pay attention to its appearance as well as its content. bold. Word and Excel. • Seek other people’s views on your draft.g. we’ve chosen a description for human resource management. • Put the most important information on the first page and as near the top as possible. Include details you think a prospective employer really ought to know – driving licence. chronological order) and in your layout. you’re a mature graduate. Make sure the copies are sharp and clear.
interviewing applicants and advising on the selection of those most suitable. – Arranging for dissemination of vacancy details by internal and external means. wordy. interviewing. industrial relations.uk/careers 77 . especially the ability to communicate effectively with them. staff promotion schemes and other matters.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example Human Resource Management Advising on. records of labour turnover and other necessary information and assisting with human resource planning procedures and programmes.ac. advising and negotiations imply the need for skills in dealing with people. would accompany these CVs. functional. • 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. as appropriate. • Think about the general style of your CV in relation to the person who’s going to read it. – Helping to undertake staff appraisals and. targeted and academic. • Look again at the example CVs to see whether any of the three formats would be particularly appropriate to convey what you want. management/ staff communications. The examples (all fictitious by the way) illustrated each of the four main CV formats in turn – chronological. – Assisting in negotiations in the field of industrial relations and ensuring observance of regulations and agreements relative to personnel matters. general conditions of employment and other personnel matters. (undertaking job analysis and evaluations as appropriate). • If you think that your CV looks feeble.) You may well decide that a quite different layout and format are more appropriate for your individual circumstances. uninteresting. • Words such as consultations. The examples of the CVs above illustrated some of the points you should consider when designing your own CV. visit our website at www. • Words such as analysing. • If you already have a CV. messy …. Activity 4. It’s time to redesign it. developing and administering policies in relation to staff recruitment and training. • Words such as arranging and records imply the need for administrative skills. discussing career development. – Advising management on standards of remuneration. human resource planning and forecasting imply the need for skills in evaluating information and reaching appropriate conclusions. evaluations. it probably is.3 Take some time to reflect again on the CV guidelines and examples. To find out more. – Maintaining staff records. personal welfare and other matters with individual members of staff. (Indeed. None was perfect. Some typical tasks may include. appraisals. working conditions. – Analysing staffing requirements in consultation with department and other managers. the academic CV showed that the applicant studied medicine which you can’t do with the OU. but the style is standard for academic CVs in general. discussing. career development. the subject of the next section. And bear in mind that covering letters. ask yourself whether it presents the information you want to give in the way you want it to be seen.
4. or highlight aspects of your CV which you feel are particularly important. send a brief follow-up letter or telephone to make sure that it’s been received. not repeat what’s on the application form or CV. If you do have to resort to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. It will usually be read first.1 Applying for a job in a vacancy list or answering an advertisement Mention the job title (including any reference number). If you’ve worked through Section 2 in this book. job title and organisation of the person you’re writing to. • Address your letter to an individual person by name and job title.5 The covering letter Your covering letter is your opportunity to market yourself. You’re trying to find out whether there are any vacancies. appropriate qualification. visit our website at www.3 Drafting your letter • If possible. mention them in the letter. a speculative approach is not allowed in Northern Ireland. Say why you want to work for that particular organisation. such as a relevant degree. • If there are any special circumstances not covered in the application form or CV. without duplicating what’s on the application form. address.5. you’ll know that to make a speculative approach you have to present your case in a letter. related experience. end ‘Yours sincerely’. such as a disability and how you overcome potential difficulties. 78 To find out more. steer clear of stilted expressions like ‘re your advertisement of 29th July.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. Convey clearly what kind of work you’re seeking. If there’s a vacancy this will. interests and activities.’ and ‘I beg to remain’. and when you would be able to start. • When writing to a named individual. where you are. the name. and say where and when you saw the vacancy. if done well. So make clear who you are. on the lefthand side. It introduces your application and draws attention to the main factors that make you suitable for the job. The first is a speculative approach asking for an advice interview from an executive the writer doesn’t know. Add some other detail to reinforce your suitability. Application forms often allow you reasonable scope to sell yourself and may need only a brief covering letter. translate into being someone the employer ought to see. If you haven’t received an acknowledgement within two or three weeks. • Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. • Although you should be business-like. what you’re studying. Switchboard staff can be very helpful in supplying this information if it isn’t otherwise available. Stress how you think the organisation can benefit from employing you. then highlight the relevant points in the CV such as work experience. • Use plain A4 paper of good quality. It should enhance your application. your qualifications and what you have to offer. so make sure that the reader will want to find out more about you. Always include a covering letter unless the employer specifically tells you not to. Highlight your strongest selling points. 4. A CV will usually require more of an introduction.5. telephone number and date at the top right-hand corner and. Ask someone else to read it – don’t rely on your computer’s spelling check.uk/careers . • Put your name. or whether vacancies will arise in the near future.2 Applying speculatively Remember. end ‘Yours faithfully’. and that you’ve expressed yourself clearly.open. 4. Two examples of covering letters are set out overleaf. type or word-process your letter (though very occasionally an employer will ask for a handwritten letter). • Keep it brief – usually not more than one side of A4. Keep a copy of your letter. The second letter accompanies a CV in response to a newspaper advertisement. especially as it may be based on US spelling. usually accompanied by your CV. • Print your name clearly below your signature.5. At the same time you must leave the impression that you’re someone it’s useful for the employer to know about.ac. • You can use your covering letter to give additional information such as reasons for an unusual change in career.
I am now seeking a career change that will build on this experience. Although I would like to work for your company. Your success in selling computer components to Asian countries has been something few companies have achieved in the last few years. Yours sincerely Joginder Singh 01926 850973 To find out more. I should appreciate your advice concerning the development of my career. • Increasing sales by 26 per cent in one year when the pound was at its highest exchange rate. I noted in yesterday’s Financial Times that your company received an export award from the Department of Trade and Industry. and computer based control equipment. Having had over ten years’ experience in export sales.uk/careers 79 . Some of my key achievements have been: • Locating new lines of products and developing international sales for them.ac. visit our website at www.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. and I wish to congratulate you. your advice and suggestions would also be helpful and influential in helping me research my options to develop my career.open. I should appreciate a personal meeting with you and will contact you in the next week to discuss this. including experience of exporting electronic. • Selecting and working with local distributors throughout the world. With your knowledge of exporting.
visit our website at www. I am confident that I could make a significant contribution to Fairplay Industries Ltd. 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. Having read the detailed description of the post. I am a qualified accountant with substantial professional experience. Working in a team alongside other senior management colleagues. I am enclosing my CV in response to your advertisement for the above post which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 1 March. I am free to relocate to another area and see this as a positive addition to my professional and personal development.ac. 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.uk/careers . Fairplay Industries Ltd. I have recently taken voluntary redundancy as a consequence of a nationwide organisational restructuring programme. Assistant Finance Director. I have particular interest in computer-based accounting procedures and extensive staff management experience. Yours sincerely Margaret Minty 80 To find out more.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. Although I currently live in Edinburgh.open. I look forward to hearing from you.
• Interviewers too may be inexperienced or nervous.ac.uk/careers 81 . Here are some initial tips for interviews: • Interviewers want you to do yourself justice.6 The interview Interviews remain the most common method of filling vacancies. use the opportunity to add relevant information about yourself that you haven’t had an adequate opportunity to express. Don’t be panicked into responding too quickly. • Interviewers’ judgements about a candidate are always made in relation to judgements about earlier candidates. Interviews tend to exclude rather than to include. They’re hoping that you’ll be an excellent candidate and that the interviewing time and effort will be well spent. They’ll be asking themselves ‘Could we get on?’ ‘Would this person be supportive?’ • Balance the initiative-taking. not maintaining eye contact) in an interview can be more important in determining its outcome than experience or qualifications. Neither should psychologically dominate the discussion. • A candidate’s body language (for example. and aren’t easily swayed by factual information thereafter. This suggests that a good interview performance is likely to impress. I need a moment or two to think about it. Fill a thinking gap with comments such as ‘That’s an interesting question. some important insights for candidates emerge: • Some interviewers make up their minds about candidates within the first four minutes of an interview. go first. although as the candidate you should do most of the talking – in effect determining the content. so the sequence of interviews assumes an importance of its own. • Interviewers are more likely to be swayed by negative information or behaviour on the part of the candidate than positive. • Show acceptance of the interviewer as a person. The ideal interview should flow like a conversation.’ • Always try to be positive in what you say and never be critical of a previous employer. If you’re given a choice. reaching greater depths as the rapport develops between the two parties. • Interviewers may be poor at assessing the personality characteristics of individual candidates with any validity. It’s up to you to help them out and make them feel comfortable. but they make very consistent judgements and assessments between candidates. • 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. You can set a standard against which the others will be judged.open. visit our website at www. First impressions count. while the interviewer sets the format.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. Remember that interviewers want to be liked and hope to be supported in their day-to-day work and career by your appointment. To find out more. • Guard against being too open. • A few seconds silence in an interview can seem an eternity. perhaps in an illogical way. it can be useful to ask about future business plans. initial answers are critical. • When asked whether you have any questions. From the vast amount of research into interviews as a selection method. If the interview has already covered that.
uk/careers .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. How you sound will be crucial. 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. Practise some answers into a tape recorder and listen critically to yourself. • Review your CV. Read the section on ‘Tough questions’ in Section 4. Human resource/recruitment managers Well-trained and experienced. Even experience as an interviewer doesn’t make for a flawless performance. or interviewers who have rejected you. 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. find out something about the people interviewing you. 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. Remember that when managers interview they’re playing a role to a set of social rules. • Ask for comments from a partner.6. • Think about the interview and plan for it. solutions. Collect as many concrete examples of things you’ve done as you can. 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.2 Before your interview • Research the job and employer thoroughly beforehand. Practise speaking on the phone to a friend and ask what impression you’re making. often astute and very sensitive Acting as internal screener. problems. • Practise your answers in the weak areas. Find out all you can about interviewing techniques and be ready to cope with them: • Read about the process. Do it out loud. Consult some of the books listed at the end of this booklet. How you project yourself through your social and communication skills will determine your success whenever you speak with potential employers.6. Don’t let your own stereotyping of the interviewer affect your interview technique. • Learn from observing others – take the role of interviewer with a partner. and may not be entirely their usual selves. Below we list the four main types of interviewers you may come across. visit our website at www. • What are your weak spots and what do you feel uncomfortable talking about? • Why would you not employ yourself? Produce convincing counter-arguments. 82 To find out more. 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.1 Interviewers There are as many kinds of interviewer as there are people.open.9 below and practise some answers out loud.ac. within a broader organisational framework May have standard questions. • Practise by role-play with a partner. or use audio or video recordings. If you can. • Reflect on your experience. 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. Practice is essential. Try to foresee questions or situations and work out possible answers. may try to ‘sell’ the job Head of a group or department A technical expert with wider managerial experience Will talk shop. network contacts. for insight often leads to heightened anxiety. Evaluate your performance and incorporate the learning into your next interview. into a tape recorder.6.
If in doubt ask ‘Would you like me to go on?’ • Show through your answers that you’ve done your research into the company. • Use plain language that doesn’t confuse or divert.6 Answering questions Whatever the nature of the job. allow yourself time to relax. which will give you clues to whether you are answering the questions and timing your replies appropriately.6. Conservative dress is more likely to pay off than flamboyance.6. . 4. If there’s no suitable literature you could telephone and ask the person on the switchboard or the secretary of the person interviewing you. the interviewer will be working to a mental model consisting of three related profiles. umbrellas. . 4.6. papers. • Don’t fold your arms. polishing your shoes and so on. • Remember the need for a poised. Don’t drop your voice towards the end of sentences. • Don’t be overburdened with bags. and keep your hands away from your mouth. and judge when you’ve said enough. Avoid jargon. It’s your task to provide evidence in your answers that demonstrates these characteristics. or groups of characteristics – your personal. • Don’t smoke anywhere on the premises. telephone. Smile! • Avoid negative statements. confident first impression. • Maintain good eye-contact with the person you’re speaking to. • Shake hands firmly and briefly. A lucid style is a transparent window on the content. warmth. • Arrive in good time. clichés. 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. • Speak concisely.open. 4. Show that you know the interview ‘rules’ by wearing smart clothes. and if possible do a dummy run. Watch the interviewer’s behaviour.3 On the day . Some people need to practise this. ask for repetition or clarification. friendliness and sincerity. • Decide what to wear. If you’re very unsure about this. so that if it doesn’t feel right you’ve got time to change your plans. 4. • Prepare some questions that you would like to ask. • Speak clearly. • Convey the right amount of enthusiasm. look at company literature to get an idea of how people dress. Try the whole outfit some days before. • If delayed. and achievment profile. • Use your natural gestures – there’s no need to look frozen! • Avoid fidgeting. Dress appropriately for the culture. visit our website at www.ac. • Don’t forget to turn off your mobile phone.6.4 How you sound • Sound as if you have confidence in yourself. professional. • Remember to take a copy of your application with you.uk/careers 83 . • Listen attentively to the questions.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Plan travel and arrival times.5 Body language • Walk and sit with good posture.
8 Interviews by telephone Increasing numbers of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process.6. The smile won’t be seen but it can be heard. • In response to embarrassing – rather than simply tough – questions. there may be other positions coming up.uk/careers . 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). When you’ve answered. Even if you’re unsuccessful this time. write a letter asking for some constructive comment by telephone. ‘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. They do this in several ways: • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring. at the employer’s convenience. 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. Look through the next examples – you’re bound to come up against some of them in one form or another. Pause for thought If you fail to plan. often with a technical content. • Some candidates dress in the clothes they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind. marketing or telesales staff.9 Tough questions Everyone has a different perception of what constitutes a tough question.6. or monotonous or tentative? • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone. you plan to fail. e. stop and leave it at that. This reinforces recollections of you. ‘What if the policy changed to carrying more freight by rail?’ In reply be methodical. ‘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.’ • Hypothetical questions test speed and quality of thought. The questions are 84 To find out more. e. 4.ac. as you would when talking to someone face to face.g. you’ll tend not to listen so acutely. 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. e. and say where you’d need more information.g. take time and keep to the point. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained interviewers. The advice that follows about personal interviews below applies just as much to telephone interviews. • Try to show that you understand why the interviewers have asked you the question. you’re half way to giving an appropriate answer. • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. state assumptions you’re making.g. Ask for the question to be repeated.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. • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone.7 After the interview • Think about the questions and your answers. In general: • If you feel yourself under pressure. 4. keep your answer simple and short. e. visit our website at www. • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview. 4. • If you’re rejected. This technique is used for recruiting sales. There’s some general advice about using the telephone effectively in Section 2.g. ‘Tell me about the three years you spent studying with The Open University. • Standing up while talking can make you sound more confident. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response.open.6. If you can show that you know what they’re getting at. Here are some tips to help you through them followed by some examples and how to approach them.
Use phrases like ‘learning a valuable lesson’ rather than admitting to making a mistake. professional and achievement – we discussed in ‘Answering questions’ above to produce a rounded picture. or pair one with something that can be turned from a weakness into a strength (e. visit our website at www. for example: Early years (if appropriate) Education Work experience Significant events Keep your answer short (three to four minutes). credibility with clients. You could also provide evidence of being a quick learner. Try to restrict yourself to four or five as too long a list will confuse the interviewer. and the typical salary ranges. This question needs practice. Cover relevant aspects of your life. Having worked for one company for so long. Draw on examples from the three profiles – personal.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.ac. coaching and mentoring skills. Q A What are your weaknesses? Don’t claim to be faultless! Most strengths taken to the extreme become weaknesses. Include any particular characteristics that you feel relate to the job. Remember that this question isn’t simply about your factual history so don’t give too much detail.g. 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. and the ‘political’ gains of instigating change through appointing an outsider. Q A A Q A Q A To find out more. 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. conscientiousness) to end on a positive note. wellreasoned argument for your choice of this new kind of work. to counter any thoughts that you might simply be looking for a refuge. time management) but have taken action to overcome it. Describe how you’ve adapted to different subcultures you’ve encountered by doing different jobs in your career. 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. the fresh perspective of Q an outsider.open. domestic stability. Tell me about yourself. Draw attention to the possibilities of bringing in skills or experience that the company would benefit from. Either choose one that isn’t particularly significant.uk/careers 85 . Negotiations like this might seem strange to you if your only experience is of fixed salary scales. Concentrate on the many positive features of your greater maturity: experience of life and work. Isn’t it a bit late in your working life to change career? It is perhaps unlikely that you would be asked this. emotional stability. Why should you be appointed rather than an internal candidate? This is an invitation to list your main strengths. freedom from childcare.g. Or explain how you had a weakness (e. Q A How much are you worth? Try to delay answering this until you know the responsibilities and scope of the job. Then express your motivation and drive. Mention your previous salary and any financial commitments that lead you to raise or lower your expectations. Add a balanced.
If possible. Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q 86 To find out more. Create a favourable impression based on the things you’ve done to help yourself. Plead ignorance about other potentially boring duties. and your hope that some of these needs will be met. but be careful that it isn’t a core function of the job. Uncertainties in the business environment will probably lead to growth opportunities for the company and you. Be honest. Include examples of support and how you kept your manager informed. your variations in style according to different people and different tasks. If you had complete freedom of choice of jobs and employers. either at work or at leisure. Relate your answer in the final stages to the job you’re applying for. What are your ambitions? Concentrate on your desire to do the job well and to develop your skills and confidence. what would you choose? Talk about the kind of work you’re being interviewed for and why this company interests you. Mention steps you’ve taken to keep up to date.) A A Quote samples of your own recent learning. visit our website at www. finding an appropriate job takes time. There’s no research evidence to support this assumption. 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. What sort of relationship did you have with your last manager? Concentrate on understanding your manager’s expectations and objectives. Emphasise your desire to develop your skills by moving to a more demanding job.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.uk/careers . Statements about far-reaching ambitions should sound realistic. 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. filling in expense claim forms). relate this to the job you are applying for. 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. mentally sharp and so on. How would you describe your management style? Have a well thought-out answer ready. Include a reference to how important work is to you.open. What interests you least about this job? Choose a routine activity (filing. It is also important to emphasise IT skills and keeping up with professional journals/research in the area. Make clear statements about your willingness to shoulder responsibility and say that you would consider career progression within the company at an appropriate time. A trite or bland answer will seriously undermine your application. What were the circumstances of your leaving your last employer? Keep your reply short and don’t touch on any conflict or bitterness.ac. Why has it taken you so long to find a new job? Finding any sort of job is easy.
To find out more.uk/careers 87 .g. medium and long-term goals? • Why have you decided to change careers? • What are the main challenges facing (e. group discussions. aware that interviews have many shortcomings. exercises and interviews) for recruiting new employees. Because assessment centres are more thorough. All the other candidates will be nervous too.7. but a technique (a mixture of tests.g. what do/did you spend most time on. this company…) today? Do you feel well equipped to meet those challenges? • None of your experience is at managerial level. education. beyond the interview’.4 Here are some more examples of interviewers’ questions to think through yourself. One such tool is the use of assessment centres – these are not places. 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. • 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. particularly at graduate level. You would normally find out about the way an organisation uses these by researching their recruitment literature or website.7 Other selection techniques Larger employers.open. and why? • Do/did you have any frustrations in your present/last job? • What did you learn from (e. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. If you are asked to attend an assessment centre. are increasing their use of additional tools.1 Assessment centres This approach has been defined as ‘the use of any selection device. 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.g. 4. It can include situational activities. • 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. 4. the Health Service. visit our website at www. here are some general guidelines: • Don’t be intimidated. 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. in any combination. as well as interviews and psychometric tests.ac. • 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. in-tray exercises and the like. this job. they are fairer to you.
The tests should have been carefully researched and tried out to ensure that they’re fair to everyone who takes them. • In summer. Get yourself ready. Tests are designed so that you have a few items to practise on first.g. • Assume that you’ll be closely observed the whole time. • Make sure that you know exactly what you’re required to do.ac. and your preferences and attitudes. • Go to the loo before major exercises. 88 To find out more.ac. • If you have a disability and need special arrangements (e.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. ability or intelligence tests These aim to assess your capabilities in tests of reasoning: that is. induction loop. You may face hours of hot sticky work in examination conditions. or how you respond to different situations. the level and nature of your thinking skills (typically. choose something that’s cool as well as smart to wear. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will find practice tests at: www. but if you’re anxious about them. Unlike aptitude tests. have no time limits • Ask during the practice session if you don’t understand.7. both mentally and physically: • Your invitation may include a programme of events. independence. cognitive. Study it carefully. There are two main kinds of psychometric test: Aptitude.open. for sales personnel.uk/links/AssessmentCntrs www. paying attention to any special instructions. • Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. In fact.Z’. They’re designed to assess your reasoning abilities. often in the form of multiplechoice questions. If you wear glasses for reading. Decisions about senior appointments are never based on test results alone. social confidence and persuasiveness would be considered important characteristics). The selectors aren’t looking for a rigidly ‘typical’ personality. they can last several hours. When the time comes: • Arrive in good time. Personality questionnaires These gather information about how and why you do things in your own particular way. Your results are usually compared with how others have done on the tests in the past.2 Psychometric tests Psychometric tests are structured pencil-and-paper or computer exercises. The ability to listen and support others is also highly valued. 4.prospects. make sure you take them with you. Further resources For further information and resources on assessment centres go to: www. • Take the pens and pencils you like to write with. You might be asked to prepare something in advance.uk/careers and look for ‘Assessment Centres’ in the ‘A. • 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.shldirect. • Assessment centres sometimes have the advantage that they give you longer to judge the organisation and the people within it. although certain characteristics will be more or less appropriate for the job (e. or bring your own calculator. failure in one or two elements won’t automatically mean rejection.open. A highlighter pen could be useful.g. They look at how you react or behave in different situations. 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.ac. for example. numerical and perceptual skills). verbal.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Decisions are made by drawing on all the evidence. special seating) discuss it with the selector in advance. getting in some practice will probably make you feel better. they have no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. The tests are used in a variety of ways. • 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. visit our website at www.uk/careers . a good test can offset weaknesses in interview performance – it never seems to work the other way round. such as personality and interest questionnaires.
with the selectors acting as observers. not enough to do them justice.7. You’ll probably have only five minutes of presentation time. • Be clear about the aims of the exercise: keep the group focused on the task. Make it a lively delivery. and faking then becomes very difficult to sustain. visit our website at www. 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. don’t over-run. practise so that you’ve got the timing right. Some selection procedures include a discussion about the test results with a psychologist. Concentrate your thinking and be succinct in your expression so that you have less to write. The marker will be looking for original thought. with reasoning to support your choice. Keep the presentation simple. 4. 4. applicants who fail selection tests often do so because they don’t answer the questions. • You won’t get any marks if the marker can’t read your writing. If you have a disability that you believe may affect your ability to do these tests. Never read from a prepared script. most tests contain ‘lie scales’. Talk directly to them. You’re not going to be judged on your ability to dominate. If you’ve been asked to prepare in advance. and you may have access to audio-visual materials. • Remember to put your name on all the sheets of paper you use.4 Presentations These are often used as part of an assessment exercise. • Be supportive and pleasant to the other candidates. don’t use a ballpoint pen – it tends to make things worse. You may need to make your presentation just to the selectors. Don’t ignore the possibility of recombining parts of different options. you’ll be given a lot of written data and asked to write a report. For one thing. • Recommendation of an option. and how?) If you’re faced with a written exercise: • Follow the instructions. 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. • Don’t spend so much time thinking and planning that you haven’t got time to write the report. with their pros and cons. but you’re always given time to prepare. sometimes during the assessment centre. but there are dangers in trying to do this. There could be questions afterwards. Sometimes you’re told the topic before the day. remember that getting the best out of others is a skill in itself.7. but not necessarily the first. not an essay. with your reasons (is it practicable. • Make assumptions explicit. How you say it is as important as what you say. Make liberal use of subheadings and bullet points to make your answer easy to read. but make good use of your allowance. They’re easy to set up and provide a useful sample of logical thinking. or sometimes to the other candidates as well. If you have trouble with it.3 Written exercises Typically.ac. Be cooperative. and if more information might be needed say what it is. Very often you’ll be set a task as a group or given a case study to look at. If asked to do so. verbal expression. • Keep a careful eye on the time. To find out more. Remember the rubric: 4.5 Group discussions Three to eight candidates sit in a group and discuss one or more topics. • Make an early contribution. see it as a task in which you have to convince or persuade the selectors. Honesty is the best policy. • Don’t rework chunks of the brief. come to a conclusion or recommendation. • Don’t be tempted to produce complex visuals. The observers will be making notes about the quality of your contribution (logic.uk/careers 89 . • What’s usually wanted is a business report. Like examination candidates. relationship with other participants). outline a proposal or draft a letter. Candidates often fail through producing two to three times too much material. for another you’ll have to guess what sort of personality the company is looking for. communication skills and persuasiveness. 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.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Personality tests are easy to fake.7.
but they’re not as detailed or as accurate as information gathered from psychometric tests and exercises. set timescales. and may take time. a contraction of ‘biographical data’.uk/careers . or 90 words per minute wordprocessing. with appropriate levels of formality and informality in your responses. • Look for links within an in-tray. make sure that it’s permitted.10 Medical tests The job advertisement or person specification should state clearly whether a certain level of physical fitness is required. • Remain balanced in your judgement. Staffing issues are most likely to spring this trap. but is a controversial technique in the UK. some employers ask candidates to submit a handwritten piece on a management topic. You’re likely not to know that graphology is being used.7.7. Studies indicate that graphologists can produce generalised personality descriptions. If you have to reach a decision within thirty minutes. How to go about it: • It may be possible to take the in-tray apart and sort it into heaps. you’ll be maximising your chance of success. medical tests cover sight. it’s Saturday afternoon). judgement. Don’t just put your head down and plough through the lot. Signal in your comments that you’ve spotted these links. use your diary and your secretary well. They’re usually set in an unrealistic scenario that prevents you from talking to other people in the organisation (e. remind the group if necessary. Most candidates find these tests tough. Related tests of ‘potential for proficiency’ (trainability) assess characteristics such as hand–eye coordination. just like a real one. As well as general fitness.ac. 90 To find out more. but often a special form is needed. • Don’t be discouraged. even if you’re not asked to do so. organisation.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. 4. • Keep a careful eye on the time. • If the first part of the exercise asks you to set priorities. However.open. or conflict between the other participants. not on what went through your head. A well constructed test in-tray will contain distracting trivia. The qualities most likely to be assessed are analysis. You may be allowed to use the floor if the desk isn’t big enough. means that details of an individual’s history are correlated with the biographical details of others who have succeeded in the same occupation. By taking the trouble to reflect and to prepare.7. Intervene if there’s loss of direction. colour perception and hearing. Evidence offers little support for its use as a predictor of performance. and that can be a clue. 4. visit our website at www.7. Make a point of discussing your strategy and interpretation of the group discussion with the interviewer later. and ability to communicate in clear English. for example. make reporting and follow-up clear. decisionmaking. Information may be collected from the standard application form. if you’re asked to submit a demonstration piece. 4.8 Biodata analysis ‘Biodata’. Pause for thought Getting the job you want is always a challenge.analysis of handwriting – is used a lot for managerial selection in continental Europe.g. colleagues are ill. particularly in France. other than statistical correlation. • Give reasons for your decisions. • Read the instructions carefully and plan your time accordingly.7 Graphology Graphology . A cleverly constructed in-tray will generate emotional responses that can cloud decision-making. So. abroad. The biographical data need not have any recognised link with performance. 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. • You can be judged only on what you’ve written down.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Mentally ‘stand back’ occasionally and evaluate what’s happening. If you like to work like that. and between intrays if there’s more than one. 4. follow this up by tackling the items according to those you set. Treat the whole exercise like real life.7. 4. Best marks are obtained by candidates who produce the largest volume of appropriate written output.9 Proficiency tests These tests are used to find out whether candidates have the skills they claim – 120 words per minute shorthand.
Parkinson (2004) How to master Psychometric Tests.uk/learning M. Yate (2005) Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions.uk/careers If you are an OU student look at the ‘Moving on’ section on the Prospects website at: www.uk/careers 91 .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Further resources For giving presentations. ask for the OU Toolkit on Presentations from your regional centre or look under Study Strategies for the link to Student Toolkits at: www.open.open. Byron (2003) How to pass the Civil Service Qualifying Tests. The OU careers website at: www. Kogan Page.ac.uk/links/AppsInterviews To find out more.ac.prospects.ac. Kogan Page.open. visit our website at www.ac. M. M. Kogan Page.
However. on your application form. 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. the same principles of career planning and job seeking apply to everyone.2 5.3 5.open.4 5. For more information and links on job-seeking strategies when facing discrimination.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.5 5.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. go to www. some organisations aim specifically to recruit a workforce that reflects the community they serve. there is evidence that certain groups of people are at a disadvantage and may experience difficulty in achieving their career aims. the legal position. In fact. Many employers have well-developed equal opportunities policies to help them to recruit a diverse workforce. In this section we highlight some of the additional challenges that may be faced by students and graduates.uk/careers 93 . To find out more. and you will often see this highlighted in job advertisements.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Equality and Diversity Issues In this section 5. The issues of whether.ac.6 5.ac. visit our website at www. strategies to help you in your job search and further resources that you may find helpful.prospects. on a covering letter. Each section includes a discussion of some of the issues you may encounter.1 5. before or during an interview will be considered later in Section 5. when or how you should do so.
you need to present your experience and skills positively and highlight your ‘added value’. gender. 5. Braille or large print. So. look at the Careers Advisory Service website for contacts for volunteering opportunities. You may need to allow some time for appropriate arrangements to be made. then you could consider exploring your local options. They are saying. selection procedures in large organisations are being reviewed. as a mature graduate. It’s not enough to think that because you have completed a part-time degree. 5. and paid work. if you need any information in an alternative format such as an audio recording. If you have additional requirements that may lead to difficulties accessing any of our services.2 How to help yourself in the job market Take a look at Section 4 on applying for jobs.1 Note here any issues that could affect you at work.open. Then contact the Careers Advisory Service in your region to get help with your marketing plan. For instance. For example. 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.1. sexual orientation and religion.’.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 5.1 Your rights By October 2006. Employers are looking for more than a qualification.ac. 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. juggling study and home responsibilities. to offer a range of transferable skills and experience to an employer.. especially when you have used all your spare time to get the degree in the first place. Remember. ‘Yes. 94 To find out more. This is where you are able. having completed your degree. If you haven’t had any recent work experience (paid or voluntary). Having a degree is not enough to secure a job. we will be happy to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs.1. which you might like to discuss with a careers adviser. 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’.. visit our website at www. your age will count against you in the job market? 5.uk/careers . please contact your regional centre who will arrange this. or contact your local OU Careers Advisory Service. So.1 Age Are you concerned that. that you are automatically going to be offered a job. hone your CV to highlight that ‘extra’ you can offer to enhance your application. disability. you have a degree and. 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. This should also help you to feel confident about what you can offer to the workplace.
g.taen. it’s vital – whatever your aims – to research your chosen area thoroughly and market yourself effectively. Further resources For the latest information on age legislation 2006. when and if to disclose a conviction to a prospective employer. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. • Stress your ability to hit the ground running – you know all about working for a living. • Highlight your time management. psychotherapy. teamwork. investment of time and 143 stamps and envelopes.ac. good targeting and carefully written documentation. studies and general life experience e. occupational therapy.uk/careers 95 . starting by using the company website (if there is one available). social work. And you must be determined and active in your approach.uk/links/Mature AdvantAGE – A magazine published by ‘realworld’ to help ‘mature’ students to take control of their future.open.org. 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.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. You can access the network at: www. visit our website at www. communication. counselling. some areas of work look for maturity. • Fully research each employer. teaching. Most employers will be impressed by your commitment and motivation! Indeed. You do need to be clear about what you want and what you can offer. Don’t be put off by negative reactions if at first you don’t succeed! One graduate wrote: My method worked because of planning.2.com/mat_home.gov. loyalty and confidence to manage change. Some of your concerns may include: • Whether you must declare any convictions.realworldmagazine.1 Your rights Do note that there are legal requirements regarding disclosure of certain convictions. or need.org. to do so. • How. some have started new careers in their 50s.uk The Third Age Employment Network (TAEN) works for better opportunities for mature people to continue to learn. • What impact a criminal record will have on your gaining and keeping employment. and view life experience as an advantage e. adaptability. • Identify the skills you developed in previous work.prospects. • Be confident if you are offered an interview as this means your CV/application form has obviously been successful. (A level playing field.asp Age diversity at work – A practical guide for business. go to Employers Forum on Age at: www. Nonetheless.ac. Available for reference in your regional centre or at: www.uk Mature students – the way forward (AGCAS publication) is available at: www.efa.g. For some areas To find out more.uk/links/Discrimination 5. • Demonstrate your flexibility and experience of studying and working in mixed-age environments. and archive work.prospects. you have just spent a number of years improving these through part-time study. AGCAS) Tell employers about your skills and what you have had to do to get an OU qualification. 5. work and earn for as long as they want.agepositive. • Create your own network using contacts from previous jobs/friends/family. research. • Convey your reliability. you may be confused about its implications for working in the future. • Demonstrate your experience when making effective business decisions and give examples. • Use positive language in applications and interviews and never apologise for your age. Be prepared to produce more than one CV.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Many OU graduates have changed careers in midlife. Published by Age Positive at: www.ac. organisational and self-motivational skills.2 Criminal record If you have a criminal record. including a section for mature students.
3 Disability or additional requirements Many students and graduates with disabilities have the same skills and abilities to offer as anyone else. 5.com The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) publishes a number of advice leaflets.crb.uk Scottish Criminal Record Office (Scotland) at: www.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. You can find out more from the Disability Rights Commission: Disability Rights Commission www. but smaller companies with lesser funds may not have to do so.nacro.co. supervising or being in sole charge of persons aged under eighteen’. promotion. training and selection for redundancy or dismissal. training. Part II of the DDA is intended to prevent discrimination against disabled people at work and in recruitment.org Further resources Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) at: www. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. Employers must show that they have looked into the costs of adaptations. particularly in relation to employment and access to goods. Discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment.gov. and then to consider the next steps as outlined below. Large companies will probably be expected to adapt the workplace.uk/links/Discrimination 96 To find out more.prospects. These may include adjusting premises. • Make use of other agencies that can help and advise you. and people with severe disfigurements.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.3. including a section for offenders. without the need for specific adjustments or support. or applying for jobs. altering hours or buying equipment. 5. For some students. in the past. and what funding is available from other sources. You can access them at: www. services and facilities. including recruitment. It does not apply to employers who employ workers on board ships or aircraft. The key starting point is to explore career areas that are relevant to your interests and skills. • Be realistic about the employment area you wish to enter. Here is a range of strategies to help you: • Discuss your situation with a careers adviser at your regional centre.2 How to help yourself in the job market If you have unspent convictions.org. This covers people who have had a disability. • Market yourself as positively as possible (see Section 4). information and advice for ex-offenders seeking work at: www. and so must the finances of the employer.ac. All employers are covered except for the armed forces. those who have recurring or progressive conditions.drc-gb. it can seem a challenging task to seek employment. employers are required to seek disclosure of criminal records from the relevant criminal records office. 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’.uk/careers .disclosurescotland. additional support can help to enable access to work.ac. Keep in mind that there are certain jobs for which convictions never become spent.open. do check the legal situation carefully.2. They define rights for disabled people.apextrust. The effectiveness of the adjustment in reducing the disadvantage must be taken into account. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook of work. as defined by the Act. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments both to the workplace and to the job description.uk The Apex Trust – support. 5. Before you start studying for a specific career area. such as ‘regularly caring for.
• 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.open.gov. though you may find it helpful to talk it over with a careers adviser at your regional centre. it may fund specialist equipment or transport costs. • You might feel that you will be discriminated against and rejected straight away. not what you can’t. your coping strategies. Many employers have equal opportunities policies. visit our website at www. the DEA can provide advice to you and your employer and explore practical ways to help you keep your job. 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.employers-forum. 5. The majority of disabled jobseekers who find work through Jobcentre Plus are assisted by a disability employment adviser (DEA).uk or look up Jobcentre Plus in the Yellow Pages. • Perhaps you prefer not to discuss your disability with a stranger. training and self-employment. If you give false information and an employer finds out the truth later. There are now over 400 member companies in the Employers’ Forum on Disability www. You will be able to describe things in a positive light – your strengths.uk Each is committed to creating and developing opportunities for people with disabilities. • A job matching and referral service.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. the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 entitles you to take your case to a tribunal. When you apply for jobs and you are considering whether to disclose your disability: • Always focus on what you can do.3. Many application forms ask about disability and health.jobcentreplus.ac. you will need to consider the method and timing. You should always point this out to employers. So. If you’re concerned about losing the job you’re already in for a reason associated with disability.3. Specialist DEAs can discuss your current employment situation with you to plan the best way into work. • You may think that an employer will automatically see you as a potential expense. Access to Work – a Jobcentre Plus programme (see below) can provide support for you in a job. 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. • Referral if needed to an occupational psychologist. look at the website: www. • Don’t assume that an employer will view your disability in a negative way. Services the DEAs can offer include: • An employment assessment to identify what work or training suits you best. 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. • Information on employers in your area who are Disability Symbol users. For instance. If you declare your disability and believe that you have been discriminated against during the application process. look for employers who make these kinds of positive statements even if they don’t use the disability symbol. If you do decide to disclose your disability. • Don’t restrict your applications only to employers who are keen to recruit disabled people.uk/careers 97 . However.co. • Referral where appropriate to a work preparation programme. 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. To find your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. • • • • • To find out more. you risk losing your job. 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.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. You must make your own judgement.
and in fact. Wales and Scotland.disabilitytoolkits. Times are changing: for instance. 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 Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of employment. The EPA applies to England.uk SKILL – The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – has a large range of relevant information sources: www. There is a lot of discussion about the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from achieving ‘top jobs’.open. It also prohibits discrimination in employment against married people. to request flexible working.disabled-entrepreneurs.ac.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. where the man and the woman are doing • like work. There is also an interactive web-based service providing dedicated information.uk/disability Further resources Association of Disabled Professionals at: www. facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises. we still find gender discrimination in the workplace. 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.uk Disabled Entrepreneurs Network: www.open. and disabled children under 18.1 Your rights (The following information is from the EOC website. June 2003. and the provision of goods.open. and looking for flexible working arrangements.) 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. education. and in employment.uk Diversity Works at: www. visit our website at www. the necessity for a work/life balance is highlighted by the legal right for mothers and fathers of children under 6. (You might also want to check whether a prospective employer has an equal opportunities policy.skill.org. Look in the ‘A-Z’ under ‘Disability’ for further resources. including a section on disability.org.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook WORKSTEP – Individual programme of support through a variety of different job opportunities – leading to unsupported employment. this can help you in presenting yourself in your application for work. 5.adp.ac. and graduate case studies.ac. • Details about work-based learning for adults.uk/careers 5. 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.uk/links/Discrimination The Hobson’s guide for Disabled Students – This is a free annual publication for disabled students. It’s important that you are aware of the issues concerning sex and gender discrimination – at both recruitment stage.net The Open University Careers Advisory Service web pages have some useful links. 98 To find out more.ac. academics involved in work placements and prospective employers: www. or • work that is proved to be of equal value. yes: despite the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). www.prospects. advice and resources for students with disabilities.ac.diversityworks.4. needing time off work for parenting duties.scope. available for reference in each regional centre. The OU provides information about DSAs on the website at: www. published by AGCAS and available online at: www.org. • Information on local and national disability organisations of and for disabled people.uk/careers . and in ongoing communication with your employer. If you check on the legal situation. which came into force in the UK on 6 April 2003.) Other equality issues that you might encounter include harassment at work. If you live outside the UK you will need to check the legal position for your country of residence. includes employers’ case studies. or • work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study.
org. although there is not yet any legal authority on this point. to apply a condition or practice. Therefore. You can access this at: www.worklifebalancecentre. there is a good argument that the general definition of sex discrimination prohibits this.4. • Concentrate on your strengths. irrespective of sex.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.eoc. Part I of the SDA describes the forms of discrimination to which the SDA applies. 5. visit our website at www.uk/careers 99 . one type of direct sex discrimination is sexual harassment. and this will help to counter any negative stereotypes that may exist. However.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.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. it is not justifiable.ac.4. there are special provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment in employment. • Increase the number of women in public life.ac. There are special provisions about discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment. England. Employment-related claims are brought in an employment tribunal. 5. another is treating a woman adversely because she is pregnant. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. Scotland and Wales.4 Discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment With certain exceptions. • Break free of male and female stereotypes. 5.numberten. • Discuss your application with a careers adviser in your regional centre. • Make it easier for parents to balance work with family responsibilities.co. 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. • Make public services relevant to the differing needs of men and women.uk No. The EPA has been interpreted to cover indirect sex discrimination as well as direct discrimination. 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.org A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.uk Work life balance centre – available at: www. Three months (less one day) from the act of the discrimination for employment tribunal cases.4. to apply that condition or practice. 10 – Top Careers for Women – careers publication focusing on issues relating to graduate women in the labour market. Strict time limits apply. • End sexual harassment at work. an unnecessary requirement to be under 5’ 10” would discriminate against men. • Provide clear evidence of your ability to do the job. For instance. The EOC campaigns to: • Close the pay gap between women and men. There are no express provisions prohibiting discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in the other fields covered by the SDA.5 How to help yourself in the job market So. 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.uk/links/Discrimination To find out more. including children and prohibits direct and indirect sex discrimination.open. irrespective of sex.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. a requirement to work full-time might be unlawful discrimination against women. For instance.prospects. 5.4.4. • Secure comprehensive equality legislation in Europe. The SDA applies to women and men of any age.
5. it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different racial group who.5. but people of every background. In March 2003. and you want to prove it.5. This happens when a person is treated less favourably because they have complained about racial discrimination or supported someone else who has. in similar circumstances.uk/careers . So. 5. Racist abuse and harassment are also forms of direct discrimination.open. Some ethnic minority groups have done well in the education system and in the labour market. so don’t delay.2 Direct racial discrimination Direct racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. If you think you have been discriminated against at work.ac. 5.5 Race According to research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. despite legislation. 5. or work at an appropriate level to their qualifications. the UK government launched a new strategy to remove the barriers to employment success for job-seekers from minority ethnic backgrounds. you have the right under the amended Act to take your complaint before an employment tribunal. and national or ethnic origin.4 Victimisation Victimisation has a special legal meaning in the Race Relations Act. or to one of a number of other organisations such as trade unions. ‘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’.6 How to help yourself in the job market So what can and should you do to market yourself. the amended Act gives you the right to take your complaint before an employment tribunal or a county court (or sheriff court in Scotland). and to challenge unfair discrimination? Here are some suggestions: 100 To find out more. for help. If you think this has happened to you. has been treated more favourably than you. If you are thinking of bringing a case of racial discrimination.5. March 2003 5. racial equality councils. most racial discrimination in Britain is against people from minority ethnic groups. colour. 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. The report proposes a fresh approach to address the many barriers that can get in the way of success in jobs and careers. nationality (including citizenship).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. visit our website at www. law centres.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. In practice.5. And even those individuals who achieve academic success do not necessarily reap the rewards in the workplace that their qualifications merit. in 2004. Government initiatives take time to implement however. These cover grounds of race.5 Time limits Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for filing your case at an employment tribunal or court. colour and nationality are protected by the law. and you need to plan your own job-seeking strategies to maximise your opportunities. discrimination continues to exist for students from minority ethnic groups who do meet barriers to getting work. 5.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. Tony Blair. you can apply to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). If you think you have been discriminated against on racial grounds. citizens advice bureaux and other advice agencies. you have three months to file an employment case and six months to file a case in the county court or sheriff court. race. In general. to target employers. or when applying for work.5. But too many members of ethnic minority communities are being left behind.
• Check if the organisation is a member of Business in the Community (BITC) www.ac. Find out more about the unit at: www.ac.gov.6. You can find more information at the Press for Change website (see Section 5.org. and how much to disclose to a potential employer and to work colleagues is of course a matter of personal choice. If the EOP is incorporated into your contract you might be able to directly rely upon it. students and recruiters. This relates to England. especially public sector and large private employers. Contact them for information on legal issues.uk 5. For advice on finding positive employers take a look at: www. You can ask for a copy of the policy before applying for a job. You can log onto their website at: www. visit our website at www. • Develop contacts and make the most of your networking skills. Their website is: www.prospects.4).6 Sexuality and sexual orientation Are you worried about possible discrimination in the workplace because of your sexuality? Whether to.5.teacherworld. Target employers with a reputation for good equal opportunity policy and practice.org. • Discuss your plans and approach with a careers adviser in your regional centre.6.uk 5. formally made illegal a whole catalogue of discrimination against transsexual people in employment. Race for Opportunity is a programme. available for reference in your regional centre or at www. and this will depend on your own experience and lifestyle. TeacherWorld UK TeacherWorld UK provides information and support for teachers (and those intending to teach) from minority ethnic backgrounds.bitc.1 Your rights The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment. when to.2 Transsexuals In May 1999.nmc-online.windsor-fellowship.org To find out more. • Many employers have sub-groups for minority ethnic groups.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.open. application forms and covering letters. 5. plus details of work experience and career-enhancement programmes www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Make use of Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ to prepare your marketing tools.cre.ac. that is dedicated to ethnic minority issues.blackandasiangrad. It holds an annual careers day for black and Asian students and graduates.com 5. The amendments. your CV.uk. Windsor Fellowship The Windsor Fellowship is a charitable organisation that offers skills development programmes to undergraduates and graduates from minority ethnic groups. universities and schools to support learners from minority ethnic groups.uk/links/Discrimination • Understand the relevant legal situation.6.kalmagazine.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. vacancies.6. Scotland and Wales. Includes job-hunting techniques. Further resources KAL – Careers publication for students from minority ethnic groups (formerly Kaleidoscopic). which apply to the Sex Discrimination Act (1997). the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 came into force in the UK. run by BITC. You will need to consider how comfortable you will be in an area of work where you are not open about your sexuality.com Black and Asian Graduates –The UK’s official website for black and Asian graduates.uk/careers 101 . campaigns and services as well as vacancies in the commission Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) www. National Mentoring Consortium Unit The National Mentoring Consortium Unit works with employers.uk 5.
through legislation and social change www.dircon. IBM (UK and Ireland) says: 5. General Manager.uk Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission www.org. www.co. to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone. This is a forum in which employers work with Stonewall to encourage diversity in the workplace. 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. If you encounter discrimination.stonewall. where they advertise. The most usual ways in which employers may discriminate might be around the way in which they recruit new staff. age or disability. • If your employer recognises more than one union. Press for Change Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational organisation. staff development or training days clashing with days of worship or festivals and promotion.7 Religion or belief I greatly value IBM’s participation in the Diversity Champions Scheme. gender. Published by AGCAS and available online at www.regard. 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.org.org. unless the employer can show that there is a legitimate business need. 102 To find out more.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. gay men and bisexual people and launched Diversity Champions in 2001.gba.ac.4 Resources for employment and training Stonewall Stonewall works to achieve legal equality and social justice for lesbians. 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.uk Gay Business Association www. www. including a section on sexuality and sexual orientation. race.uk/careers . The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) were introduced to protect against discrimination in employment and vocational training in England.uk/stonewall In December 2003. Usually.prospects.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Consider joining a trade union where you will receive support and legal advice.org. which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the UK. on the grounds of religion or belief. It is also unlawful to harass or bully someone because of their religion or belief. sexual orientation. 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. Larry Hirst.uk Regard – the national organisation of disabled lesbians. • Find out about employers who belong to the Diversity Champions group set up by Stonewall in 2001. At IBM we employ the best people irrespective of religion.pfc. Under the new regulations it is unlawful. bisexuals and transgender people. days when they choose to interview. the support of a trade union can protect you where the legislation doesn’t. gay men.uk/links/Discrimination 5.eoc. and Diversity Champions allows employers to focus on the new challenges and opportunities for addressing issues of diversity in the workplace. these employers are at the cutting edge of innovation in business and public service.open.ac.6. Scotland and Wales and similar regulations were also introduced in Northern Ireland. visit our website at www.
7. 5.uk/er/equality/eeregs Managing the New Legislation on Religion and Belief www. 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. Further resources The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 www.uk/careers 103 . 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.lowpay. 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. Does it include information about equality and diversity? If not. Alternatively.org. visit our website at www. • Speak to the equality and diversity officer. keep up to date on the law and your rights.open. unless it is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR). As it is recent legislation.ac. In the meantime. there is very little case law at present – greater understanding of how the legislation is interpreted and practised will come with time.gov.uk/docs/RFO_Religion.bitc. • Look out for employee profiles on employer websites.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook If this is an area that is of concern to you. someone from human resources may be able to help. it doesn’t necessarily mean that the employer doesn’t care about this. if the organisation has one.pdf To find out more.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. But how do you know this? • Look out for race equality schemes/equality and diversity policies. if this is a concern for you. • Read the information in the recruitment pack.
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
Look at the following website to find details of the nearest service to you: www.com Scotland www.uk/links/careersservices For details of adult advice and guidance services in the following countries.uk www. Good luck and best wishes for your future! To find out more.gradireland. visit our website at www.3.com Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland www.uk/library Finally You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations. but remember that you’re setting out on an exciting journey. go to: www.open. look at these websites: England www.ac.egsa.prospects.guidancecouncil.uk/careers 107 . Some may be available for reference at your regional centre.org. Look in larger libraries for other publications mentioned in this book.ac.open.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. To find out about services offered by the Open University library at Walton Hall.uk Wales www.ac. Further resources A list of further resources is given at the end of each section of this book.org.3 Other sources of help 6.careers-scotland. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life. You are advised to ring first. with all its potential for improvement and advancement.careerswales.1 External guidance providers Other university careers services may be happy for OU students to use their information rooms.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 6.
visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 108 To find out more.ac.open.uk/careers .
visit our website at www.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.open.uk/careers 109 .
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 110 To find out more. visit our website at www.ac.uk/careers .open.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.open. visit our website at www.ac.uk/careers 111 .
visit our website at www.open.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 112 To find out more.uk/careers .
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