This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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.
To begin with. This book invites you to recognise your own qualities and abilities. 4 and 5. They’re likely to be helpful when you reach the stage of completing application forms. make a note of the recommended sections: • I don’t know where to begin Look particularly at Section 1. Career planning has to be a recurring process – you can’t do it once and for all. and • Begin to plan how you might achieve it. Keep your activities as you work through them. You could take a relatively informal approach. perhaps when you’re not in the midst of your studies. the more productive they’ll be. but it also complements information on our careers website. find some of them particularly time consuming. You may To find out more. but you might want to dip into different areas at different stages of your career planning and job seeking. and the more time and effort you put into them. support and encouragement. they can act as a sounding board and suggest different ways of looking at things. 3. The website for the Careers Advisory Service is at: www. interests. and you might well need to return to them as your ideas develop. This book focuses on you because although organisations. Ways of working Give some thought now to how you might work with these materials before you begin. The workbook outlines the practical steps needed for looking for a job. then settle back secure in the knowledge that you won’t have to do it again. with a careers adviser or perhaps through your appraiser at work or your line manager. putting your CV together or preparing for an interview. positive and constructive you are.uk/careers We recommend working through the workbook sections in order. make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with. Whatever approach you decide on. You might find it useful to link up with another person or a small group.open. so the clearer you are about your own characteristics.uk/careers 5 . and to define what you’re really looking for. working with a partner or friend. designing a curriculum vitae (CV) and presenting yourself at interviews. Working with others can give you ideas. but you could become distracted by the mechanics of the process. It is you who will be in the work situation. planning a strategy. • I know what I want to do but don’t know how to achieve it Look at Sections 2. agencies. The best place to start is with yourself. so that you can build a sound foundation for later steps in reviewing your career. The more open minded. Time It’s difficult to foresee exactly how much time you’ll need. values and personal needs • Decide what you want to achieve. • How should I update my CV? Look at Section 4. the most important influence on your career and life planning is you. 4 and 6. This is a reference source that can stand on its own. If you have particular concerns If you recognise concerns of your own – you may find more than one – in this list. • I need to find a job in a particular geographical area Look at Section 2. visit our website at www. Working through the activities should be challenging but rewarding. or set up a more formal relationship. • How should I use the internet in looking for jobs? Look at Section 2. Working through the activities at your own pace gives you scope for quiet reflection. completing application forms. people and materials are all useful resources. they can’t make things happen for you Remember. the basis of our original plans inevitably shifts. Activities We encourage you to take time over the activities suggested in this book.open. the more precisely you can specify what you want and communicate it to employers. you might prefer to tackle the process in stages.ac.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.ac. You’ll certainly find it helpful to get comments and opinions from people who know you well. As we make changes and as circumstances change around us. skills. • Will my age be a problem in changing career? Look at Sections 2.
prospects. This is the first step in the career-review process. This kind of self-knowledge is the soundest basis for making decisions about your future. 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. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Knowing yourself In this section 1. for example. your education. Your past has shaped you through your family background. work and leisure activities. 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. 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. Some of these resources and links are provided by The Open University and some by external agencies such as Graduate Prospects www. after exploring them.uk/careers 7 . less well-paid work.1 What am I like? 8 1. They offer different ways of considering what you’re like and what you can do. The activities in this section ask you to think about a series of questions as a beginning to your career review. so that you can learn new skills or take up more enjoyable.uk/careers Here you will find links to lots of different activities and resources to assist in career planning and job seeking.open. You’ve gained knowledge and skills from your experiences.ac. This section will help you to develop your self-awareness.ac.open.ac. The section starts by asking you to look back. and learnt how you cope with things and respond to different tasks and challenges. take a clear view of your career and life. and reject them only if.uk To find out more. that some of the activities (and others) are also available online on the Careers Advisory Service website at: www. Note. At intervals you’ll be asked to ‘pause for thought’ and note down your responses. training. You might be able to reduce your mortgage by moving to a smaller house or a cheaper area. Try to keep an open mind when considering future possibilities. there’s good reason to. You may find that some seemingly unchangeable things can be changed. however.2 What work would suit me? 13 Remember that you may have potential that has yet to be developed.
and to consider how your early history contributed to it. and he saw that each disappointment motivated him towards a change and offered opportunities. Diploma) Daughter Bought flat (Improvement Grant) Bought house – garden-mortgage! Changes in company policy (new job.1 What am I like? 1. Note down key events.ac. Another noted that all his positive job changes followed disappointments in his private life. Moved House HIGH POINT Secondary School Qualified (production engineer) Marriage Son Became management trainee (part time study. consider it as a whole. You may find it useful to talk through any difficult emotions with someone you trust.1.1 In this activity you’re going to draw a ‘lifeline’. 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. this activity revealed to one person that all her high points were associated with praise from others and her low points with geographical moves. showing high and low points at different times of your life.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. marriage. Example When you’ve drawn a lifeline that reflects your experiences. This activity can help you to gather insights that can influence your future choices. Activity 1. children.uk/careers . 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. and to discover aspects of yourself that you might want to develop or change. You’ll be asked to refer back to your lifeline later on.open. visit our website at www. A third recognised someone else as consistently and unobtrusively acting as a mentor.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. 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. to help you think about the pattern of your life. retirement and so on. Think about the feelings aroused by each experience and answer these questions. Put them in the form of a diagram like the one here. such as education.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. experiences you had. say something about any occupational influences on you. visit our website at www. For instance. Some of this information will be useful when you put your CV together (see Section 4). could you have made different choices? Make a note of any insights you’ve gained through remembering and reflecting. Make notes under the headings below. Maybe you had various abilities but developed one rather than another – sporting ability rather than artistic talent. how you got on with other children. what your parents expected of you. Pause for thought Now spend some time considering what your notes say about you – what you’re like. such as strong aspects of your personality or talents.open. concentrating on your childhood and school life. Looking back. family lifestyle.ac. how you saw your teachers. 3 Schooling List the schools you went to. 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.2 This activity brings out some of the early themes from your lifeline. and you might want to return to it later to change or add points. The activity may take some time. with dates. how your teachers saw you. the subjects you were good at and enjoyed. perhaps. 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. You may see themes appearing. school sports or activities you took part in. activities you participated in. your role in the family. why and how you arrived at where you are today. the area and house you lived in.uk/careers 9 . To find out more.
Activity 1. passing your driving test on the fifth attempt may say a lot about your staying power and determination. visit our website at www. passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student. Set them out in the table below.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. 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. things you do in your spare time.open.uk/careers . They could be workrelated or to do with relationships. note the achievements you’re most proud of and what they say about you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. recent or a long time ago.1. 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.3 Looking back at your lifeline.ac. 10 To find out more. For example.
and so on. By chairing meetings of a club. listener or organiser). You may be a parent (cook.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. cooking. visit our website at www.4 Now complete the table below. My main roles 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Looking at all your roles. are you surprised at the number of things you do and take for granted every day? Look at the skills you’ve listed. If you are a parent. gardener and household manager). project manager). Again. You may be an employee (team leader. you have needed to develop skills of budgeting. As a student. Each role demands different skills. you need skills of learning. You may take part in voluntary work (counsellor.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. working group member.open. Activity 1. as many skills are learnt outside paid work. you’ve developed not only practical skills but planning and organising skills as well. How do you feel about them? Which do you most enjoy using? How could you use them in work? To find out more. communication and keeping to schedules. time management. time management. this is a particularly useful exercise if you have little work experience to draw on. you develop skills of briefing and dealing with people as well as those of managing meetings.ac.uk/careers 11 . delegating.1. If you enjoy DIY. Circle the ones that are particular strengths.
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.ac. What have you learnt about yourself? Bringing some of your answers together. 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. My main strengths 1 2 3 4 5 6 My main weaknesses 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 To find out more. but your spare-time activities could help you to demonstrate skills and qualities.uk/careers . Activity 1.1. Remember that strengths can be built on for the future and weaknesses can be reduced by your efforts. visit our website at www. personal characteristics or interests. they need not be barriers to the future.open. It’s easy to forget that leisure activities can give us as many skills and abilities as work.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. abilities.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. what would you now say are your main strengths and weaknesses? They can be skills.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.
for example.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. Activity 1. the stronger your ambition. 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.2 What work would suit me? Now that you’ve spent some time considering the skills and qualities you’ve developed through experience. but you don’t let work rule your life. This is something that varies from person to person. At the lower end of the scale. you need to be clear about how important work is to you.ac. you would always put work first and aim high in your achievements. it’s time to think about work. 1.open. you would put your social life before work. You may have found yourself in a post that takes over and leaves little time for family life. If you scored +20.uk/careers 13 . You have some concern about doing well and making progress. or you might avoid positions that regularly eat into your leisure time. or you may prefer something that can give you a better balance between work and home life. visit our website at www. You might be highly ambitious. If you don’t have much experience of paid work. If you have a more central score You keep a balance between work and leisure. The next activity can help you to think about this.1 How big a part of my life is work? Before considering what you want to do.2. and might be seen as ‘laid back’. think about your approach to activities or projects. 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. even workaholic. have little concern about getting on in your career. for example if you scored –20.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. How does this feel? Is it right for you or would you like to change this aspect of your life? To find out more.
note how it came about. make a similar list of unpaid or voluntary experience for example. 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. and you might want to come back to it later. fundraising for a charity or involvement in a conservation project. either through formal appraisal or from informal comments and reactions. and will be useful when preparing for interviews (see Section 4). The next activity helps you to explore your experience. You may also have learnt from others. visit our website at www.open. what factors seemed important in deciding to take it up? 3 For each job. 2 For each job.uk/careers . note the range of tasks or activities you had to do. You will have learnt a huge amount through work (whether paid. helping readers at school.7 1 List the jobs you’ve had.2 What work experience have I had? Most people would agree that work experience is very important when considering future directions.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. The activity may take some time. unpaid or voluntary) by noticing how you feel about different tasks and respond to work situations. Many will be ‘transferable skills’ that you can use in other situations. or how well you perform particular activities in comparison with other people. If you have limited or no experience of paid employment.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. Did you volunteer or were you directed into it? If you had some choice.ac. 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. 4 Did you have to deal with any difficulties? 5 Which tasks or activities did you find most appealing. with dates. Activity 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. completing an application form or attending an interview (which you will cover in more detail in Section 4). Does it sound like you? If it comes to you easily. If work hasn’t been a major part of your life. All the words describe positive qualities. Circle any that describe you particularly. If you’re not sure or if it’s only partly true.uk/careers 15 . if it isn’t a usual role for you. apply this to whatever activity has taken up a lot of your time. put a tick beside it. cross it out. visit our website at www. Work through each role in the list.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. leave it blank.2.ac.8 Some work roles and areas of competence are listed below.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. To find out more. Activity 1. 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.open.
negotiating (s) Tend to worry. socially confident (s) Pessimistic (f) Energetic (f) Solitary (s) Like lots of change and variety (t) Very much affected by events or people (f) Go my own way.ac. get anxious (f) Like deadlines and timetables (t) Usually take a leading role (s) Good with complex ideas or data (t) Demonstrative. deciding how you compare with other people. think more generally about your life if your workplace experiences are limited. Again.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. show feelings (f) Happy to be in charge of others (s) Prefer traditional ways of action (t) Equable. Try to use the full range of ratings from 5 (much more so than most) to 1 (much less so than most). More Plan ahead and keep to it (t) Stickler for detail or accuracy (t) Easy mixer. 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.uk/careers .9 Work through the following descriptions. caring for others (s) Always like to win.open. visit our website at www. come in top (f) Like persuading.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. Activity 1. circling your position on the scale.2. act independently (s) More practical than theoretical (t) Determined (f) Sympathetic.
open. but you do need to take your own traits into account. to do with your approach to work tasks (t). You can group them into those to do with relating to people and social situations (s). another is very chatty and communicative. While one is reserved. and to do with your drives and emotions (f). one is a stickler for detail while another is not too concerned about fine accuracy. some people are at ease giving a presentation while others find it very nerveracking. Where did you score the most highly? Or did you score evenly across the three categories? For instance. There’s no right or wrong personality. A work situation that suits a very sociable person won’t suit someone who prefers to work alone. the more opportunities you create for finding a situation that will suit you.uk/careers 17 .ac.9 continued Now look over your ratings. visit our website at www. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. If you think about your colleagues you’ll be aware how they differ from each other. The better you know yourself.
Review As you may be discovering. ambitions.open. as it enables you to recognise the talents you have and also to see whether there are gaps you want to work on. Now list some of your work/voluntary/domestic achievements. The next activities are based on your own knowledge. as it affects the work or the parts of a particular job that you can perform best. Others have specialist knowledge. It’s also important for you to know what you’re good at. relation or a careers adviser. 18 To find out more. You can be good at something without particularly enjoying it. You may have begun to gain more insights or realisations about your own nature.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. others are skilful with statistics. You might discover that your strengths are grouped in some areas rather than others. You can learn about your aptitudes from other people’s comments. Perhaps you had to learn a new technique. or perhaps you used or developed a skill you already had. but it’s not a necessary connection. by reading and so on. Some people have a creative imagination. needs and values. it’s helpful to reflect on your past as you approach a decision that will significantly affect your life. What have you learnt? It can help. 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.ac. others a photographic memory. as you learn through your own study. visit our website at www. This question is of particular interest to employers. What I achieved 1 2 3 4 5 Knowledge/abilities used 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Examine and reflect on what you’ve put under the headings. by going on training courses. to have someone else with whom to talk through your answers – perhaps a friend.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. Consider your answers so far.2. initiatives you’ve put into practice. Then think about the knowledge and abilities you needed to apply in order to achieve the result. Your discoveries might be to do with your skills and abilities or your attitudes. You should also remember that you’ll go on developing as you cope with different demands. etc. Some people have been taught or have learnt particular skills for themselves – competence in a computer language. It’s useful to know this. by trial and error. You may have learnt more about your personality. but do use any other information you can get. projects you’ve tackled successfully. temperament or way of dealing with the world.10 Look back at your list of achievements and what they say about you. for example. It’s also useful as evidence when you’re completing a CV or attending an interview. rather than simply thinking through these questions. such as accounting standards or employment law. Activity 1. There’s generally some connection between what we can do well and what we enjoy doing.uk/careers . by observing others.
just acceptable skills Very basic level. visit our website at www. Be as honest as you can both in admitting lack of skill and in acknowledging your competence. Consider how well you can carry out each one in comparison with other people. not usually adequate No significant level of skills Communication Rating 1 Listening. to encourage them to speak 5 Commanding an audience. words flowing easily 4 Drawing people out. 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. often referred to as ‘employability’ or ‘transferable skills’.ac.11 This activity will help you to assess your skills in more detail. outstanding performance High level. reliably perform better than average Good level. ability to convey information without confusion 3 Fluent speech.uk/careers 19 . Try to use the full range of ratings. 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. generally able to do it quite well Reasonable level. The activity is grouped into skills which are of particular importance to employers. giving a presentation 6 Using the telephone effectively: few misunderstandings 7 Reading efficiently: readily taking in written information 8 Writing effectively. taking in what others say and checking your understanding of the information 2 Clear verbal expression.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.open.
getting the best out of others 7 Counselling: helping with personal problems 8 Negotiating: mediating. motivating.uk/careers . encouraging. assessing or appraising 10 Persuading. teaching or coaching others 4 Delegating and managing others 5 Leading a work group. visit our website at www. chairing a meeting 6 Encouraging.ac.open. dealing with conflict 9 Interviewing. uses and sources of loan finance 12 Operating costing system Rating Total score 20 To find out more. taking account of this in dealing with them 2 Getting on with a variety of people and building up working relationships 3 Instructing. 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.
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. hand-eye coordination 10 Understanding physical sciences 11 Understanding engineering 12 Maintaining or repairing complex equipment Rating Total score To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Thinking and analysis 1 Using critical path analysis 2 Using statistics 3 Logical thinking. practical problems 9 Using manual dexterity.uk/careers 21 .open.ac. visit our website at www. 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.
systems. events or courses 5 Being insightful. layouts. filing system or recording procedures Rating Total score 22 To find out more.uk/careers .open. visit our website at www. 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.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. colours.ac. 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.
Look at the skills you scored most highly in and those you most enjoy. and that the wider the range of skills you have. List those here: Pause for thought What does this activity tell you? Are there any surprises or does it confirm your expectations? Either way. Recognising the skills you have to offer is key in being able to market yourself to an employer (see also Section 4). you can use the information when you come to consider alternatives. Remember that skills can always be developed simply by using them more.ac.open. To find out more. the greater the variety of job options open to you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Summary Now add up all your total scores.uk/careers 23 . 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. visit our website at www. Now look through the original ratings to see whether there are skills you’re not yet very competent in. but would like to develop.
think. 24 To find out more. expensive possessions Expressing ethical code or religious beliefs Using talents. as restrictions of one kind or another will limit everyone’s range of choice. This doesn’t mean that you can achieve everything you wish.uk/careers .ac. Try to use the full range of scores. 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. places Scope to learn. excitement. independent action Change or variety in tasks. a manufacturing company. analyse Making friendly contacts with others Large income. a local authority. handling things Taking risks. It is important. the next step is to recognise what you’re satisfied with and what you’re dissatisfied with. developing skills Being part of an important organisation Having lots of stimulus. In the same way.12 Rate the values below for importance. not to limit yourself by concentrating so much on restrictions that you achieve less than you might. study. some kinds of work have more to do with ALTRUISM and others with ECONOMIC or CREATIVE values. a financial institution and so on will each have a different ‘feel’ as a place to work. a newspaper office. developing new ideas Activity. career progression Helping or caring for others Concern for surroundings or location Being original. Activity 1. thrills Having influence or power over others Enjoying or making beautiful designs or things Getting promotion. 4 Very important 3 Important 2 Less important 1 Not important Description Making decisions. a charity. visit our website at www.6 What do I really want from work? Now that you’ve thought about who and where you are and the skills you have.2. people.open. Try to think through which would suit you best. keeping moving. though.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.
challenges to rise to. 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. complicated demands repeatedly made on us can be stressful. Too little About right Too much Respect Most of us like to be thought well of and respected by others. But having very high-level. We all have our own preferred level of demand. Too little Adequate Well paid Variety Individuals differ in the amount of variety they prefer. repetitive. Too little About right Too much Clear boundaries A work situation where boundaries aren’t clear can cause uncertainty and conflict. visit our website at www. closely controlled work is generally far from satisfying. Too little About right Too much Goals People function best when there are demands to be met. but on the other hand having a high level of responsibility (being a managing director. Too little About right Too much Social contact Everyone’s need for contact is different. For work satisfaction it’s important to feel that there’s some match between your contribution and the position you hold.2. but it’s stimulating to have some change and variation in the work environment.13 To complete your examination of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.open. but most of us get satisfaction from being with others. 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. inadequate income causes many problems and dissatisfactions. Too little About right Too much Opportunity for control Simple. chatting over coffee or working in a team. Too little About right Too much Opportunity to use skills Most of us enjoy using and developing our skills and competence.ac.7 How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? Activity 1. targets to be achieved. Money Clearly. for example) can be stressful. To find out more. Equally. being in a tightly defined job can feel restricting.uk/careers 25 . consider the following. Note any ideas that occur to you. Circle the level that applies to your present or most recent job.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.
26 To find out more. If your occupation is to ‘feel right’.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.open. perhaps discuss them with a confidant and if necessary modify them.14 Review You’ve now considered the reasons why you work (other than financial necessity) and which things you most enjoy doing. visit our website at www. agree with your beliefs in general and allow you to express your personality.uk/careers . Take time to reflect on the results of the activities in this section. it’s important that it should be fulfilling. Any significant mismatch is likely to leave you feeling dissatisfied or stressed or becoming cynical about your job. Note your thoughts here.
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. but only of your own preferences. you also need to consider your interests. Try to imagine whether you’d like doing the others or not.ac. visit our website at www. You will have had experience of some of them. Assume that you could do the activity if you wanted to.2. Tick Yes. Not sure or No according to how you feel about each activity.open. Interests are to do with the things you find most appealing or enjoyable.uk/careers 27 .15 Look through these kinds of work and consider whether you would like to carry each one out. Activity 1. It’s not a question of your ability or qualifications.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.8 What kind of work would I like to do? To help you decide on the kind of work you’d like to do.
ac.uk/careers .open. visit our website at www.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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.
21. visit our website at www. 19. 39. 36. 16. 22. 41. 29. 15. 38. 35. 17. 47 Questions 3. 40. 14. 26. 10. 32. 27. 52 Questions 8. 12. 31.uk/careers 29 . 46 Questions 2. 49 Questions 5. 33. 37. 51 Questions 7. 53 Questions 9.open.ac. 44. 20.15 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. 43. 42. 11. 30. 28.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. 45. 34. 13. 18. 25. 24. 54 To find out more. 48 Questions 4. 23. 50 Questions 6.
sales manager G Scientific/engineering/research and design e. do take account of them in considering your future. 30 To find out more. charity officer. laboratory technician D Data processing e.uk/links/Pplanner First. Use Section 2 of this workbook to help you research the results you have got in the above activities. visit our website at www. even if in a different kind of organisation. Prospects Planner.g. database administrator E Accounting/finance e. IT consultant.15 continued What your scores mean Your scores relate to different kinds of work activity: Score A Administrative/legal/secretarial e.16 You may also find it useful to work through Prospects Planner.g.uk/careers . this is a reassuring confirmation and suggests that you should consider continuing in that or related work. 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. craft and natural environment areas.ac. It doesn’t include artistic. retail buyer.g. The result may be no surprise.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.prospects. architect H Information/communication e. recruitment manager C Technical support e.g. dancing. Access Prospects Planner via the Prospects website by logging on to: www. Simply click on Login/Register in the My Prospects account box on the home page and go from there. playing a musical instrument. It might be that you work or have worked in your highest-scoring area and enjoyed it.g. the pattern may suggest a move to a different area of work. nor those that depend on performance skills such as acting. If you have interests outside this ‘managerial scheme’.g. and motivations.g. management accountant.ac. The list of interests we’ve considered in this activity reflects common graduate and managerial areas of work. interests. tax inspector F Marketing/sales/purchasing e. creative. Activity 1.g. Before carrying on. librarian. This is an online career-planning tool that will help you explore your skills. primary teacher. like similar programs. It will then match your profile with an occupational database to produce a list of job suggestions for you to consider. If so. production manager Write in your total score for each group.g. but it will give you a starting point to explore areas of work that may interest you. you’ll need to register. interpreter I Operational/production/distribution e. transport planner. electronics engineer.open. Alternatively. doesn’t tell you what you should do. health service manager B Personnel/training/education e. quality assurance manager.
visit our website at www. 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. 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 may want to look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. or you might prefer to move on to the possibilities that this knowledge could open up for you in Section 2. When you’ve done that.ac.open. Now complete the summary chart below.uk/careers 31 .
uk/careers . 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.ac. organisational structure.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. 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.open. travel. visit our website at www. etc. such as location.
You need to register (free) to use it at: www.uk To find out more. however.co. people. You could take a look at the Windmills website.windmillsprogramme.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.learndirect-futures.open. It covers job roles at all levels of responsibility rather than those just at graduate level as covered by Prospects Planner.ac.open. You may prefer.com Learndirect Futures is another career interestassessment website that generates job suggestions. The tactics you will find most relevant at this stage are: • Tactic 1: Focusing your skills – self-reliance. This is a virtual career coach which teaches individual career-management skills. You may find it useful to complete this section before you book an interview. The content of Section 1 can provide a really useful starting point to an individual consultation with a careers adviser. Windmills consists of seven stages or ‘tactics’. general and specialist skills analyses • Tactic 2: Finding your ideal job – includes a motivation assessment You can access the website at: www.uk/careers Whichever route you choose. good luck with the next step! Further resources Try these resources for developing self-awareness.uk/careers 33 . visit our website at www.ac. 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. which OU students can do by contacting your regional centre. 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.
(In fact. 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. This means that you must be flexible enough to adapt your approach to the diversity of methods used by potential employers. A typical strategy means that you will: • Consider all the opportunities open to you: public. the recruitment process will be quite different. rather than carefully organised and systematic.3 2. and be prepared to ask for comments on how you’ve done. the only thing they might have in common is that they probably use an interview during the selection procedure. private and voluntary sectors. So.1 2.1. jobs and developments in sectors you’re interested in.2 Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Exploring possibilities In this section 2.1 A typical strategy A strategic approach pays dividends.) Otherwise. 2. By planning your job-search strategy.2 2.open. so be organised and systematic. people’s job-seeking methods can be disorganised and inefficient.4 2.1 Planning your strategy Many job-seekers actually have very little knowledge of how the job market works and how people are in fact recruited. Another key fact you need to understand is that different sectors and employers have their own traditional methods for recruiting.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43 2. where and how often vacancies are advertised.uk/careers 35 . We are assuming at this stage that you know what you want to do. • Look into and follow up all sources of information. Always keep copies of your applications. work through Section 1 ‘Knowing yourself’ before going any further. • Do some research: find out how. If you haven’t yet got a clear picture of the kind of work or job you want to pursue. visit our website at www.ac. As a result. or for jobs that don’t fit your needs or meet your expectations. 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. What information they do have can often be based on personal experience or rumour. • Get a general view before you start to draw up a shortlist. when. The local sawmill is likely to approach the task differently from a multinational advertising agency. To find out more. • Build up a file of background information about companies. • Don’t forget that you need to review and evaluate your progress from time to time. It’s also important that you don’t spend valuable time applying for jobs where you have little chance of success. you will be able to focus much more accurately on what you need to do to achieve your goal.
regional representatives. sample advertisements. • Constantly reassess your assumptions about questions such as your mobility and your job preferences.uk/links/SectorBs 2. You can do this by exploring jobs in sectors on the Prospects website at www.ac. visit our website at www. and don’t forget to follow up useful contacts from job advertisements.ac. look at the OU Career Links scheme where you can talk to a ‘career helper’ from the OU community at www. 2. professional bodies. both on the number of people employed and on the work that they do. • If you are a student.ac. fellow students. • Set up a file of job information. more adaptable to change. useful company and sector contacts. • Acknowledge those who have helped you – quick telephone calls or thank-you notes may pay dividends. File copies of letters and applications and record the progress on each one.uk/links/ CSDSevenYears) grouped graduate jobs into five distinct categories: 1 Traditional graduate occupations Established professions for which a degree has historically been required. and graduates are now entering a much wider range of jobs. job descriptions and person specifications. details of salary bands. • Use a range of job-search methods. www. To review your progress: • Consider what appears to work and what doesn’t. alumni. You need to find out as much as you can about the job(s) and the companies you’re applying to. As you research the main occupational areas that interest you. The graduate has to be an expert in a very specific area.1 What is a ‘graduate’ job? One of the main reasons employers recruit graduates is that they expect them to be more flexible.2 Information Information is an essential tool in job hunting. solicitors or research scientists. the better the choices you make will be.1. for example. and the more you know about each possibility.uk/careers .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. • Be realistic about the skills and experience you have and those you need to acquire.open. Modern graduate occupations Since the expansion of higher education in the 1960s. the graduate labour market boundaries are blurring. for all graduate job-seekers and job-changers. useful articles. • Get to know the main sources of information about careers and jobs. and ask yourself why.open. journalism or social work. relevant journals. • Follow up this information by talking to professional careers advisers and people in the job areas that interest you. • Be prepared to persist. However.prospects. there has been a development of new professional areas requiring graduate-level qualifications. They’ll all have a bearing on employment.prospects. • Keep notes of your conversations. and capable of learning new skills.ac. websites. 2 36 To find out more. It’s becoming apparent that it isn’t always the classification of the job that’s important.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. Research conducted by Elias and Purcell in 2004 (Seven Years On: Graduate Careers in a Changing Labour Market. 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. As large numbers of graduates enter an increasingly diverse range of jobs. it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define exactly what’s meant by a ‘graduate job’. so that you can present yourself effectively. representatives from professional bodies.3 Review your progress Keep records of all contacts and applications you make.uk/careers/links • Personal contacts can be invaluable: tutors. 2. This is still so. employment seeking strategies have had to be flexible and responsive to the employment market. A high level of interactive and communication skills is usually required for these areas in addition to having received training in the specific area. • Use local career libraries.2. specialist and general trade directories. press releases etc. The fuller your awareness of the opportunities open to you. for instance. look into trends in the area.1. but the nature of the graduate’s experience and aspirations.
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. 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. The ability to access and use specialist information is an additional skill for these areas. environmental health).1 per cent six months after leaving. According to the Graduate Experience 2002 Report (DTI.ac. 2. 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. the data shows the unemployment figure for OU students from the 2003/4 survey to be 2. there were 3. 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.uk/links/wdgd and on the Teaching Quality website at www.5 per cent. graphic design.8 million SMEs in the UK and it is predicted that they will create a further 2 million jobs by 2010.ac.uk/careers 37 . marketing.tqi. At the beginning of 2002.ac. Niche graduate occupations This is an expanding area. visit our website at www.prospects. This data is published annually and can be seen at www. retail management.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3 4 5 New graduate occupations These reflect changes in technology and organisational structures and priorities. There are many instances of graduates in these occupations demonstrating their potential and developing their initial role to fit their skills.uk In 2004 unemployment among all students was 6. engineering. Many are in nongraduate jobs but using the skills that they have developed as a result of their studies. For more information on SMEs go to: www. a growing proportion of graduates find their first jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In fact.2. 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.ac.prospects.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. Barclays) only 14 per cent of respondents had a place on a graduate training scheme with a blue chip employer.open. nursing. Although we know that OU students start from a different point as many are working while they study. Non-graduate occupations Increasing numbers of graduates don’t immediately enter the ‘graduate labour market’.
including those in organisations you’ve already worked for (if any). • Use employment agencies. See Section 2. how long for. • 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. [Adapted from the AGCAS booklet Job Seeking Strategies] Pause for thought Ask yourself what you can take forward from these ideas. it’s estimated that 7 out of 10 jobs are ‘hidden’. So.uk/careers .4. visit our website at www. and to foster contacts. in times of recession. and what benefits you hope to gain from the experience.org. Consider temporary or part-time work to enhance your marketability. • Find contacts in the sorts of organisation and job you’d really like. Make sure they keep you in mind for suitable vacancies.2. 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. Today’s labour market is increasingly diverse. • Cultivate well-placed. or talk to them in person.5. • Don’t limit your marketing to letters of application.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. in that they are never even advertised! Often.ac. how can you do a creative job search? Here are a few essential steps to get you started: • You need to ‘market’ yourself. SMEs. 38 To find out more. they are classified as either ‘open’ or ‘hidden’. • Investigate the possibility of employment through a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’. qualities and experience. 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. which were discussed above in Section 2.ktponline. and customise them with a particular opportunity or employer in mind (see Section 4 ‘Getting the job’). None of us can predict what kind of jobs might be available in the next few years.2). In fact. skill development and knowledge of the industry or job area. • Think about doing voluntary work. This may give you an identifiable edge in the job market.4 Finding vacancies When it comes to job vacancies. knowledgeable people.open. a partnership between employers and higher education institutions – look at www. you need to play by a set of new rules. Consider what you can do for them. 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. may not advertise so as not to be inundated with applications. You may want to ask to meet people.4.1 Applying for hidden jobs Hidden jobs are produced: • by organisational changes that make old jobs obsolete and create new ones. • Develop an excellent CV and application letter. Most of us need to review our careers now and again to take account of changes in ourselves and the opportunities open to us. 2.4. Be clear about what you’re offering to do. • Use the internet to research into companies and job vacancies. but prefers specific skills.6 for details.10). Learn how to use the telephone effectively – there’s some advice about this in Section 2.5.9 and 2.uk • Don’t forget the increasingly important nontraditional graduate recruiters (small and mediumsized enterprises – SMEs. The best advice is to start as early as possible and be creative in your job search. To succeed.2. but don’t let them use you. in particular. What will your job search strategy look like? 2. • Find out about getting appropriate training or study with work experience. Try to contact the person who makes the decisions and might be interested in your talents.3 Creative job search The career-review process isn’t something you do once and for all and then never do again.
2 Making speculative approaches Please note that making speculative approaches to companies is not permitted in Northern Ireland. • Consult the main directories in your local reference library. showing how your abilities can contribute to the success of the enterprise. selection dates. Check with the organisation to make sure that names. for example. Marketing yourself means keeping ahead of the competition. • Get a meeting No one ever got a job merely by writing a letter. You want a meeting: say so clearly when you write. job titles and addresses are correct. develop or help it become more effective. show where you can fit in. This approach gives you the initiative. relocating? Use all your information sources and network contacts (which we will discuss in more detail below) to select a portfolio of companies. You’re not asking for a job or hoping there might be a vacancy. visit our website at www. Prepare for the meeting as you would for a job interview. Be prepared to fit in with the employer’s availability.kompass.uk/careers 39 . If a fulltime appointment isn’t practical. KOMPASS (www. Convince employers that you have exactly the skills they need to solve their business problems. You decide which organisations. Consider what’s right for you and your ‘target’ area. Your letter.4. • 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). And be sure you can deliver the goods! • When you meet Be businesslike and professional in making your proposals. The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book. Offer dates and times. Ask questions about the employer’s needs. telephone call or email must reach the right person. Turnover. even open jobs are hidden during the early stages. Prove that they need your abilities and would benefit from your expertise. Economic. You must prepare a thoroughly argued case to prove that the cost of employing you is more than outweighed by the benefits. Be prepared to negotiate. 2. Thompson Directory. jobs and areas most appeal to you. This approach isn’t comfortable for some people for example. and how you would improve. Demonstrate that they can’t afford not to employ you. ac.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. Each approach must be tailor made and will take time to prepare.uk/links/occupations to see if there are any. • Look at company websites and find out more about them. You’re making a business proposition.g. You’re not sending out a mail drop or a circular letter.3 To make an effective speculative contact • Pick out likely targets Be discriminating and choose worthwhile prospects. Remember. It isn’t enough just to wait for jobs to be advertised in the media. technological and organisational change always affect employment patterns. Which organisations have the sort of position that attracts you? Who is recruiting. there may be a possibility of employing you for a particular shortterm project. Be flexible. a very nervous jobhunter. • Give a specific reason for contact Have a peg to hang your letter on. • Always follow up If you hear nothing within two weeks of writing. follow up by telephone. Speculative approaches can even create new jobs. 2. Get any agreements – proposals or contracts – in writing as soon as you can.ac. sectors. promotion and retirement continually create new job opportunities. To get started try: • General trade directories e.prospects. Research the organisation. Treat the employer as a client. reorganising. Yellow Pages. Familiarise yourself with its problems and needs. nor appropriate in some areas of employment. explaining what you offer and what you can do. perhaps to arrange a meeting through a secretary. com) • Specialist trade directories for different occupational areas. teaching. To find out more. for instance. while decisions are being made about internal versus external recruitment campaigns.open. and concentrate on those. The effective job-seeker must tap the hidden market by making speculative approaches to prospective employers. advertising space and so on. Does the profession you’re interested in produce one? Use www.4.
Guardian. August to mid-September and December.thepaperboy. For now. advertising is reduced. telephone or email for an application form. 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. Here you will find links to jobs notified to the OU Careers Service and access to other UK wide and local vacancies. Local and regional papers sometimes concentrate their job advertisements on Thursdays. Make a note of advertising patterns in your local press. always follow the instructions given. go to www.4. Remember every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’! • • • • • The internet Newspaper. The big Sunday papers advertise a variety of jobs.5 below.ac.4 Networking In the 2003/4 Destination of Leavers Survey. • develop further contacts to expand your network. trade and professional journals Professional associations Recruitment agencies Executive search firms In all these cases. or to concentrate on particular companies just because they appeal to you. it may seem a little strange to seek out hidden jobs. 21 per cent of OU students reported that they had got their job as a result of personal contacts and networking.com 2. We will deal with networking in more detail in Section 2. You will find links to national and regional papers from www. ‘Networking’ is the systematic use of personal contacts to: • gather information about an industry or company • discover hidden jobs. Making speculative contacts can pay off in several ways. 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. whom you can convince of your qualities as a candidate. look for sources through www.7 Newspapers and journals You will find many job vacancies advertised in newspapers and specialist or trade journals.open. but their relatively high advertising rates tend to restrict the salary range to the higher end. Even if you have no luck with a particular employer.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Take a long-term view It takes time to build up a mailing list. If you are an OU student.ac.uk/careers .prospects. Each rejection may be one step nearer to the job you want. start planning early in your job search. the day on which most papers are sold. you may need to look at them every day. Daily Telegraph.ac. At first. Show initiative by telephoning or emailing if you need to know more. Each employer you see is a new contact. after an initial refusal.6 Replying to advertised jobs If you reply to an advertisement. If it says write. you may be offered a meeting. Independent. and familiarise yourself with the kinds of advertisement placed in each paper. Use these meetings to get more information about the job market. or none at all.4. about the job advertised or the selection methods they use. Because advertising in national newspapers is costly. 2. You may have to do some detective work if the advertisement doesn’t give a telephone number.4. there’s no point in sending a CV. 2. you may be referred or recommended to another. and responses may be slow and few. Make a note of the advertising patterns: you will find that most of the quality daily papers (The Times. Financial Times) advertise certain kinds of work on particular days of the week. At the start.open. Many employers send very poor information.5 Applying for advertised jobs Many jobs are of course advertised and here we look at where. especially in particular companies • get an introduction to a key decision-maker in a company. 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.uk/links/occupations 2. • Persevere Occasionally persistence will pay off and. The best place to consult newspapers and journals is your local library or online if you have access to the internet. Make the most of it. 40 To find out more. But experience supports the practical wisdom of doing so.uk/ careers and to the section entitled ‘Moving on’ and look at the ‘Advertised Jobs’ and ‘Virtual Employer Fair’ pages. visit our website at www.4. as recruiters seldom place their advertisements more than once. 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. If you’re going to make speculative approaches.
Be clear. Some produce yearbooks and lists of members. usually a percentage of your first year’s salary. Services are free to you – the employing company is charged a fee. and in some areas of employment (such as medical sales) they are almost the standard source of recruits. visit our website at www.9 Recruitment agencies Recruitment agencies tend to deal with lowerlevel salaried positions. 2.cbdresearch. To find out more.8 Professional associations Many professional associations and institutions.4. Many specialise in particular kinds of work or industry.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.open. Remember that it’s there to fill its clients’ posts.uk/careers 41 . for example.ac.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. have a regional education or training officer and sometimes specialist careers adviser whom you can contact. Addresses and other details are in the Directory of British Associations at www. about what the agency is offering you. though.com and in most major libraries. not to help you sort out your career plans.
You could find yourself treated like a trading commodity. You can find addresses of search firms in The Daily Telegraph’s Recruitment Handbook. Some employers let more than one contingency firm work on a particular job.11 The internet Most jobs are now advertised on the internet through national websites directly associated with particular careers. specialist IT skills. 2.ac. and always include details of your former salary and the range you’re looking for.uk/graduatejobsearch/ index. You can access this at: www.com • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is the national association for the recruitment and staffing industry.uk/careers . 2. As noted above. They receive enormous numbers of CVs and often don’t bother to acknowledge them. There are also opportunities to ‘post’ your CV on the web. They seldom divulge information about their clients. • Contingency firms are paid only when the company hires someone they have presented. The average search firm has only three or four consultants.com Consultants often don’t share information with one another.rec.badenochandclark. 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. Further resources Look at the following website developed by Strathclyde University Careers Service which directs job seekers to vetted job websites. Many sites change rapidly and there are no guarantees about the accuracy of the information displayed. 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. • Websites sometimes go online while still under development. While they are important in the market place.uk/links/MyProspects 42 To find out more.10 Executive search firms There are more than 200 executive search firms in the UK.000. They are of two main kinds: • Fee/assignment firms are given sole charge of a particular search. or when commercial confidentiality is essential. so if you apply to a large firm operating in many locations you need to send your CV to all of them. they’re worth considering if you have skills that are in short supply – accountancy is a particular example. Although some firms deal only with positions above £50. similarly.ac. Most consultants limit interviews and initially are likely to carry out a telephone screening with you. published annually by Kogan Page. if the website’s main interest is simply to capture personal details and sell on a CV. You can find this at: www.4.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. If they send you to an interview they’ll want to know how things went. You can also receive the Prospects Graduate Digital magazine.html You can also register free on My Prospects. Bear in mind that not all sites offer confidentiality. Most graduate recruiters now recruit online as well as using other methods. visit our website at www.prospects. Try to make sure you use vetted or recommended websites only to post your CV. Remember that: • Websites may not always deliver what they promise. They may interview you and construct a pen picture to go with your CV. As a result.4. Always try to cross-check information. You can search for agencies by geographical location and by type of work from their website at: www. If you decide to use a search firm.uk. their role is limited by the high fees they charge to employers (typically 30–35 per cent of annual salary). send a CV and covering letter.careers. edited by Patricia Leighton. or are marketable enough to fit something that might turn up in the future. and your personal details may become public property.strath.open. They get most of their fee whether the employer hires their candidates or not. search firms may deal with a limited type of vacancy. Sometimes contingency firms will distribute your CV widely in the hope of generating new business. they can be a useful source of information about how you were received by the client. they prefer to receive a CV to judge whether you fit what they have on their books at that moment.ac. They tend to be used for jobs that are at a high level or require scarce specialist skills for example. • It’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees – not everyone has a brilliant web designer.
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. Be persistent.open. To take some of the stress out of the situation. any business contacts you have.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. Your network of contacts can include friends. Make a note in your career file of your list of contacts. plan the format and content of your call: To find out more. voluntary work or casual part-time jobs. As you work towards developing and extending your network. or they may lead to other secondary sources. visit our website at www. information and ideas. Most people will be only too glad to help. or telephoning to follow up a contact you’ve been given or to make an appointment for an interview. telephone call. By telephone Your first approach is likely to be by telephone.ac. they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. or to refer you to someone else who can. Pause for thought Perhaps you feel uncomfortable about networking in this fashion.1 Approaching your contacts You need to decide how you will approach your contacts. you may be able to discover: • • • • • a company’s competitive position whether it’s in a state of growth. what is appropriate for the area of work and what might be effective. 2. Be very succinct. Some will be able to give you names of their Activity 2. These secondary contacts can act as a bridge between you and the decision makers in the companies you’re interested in. tutors or people you’ve met through leisure interests. Some people are natural and relaxed on the telephone. how do you build your network? Your primary contacts are people who know you directly. conversation and so on.1 Building up a network Draw up a list of everyone who might be able to help you – friends. Think what they can do for you: • keep you informed • comment on your strategy and approach. So. even after years of practice. own business contacts. especially those in the function that interests you. Through building up a network of contacts. the impression you make • get you noticed.5. Getting the approach right is important. so it’s difficult to judge what impression you’re making.5 Building a network of contacts Personal contacts can be a fantastic source of help in your job search. former colleagues. all potential sources of information or advice. so that you don’t get confused over important details.uk/careers 43 . Put contacts at ease about this to avoid embarrassment.2 Using the telephone effectively You may be making a speculative call. tutors. stability or decline its working climate and culture its business strategy the background of key managers. 2. relatives.5. You don’t get the usual clues from nods. fellow students. Others. In fact. family. Even if these people can’t help you themselves. keep a record of each letter. are stilted and anxious. It’s often difficult getting through to someone during the day. what you’re doing is making the most of them as sources of advice. smiles and so on. but they can become your publicity agents and your information sources. They may not have the job openings you want. A number of methods are possible but you need to decide what is right for you. so try outside normal office hours if you can. Unease usually arises from the misconception that using contacts means asking people for jobs. Busy managers are usually in early and late.
• Get to the point quickly – treat it like a minicommercial for yourself. I set up an appointment with her. • Get the contact interested straight away – make notes beforehand of what you want to say. and to read the following example. Pause for thought Meetings need to be well planned and purposeful. 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. 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. visit our website at www. political battles. you might find it helpful to look again at the advice in Section 2-3 ‘Creative job search’. considering what further preparation you need at this point.) > How do my strengths match the needs? > Plan which of my strengths/ accomplishments I am going to mention.5. > Talk again to contacts. 44 To find out more. you can register with Career Links. and there’s a lot to cover in twenty minutes.4 Career Links As an OU student. • 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.uk/careers . before you talk to your contacts. > List which issues I want to investigate (e. Whilst this person won’t necessarily be familiar with a specific company.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. • State the objectives of your call. • Clarify the exact place of the appointment.g. they are likely to have general knowledge about making contacts. They will respect you more and be more prepared to help if they have evidence of your professional approach.ac. possible openings. For a productive meeting. Make sure that you’ve done your research thoroughly. you need a carefully planned agenda. You can access career links at: www. (A discussion with an ex-employee could be particularly revealing.open. > Re-read the advice in Section 4 about job applications and interviews. and how I am going to present myself. • Offer your telephone number or email in case of a change in arrangements.uk/careers/links Pause for thought Building a network of contacts plays a key part in creative job search. prospects for development/training/promotion).open.5. Before reading on. etc. get their full name if you can. using published sources. as follows: > Carry out more research on the company (e. • Try to avoid being interviewed over the phone unless this is pre-arranged. • Use the name of the referral source discreetly. • Suggest times and dates for an appointment. trading problems/ opportunities (for me). (Think about what sort of help the company may need.g. to get a ‘feel’ for the culture. It was produced by one of the students who tried out this pack before publication and was preparing to approach a particular company.) – Put myself in the shoes of my prospective boss. journal and newspaper stories). 2. Other people have their own agendas. 2. and decided on further preparation. preferably decision-makers for your kind of job who you can ask about opportunities in the industry. • Introduce yourself succinctly. exposure to risk.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • If they have a secretary.
uk Do-it-: search this database for a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the UK. 2.cev.ac.be/members.do-it. In addition. • Get someone else to check your spelling.uk Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) www.thepaperboy.org.com Job Centre vacancies are online at www.charitypeople.uk along with links to information about New Deal initiatives. describe a relevant problem.htm lists member organisations for EU countries including the UK and Ireland.lgjobs. 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. You will also find links to professional bodies and related sites from the ‘Broad Career Areas’ within the above site. Be critical over matters of style.vso. Local centres seek to place people into suitable voluntary work – meals on wheels.open.org. 2.uk Employee Volunteering www.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. Go to www. national and international newspapers www. Use it to mention an achievement related to the job you’re seeking and strike a chord of need in the reader.5. Your letter must list accomplishments that correspond to these reasons.co. If you are a student.5.) 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.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.uk/careers. hobbies.co.charityjob.) Dates Salary Copies of references • The first paragraph is crucial.csv.jobs.citizensadvice. 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.uk Search facility with links to regional.com allows you to search by occupation and location.uk Charity People www.gov. Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ offers advice to help you with the practical side of drawing up a letter to accompany a CV. visit our website at www.ac. etc. membership.uk CR Search and Selection www. For example.ac. outline how you tackled it and state what results you got. To find out more.5 Drawing up your letter When it comes to drawing up a letter. Includes non graduate jobs on this site www. ac.uk The European Volunteer Centre www.uk Citizens Advice www.com/uk/ Local Government Jobs at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Note in your career file what preparation you want to make at this point.employeevolunteering.open. From here you can link to the various volunteer bureaus for your areas of the UK www.org. A speculative letter will need many drafts in order to polish it.prospects. etc. and prune ruthlessly.jobcentreplus. etc.crsearch.connexions-direct. you may find the following websites helpful for exploring opportunities to work with charities and voluntary organisations: Charity Job www.co.org. grammar and layout. Further resources For further information and resources go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www.org.uk Community Service Volunteers www. • You should include Key achievements and relevant experience Only the last five to ten years A maximum of two uncrowded pages • Exclude Personal data (marital status.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
open. 50 To find out more. Activity 3. The next activity will help with this.1 are the most important? Underline them. Make the most of resources Look at the resources you underlined. You now need to consider each of your goals in terms of all the resources that could be helpful or cause restrictions. 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. What actions would help you to reduce their effects? You’ve now listed actions you can take towards your goals. but there’s more to do.2. giving a balanced picture of the situation. What actions would help you to make the most of them? Minimise restrictions Now look at the restrictions you underlined.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3. Each restriction is set against a helping resource.uk/careers . It was produced by someone who wanted to apply for promotion. 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.3 Look first at the example below.ac.3 Balance helpful resources against restrictions Now look back to the restrictions and resources you listed. visit our website at www.
uk/careers 51 . 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. ‘No experience of managing budgets’ was listed as a problem. 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. To find out more. Look at the example.open.ac. visit our website at www.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.3 continued Bring actions and resources together List the resources that can help you to carry out each step.
gather information or get access to a particular resource. You could also look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’.3. So.learndirect-advice.com Action plans need to be SMART (specific.ac. achievable.uk/careers and find ‘Action Planning and Decision Making’ using the ‘A-Z’. ‘Is it realistic?’ If it isn’t.uk/careers . taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life. it might be necessary to go through several stages.1 Back-up plan You should always try to have a back-up plan. with all its potential for improvement and advancement. and then revise your targets if necessary.co. 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. 3. Set aside time to review your goals and see how you are progressing.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3. If. you still find that you’re unable to reach your goal. Once you’ve done this. If you monitor your progress by checking your plan from time to time you can identify what you have achieved.ac. realistic. To discover what kind of decision maker you are. 52 To find out more. you’ll have to revise it. you’re ready to start taking action. You may need to improve it or change it completely. try the learndirect activity at: www. time based). measurable. If you don’t manage to meet your goals it may be that your first plan wasn’t good enough. you are going to amass a lot of information from which you will need to identify realistic options and create suitable goals.windmillsprogramme.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. information. and perhaps discuss your plans either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations. Put a note in your diary or ask someone to remind you.3 Plan of action The next stage is to bring everything together into a detailed plan of action.g. finance. keep an eye on progress and adapt your plan if necessary. 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.open. 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. you might have to reconsider it. This means taking a few different steps: • Setting out your goals (long. but you’re setting out on a potentially exciting journey. Ask yourself. If you want to plan your career effectively. Review At this stage it might be useful to read through the work you’ve done in this section.open. This process will involve making a number of decisions. after doing that. You might need to gain experience or qualifications. 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. Further resources Look at the careers website at: www. To achieve what you want.
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.open.uk/careers Tomorrow Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 53 . weekly Find someone else keen to do it To find out more.ac.Activity 3.4 Showing a worked example of an action plan Look at the worked example below. visit our website at www.who or what can help me? Target date for actions To become a journalist Postgraduate course in journalism Next week Apply early By the end of the month Within two months Gain relevant voluntary/paid experience Write freelance articles and submit Find out where classes are offered locally Cost? Motivation to complete? Write to local newspapers Take an evening class in shorthand or word-processing Check if special arrangements are possible for payment e.g. then fill in your own plan on the following page.
visit our website at www.uk/careers My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal .4 Your action plan To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 54 Actions required Constraints Resources.open.ac.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.ac. visit our website at www.
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.2 4. 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. Confederation of British Industry.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. Director-General. They particularly value skills such as communication. 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.ac.1 overleaf is taken and adapted from the 2006 version of What do Graduates do? It shows very clearly what types of skill employers want.’’ Digby Jones.3 4.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Getting the job In this section 4.4 4. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage.’’ Carl Gilleard.6 4. 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’. Table 4. Chief Executive.5 4.1 4. teamworking and problem solving. In addition to working hard to gain a good degree. it shows you how these specific skills can be developed: To find out more. Equally importantly perhaps. Together they make up what is referred to as ‘employability skills’.1 What do employers look for in graduates? ‘‘A degree alone is not enough. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. visit our website at www.uk/careers 57 .
European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).uk/careers . use of IT. adviser. roles within work e. IT Technical skills – e. quick-thinker. co-operative. results skills orientated Flexibility – versatile. travel. Roles within your working situation. conscientious Specialist skills Specific occupational skills – specialist relevant knowledge. language skills. accounting. work experience OU study. member of orchestra. trustworthy. motivated. sales Source: HECSU.1. voluntary work. caring. drive. journalism. NVQ qualification. languages. work and education OU study. work responsibilities in a team. competitive. self-reliant Willingness to learn – inquisitive.g. ambitious Networking – initiator. self-belief. resourceful Planning action – decision-maker. risk taker IT/computer literacy – office skills. visionary Customer orientation – friendly. realistic Interpersonal skills – listener. multi-skilled Business acumen – entrepreneurial. relationship-builder. coordinating others Self-reliance skills Self-awareness – purposeful. methodical Commitment – dedicated. engineering. deliverer Caring responsibilities.ac. 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. assertive Oral communication – communicator. diplomatic Foreign language – specific language skills General employment Problem-solving – practical. focused. influencer Leadership – motivator. planner. sport. 58 To find out more. Roles within the home – planning. visit our website at www.g. first aid at work qualification. AGCAS. able to prioritise People skills Team working – supportive. persistent. Involvement in community groups.g. software packages Numeracy – accurate. coordinator. enthusiastic Self-promotion – positive. willing. UCAS and AGR Roles within the home – budgeting. e. presenter. fundraising for charity. web design skills.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Table 4. energetic. logical. guide/scout leader.open. Proactivity – resourceful. keyboard skills. organised.
but may also mean that no training is provided. First of all you need to read between the lines. Rehearse your introduction and be prepared for the question.2 Matching vacancies You’ve seen a vacancy advertised that you’d like to apply for. The advert should specify what the employer is looking for.open. (It might help to refer to Section 1. before finding out more about the position. and be honest about whether your personality and needs match what the employer wants. ‘committed self starter’ could imply that there’ll be little supervision. or even in the face of resistance. If the opportunities seem limited. but you have to be aware of the going rate for that occupation. 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. 4. qualifications and personal qualities. 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. 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. Look at your advertisement and analyse it under these headings: • Style and language What’s the general style of the advertisement – formal. you need to analyse the information you already have.uk/careers 59 . As we show here. Remember to use this evidence when you apply for jobs! If you don’t shout about it. For example. so you need to consider how you can show that you meet the requirements. but be prepared when you do. flamboyant.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook The requirements an employer sets out in a job advertisement are likely to be much more specific. • Salary Usually a good guide to the level of qualifications and experience required. Analyse each noun and adjective for its implications. do you need a driving licence. 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. You may have to motivate yourself with little support or encouragement. What are you looking for. 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.1 Matching the requirements Once you’ve analysed your advertisement. Now you want to make sure you have a ‘match’. ‘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.) To find out more. So. • Location and geographical mobility How far would you travel each day? Would you consider moving house? If you need to travel around. low key. it’s important to see how you can use it to develop your skills and experience. attention seeking? What does this tell you about the organisation? What is the vocabulary used to describe the organisation – ‘dynamic’. as the contact will form an impression of you from the very beginning. ‘What would you like to know about us?’ Be ready to highlight your suitability for the post.2. Find out what this will mean in practice. nobody will do it for you! 4. you need to try and match yourself to the requirements of the job to judge whether or not you want to apply for it. even a brief newspaper advertisement can reveal a great deal of useful information.ac. • Prospects What opportunities are there for advancement in this job? The employer may be looking for evidence of your willingness and ability to progress. visit our website at www. They’re usually set out under headings such as experience.
> Responsible for assessing potential expenditure in terms of value for money and taking appropriate action to ensure this is achieved. current part-time study.ac. Here the key experience requirements are listed. > As a part-time student I have worked within a thirty-two week study calendar and managed a weekly workload of reading. From recent employment.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Look at the following example.g.open. > I have worked unsupervised as a treasurer for a local Residents Association for two years and have always met deadlines for reports. > I have also organised and facilitated presentations to local schools and governors using a variety of media. Marketing knowledge > Temporary job (with full induction and training) over two summer holidays as a market research interviewer. > I am a regional fundraiser for BTCV and the PDSA. My evidence 60 To find out more. > Worked in Windows based environment for numerous holiday jobs – secretarial role. 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. Presentation skills > I have used Power Point to present information on the decline of local bird populations to a community group and to councillors. Treasurer of Residents’ Association: > Draw up budget bids or plans within agreed guidelines and procedures for submission to internal and external bodies.g. as it helps you to focus on the important aspects as you complete your application form or prepare a CV. visit our website at www. tutorials and revision alongside a part-time job and voluntary work. Interest in wildlife e. > Marketing module completed as part of my degree studies (12 months) – identifying. and the second column shows how a candidate would provide evidence of having the necessary experience.uk/careers .g. Ability to work on own e. Keyboard skills > Self-taught packages in order to produce a dissertation for my degree. > I am an avid reader and subscriber of the Warbler and make regular contributions to this national magazine. > I work alternate Sundays at the local animal hospital as a volunteer. Example Vacancy: Fundraiser for Scottish Wildlife Preservation Society Analysis of key requirements Experience Numeracy e. anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. assignments.
1 Begin by looking at an advert or job description for a position that interests you. you can also try the ‘Job Analysis Activity’ on the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www.uk/careers 61 . In the right-hand column. If you don’t have a specific one in mind you might look in a careers publication or website such as www. You should also take a look at Section 4. Alternatively.open.ac.uk/careers. Go to the section ‘Personal and Career Development’ from the site map. needs? • What are the key job requirements? • What skills are required to perform them? • Can I produce evidence of these skills? In the box below.4.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4.uk/links/occupations Whichever way you choose.uk.jobs.ac. interests. note down in the left-hand column the key characteristics and requirements of your selected vacancy. Vacancy/job description: Analysis of key requirements My evidence If you are an OU student.ac. look at the occupational information on the Prospects website: www.open.prospects. visit our website at www.10 below.ac. values. To find out more. try to produce evidence of your suitability against each point. These kinds of activities are really helpful in preparing for the completion of application forms or for producing your CV. ask yourself: • Does the work genuinely interest me? • Does it match my personality.
Look for ‘online applications’ in the ‘A–Z’.3 Application forms Application forms come in all shapes and sizes. ‘What have been the significant factors in your life to date?’) prioritise and keep it within the space allowed. like a CV or a speculative letter. • Make a photocopy of the blank form (or print it from the screen) and use it for your rough draft.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. etc. You must keep to the prescribed format. unless you’re told that you must not attach any other papers. In fact. Bear in mind that employers often receive a lot of forms. and not only for senior jobs. You may find the Select Simulator useful for practising completing online forms. visit a career service or large library to look for other information. If you do. because many large employers now optically scan applications to enter them into their recruitment databases. Keep the following points in mind when it comes to completing an application form: • The purpose of a completed application form. think of: 62 To find out more. Often – but not always – you’re told that you may also enclose a CV. Layout can help – consider using bullet points.g. When completing online forms you may find that some of your experiences do not fit neatly into the categories provided. what do you contribute and what do you get out of them?’). visit our website at www. also. • Be sure to answer all the elements of each question (e.g. write ‘N/A’ or ‘Not applicable’ to show that you haven’t overlooked it. • 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. attach a separate sheet.g.open. Most are intended for a wide variety of posts in the organisation (e. an NHS Trust). is to get an interview. If a question doesn’t apply to you.3. • Read through the whole form before you fill in any of the sections. If you’re asked to submit an application form.uk/careers . Some are designed for recruiting people for a particular function or training scheme (e. ‘What are your spare time activities.3.ac.1 Before you start your application form • Find out as much as you can about the vacancy and the organisation. Whatever format they come in though. graduate engineer). the kind of person the organisation wants to employ. as most organisations will have comprehensive information on their websites. the principles for completing application forms are very similar. • Comply with instructions such as using black ink or block capitals. If you haven’t looked at employers’ application forms for some time.2 Filling in your form • Complete all sections of the form. • If there isn’t enough space for general interest information (e. This means that on an initial read through they may spend as little as two minutes looking at your form.3. We suggest you contact the employer for advice on how to approach this. 4. 4. you may be surprised at the probing nature of some of the questions they ask.g. Convince them that they need to see you. Use it effectively to include or to emphasise information that you think is relevant and isn’t allowed for on the form. so it is crucial that you sell yourself effectively. OU students can access this on the Careers Advisory Service website. ‘Give names. the space allowed for each question indicates its relative importance. to clarify your points.g. • Remember that presentation can be as important as content. don’t send a CV instead. it shouldn’t just repeat what’s on your form. Ask the organisation for more details and. • When answering extended (multi-part) or difficult questions. You can also research online. • Don’t cram sections too full. • If there isn’t enough space for factual information (e. underlined topic headings. You’ll come to some sample questions below in Section 4. Being able to write succinctly is evidence of your written communication skills. • Many larger employers ask you to complete an online application. • Your aim is to convince the employer that you’re worth interviewing – you appear to be a suitable candidate for the job and. addresses and dates of all previous employers’). as that makes them difficult to read. • Usually. most large organisations now make their forms available online (which can save you time and postage).2 . if possible.
self-discipline. interests and skills the employer is looking for) Make your points relevant. It is up to you to pick these out from your own experience so that you can present this on an application form.open. for several applications.5 above) and some look for a mixture of both. one should be an academic referee. Learning outcomes will give you some help in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. • Look over the presentation. ‘I worked as a volunteer classroom assistant for three years’ rather than ‘I love children’). another someone you’ve worked for who can write about you as an employee. It’ll also take some of the tedium out of tackling other forms. the name and address of the person you sent the form to.ac.g. in your use of personal pronouns). If you’ve been unemployed. interesting and personal (say ‘I’.g. handling money. and the date you sent it. 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. or not more than once. ideally get someone else to check rather than relying on a spell checker. give fuller details of your course than you would if it’s not particularly relevant. to be a teacher) while some put emphasis on transferable skills (which you dealt with in Section 1. with a little editing. Look at Section 6 if you are or have been an offender.3 Skills you have attained as an OU student As an Open University student. working odd hours.ac. Get your referees’ agreement before giving their names. Generalised waffle convinces no one. Be positive and honest. Use positive language. You’ll rarely find the perfect application form that exactly suits your background and experience. Use the ‘any other information’ section to draw attention to activities and qualities not covered elsewhere on the form. Tailor your responses to the post you’re applying for. Inaccuracy in one section can raise doubts about other areas of the form. • Use an envelope of suitable size so that the form isn’t folded. Leave no unexplained gaps in your employment record.uk/careers 63 . Make sure you’ve been consistent in style (e. Every employer values determination. dealing with members of the public. If you’re applying for a job related to your degree subject. there are a number of resources in the Careers Advisory Service website at www.2. not ‘we’). If you are a student. Give evidence and avoid bland generalities (e. If appropriate. These may have been expressed as learning outcomes. You may be able to look back at the course descriptions To find out more.open. you can stress the personal qualities and skills that OU study demands. go to the sections on ‘Personal and Career development’ and ‘Moving on’. Some jobs may require subject-specific knowledge (e.3.3. Your regional centre can provide you with a confidential reference – name the Regional Director as the referee. They can help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. Practise answering the typical questions in the next activity. but mention any part-time or voluntary work you did during that period. • Make a note of the job you’ve applied for. 4. Usually. You’ll need to adapt your answers to the questions you find. • Make a copy of your completed form so that you can re-read it before the interview. give their full titles and status. Be convincing. visit our website at www. say so. You can often use the same material.uk/careers. ask someone else to look over your application before you send it. working under pressure. and keep them well briefed so that they can write supportive references. Make the most of these skills as well as your academic success. If possible.4 When you’ve completed the form • Check it thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. 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.g. and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied and pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop. Always send it by first class post.g. If you want to do this in a more structured way. flexibility and time management skills. 4.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.
There is 30mm space available on the form to show that you understand what the job involves and what you have to offer. Look back at the answers you gave to Activity 1. Include such details as your achievements and responsibilities. 64 To find out more.’ ‘organised. Every word should justify its inclusion.2 Read the sample questions below.uk/careers . All are genuine questions from graduate application forms used by large companies. You’ll need a lot of time.1 and consider answers based on the evidence you’ve already gathered. Question 1 On the first page of this application you stated a preference for a particular job or function. Explain why we should select you ahead of other candidates. Go for key points and give evidence from your record. Remember to cover ‘planned. your ambitions and aspirations. visit our website at www. Question 2 Outline any activities you have planned and organised.open. There is 80mm space available on the form.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. Don’t forget that you can ask a careers adviser for advice on what to include in your application. There is 180mm space available on the form to influence the selectors. the people. events or experiences that have influenced you.’ ‘what you did’ and ‘results’. This section will tell them more about you as an individual than any other part of the form. Tell us what you did and how you achieved results. drafts and fine tuning.ac. Question 3 Write a short autobiography.
it’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you. visit our website at www.uk/careers 65 .4. For instance. 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). For most jobs. some job areas have expectations that a particular kind of CV is submitted.7 below.1 The importance of tailoring your CV However. When researching jobs. for tips and example CVs. However. To find out more. In addition.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. when it comes to preparing your CV. Instead. an academic CV is used mainly for applying for academic posts). 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.4.ac. Bear this in mind when you design your own CV.4. (So you may in fact be doing just that. When you have work experience that is directly relevant. so you have more control over the impression it will create. look at: www.4.4. some professions. The right one is the one that works for you in your situation and succeeds in getting you interviews. 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). The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight. as well as the work I want? There’s no right or wrong way to write a CV. 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. 4.4 The curriculum vitae (CV) Like an application form.ac. not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies you found in the Yellow Pages.2 What style of CV? The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation it’s addressed to. 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. Whichever format you choose.uk/careers Alternatively. it is useful to highlight this in a separate section as it draws attention to it. your CV doesn’t need to conform to a set format. go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website and choose the ‘Moving on’ section if you are a student at: www.3 Preparing your CV How you organise and present information about yourself and your activities will convey significant messages about your suitability as a potential employee. You can tailor the style. 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. Most people tend to prefer one style over the others (though as you will see. content and design to show off your strengths and present you in the most positive light.open. Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements. This is only likely to work if you always apply for the same function in several very similar organisations.prospects. To use the same approach for. say. look at what the expectations might be. such as the legal profession.4 – 4. So. prefer CVs in a chronological format. 4.ac. You want to make sure that you present yourself positively and accurately.) And you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter. a financial institution or a local authority might have an adverse effect. 4.open. and what to leave out or minimise. For example. Be prepared then to spend a considerable amount of time on creating and reworking an effective document. but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual company. it should be flexible enough to allow modification to match the job you’re seeking. you need to make a decision about the kind of CV to use as most employers will not specify.uk/links/CVwriting We also show you sample CVs in Sections 4. For more information on CVs. a CV is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you.
if you’ve changed jobs frequently.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. In addition. • It has for many years been recognised as a standard approach to CVs. The chronological CV Malcolm Lewis 16 London Road Portsmouth PO9 6AL Tel. As a result. your job title(s). The advantages of a chronological CV are: • It can be very easy to produce. showing the name of each employer. beginning with the most recent. responsibilities and key achievements. looking for an opportunity to take on wider responsibilities within the industry. it can suggest instability and will require explanation – particularly if you’ve changed profession or career direction. However.open.uk/careers . 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.com Profile An experienced.4 The chronological CV You are probably most familiar with a chronological CV. visit our website at www.ac. where you worked. with a chronological CV. the disadvantages to a chronological CV are that any gaps in your employment stand out.4. This lists jobs by date. highly motivated CIMA professional with in-depth knowledge of the financial services and strong team-working skills. • It allows prospective employers to see very quickly how an individual has progressed and increased responsibility. the period you were employed./fax 01903 562366 email mcrlewis@wizard. it isn’t always easy to spot key achievements or skills which might get ‘buried’ under different job titles.
Physics. Languages: conversational Spanish and French Interests Keen member of local amateur dramatics society and have been stage manager for the last four years Currently treasurer of my children’s primary school PTA Regular swimming to keep fit References available on request To find out more.uk/careers 67 .ac. handled cash Education 2001–2005 The Open University 1995–2000 The Open University Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Professional Diploma in Management. interviewed clients. Chemistry. staff appraisal course Additional skills IT skills: competent in the use of Microsoft Office and SAGE financial management software.open. English. History. 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. 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. visit our website at www.
• Developed and instituted a statistical quality control programme to cover all critical control points in the manufacturing process. This facilitated a faster. visit our website at www. with a clear and concise vision of future objectives.open. Its advantages are: • It can highlight your skills rather than job changes. Achievements • Analysed the quality assurance system at Continental Kitchens Ltd. 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. • If your current or most recent experience isn’t related to the position you’re applying for. research and development and creation of new products. The system alerts operators when to change the process parameters without disturbing production flow. making recommendations for new procedures which led to an entirely new quality control system. Capable of achieving personal objectives. • You can group different achievements together to match the job that you are applying for. more accurate means of inspection. This kind of CV shows that you’re conscious of the demands of the prospective employer and of what you have to offer.uk/careers . highly organised and energetic. presented according to the function or responsibilities you’ve undertaken rather than according to individual jobs. • Formulated new and improved existing food products. as demonstrated by successful completion of my degree by part-time study while employed full time. Keen to find a challenging position that offers long-term potential in quality assurance and/or new product development. a functional CV allows you to place more emphasis on relevant strengths and experience from earlier periods. Goal orientated. 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. Contributed to the development of a new line of Polish foods for wholesale distribution.ac. Experience CONTINENTAL KITCHENS LTD.4. Cambridge 1999 to present Quality Assurance Coordinator (2000) Quality Assurance Auditor (1999) Responsible for – all quality control.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.5 The functional CV A functional CV focuses attention on your skills and achievements. analytic. resulting in significant improvement in overall sanitation.com Skill profile A graduate biologist with strong food industry experience in quality assurance. • Created computer applications for environmental microbiological trends for control of plant cleanliness. Career orientated. saving £200K annually. 01788 529445 email: Sandra@hotmail.
I took a ‘year out’ to travel the world and consider my future. I gained employment as a research technician and applied to study part time with The Open University. visit our website at www.uk/careers 69 . On return to Britain. I took time out of work to raise a family. Full driving licence Referees Mrs Joan Whitaker Director of Quality Assurance Continental Kitchens Ltd 12–16 London Road Cambridge. CB10 3QY Tel.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. Mathematics (D) 8 GCSEs Grove Comprehensive School Leicester 1986–1992 Additional information After ‘A’ levels.open. Leicester Research Technician Responsible for 1993–1995 – – – – formulating new and improving existing product lines performing shelf-life studies on a range of products supervising in-plant testing of laboratory formulations analysing waste water to ensure it met all government standards Education The Open University 1994–2000 BSc (Hons). My other interests include cycling and mountaineering. I 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. particularly scuba diving. CB2 1PF Tel. From 1995–99. I have been interested in watersports since school. 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). 01223 599886 Regional Director The Open University in the East of England 12 Hills Road Cambridge.ac. 01233 364721 To find out more.
It has to change to match each job. The Targeted CV Vigla Kozlowski ADDRESS: 45 Longhurst Avenue.ac. The disadvantages are that. • It is more likely to catch the reader’s interest. with the skills required and the evidence of them clearly laid out at the beginning. and to resolving potentially disruptive differences of opinion. This experience has shown me the importance of good interpersonal and communication skills.1 Courses chosen to obtain recognition by the British Psychological Society. I have to be able to prioritise work within both strict financial and time constraints and ensure that others do too. making sure that I always fulfil my function and deliver to deadlines. Both my work as a nurse and in banking has demanded a high level of personal responsibility. this one isn’t easy to prepare. believing that this is the key to achieving worthwhile results. A Participant: An Individual: An Enthusiast: Education 1987–1994 The Open University. Distinctions obtained in Social and Cognitive Psychology. London. visit our website at www. 70 To find out more. My main research topic involved interviewing a wide cross-section of both adults and children in small groups and on an individual basis. No less important has been my ability to express myself clearly and effectively both face-to-face and on paper. have been essential to the success of my section. • You can lead the reader in the direction you want to go – your skills and achievements.6 The targeted CV A targeted CV is even more closely matched to the needs of a particular employer. effort and skill that implies. 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. The work involves planning. N10 8EP TELEPHONE: 020 8887 5131 EMAIL: Vkozlowski@wizard. devising questionnaires and analysing data. I thrive on the challenge of change. whilst working in a team. in Biology: Brain and Behaviour.open. and in Principles of Social and Educational Research. I have been responsible for cultivating a spirit of teamwork and cooperation.net Career aim Building on my previous experience of working in a large organisation at a time of change to train and work as a professional personnel manager. I have become used to seeking and learning from criticism. with all the time.uk/careers . 2. like the functional CV. dates and so on. It combines elements from both the chronological and the functional CV. Skill profile A Coordinator: As a project manager currently working simultaneously on a range of demanding projects. followed by the details. implementation and evaluation of new systems and their effect on staff at all levels. autonomy and judgement. • You can adapt it to suit the job you’re after without sacrificing quality.4. I am hardworking and have always put considerable energy and enthusiasm into all of my activities. Most candidates for managerial posts use this format. Sound judgement. BSc. The advantages are: • It focuses straight away on your strengths. in projects and reports. Hons. combined with organisational sensitivity and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.
open. Lloyds Bank. North London Hospital. Lloyds Bank. London Three ‘A’ levels: English (C). working with adults on a one-toone basis and in small groups. Full. • I spend one evening a week as a volunteer tutor with a literacy project. Biology (D).uk/careers 71 . Lloyds Bank. three staff. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1979–1983 Parsifal Comprehensive. pay and pensions. • I keep fit by swimming and running regularly each week. frequently for larger loans. in charge of four staff. Business Loans Section Responsible for assessing loan applications and making loan decisions. clean driving licence. Finchley Road. working with the personnel of companies and other institutions with a financial interest in the company’s future. Lloyds Bank. handling cash. Banking attracted me because it offered a structured training and a wide range of opportunities within each department. I would now like to broaden my experience into personnel in a large retail organisation. I decided to apply for a job and combine this with part-time study with The Open University. so I decided to train at the local hospital. Work experience 1992 to date.ac. However. Student Nurse Although I could have gone to university when I left school I had always wanted to be a nurse. Activities and interests • I am teaching myself to play the saxophone and enjoy getting together with my friends for musical improvisation. Personnel Assistant – Personnel administration. Dbase IV and Q&A databases and word-processing using Word 2000 and Word NT • Interviewing • Psychological test administration and interpretation • Car owner. This involves initial discussions with individuals and. record keeping. during my training I realised that this career was not for me. 1989–1992 1987–1989 1986–1987 1983–1986 Additional skills • Sound working knowledge of Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. Chemistry (D) Training 1992 1987 IPM Certificate in Personnel Practice Lloyds Bank short in-house course in Personnel Management. Referees Names available on request. Counter Clerk – Responsible for serving customers. To find out more. Section leader with responsibility for the work of six staff who report directly to me. As I had enjoyed the studying and wanted to further my academic studies in a related subject. Recruitment Officer – Recruitment interviewing.
haemopoietic cell differentiation and malignancies. microbiology.open. 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. Milton Keynes. Identified phenotypic alterations in T-cell subpopulations following migration through an endothelialfibroblast bilayer.mcarthur@yahoo. depending on what you are applying for.4. Systematically investigated the role of soluble mediators and adhesive interactions in the survival of neutrophils following transendothelial migration. You should also include three referees rather than two. you should do this without using any subject-specific jargon so that it is understandable to the employer. academic CVs are often longer than other types of CV. • Remember to include examples of the skills that you have developed through your research. transplantation biology and cell adhesion. analysis and working to deadlines. it is expected that candidates (for academic jobs such as lecturer and postdoctoral research posts) will produce an academic CV. visit our website at www. 07900 543 21 E-mail: h. validated and implemented a “novel” assay to investigate leukocyte migration and survival. D.PhD in Medicine 2002–2005 Thesis Title: The regulation of leukocyte migration away from the subendothelial compartment. oncology. These CVs place more emphasis on the subject matter of the degree and/or research and on the knowledge and achievements gained. you should consider a chronological. USA. The Academic CV Hilary Michelle McArthur 18 Poole Avenue. • If you are a postgraduate or research student who is applying for a job outside academia. MK6 3DY Tel.uk EDUCATION The Open University .MSc in Immunology (distinction) 2001– 2002 Dissertation project: ‘Neutrophil spontaneous apoptosis is mediated through the acid sphingomyelinase dependent generation of ceramide. such as communication. immunology. University of Salford . 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.BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (first class) 1998– 2001 Dissertation project: ‘Autoimmunity: A genetic perspective. University of Manchester .’ Modules studied included: cell biology. Jordan and Dr. Remember to emphasise the transferable skills that you have developed in undertaking higher level study. In presenting your research.’ Modules studied included: tolerance and autoimmunity. Because of this.7 The academic CV For academic jobs in universities. 72 To find out more.co. Supervisors: Professor R. This was a broad-based degree in biochemistry with the second year spent studying at Oregon State University.ac. skills or targeted CV. and physiology.uk/careers . genetics.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. James Project synopsis: Adapted.
COMPUTER SKILLS Extensive experience of Microsoft Word. Salford. A.M. (Paper submitted to the UK Medical Biology Journal) Bennett. and McArthur. 2004. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal.. Laboratory Assistant.. • Marked undergraduate work and provided individual guidance to undergraduate students. Layerton S. H. J. Layerton. • Microscopy: phase contrast and fluorescence. Jones.. Jones. • Adaptation of a novel co-culture system: culture stromal cells on the apical and basal surface of Transwell inserts. POSTERS AND PRESENTATIONS Bennett. J..open. visit our website at www. H. and McArthur. S.. A. British Society of Immunology. J. Ceramide rich lipid rafts and acid sphingomyelinase activity are required for spontaneous neutrophil apoptosis. H. Bennett A. as well as showing visiting work experience students laboratory protocols. • Isolation of leukocytes subsets and endothelial cells. March 2005 Bennett. RESEARCH AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE Tutor on an Open University Summer School. PUBLICATIONS Bennett.M... PowerPoint and Prism. A. H. July 2005 • Trained undergraduates in basic laboratory skills • Allocated tasks and ensured their completion. Manchester.M. H.ac. Jones. Rapidly recruited TNF-stimulated endothelial cells – is this a novel route for neutrophil clearance from inflamed tissue? International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis. and a working knowledge of WinMDI and Image Pro. Summer 1998 • Worked independently on an assigned project. To find out more. Identification of a phenotypically and functionally distinct population of neutrophils in a model of reverse endothelial migration. and McArthur. • Flow cytometry.uk/careers 73 . American Journal of Medicine. Scientific Laboratories. along with presentation and communication skills.2004 • Responsible for communicating and demonstrating technical skills to A level science students at a local college. January 2006 ABSTRACTS.M.. • Developed technical writing skills for industry purposes.. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. • Image-based analysis of leukocyte behaviour in static and flow adhesion and migration assays. Excel.. A. and McArthur. and McArthur.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook RESEARCH EXPERIENCE AND TECHNICAL SKILLS • Development of static adhesion and migration assay.M. International Conference. Student Mentor for the Open University’s Outreach Programme 2002 . July 2005. • Subcellular fractionation.
These are irrelevant on a CV.firstname.lastname@example.org. where your aim is to get yourself invited for interview. It should be quite obvious what it is. visit our website at www.open.uk/careers . nationality. 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.uk Dr David James d. Always give the full area code. Personal data Name Give the name you want to be known by if you’re called for interview or appointed. Received award for best overall academic achievement at the end of my BSc (2001). Include the nature and place of your employer’s business if it isn’t obvious from the name.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). gender. they’re unnecessary at this stage and may confuse matters. However.james1@open. content and layout. Employment experience Your aim here is to stress your achievements at work.ac.uk Dr Steven Mayes s. since invitations to interview are often sent at short notice and speedy delivery is in your interest. experience education training interests. number and extension. Other personal details There’s no need to include such details as date of birth. At home. CVs usually contain: • • • • • • • • personal data employment. Address Be sure to give a full address with postcode. consider investing in an answering service or machine. Include an email address if you have one. activities additional skills career aims. give more detail about particular 74 To find out more. give your number and say that it’s a work number. Include your mobile number if you have one.f.ac. but don’t give the address or the name of your manager at this stage.4. 4. REFEREES Professor Rebecca Jordan r. so that the caller will be discreet.g. marital status. personal profile (optional) references. but you may find the following ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ helpful.ac. when you have more opportunity to negotiate any difficulties. For more recent jobs.ac. number of children. so that you can be reached as easily as possible.r. say during the last ten years. If you’re employed and prospective employers can contact you during office hours.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). you don’t need to give initials or middle names.jordan2@open. You can discuss them at the interview if appropriate.8 What to include (and not to include) in your CV Your CV is uniquely yours in style. Telephone It’s important to give a telephone number where you can be reached or where a message can be left.
• 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’. projects.2. day-release. and highlight in a covering letter or skill section the personal qualities and skills that this kind of study requires. which are often listed as learning outcomes.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook responsibilities. So much depends on the nature and relevance of your previous employment to the job you’re applying for. consider giving additional information to show that you have the relevant work experience. Avoid specialised language unless you’re sure the reader will understand it. There are different opinions about whether you set your experience out in forward or reverse chronological order. but also how you obtained it. They can also help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. Of course. that you’re a sociable person who gets on with others. state this. • If your qualifications were awarded overseas. Your hobbies To find out more. you could expand your work achievements and contract the education section. then work backwards or forwards chronologically.g. preferably in quantitative terms. that you keep yourself fit. less important jobs. If you’ve worked your way up from the bottom and lack formal qualifications altogether.uk/careers 75 . Training Don’t give an exhaustive list of all the training courses and seminars you’ve attended.ac. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps. make sure it’s clear and that the way you present starting and leaving dates is consistent. Include useful information about training and development – courses of a week or more. It can show that you have a well-rounded life and don’t live for work alone.. For a technical post or one that requires special knowledge. • Be specific about what you studied in your Open University courses. This allows you to highlight the experience the employer is likely to be most interested in. Learning outcomes can assist you in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. 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. e. but it’s more appropriate for senior managers to include a brief résumé of schools attended and exams passed. It is up to you to identify them from your own experience so that you can present this on a CV. For example. 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. A onesentence description of the scope of your job. assignments and results achieved. visit our website at www. even if it’s not the most recent. activities This section has various uses. If you have served time in prison.open. with appropriate detail. knowledge or training. to be a teacher) while others place more emphasis on transferable skills (see Section 1. Whichever system you use.g. • If you had a series of short-lived jobs and you want to abbreviate the list. There’s no need to include the full address of each school or college – condense the information to dates. so that the reader is encouraged to read on. • Start with the most relevant work experience. fulltime course.5 of this workbook). or training in relevant specialist skills. Some look for a mixture of both. • Divide your experience under the headings Related and Other. and play down other. enabling the employer to see at once that you meet the requirement. please refer to Section 6 below for tips on dealing with this. if you’ve had time out of paid work to bring up a family. Some possible sequences are: • Put your present or most recent job at the head of the list. you could say something like ‘In the five years 1995-2000 I worked in various temporary positions in the catering industry’. then the rest of the employment history in backward or forward chronological order. 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. some jobs do require subject-specific knowledge (e. should be followed by a statement of achievements. Education How far back should you go? School or young college-leavers should be quite explicit about their education since age 11. • If you’re offering professional qualifications it might be worth specifying not only the qualification (with the S/NVQ level. with figures such as staff. names and towns. budget etc. if appropriate) and the awarding institution. mention the British equivalent so that the employer knows what level you’ve reached. Interests. But everyone agrees that the most relevant job should appear at the top of the list.
line manager. Write the words out in full the first time you use them and put the abbreviation in brackets. and their status or relationship to you (e.4. including software you are familiar with e. • Seek other people’s views on your draft. done voluntary work that demonstrates organisational and management skills. Don’t fold it. say so in your CV or covering letter. • Be consistent in how you present the information. • Your CV should be produced to a high standard. word-processed and printed or copied on goodquality white or cream paper.10 Analysing a job description In order to construct a CV that’s effectively related to the job you’re seeking.4. and don’t clutter it up with unnecessary punctuation. • 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 send your CV by email. Don’t use clichés. Use bullet points to make reading quicker. underlining). • Put the most important information on the first page and as near the top as possible. you’ll need to analyse the job itself. • Make it easy to read and follow. you’re a mature graduate. • The space you give to each section should reflect its importance. Keep a copy of your CV (and disk) in a safe place. and in particular the skills it calls for. Word and Excel. jargon and abbreviations the reader may be unfamiliar with. bold. You might prefer to omit referees on the CV and put ‘Available on request’. first aid training. pay attention to its appearance as well as its content. to adapt for other employers.g.g. 4. To illustrate this. run a computer club. One way to do this is from the job description. Use an ‘easy-to-read’ font.uk/careers . and proofread the final version carefully.9 Presentation of your CV To produce an effective CV . Yours will be one of many that the employer has to read. we’ve chosen a description for human resource management. Have headings in the same style (capital letters. such as Arial 11 point. You’ll need it again. • Make sure that your CV arrives looking like a quality document. Some of the key words in the description have been emphasised. and the notes that follow it suggest some inferences that can be drawn from them about the nature of the work of personnel management. Include details you think a prospective employer really ought to know – driving licence. If you need to demonstrate an interest in design (e. 4. Career aims. It might be helpful to read it alongside CV Example 3.g. course tutor). Use an A4 envelope with cardboard reinforcement. 76 To find out more.g.open. particularly if you want to offer a targeted CV. If you don’t want your employer approached at this stage. (e. Space makes text easier to read and more attractive. after that you can use it on its own. for some media jobs) more elaborate graphics and perhaps coloured paper might be appropriate. and so on. or you’re applying for a job for which the competition is particularly keen. Give their names. even though it has no obvious relevance to the job. one your present or last employer. you have an unconventional record. Make sure the copies are sharp and clear. give an indication of your level of competence). The employer may not bother to read on if there’s nothing of interest to begin with. An unusual hobby such as sky-diving or genealogical research can be worth mentioning. chronological order) and in your layout. Additional skills The diversity of individual careers sometimes makes extra sections desirable: you can make up your own subheadings. additional skills such as foreign languages (if possible. References You’ll usually need two referees. which is designed for this area of work. follow it up by sending a hard copy straight away. • Avoid long. It is also important to outline your level of IT and keyboard skills. addresses and telephone numbers. Consider using an appendix for very detailed information such as a list of publications. Concentrate on the aspects that are most important for the employer to know. • Don’t cram the page.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. personal profile Including career aims and a skill profile can be particularly effective if you’re seeking a career change.ac. complicated sentences. visit our website at www. It gives your CV an interesting feature and makes it memorable.
ac. records of labour turnover and other necessary information and assisting with human resource planning procedures and programmes. – Analysing staffing requirements in consultation with department and other managers. – Advising management on standards of remuneration.3 Take some time to reflect again on the CV guidelines and examples. but the style is standard for academic CVs in general. functional. None was perfect. staff promotion schemes and other matters. the academic CV showed that the applicant studied medicine which you can’t do with the OU. management/ staff communications. general conditions of employment and other personnel matters. messy …. Activity 4. discussing. the subject of the next section. ask yourself whether it presents the information you want to give in the way you want it to be seen. appraisals. targeted and academic. (Indeed. working conditions. • Words such as analysing. And bear in mind that covering letters. – Assisting in negotiations in the field of industrial relations and ensuring observance of regulations and agreements relative to personnel matters. – Arranging for dissemination of vacancy details by internal and external means. It’s time to redesign it. The examples of the CVs above illustrated some of the points you should consider when designing your own CV. advising and negotiations imply the need for skills in dealing with people. developing and administering policies in relation to staff recruitment and training. • If you already have a CV. wordy. – Maintaining staff records. • 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. – Helping to undertake staff appraisals and. discussing career development. • Words such as consultations. industrial relations. The examples (all fictitious by the way) illustrated each of the four main CV formats in turn – chronological.uk/careers 77 . evaluations.) You may well decide that a quite different layout and format are more appropriate for your individual circumstances. • If you think that your CV looks feeble. To find out more. would accompany these CVs. human resource planning and forecasting imply the need for skills in evaluating information and reaching appropriate conclusions. Some typical tasks may include. especially the ability to communicate effectively with them. it probably is. interviewing applicants and advising on the selection of those most suitable. • Think about the general style of your CV in relation to the person who’s going to read it. • Look again at the example CVs to see whether any of the three formats would be particularly appropriate to convey what you want. (undertaking job analysis and evaluations as appropriate). • Words such as arranging and records imply the need for administrative skills. visit our website at www. interviewing. as appropriate. uninteresting. career development.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example Human Resource Management Advising on. personal welfare and other matters with individual members of staff.open.
not repeat what’s on the application form or CV. visit our website at www. such as a relevant degree. Two examples of covering letters are set out overleaf. and say where and when you saw the vacancy. and when you would be able to start. At the same time you must leave the impression that you’re someone it’s useful for the employer to know about. It will usually be read first.’ and ‘I beg to remain’. or highlight aspects of your CV which you feel are particularly important. • Print your name clearly below your signature. where you are. The second letter accompanies a CV in response to a newspaper advertisement. steer clear of stilted expressions like ‘re your advertisement of 29th July. telephone number and date at the top right-hand corner and. such as a disability and how you overcome potential difficulties.1 Applying for a job in a vacancy list or answering an advertisement Mention the job title (including any reference number). Switchboard staff can be very helpful in supplying this information if it isn’t otherwise available.ac. The first is a speculative approach asking for an advice interview from an executive the writer doesn’t know.2 Applying speculatively Remember. usually accompanied by your CV. you’ll know that to make a speculative approach you have to present your case in a letter. mention them in the letter.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.5 The covering letter Your covering letter is your opportunity to market yourself. It introduces your application and draws attention to the main factors that make you suitable for the job. translate into being someone the employer ought to see. Application forms often allow you reasonable scope to sell yourself and may need only a brief covering letter. • Put your name. Add some other detail to reinforce your suitability. If you haven’t received an acknowledgement within two or three weeks. job title and organisation of the person you’re writing to.uk/careers . your qualifications and what you have to offer.open. without duplicating what’s on the application form. 78 To find out more.3 Drafting your letter • If possible. If you do have to resort to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. what you’re studying. end ‘Yours sincerely’. You’re trying to find out whether there are any vacancies. especially as it may be based on US spelling. • You can use your covering letter to give additional information such as reasons for an unusual change in career. and that you’ve expressed yourself clearly.5. 4. • Although you should be business-like. the name. It should enhance your application. Highlight your strongest selling points. 4. end ‘Yours faithfully’. send a brief follow-up letter or telephone to make sure that it’s been received. 4. • Address your letter to an individual person by name and job title. • Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. So make clear who you are. Always include a covering letter unless the employer specifically tells you not to. on the lefthand side. Convey clearly what kind of work you’re seeking. Stress how you think the organisation can benefit from employing you. address. Say why you want to work for that particular organisation. type or word-process your letter (though very occasionally an employer will ask for a handwritten letter). If you’ve worked through Section 2 in this book. appropriate qualification. A CV will usually require more of an introduction. or whether vacancies will arise in the near future. if done well. • When writing to a named individual. interests and activities. Ask someone else to read it – don’t rely on your computer’s spelling check. • Use plain A4 paper of good quality. If there’s a vacancy this will. Keep a copy of your letter. then highlight the relevant points in the CV such as work experience. • Keep it brief – usually not more than one side of A4. so make sure that the reader will want to find out more about you. a speculative approach is not allowed in Northern Ireland.5.5. related experience. • If there are any special circumstances not covered in the application form or CV.
open. • Increasing sales by 26 per cent in one year when the pound was at its highest exchange rate. I should appreciate your advice concerning the development of my career. I should appreciate a personal meeting with you and will contact you in the next week to discuss this. With your knowledge of exporting. Although I would like to work for your company.uk/careers 79 . and computer based control equipment. your advice and suggestions would also be helpful and influential in helping me research my options to develop my career. Yours sincerely Joginder Singh 01926 850973 To find out more. Some of my key achievements have been: • Locating new lines of products and developing international sales for them. Having had over ten years’ experience in export sales. I am now seeking a career change that will build on this experience. I noted in yesterday’s Financial Times that your company received an export award from the Department of Trade and Industry. Your success in selling computer components to Asian countries has been something few companies have achieved in the last few years.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.ac. visit our website at www. including experience of exporting electronic. • Selecting and working with local distributors throughout the world.
I have particular interest in computer-based accounting procedures and extensive staff management experience. Yours sincerely Margaret Minty 80 To find out more. visit our website at www. Fairplay Industries Ltd. I have recently taken voluntary redundancy as a consequence of a nationwide organisational restructuring programme. I am enclosing my CV in response to your advertisement for the above post which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 1 March. I have brought about a sustained improvement in my office’s financial performance over the past five years. 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 confident that I could make a significant contribution to Fairplay Industries Ltd. I am a qualified accountant with substantial professional experience.open.ac. and discussed specific aspects with the Finance Director over the telephone yesterday. Although I currently live in Edinburgh.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example 2 Response to an advertisement Margaret Minty 8 Milton Avenue Edinburgh EH10 3PQ 0131 668 1394 Mrs Shirley Barrett Personnel Manager Fairplay Industries Ltd 123 Evergreen Way Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire MK10 8VS 6 March 2006 Dear Mrs Barrett. I am free to relocate to another area and see this as a positive addition to my professional and personal development. I look forward to hearing from you. Working in a team alongside other senior management colleagues. Assistant Finance Director.uk/careers .
use the opportunity to add relevant information about yourself that you haven’t had an adequate opportunity to express.uk/careers 81 . initial answers are critical.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. From the vast amount of research into interviews as a selection method. visit our website at www. I need a moment or two to think about it. go first. Neither should psychologically dominate the discussion. • Interviewers may be poor at assessing the personality characteristics of individual candidates with any validity. They’ll be asking themselves ‘Could we get on?’ ‘Would this person be supportive?’ • Balance the initiative-taking. • Interviewers are more likely to be swayed by negative information or behaviour on the part of the candidate than positive. but they make very consistent judgements and assessments between candidates. Don’t be panicked into responding too quickly. The ideal interview should flow like a conversation. • Interviewers too may be inexperienced or nervous. • Show acceptance of the interviewer as a person. • Interviewers’ judgements about a candidate are always made in relation to judgements about earlier candidates. They’re hoping that you’ll be an excellent candidate and that the interviewing time and effort will be well spent. • A candidate’s body language (for example. If you’re given a choice.6 The interview Interviews remain the most common method of filling vacancies. To find out more. some important insights for candidates emerge: • Some interviewers make up their minds about candidates within the first four minutes of an interview. If the interview has already covered that. You can set a standard against which the others will be judged. while the interviewer sets the format. it can be useful to ask about future business plans. not maintaining eye contact) in an interview can be more important in determining its outcome than experience or qualifications. Here are some initial tips for interviews: • Interviewers want you to do yourself justice. • Guard against being too open. This suggests that a good interview performance is likely to impress. Fill a thinking gap with comments such as ‘That’s an interesting question. • 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. First impressions count.’ • Always try to be positive in what you say and never be critical of a previous employer. • A few seconds silence in an interview can seem an eternity. and aren’t easily swayed by factual information thereafter.ac. Interviews tend to exclude rather than to include. 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. It’s up to you to help them out and make them feel comfortable. reaching greater depths as the rapport develops between the two parties.open. • When asked whether you have any questions. perhaps in an illogical way.
If you can. 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. Evaluate your performance and incorporate the learning into your next interview. Read the section on ‘Tough questions’ in Section 4. 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. visit our website at www. Even experience as an interviewer doesn’t make for a flawless performance. • Learn from observing others – take the role of interviewer with a partner. problems. into a tape recorder. • Reflect on your experience.ac.1 Interviewers There are as many kinds of interviewer as there are people. 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. Remember that when managers interview they’re playing a role to a set of social rules. • Ask for comments from a partner. Practise speaking on the phone to a friend and ask what impression you’re making. Do it out loud. or interviewers who have rejected you. find out something about the people interviewing you. How you project yourself through your social and communication skills will determine your success whenever you speak with potential employers.uk/careers .6. for insight often leads to heightened anxiety.9 below and practise some answers out loud. • Review your CV. • Practise your answers in the weak areas. may try to ‘sell’ the job Head of a group or department A technical expert with wider managerial experience Will talk shop. Below we list the four main types of interviewers you may come across. Consult some of the books listed at the end of this booklet. Try to foresee questions or situations and work out possible answers. within a broader organisational framework May have standard questions. and may not be entirely their usual selves. Collect as many concrete examples of things you’ve done as you can. Find out all you can about interviewing techniques and be ready to cope with them: • Read about the process. • Practise by role-play with a partner.open. Practise some answers into a tape recorder and listen critically to yourself. Their perspectives may differ according to their job function: You could read all the books ever written on how to do well at interview and still not be good at it. solutions. • Think about the interview and plan for it. • What are your weak spots and what do you feel uncomfortable talking about? • Why would you not employ yourself? Produce convincing counter-arguments.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. 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. network contacts.2 Before your interview • Research the job and employer thoroughly beforehand. Human resource/recruitment managers Well-trained and experienced. Don’t let your own stereotyping of the interviewer affect your interview technique. or use audio or video recordings. 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. 82 To find out more. How you sound will be crucial.6.6. often astute and very sensitive Acting as internal screener.
• Don’t fold your arms. friendliness and sincerity. Try the whole outfit some days before. • Speak concisely. papers. 4. • Decide what to wear. . Avoid jargon. Dress appropriately for the culture. • Arrive in good time. • If delayed. • Maintain good eye-contact with the person you’re speaking to. telephone. 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. Some people need to practise this. Don’t drop your voice towards the end of sentences. • Convey the right amount of enthusiasm. visit our website at www. If in doubt ask ‘Would you like me to go on?’ • Show through your answers that you’ve done your research into the company. and keep your hands away from your mouth. ask for repetition or clarification. • Remember to take a copy of your application with you. umbrellas. • Don’t forget to turn off your mobile phone. 4. • Prepare some questions that you would like to ask.6. Show that you know the interview ‘rules’ by wearing smart clothes. • Shake hands firmly and briefly.uk/careers 83 . It’s your task to provide evidence in your answers that demonstrates these characteristics. .5 Body language • Walk and sit with good posture.6 Answering questions Whatever the nature of the job. and judge when you’ve said enough. • Don’t be overburdened with bags. the interviewer will be working to a mental model consisting of three related profiles. • Don’t smoke anywhere on the premises. 4.6. If you’re very unsure about this.6. • Remember the need for a poised. and achievment profile. • Use your natural gestures – there’s no need to look frozen! • Avoid fidgeting. professional. Conservative dress is more likely to pay off than flamboyance. warmth. look at company literature to get an idea of how people dress. or groups of characteristics – your personal. polishing your shoes and so on.6. Watch the interviewer’s behaviour.ac. • Speak clearly. • Listen attentively to the questions. and if possible do a dummy run. Smile! • Avoid negative statements.4 How you sound • Sound as if you have confidence in yourself. allow yourself time to relax. clichés. • Use plain language that doesn’t confuse or divert. confident first impression. so that if it doesn’t feel right you’ve got time to change your plans.3 On the day . A lucid style is a transparent window on the content. If there’s no suitable literature you could telephone and ask the person on the switchboard or the secretary of the person interviewing you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Plan travel and arrival times. which will give you clues to whether you are answering the questions and timing your replies appropriately. 4.open.
e. ‘Tell me about the three years you spent studying with The Open University. take time and keep to the point.6.g. e. 4. 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. This reinforces recollections of you. ‘What if the policy changed to carrying more freight by rail?’ In reply be methodical.6. 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). write a letter asking for some constructive comment by telephone. • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone. • Standing up while talking can make you sound more confident. marketing or telesales staff. 4. This technique is used for recruiting sales. Here are some tips to help you through them followed by some examples and how to approach them. ‘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. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response. Pause for thought If you fail to plan. often with a technical content. The advice that follows about personal interviews below applies just as much to telephone interviews. There’s some general advice about using the telephone effectively in Section 2. • In response to embarrassing – rather than simply tough – questions. Look through the next examples – you’re bound to come up against some of them in one form or another. at the employer’s convenience. you plan to fail. and say where you’d need more information. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained interviewers.g. 4. • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. If you can show that you know what they’re getting at. • Some candidates dress in the clothes they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind.’ • Hypothetical questions test speed and quality of thought.uk/careers .g.g. • Try to show that you understand why the interviewers have asked you the question. • If you’re rejected. ‘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.6.ac. visit our website at www. Even if you’re unsuccessful this time.8 Interviews by telephone Increasing numbers of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process. you’re half way to giving an appropriate answer. as you would when talking to someone face to face.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.9 Tough questions Everyone has a different perception of what constitutes a tough question. • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview. Ask for the question to be repeated. or monotonous or tentative? • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone. When you’ve answered. e.open. state assumptions you’re making. e. The smile won’t be seen but it can be heard.7 After the interview • Think about the questions and your answers. 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. They do this in several ways: • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring. keep your answer simple and short. there may be other positions coming up. stop and leave it at that. The questions are 84 To find out more. you’ll tend not to listen so acutely. In general: • If you feel yourself under pressure.
domestic stability. and the ‘political’ gains of instigating change through appointing an outsider. 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. Cover relevant aspects of your life. Draw attention to the possibilities of bringing in skills or experience that the company would benefit from.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. Either choose one that isn’t particularly significant. Then express your motivation and drive. Q A A Q A Q A To find out more. time management) but have taken action to overcome it. particularly in view of age leglislation in 2006 but you never know…! The interviewer could be suggesting either that you’re too old to adapt or that you haven’t got a realistic appreciation of the demands of the new job.ac. professional and achievement – we discussed in ‘Answering questions’ above to produce a rounded picture. Mention your previous salary and any financial commitments that lead you to raise or lower your expectations.g. emotional stability. wellreasoned argument for your choice of this new kind of work. Include any particular characteristics that you feel relate to the job. conscientiousness) to end on a positive note.uk/careers 85 . and the typical salary ranges. This question needs practice. Draw on examples from the three profiles – personal. Try to restrict yourself to four or five as too long a list will confuse the interviewer.open. credibility with clients. Q A What are your weaknesses? Don’t claim to be faultless! Most strengths taken to the extreme become weaknesses. Isn’t it a bit late in your working life to change career? It is perhaps unlikely that you would be asked this. Add a balanced. Tell me about yourself. freedom from childcare. Use phrases like ‘learning a valuable lesson’ rather than admitting to making a mistake. coaching and mentoring skills. to counter any thoughts that you might simply be looking for a refuge. Q A How much are you worth? Try to delay answering this until you know the responsibilities and scope of the job. Negotiations like this might seem strange to you if your only experience is of fixed salary scales. Remember that this question isn’t simply about your factual history so don’t give too much detail. You could also provide evidence of being a quick learner. Concentrate on the many positive features of your greater maturity: experience of life and work. the fresh perspective of Q an outsider. visit our website at www. or pair one with something that can be turned from a weakness into a strength (e. for example: Early years (if appropriate) Education Work experience Significant events Keep your answer short (three to four minutes).g. Describe how you’ve adapted to different subcultures you’ve encountered by doing different jobs in your career. Having worked for one company for so long. Why should you be appointed rather than an internal candidate? This is an invitation to list your main strengths. Or explain how you had a weakness (e. 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.
Why do you want to work for us? Your research will pay off here. What were the circumstances of your leaving your last employer? Keep your reply short and don’t touch on any conflict or bitterness.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. Plead ignorance about other potentially boring duties. Make clear statements about your willingness to shoulder responsibility and say that you would consider career progression within the company at an appropriate time.open. mentally sharp and so on. Be honest.ac. Statements about far-reaching ambitions should sound realistic. Include examples of support and how you kept your manager informed. finding an appropriate job takes time. 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. Concentrate on flexibility. Uncertainties in the business environment will probably lead to growth opportunities for the company and you. If possible. either at work or at leisure. It is also important to emphasise IT skills and keeping up with professional journals/research in the area. How would you describe your management style? Have a well thought-out answer ready. 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. There’s no research evidence to support this assumption. visit our website at www.) A A Quote samples of your own recent learning. What interests you least about this job? Choose a routine activity (filing. You might start by briefly describing how your style has developed as you’ve grown in experience and social expectations have changed. Mention steps you’ve taken to keep up to date. Create a favourable impression based on the things you’ve done to help yourself. What are your ambitions? Concentrate on your desire to do the job well and to develop your skills and confidence. Why has it taken you so long to find a new job? Finding any sort of job is easy. What sort of relationship did you have with your last manager? Concentrate on understanding your manager’s expectations and objectives. If you had complete freedom of choice of jobs and employers. Include a reference to how important work is to you.uk/careers . filling in expense claim forms). A trite or bland answer will seriously undermine your application. but be careful that it isn’t a core function of the job. and your hope that some of these needs will be met. Relate your answer in the final stages to the job you’re applying for. relate this to the job you are applying for. your variations in style according to different people and different tasks. Emphasise your desire to develop your skills by moving to a more demanding job. what would you choose? Talk about the kind of work you’re being interviewed for and why this company interests you. Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q 86 To find out more.
You would normally find out about the way an organisation uses these by researching their recruitment literature or website. 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. All the other candidates will be nervous too. 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. Because assessment centres are more thorough.7. To find out more. visit our website at www. this job. • 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 Here are some more examples of interviewers’ questions to think through yourself. 4. It can include situational activities. • 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. education.1 Assessment centres This approach has been defined as ‘the use of any selection device.open. One such tool is the use of assessment centres – these are not places. medium and long-term goals? • Why have you decided to change careers? • What are the main challenges facing (e.g. the Health Service. they are fairer to you. in-tray exercises and the like.g.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. but a technique (a mixture of tests. aware that interviews have many shortcomings. If you are asked to attend an assessment centre. beyond the interview’. 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.7 Other selection techniques Larger employers. in any combination.ac. 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. here are some general guidelines: • Don’t be intimidated. group discussions. are increasing their use of additional tools. 4. particularly at graduate level.g. exercises and interviews) for recruiting new employees. • 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.uk/careers 87 . what do/did you spend most time on. as well as interviews and psychometric tests. this company…) today? Do you feel well equipped to meet those challenges? • None of your experience is at managerial level. and why? • Do/did you have any frustrations in your present/last job? • What did you learn from (e.
Decisions about senior appointments are never based on test results alone. • 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. visit our website at www. The tests should have been carefully researched and tried out to ensure that they’re fair to everyone who takes them. If you wear glasses for reading. In fact. • Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. have no time limits • Ask during the practice session if you don’t understand. You might be asked to prepare something in advance. • Assessment centres sometimes have the advantage that they give you longer to judge the organisation and the people within it. or bring your own calculator.shldirect.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Decisions are made by drawing on all the evidence. • Make sure that you know exactly what you’re required to do.open. Tests are designed so that you have a few items to practise on first. failure in one or two elements won’t automatically mean rejection.uk/careers . 88 To find out more. for example.open. Further resources For further information and resources on assessment centres go to: www.g. the level and nature of your thinking skills (typically. independence. • Assume that you’ll be closely observed the whole time. • If you have a disability and need special arrangements (e. The ability to listen and support others is also highly valued. • 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. numerical and perceptual skills). Study it carefully. The tests are used in a variety of ways. getting in some practice will probably make you feel better. they have no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. make sure you take them with you. induction loop. often in the form of multiplechoice questions. Get yourself ready.uk/links/AssessmentCntrs www. a good test can offset weaknesses in interview performance – it never seems to work the other way round. Personality questionnaires These gather information about how and why you do things in your own particular way. Unlike aptitude tests.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. A highlighter pen could be useful.Z’. choose something that’s cool as well as smart to wear.ac.uk/careers and look for ‘Assessment Centres’ in the ‘A.g.prospects. You may face hours of hot sticky work in examination conditions. You will find practice tests at: www. 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. They look at how you react or behave in different situations. cognitive.7. special seating) discuss it with the selector in advance. • In summer. or how you respond to different situations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. ability or intelligence tests These aim to assess your capabilities in tests of reasoning: that is. and your preferences and attitudes.ac. they can last several hours. verbal. 4. although certain characteristics will be more or less appropriate for the job (e. When the time comes: • Arrive in good time. • Go to the loo before major exercises. Your results are usually compared with how others have done on the tests in the past. • Take the pens and pencils you like to write with. paying attention to any special instructions. The selectors aren’t looking for a rigidly ‘typical’ personality. There are two main kinds of psychometric test: Aptitude. social confidence and persuasiveness would be considered important characteristics). such as personality and interest questionnaires. They’re designed to assess your reasoning abilities. but if you’re anxious about them. for sales personnel. both mentally and physically: • Your invitation may include a programme of events.2 Psychometric tests Psychometric tests are structured pencil-and-paper or computer exercises.ac.
The marker will be looking for original thought. with the selectors acting as observers. with reasoning to support your choice. relationship with other participants). Like examination candidates. Remember the rubric: 4. Talk directly to them. 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. • Remember to put your name on all the sheets of paper you use. • Keep a careful eye on the time. For one thing. most tests contain ‘lie scales’. don’t over-run. The observers will be making notes about the quality of your contribution (logic. but make good use of your allowance. • Make an early contribution.3 Written exercises Typically. How you say it is as important as what you say. There could be questions afterwards. see it as a task in which you have to convince or persuade the selectors. but there are dangers in trying to do this. • Be clear about the aims of the exercise: keep the group focused on the task. Don’t ignore the possibility of recombining parts of different options. and you may have access to audio-visual materials. and faking then becomes very difficult to sustain. but not necessarily the first.4 Presentations These are often used as part of an assessment exercise. • Make assumptions explicit. practise so that you’ve got the timing right. and if more information might be needed say what it is. You’re not going to be judged on your ability to dominate. with your reasons (is it practicable. 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. for another you’ll have to guess what sort of personality the company is looking for. You may need to make your presentation just to the selectors. or sometimes to the other candidates as well.7. Candidates often fail through producing two to three times too much material. 4. verbal expression. Make it a lively delivery. Never read from a prepared script. applicants who fail selection tests often do so because they don’t answer the questions. outline a proposal or draft a letter. • Recommendation of an option.open. • You won’t get any marks if the marker can’t read your writing.7. 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. but you’re always given time to prepare. If you have a disability that you believe may affect your ability to do these tests. Keep the presentation simple. come to a conclusion or recommendation. remember that getting the best out of others is a skill in itself. Sometimes you’re told the topic before the day. you’ll be given a lot of written data and asked to write a report. If asked to do so.uk/careers 89 .ac. Very often you’ll be set a task as a group or given a case study to look at. • Don’t be tempted to produce complex visuals. communication skills and persuasiveness. They’re easy to set up and provide a useful sample of logical thinking. Be cooperative. Honesty is the best policy. • Don’t spend so much time thinking and planning that you haven’t got time to write the report. To find out more. not enough to do them justice. If you’ve been asked to prepare in advance. visit our website at www.7. sometimes during the assessment centre. not an essay.5 Group discussions Three to eight candidates sit in a group and discuss one or more topics. • What’s usually wanted is a business report. Some selection procedures include a discussion about the test results with a psychologist. and how?) If you’re faced with a written exercise: • Follow the instructions. Make liberal use of subheadings and bullet points to make your answer easy to read. • Be supportive and pleasant to the other candidates. with their pros and cons.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Personality tests are easy to fake. 4. don’t use a ballpoint pen – it tends to make things worse. • Don’t rework chunks of the brief. You’ll probably have only five minutes of presentation time. Concentrate your thinking and be succinct in your expression so that you have less to write. If you have trouble with it.
Studies indicate that graphologists can produce generalised personality descriptions. but often a special form is needed. some employers ask candidates to submit a handwritten piece on a management topic.7 Graphology Graphology .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Mentally ‘stand back’ occasionally and evaluate what’s happening. • If the first part of the exercise asks you to set priorities. Treat the whole exercise like real life. Related tests of ‘potential for proficiency’ (trainability) assess characteristics such as hand–eye coordination. or conflict between the other participants. 90 To find out more. for example. and that can be a clue.7. By taking the trouble to reflect and to prepare. Intervene if there’s loss of direction.ac. Pause for thought Getting the job you want is always a challenge. particularly in France. remind the group if necessary.g.7.10 Medical tests The job advertisement or person specification should state clearly whether a certain level of physical fitness is required. abroad. or 90 words per minute wordprocessing.6 In-tray exercises These simulations of the administrative aspects of a job can be very taxing. if you’re asked to submit a demonstration piece. but is a controversial technique in the UK. and may take time. it’s Saturday afternoon). As well as general fitness. Don’t just put your head down and plough through the lot. other than statistical correlation. The biographical data need not have any recognised link with performance. organisation. follow this up by tackling the items according to those you set. but they’re not as detailed or as accurate as information gathered from psychometric tests and exercises. Evidence offers little support for its use as a predictor of performance.7. even if you’re not asked to do so.9 Proficiency tests These tests are used to find out whether candidates have the skills they claim – 120 words per minute shorthand. set timescales. If you like to work like that. Staffing issues are most likely to spring this trap. • Remain balanced in your judgement. use your diary and your secretary well. colour perception and hearing. They’re usually set in an unrealistic scenario that prevents you from talking to other people in the organisation (e. a contraction of ‘biographical data’. Signal in your comments that you’ve spotted these links. 4. Information may be collected from the standard application form. judgement.analysis of handwriting – is used a lot for managerial selection in continental Europe. make sure that it’s permitted. However. colleagues are ill. and ability to communicate in clear English. just like a real one. 4. A well constructed test in-tray will contain distracting trivia.uk/careers . • Give reasons for your decisions. 4. decisionmaking. • You can be judged only on what you’ve written down. The qualities most likely to be assessed are analysis. make reporting and follow-up clear. and between intrays if there’s more than one. You may be allowed to use the floor if the desk isn’t big enough. • Read the instructions carefully and plan your time accordingly. take care over presentation as well as content. If you have to reach a decision within thirty minutes. • Look for links within an in-tray. 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. • Don’t be discouraged. • Keep a careful eye on the time.8 Biodata analysis ‘Biodata’. 4. Best marks are obtained by candidates who produce the largest volume of appropriate written output. A cleverly constructed in-tray will generate emotional responses that can cloud decision-making. Make a point of discussing your strategy and interpretation of the group discussion with the interviewer later. medical tests cover sight. You’re likely not to know that graphology is being used. How to go about it: • It may be possible to take the in-tray apart and sort it into heaps.open. with appropriate levels of formality and informality in your responses.7. 4. you’ll be maximising your chance of success. visit our website at www. Most candidates find these tests tough.7. means that details of an individual’s history are correlated with the biographical details of others who have succeeded in the same occupation. not on what went through your head. So.
Byron (2003) How to pass the Civil Service Qualifying Tests.uk/links/AppsInterviews To find out more.uk/careers 91 .ac. visit our website at www. The OU careers website at: www.open. Yate (2005) Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions.prospects. Parkinson (2004) How to master Psychometric Tests.ac. Kogan Page. Kogan Page.ac.open.uk/learning M.open. ask for the OU Toolkit on Presentations from your regional centre or look under Study Strategies for the link to Student Toolkits at: www. M.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Further resources For giving presentations. Kogan Page.ac. M.uk/careers If you are an OU student look at the ‘Moving on’ section on the Prospects website at: www.
uk/careers 93 . To find out more. 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. Each section includes a discussion of some of the issues you may encounter. some organisations aim specifically to recruit a workforce that reflects the community they serve.2 5. For more information and links on job-seeking strategies when facing discrimination. The issues of whether. In this section we highlight some of the additional challenges that may be faced by students and graduates.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Equality and Diversity Issues In this section 5. However.open. Many employers have well-developed equal opportunities policies to help them to recruit a diverse workforce. the same principles of career planning and job seeking apply to everyone. when or how you should do so.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.5 5. go to www. and you will often see this highlighted in job advertisements.prospects. the legal position. on your application form.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.4 5. there is evidence that certain groups of people are at a disadvantage and may experience difficulty in achieving their career aims. In fact. strategies to help you in your job search and further resources that you may find helpful.6 5.3 5. visit our website at www.1 5. on a covering letter.ac. before or during an interview will be considered later in Section 5.ac.
If you haven’t had any recent work experience (paid or voluntary). you have a degree and. or contact your local OU Careers Advisory Service. ‘Yes. This may feel unfair. 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. Then contact the Careers Advisory Service in your region to get help with your marketing plan. hone your CV to highlight that ‘extra’ you can offer to enhance your application. plan ahead and make use of the study breaks and any contacts you have to find out all you can about the area of work you are interested in. juggling study and home responsibilities.1. So. you need to present your experience and skills positively and highlight your ‘added value’. sexual orientation and religion. as a mature graduate. having completed your degree. Braille or large print. which you might like to discuss with a careers adviser.ac. If you have additional requirements that may lead to difficulties accessing any of our services. This should also help you to feel confident about what you can offer to the workplace.1 Your rights By October 2006. 5. 94 To find out more. and paid work. look at the Careers Advisory Service website for contacts for volunteering opportunities. 5. Remember. selection procedures in large organisations are being reviewed. For example.2 How to help yourself in the job market Take a look at Section 4 on applying for jobs. So.. It’s not enough to think that because you have completed a part-time degree. For instance. 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. your age will count against you in the job market? 5. You may need to allow some time for appropriate arrangements to be made. to offer a range of transferable skills and experience to an employer.1 Age Are you concerned that.1. visit our website at www. gender. Having a degree is not enough to secure a job. please contact your regional centre who will arrange this.. 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’. we will be happy to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs. especially when you have used all your spare time to get the degree in the first place. This is where you are able. disability.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 5. Employers are looking for more than a qualification.’.open. if you need any information in an alternative format such as an audio recording.uk/careers . that you are automatically going to be offered a job.1 Note here any issues that could affect you at work. then you could consider exploring your local options. They are saying.
uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. Published by Age Positive at: www.ac. • Convey your reliability. 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. research. You do need to be clear about what you want and what you can offer. (A level playing field. teamwork. good targeting and carefully written documentation.open. • Use positive language in applications and interviews and never apologise for your age.uk/careers 95 . including a section for mature students. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. it’s vital – whatever your aims – to research your chosen area thoroughly and market yourself effectively.realworldmagazine. organisational and self-motivational skills.prospects.g. social work. or need.ac. teaching. • Be confident if you are offered an interview as this means your CV/application form has obviously been successful. starting by using the company website (if there is one available). • What impact a criminal record will have on your gaining and keeping employment. investment of time and 143 stamps and envelopes.com/mat_home. • Highlight your time management. psychotherapy. when and if to disclose a conviction to a prospective employer.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Many OU graduates have changed careers in midlife. you have just spent a number of years improving these through part-time study.asp Age diversity at work – A practical guide for business.g. • Fully research each employer.uk/links/Discrimination 5. work and earn for as long as they want.uk The Third Age Employment Network (TAEN) works for better opportunities for mature people to continue to learn.taen.org.2. • Demonstrate your experience when making effective business decisions and give examples. Available for reference in your regional centre or at: www.ac. adaptability. • Identify the skills you developed in previous work.uk Mature students – the way forward (AGCAS publication) is available at: www. Most employers will be impressed by your commitment and motivation! Indeed. visit our website at www. to do so.org. You can access the network at: www. For some areas To find out more. • How. you may be confused about its implications for working in the future.efa. studies and general life experience e. • Stress your ability to hit the ground running – you know all about working for a living.gov. and view life experience as an advantage e. Further resources For the latest information on age legislation 2006. communication. go to Employers Forum on Age at: www. 5.prospects.agepositive. Don’t be put off by negative reactions if at first you don’t succeed! One graduate wrote: My method worked because of planning. AGCAS) Tell employers about your skills and what you have had to do to get an OU qualification. counselling. Nonetheless. And you must be determined and active in your approach. occupational therapy.1 Your rights Do note that there are legal requirements regarding disclosure of certain convictions. Some of your concerns may include: • Whether you must declare any convictions. loyalty and confidence to manage change.2 Criminal record If you have a criminal record. and archive work. some areas of work look for maturity. some have started new careers in their 50s. • Demonstrate your flexibility and experience of studying and working in mixed-age environments. Be prepared to produce more than one CV. • Create your own network using contacts from previous jobs/friends/family.uk/links/Mature AdvantAGE – A magazine published by ‘realworld’ to help ‘mature’ students to take control of their future.
5.3 Disability or additional requirements Many students and graduates with disabilities have the same skills and abilities to offer as anyone else.ac. 5. as defined by the Act. do check the legal situation carefully. services and facilities. • Market yourself as positively as possible (see Section 4). Before you start studying for a specific career area.uk Scottish Criminal Record Office (Scotland) at: www.disclosurescotland. Keep in mind that there are certain jobs for which convictions never become spent. such as ‘regularly caring for. This covers people who have had a disability. You can access them at: www. training. and people with severe disfigurements.co. in the past.2 How to help yourself in the job market If you have unspent convictions. 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’. For some students. promotion. The key starting point is to explore career areas that are relevant to your interests and skills.prospects. those who have recurring or progressive conditions. it can seem a challenging task to seek employment. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments both to the workplace and to the job description. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook of work. including a section for offenders. altering hours or buying equipment.uk/careers .open. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. and so must the finances of the employer.gov. • Be realistic about the employment area you wish to enter.ac. without the need for specific adjustments or support.org. Discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. Part II of the DDA is intended to prevent discrimination against disabled people at work and in recruitment.com The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) publishes a number of advice leaflets. 5.drc-gb. Large companies will probably be expected to adapt the workplace. but smaller companies with lesser funds may not have to do so.nacro. They define rights for disabled people. training and selection for redundancy or dismissal. and then to consider the next steps as outlined below. It does not apply to employers who employ workers on board ships or aircraft.2. All employers are covered except for the armed forces. These may include adjusting premises.crb. information and advice for ex-offenders seeking work at: www. additional support can help to enable access to work. and what funding is available from other sources. • Make use of other agencies that can help and advise you. Here is a range of strategies to help you: • Discuss your situation with a careers adviser at your regional centre. including recruitment.uk The Apex Trust – support.3.uk/links/Discrimination 96 To find out more.apextrust. You can find out more from the Disability Rights Commission: Disability Rights Commission www.org Further resources Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) at: www. The effectiveness of the adjustment in reducing the disadvantage must be taken into account.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. or applying for jobs. employers are required to seek disclosure of criminal records from the relevant criminal records office. supervising or being in sole charge of persons aged under eighteen’. particularly in relation to employment and access to goods. Employers must show that they have looked into the costs of adaptations.
To find your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. • 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. though you may find it helpful to talk it over with a careers adviser at your regional centre. You must make your own judgement. visit our website at www. Access to Work – a Jobcentre Plus programme (see below) can provide support for you in a job. • You may think that an employer will automatically see you as a potential expense. For instance. Many application forms ask about disability and health. 5. 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. However. look at the website: www. You should always point this out to employers. look for employers who make these kinds of positive statements even if they don’t use the disability symbol.3. training and self-employment. the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 entitles you to take your case to a tribunal. you risk losing your job.open. the DEA can provide advice to you and your employer and explore practical ways to help you keep your job. Many employers have equal opportunities policies. 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.co. The majority of disabled jobseekers who find work through Jobcentre Plus are assisted by a disability employment adviser (DEA). You will be able to describe things in a positive light – your strengths. So.3.jobcentreplus. • Don’t restrict your applications only to employers who are keen to recruit disabled people. your coping strategies.uk or look up Jobcentre Plus in the Yellow Pages. If you do decide to disclose your disability. Specialist DEAs can discuss your current employment situation with you to plan the best way into work. • Referral where appropriate to a work preparation programme. • Referral if needed to an occupational psychologist. 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. If you’re concerned about losing the job you’re already in for a reason associated with disability. • You might feel that you will be discriminated against and rejected straight away. • Perhaps you prefer not to discuss your disability with a stranger. Services the DEAs can offer include: • An employment assessment to identify what work or training suits you best.ac. not what you can’t. • • • • • To find out more. 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. • Don’t assume that an employer will view your disability in a negative way. If you declare your disability and believe that you have been discriminated against during the application process. If you give false information and an employer finds out the truth later.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5.uk Each is committed to creating and developing opportunities for people with disabilities.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. it may fund specialist equipment or transport costs. • Information on employers in your area who are Disability Symbol users. • A job matching and referral service.employers-forum. When you apply for jobs and you are considering whether to disclose your disability: • Always focus on what you can do.gov. 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. There are now over 400 member companies in the Employers’ Forum on Disability www.uk/careers 97 . you will need to consider the method and timing.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.
1 Your rights (The following information is from the EOC website. we still find gender discrimination in the workplace. and looking for flexible working arrangements.diversityworks. There is also an interactive web-based service providing dedicated information.uk Disabled Entrepreneurs Network: www.uk/careers 5. academics involved in work placements and prospective employers: www.uk/disability Further resources Association of Disabled Professionals at: www.disabled-entrepreneurs. education. It also prohibits discrimination in employment against married people.scope.uk Diversity Works at: www.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.4 Gender/sex Does it make a difference if you are a man or a woman when applying for a job? Unfortunately.open.org.open. The EPA applies to England. published by AGCAS and available online at: www. this can help you in presenting yourself in your application for work. or • work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study. 5. or • work that is proved to be of equal value. The OU provides information about DSAs on the website at: www.ac. www. It’s important that you are aware of the issues concerning sex and gender discrimination – at both recruitment stage. and in employment. and disabled children under 18. the necessity for a work/life balance is highlighted by the legal right for mothers and fathers of children under 6. • Details about work-based learning for adults.ac.ac. If you live outside the UK you will need to check the legal position for your country of residence. yes: despite the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). including a section on disability. There is a lot of discussion about the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from achieving ‘top jobs’. If you check on the legal situation.) 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.prospects. visit our website at www. 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. Times are changing: for instance.) Other equality issues that you might encounter include harassment at work. facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises. and in fact.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook WORKSTEP – Individual programme of support through a variety of different job opportunities – leading to unsupported employment.net The Open University Careers Advisory Service web pages have some useful links. Look in the ‘A-Z’ under ‘Disability’ for further resources.ac. June 2003.uk SKILL – The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – has a large range of relevant information sources: www.open. and graduate case studies. 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. includes employers’ case studies.ac.uk/links/Discrimination The Hobson’s guide for Disabled Students – This is a free annual publication for disabled students.adp.uk/careers . which came into force in the UK on 6 April 2003. and the provision of goods. advice and resources for students with disabilities. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of employment.org. Wales and Scotland. where the man and the woman are doing • like work. and in ongoing communication with your employer. (You might also want to check whether a prospective employer has an equal opportunities policy. 98 To find out more.4.org. to request flexible working. • Information on local and national disability organisations of and for disabled people. 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. available for reference in each regional centre.disabilitytoolkits. needing time off work for parenting duties.skill.
an unnecessary requirement to be under 5’ 10” would discriminate against men.4. although there is not yet any legal authority on this point. 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. The EPA has been interpreted to cover indirect sex discrimination as well as direct discrimination. it is not justifiable. Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission at: www. You can access this at: www.ac. There are no express provisions prohibiting discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in the other fields covered by the SDA. 10 – Top Careers for Women – careers publication focusing on issues relating to graduate women in the labour market. • Provide clear evidence of your ability to do the job.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.prospects. there are special provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment in employment. irrespective of sex. a requirement to work full-time might be unlawful discrimination against women. Therefore. to apply a condition or practice. Part I of the SDA describes the forms of discrimination to which the SDA applies.org. The SDA applies to women and men of any age. This is especially important if you are looking to enter a field of employment that is traditionally dominated by the opposite sex. • Make public services relevant to the differing needs of men and women. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www.uk Work life balance centre – available at: www. and this will help to counter any negative stereotypes that may exist.ac.eoc.uk/links/Discrimination To find out more. The EOC campaigns to: • Close the pay gap between women and men. Employment-related claims are brought in an employment tribunal.org A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. For instance. • Discuss your application with a careers adviser in your regional centre. including children and prohibits direct and indirect sex discrimination. Strict time limits apply.4. 5. 5. • Make it easier for parents to balance work with family responsibilities. There are special provisions about discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment.numberten.uk/careers 99 . However.4. one type of direct sex discrimination is sexual harassment. another is treating a woman adversely because she is pregnant. irrespective of sex. visit our website at www.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. • Secure comprehensive equality legislation in Europe. England. • Break free of male and female stereotypes. • End sexual harassment at work.5 How to help yourself in the job market So.4. 5.2 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. 5.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. to apply that condition or practice. including a section on gender.4 Discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment With certain exceptions.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. there is a good argument that the general definition of sex discrimination prohibits this.open.4. • Increase the number of women in public life.worklifebalancecentre.uk No. For instance. Three months (less one day) from the act of the discrimination for employment tribunal cases. Scotland and Wales. • Concentrate on your strengths. 5.
5. it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different racial group who. In general. If you think you have been discriminated against on racial grounds. or to one of a number of other organisations such as trade unions. visit our website at www.6 How to help yourself in the job market So what can and should you do to market yourself. and you want to prove it. ‘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’.5. If you are thinking of bringing a case of racial discrimination. you have the right under the amended Act to take your complaint before an employment tribunal.5 Race According to research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. in similar circumstances. and to challenge unfair discrimination? Here are some suggestions: 100 To find out more. These cover grounds of race. the amended Act gives you the right to take your complaint before an employment tribunal or a county court (or sheriff court in Scotland).5.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. If you think this has happened to you. 5. nationality (including citizenship). race. So.2 Direct racial discrimination Direct racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. has been treated more favourably than you. but people of every background. in 2004. colour and nationality are protected by the law. law centres. the UK government launched a new strategy to remove the barriers to employment success for job-seekers from minority ethnic backgrounds.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.4 Victimisation Victimisation has a special legal meaning in the Race Relations Act.ac. In March 2003. so don’t delay. 5. But too many members of ethnic minority communities are being left behind. The report proposes a fresh approach to address the many barriers that can get in the way of success in jobs and careers. And even those individuals who achieve academic success do not necessarily reap the rewards in the workplace that their qualifications merit. Tony Blair. racial equality councils. In practice.open. discrimination continues to exist for students from minority ethnic groups who do meet barriers to getting work. you have three months to file an employment case and six months to file a case in the county court or sheriff court. you can apply to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). 5. and national or ethnic origin. for help. Racist abuse and harassment are also forms of direct discrimination.5. to target employers.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. 5. Some ethnic minority groups have done well in the education system and in the labour market. Government initiatives take time to implement however. If you think you have been discriminated against at work. March 2003 5. citizens advice bureaux and other advice agencies. 5. This happens when a person is treated less favourably because they have complained about racial discrimination or supported someone else who has. and you need to plan your own job-seeking strategies to maximise your opportunities. most racial discrimination in Britain is against people from minority ethnic groups. or when applying for work. despite legislation.5.5.5 Time limits Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for filing your case at an employment tribunal or court. 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. or work at an appropriate level to their qualifications. colour.uk/careers .
5.com Black and Asian Graduates –The UK’s official website for black and Asian graduates.open.6 Sexuality and sexual orientation Are you worried about possible discrimination in the workplace because of your sexuality? Whether to.6. For advice on finding positive employers take a look at: www.ac. Further resources KAL – Careers publication for students from minority ethnic groups (formerly Kaleidoscopic). • Many employers have sub-groups for minority ethnic groups.com 5. application forms and covering letters.uk 5.blackandasiangrad. visit our website at www. You can ask for a copy of the policy before applying for a job. • Develop contacts and make the most of your networking skills.nmc-online.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Make use of Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ to prepare your marketing tools.bitc.uk/links/Discrimination • Understand the relevant legal situation.kalmagazine. The amendments.ac.ac. and this will depend on your own experience and lifestyle. which apply to the Sex Discrimination Act (1997). You will need to consider how comfortable you will be in an area of work where you are not open about your sexuality. • Discuss your plans and approach with a careers adviser in your regional centre. Race for Opportunity is a programme. run by BITC. Contact them for information on legal issues. If the EOP is incorporated into your contract you might be able to directly rely upon it.6.org. plus details of work experience and career-enhancement programmes www.uk. students and recruiters.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.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. Windsor Fellowship The Windsor Fellowship is a charitable organisation that offers skills development programmes to undergraduates and graduates from minority ethnic groups. It holds an annual careers day for black and Asian students and graduates. You can log onto their website at: www.6.gov. National Mentoring Consortium Unit The National Mentoring Consortium Unit works with employers.uk 5. • Check if the organisation is a member of Business in the Community (BITC) www. that is dedicated to ethnic minority issues. This relates to England. available for reference in your regional centre or at www. vacancies.2 Transsexuals In May 1999. universities and schools to support learners from minority ethnic groups.4). your CV. Their website is: www.5. Target employers with a reputation for good equal opportunity policy and practice. and how much to disclose to a potential employer and to work colleagues is of course a matter of personal choice.org.cre. Includes job-hunting techniques.uk/careers 101 . when to.prospects.uk 5. the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 came into force in the UK. TeacherWorld UK TeacherWorld UK provides information and support for teachers (and those intending to teach) from minority ethnic backgrounds. especially public sector and large private employers. You can find more information at the Press for Change website (see Section 5. Find out more about the unit at: www. campaigns and services as well as vacancies in the commission Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) www.1 Your rights The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment.windsor-fellowship. Scotland and Wales.teacherworld. formally made illegal a whole catalogue of discrimination against transsexual people in employment.org To find out more.6.
ac.ac.org. age or disability. 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.eoc.regard. the support of a trade union can protect you where the legislation doesn’t. Under the new regulations it is unlawful. Larry Hirst. gay men. Scotland and Wales and similar regulations were also introduced in Northern Ireland.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Consider joining a trade union where you will receive support and legal advice. unless the employer can show that there is a legitimate business need. which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the UK.org. to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone. Published by AGCAS and available online at www. • Find out about employers who belong to the Diversity Champions group set up by Stonewall in 2001. these employers are at the cutting edge of innovation in business and public service. • If your employer recognises more than one union. www.org. race. IBM (UK and Ireland) says: 5. through legislation and social change www. This is a forum in which employers work with Stonewall to encourage diversity in the workplace. If you encounter discrimination. visit our website at www. 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. bisexuals and transgender people. including a section on sexuality and sexual orientation.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.4 Resources for employment and training Stonewall Stonewall works to achieve legal equality and social justice for lesbians.uk/links/Discrimination 5.uk Gay Business Association www.stonewall. www.7 Religion or belief I greatly value IBM’s participation in the Diversity Champions Scheme. and Diversity Champions allows employers to focus on the new challenges and opportunities for addressing issues of diversity in the workplace. where they advertise. sexual orientation.uk Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission www. gender.uk/careers .dircon. It is also unlawful to harass or bully someone because of their religion or belief. days when they choose to interview.uk Regard – the national organisation of disabled lesbians. on the grounds of religion or belief. staff development or training days clashing with days of worship or festivals and promotion.prospects. 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. gay men and bisexual people and launched Diversity Champions in 2001. Press for Change Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational organisation.6. Usually.gba.uk/stonewall In December 2003.open. General Manager. 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.pfc. At IBM we employ the best people irrespective of religion. 102 To find out more. The most usual ways in which employers may discriminate might be around the way in which they recruit new staff.co. The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) were introduced to protect against discrimination in employment and vocational training in England.org.
5.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. • Look out for employee profiles on employer websites. keep up to date on the law and your rights. • Read the information in the recruitment pack. unless it is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR). 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. visit our website at www. Alternatively. there is very little case law at present – greater understanding of how the legislation is interpreted and practised will come with time.bitc. • Speak to the equality and diversity officer. Does it include information about equality and diversity? If not. In the meantime.gov. Further resources The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 www. if the organisation has one.uk/er/equality/eeregs Managing the New Legislation on Religion and Belief www. 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. But how do you know this? • Look out for race equality schemes/equality and diversity policies. it doesn’t necessarily mean that the employer doesn’t care about this.uk/careers 103 .org.pdf To find out more. if this is a concern for you.open. As it is recent legislation.uk/docs/RFO_Religion. 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.ac.7.lowpay.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.
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
uk www.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.ac. You are advised to ring first.uk Wales www. Further resources A list of further resources is given at the end of each section of this book. go to: www.uk/careers 107 .careerswales.org. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life. but remember that you’re setting out on an exciting journey.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.uk/library Finally You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations. Look in larger libraries for other publications mentioned in this book. Look at the following website to find details of the nearest service to you: www.egsa.prospects.guidancecouncil.open.gradireland.ac. with all its potential for improvement and advancement.ac.com Scotland www. Some may be available for reference at your regional centre. To find out about services offered by the Open University library at Walton Hall. visit our website at www.3. look at these websites: England www.com Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland www.3 Other sources of help 6.uk/links/careersservices For details of adult advice and guidance services in the following countries.org.careers-scotland.open. Good luck and best wishes for your future! To find out more.
visit our website at www.open.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 108 To find out more.uk/careers .
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.open. visit our website at www.ac.uk/careers 109 .
uk/careers .open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 110 To find out more.ac. visit our website at www.
open.uk/careers 111 .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.ac. visit our website at www.
open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 112 To find out more. visit our website at www.ac.uk/careers .
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