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.
perhaps when you’re not in the midst of your studies. planning a strategy. but you might want to dip into different areas at different stages of your career planning and job seeking.uk/careers We recommend working through the workbook sections in order.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. and • Begin to plan how you might achieve it. visit our website at www. The best place to start is with yourself. You’ll certainly find it helpful to get comments and opinions from people who know you well. • How should I use the internet in looking for jobs? Look at Section 2. working with a partner or friend. and the more time and effort you put into them. 3. 4 and 5. make a note of the recommended sections: • I don’t know where to begin Look particularly at Section 1. so that you can build a sound foundation for later steps in reviewing your career. people and materials are all useful resources. This is a reference source that can stand on its own. designing a curriculum vitae (CV) and presenting yourself at interviews. or set up a more formal relationship. They’re likely to be helpful when you reach the stage of completing application forms. This book focuses on you because although organisations. Career planning has to be a recurring process – you can’t do it once and for all. You may To find out more. The workbook outlines the practical steps needed for looking for a job. the basis of our original plans inevitably shifts. Time It’s difficult to foresee exactly how much time you’ll need. Working through the activities should be challenging but rewarding. with a careers adviser or perhaps through your appraiser at work or your line manager. but it also complements information on our careers website. support and encouragement. so the clearer you are about your own characteristics. Whatever approach you decide on. they can’t make things happen for you Remember. the most important influence on your career and life planning is you. 4 and 6. Keep your activities as you work through them. If you have particular concerns If you recognise concerns of your own – you may find more than one – in this list. find some of them particularly time consuming. then settle back secure in the knowledge that you won’t have to do it again. It is you who will be in the work situation. • Will my age be a problem in changing career? Look at Sections 2. values and personal needs • Decide what you want to achieve. and to define what you’re really looking for. • How should I update my CV? Look at Section 4. This book invites you to recognise your own qualities and abilities. completing application forms. but you could become distracted by the mechanics of the process. You might find it useful to link up with another person or a small group. As we make changes and as circumstances change around us. skills. Working through the activities at your own pace gives you scope for quiet reflection. the more precisely you can specify what you want and communicate it to employers. Activities We encourage you to take time over the activities suggested in this book. • I know what I want to do but don’t know how to achieve it Look at Sections 2. Working with others can give you ideas. the more productive they’ll be. Ways of working Give some thought now to how you might work with these materials before you begin. You could take a relatively informal approach. putting your CV together or preparing for an interview. interests. To begin with. make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with. The more open minded.open. you might prefer to tackle the process in stages. • I need to find a job in a particular geographical area Look at Section 2. they can act as a sounding board and suggest different ways of looking at things. The website for the Careers Advisory Service is at: www.ac. and you might well need to return to them as your ideas develop.uk/careers 5 .open. positive and constructive you are. agencies.
ac.open. visit our website at www. At intervals you’ll be asked to ‘pause for thought’ and note down your responses.uk To find out more.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.2 What work would suit me? 13 Remember that you may have potential that has yet to be developed. The section starts by asking you to look back. 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. You’ve gained knowledge and skills from your experiences. there’s good reason to. training. 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.uk/careers Here you will find links to lots of different activities and resources to assist in career planning and job seeking. You may find that some seemingly unchangeable things can be changed.ac. so that you can learn new skills or take up more enjoyable. This section will help you to develop your self-awareness.open. Note. 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. They offer different ways of considering what you’re like and what you can do. work and leisure activities. Your past has shaped you through your family background. You might be able to reduce your mortgage by moving to a smaller house or a cheaper area. and learnt how you cope with things and respond to different tasks and challenges. Try to keep an open mind when considering future possibilities. your education.ac. The activities in this section ask you to think about a series of questions as a beginning to your career review.uk/careers 7 . less well-paid work. take a clear view of your career and life.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Knowing yourself In this section 1. and reject them only if. 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. for example. that some of the activities (and others) are also available online on the Careers Advisory Service website at: www. however.1 What am I like? 8 1.
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.1 In this activity you’re going to draw a ‘lifeline’. This activity can help you to gather insights that can influence your future choices. Note down key events. to help you think about the pattern of your life. children. 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. Moved House HIGH POINT Secondary School Qualified (production engineer) Marriage Son Became management trainee (part time study. this activity revealed to one person that all her high points were associated with praise from others and her low points with geographical moves. Diploma) Daughter Bought flat (Improvement Grant) Bought house – garden-mortgage! Changes in company policy (new job. and he saw that each disappointment motivated him towards a change and offered opportunities. A third recognised someone else as consistently and unobtrusively acting as a mentor. marriage. showing high and low points at different times of your life.ac. You’ll be asked to refer back to your lifeline later on. and to consider how your early history contributed to it. You may find it useful to talk through any difficult emotions with someone you trust. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.1 What am I like? 1. Example When you’ve drawn a lifeline that reflects your experiences. Put them in the form of a diagram like the one here. Another noted that all his positive job changes followed disappointments in his private life. retirement and so on. visit our website at www. such as education. Activity 1.uk/careers . and to discover aspects of yourself that you might want to develop or change.open. consider it as a whole. Think about the feelings aroused by each experience and answer these questions. noting any thoughts or ideas that occur to you: • What does the lifeline say about you and how you’ve lived your life? • Are there recognisable themes that have run through your life? • Is the pattern generally up or down? Is it steady or changeable? What sorts of incident were associated with the highs and lows? Are the highs generally associated with your own choices and the lows with the unexpected? Are there some experiences you cope with easily and others that really throw you? • Are there any lessons to be learnt? For instance.1.
why and how you arrived at where you are today. the area and house you lived in. school sports or activities you took part in. such as strong aspects of your personality or talents. your role in the family. The activity may take some time. activities you participated in. Pause for thought Now spend some time considering what your notes say about you – what you’re like.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. how you saw your teachers. 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. 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. Make notes under the headings below. perhaps. and you might want to return to it later to change or add points. with dates.ac. For instance. could you have made different choices? Make a note of any insights you’ve gained through remembering and reflecting. Looking back.uk/careers 9 . how you got on with other children. how your teachers saw you. You may see themes appearing. Some of this information will be useful when you put your CV together (see Section 4). To find out more. family lifestyle. say something about any occupational influences on you. 3 Schooling List the schools you went to.2 This activity brings out some of the early themes from your lifeline. what your parents expected of you.open. the subjects you were good at and enjoyed. concentrating on your childhood and school life. Maybe you had various abilities but developed one rather than another – sporting ability rather than artistic talent. visit our website at www. experiences you had.
3 Looking back at your lifeline.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.2 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. 10 To find out more. things you do in your spare time. 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. For example. note the achievements you’re most proud of and what they say about you.open.ac. passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student.1. recent or a long time ago. They could be workrelated or to do with relationships. 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. Set them out in the table below. 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.uk/careers .
Circle the ones that are particular strengths. Again. By chairing meetings of a club. How do you feel about them? Which do you most enjoy using? How could you use them in work? To find out more.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. Activity 1. you need skills of learning. If you enjoy DIY. time management. this is a particularly useful exercise if you have little work experience to draw on. My main roles 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Looking at all your roles. gardener and household manager). communication and keeping to schedules. you’ve developed not only practical skills but planning and organising skills as well. working group member. project manager). Each role demands different skills. You may be a parent (cook.open. cooking. If you are a parent. visit our website at www. you develop skills of briefing and dealing with people as well as those of managing meetings. time management. listener or organiser). As a student.4 Now complete the table below. as many skills are learnt outside paid work. are you surprised at the number of things you do and take for granted every day? Look at the skills you’ve listed. and so on. You may be an employee (team leader.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. you have needed to develop skills of budgeting.ac.uk/careers 11 . delegating. You may take part in voluntary work (counsellor.1.
they need not be barriers to the future.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. It’s easy to forget that leisure activities can give us as many skills and abilities as work. what would you now say are your main strengths and weaknesses? They can be skills. personal characteristics or interests.uk/careers . 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. 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.open. visit our website at www. Remember that strengths can be built on for the future and weaknesses can be reduced by your efforts.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. 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 have you learnt about yourself? Bringing some of your answers together. Activity 1. but your spare-time activities could help you to demonstrate skills and qualities.1.ac.
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. and might be seen as ‘laid back’. If you don’t have much experience of paid work.uk/careers 13 . you would always put work first and aim high in your achievements. for example. you need to be clear about how important work is to you. even workaholic. You may have found yourself in a post that takes over and leaves little time for family life. This is something that varies from person to person. If you scored +20. for example if you scored –20. Activity 1. the stronger your ambition. think about your approach to activities or projects. How does this feel? Is it right for you or would you like to change this aspect of your life? To find out more. but you don’t let work rule your life. If you have a more central score You keep a balance between work and leisure.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. or you might avoid positions that regularly eat into your leisure time.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. You might be highly ambitious. 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.1 How big a part of my life is work? Before considering what you want to do. you would put your social life before work.open. or you may prefer something that can give you a better balance between work and home life. it’s time to think about work. 1. visit our website at www.2 What work would suit me? Now that you’ve spent some time considering the skills and qualities you’ve developed through experience.2. have little concern about getting on in your career. The next activity can help you to think about this. You have some concern about doing well and making progress.ac. At the lower end of the scale.
note the range of tasks or activities you had to do. The activity may take some time. 4 Did you have to deal with any difficulties? 5 Which tasks or activities did you find most appealing. what factors seemed important in deciding to take it up? 3 For each job. Did you volunteer or were you directed into it? If you had some choice. delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’. or how well you perform particular activities in comparison with other people. visit our website at www. You will have learnt a huge amount through work (whether paid. note how it came about. Many will be ‘transferable skills’ that you can use in other situations. Activity 1. 2 For each job.2 What work experience have I had? Most people would agree that work experience is very important when considering future directions.7 1 List the jobs you’ve had. either through formal appraisal or from informal comments and reactions. 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. Do you see any patterns? Can you see particular strengths or areas of difficulty? Do you enjoy some things more than others? Do others turn to you for help with particular things? 14 To find out more.2. but it’s easy to take yourself for granted and not recognise the wide range and high level of skills and abilities you have. fundraising for a charity or involvement in a conservation project. The next activity helps you to explore your experience. and will be useful when preparing for interviews (see Section 4). unpaid or voluntary) by noticing how you feel about different tasks and respond to work situations. If you have limited or no experience of paid employment.uk/careers . make a similar list of unpaid or voluntary experience for example.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. and you might want to come back to it later. You may also have learnt from others.ac. helping readers at school. with dates.
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. 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. completing an application form or attending an interview (which you will cover in more detail in Section 4). Activity 1. if it isn’t a usual role for you. put a tick beside it.ac. apply this to whatever activity has taken up a lot of your time. visit our website at www. leave it blank.2.uk/careers 15 . Work through each role in the list. Circle any that describe you particularly. 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. To find out more. If you’re not sure or if it’s only partly true. All the words describe positive qualities. If work hasn’t been a major part of your life.open. Does it sound like you? If it comes to you easily.8 Some work roles and areas of competence are listed below.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. cross it out.
circling your position on the scale. Activity 1. Again. visit our website at www.uk/careers . negotiating (s) Tend to worry. show feelings (f) Happy to be in charge of others (s) Prefer traditional ways of action (t) Equable.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. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. not easily upset (f) Tend to influence people (s) Ambitious to get on at all costs (f) 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Average 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Less 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 16 To find out more.ac. Try to use the full range of ratings from 5 (much more so than most) to 1 (much less so than most).open.2. caring for others (s) Always like to win. deciding how you compare with other people. think more generally about your life if your workplace experiences are limited. come in top (f) Like persuading. act independently (s) More practical than theoretical (t) Determined (f) Sympathetic. More Plan ahead and keep to it (t) Stickler for detail or accuracy (t) Easy mixer.9 Work through the following descriptions. get anxious (f) Like deadlines and timetables (t) Usually take a leading role (s) Good with complex ideas or data (t) Demonstrative.
open.9 continued Now look over your ratings. The better you know yourself. 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. Where did you score the most highly? Or did you score evenly across the three categories? For instance. and to do with your drives and emotions (f). some people are at ease giving a presentation while others find it very nerveracking.uk/careers 17 .ac. the more opportunities you create for finding a situation that will suit you. A work situation that suits a very sociable person won’t suit someone who prefers to work alone. There’s no right or wrong personality. another is very chatty and communicative. You can group them into those to do with relating to people and social situations (s).Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. visit our website at www. While one is reserved. If you think about your colleagues you’ll be aware how they differ from each other. one is a stickler for detail while another is not too concerned about fine accuracy. but you do need to take your own traits into account. to do with your approach to work tasks (t).
such as accounting standards or employment law. rather than simply thinking through these questions. ambitions. Consider your answers so far. by observing others.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. 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 can be good at something without particularly enjoying it. Some people have a creative imagination. You can learn about your aptitudes from other people’s comments. but it’s not a necessary connection. others a photographic memory. There’s generally some connection between what we can do well and what we enjoy doing. Perhaps you had to learn a new technique.open.ac. to have someone else with whom to talk through your answers – perhaps a friend. 18 To find out more. by going on training courses.2. but do use any other information you can get. Activity 1.5 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. or perhaps you used or developed a skill you already had. 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. Review As you may be discovering. etc. it’s helpful to reflect on your past as you approach a decision that will significantly affect your life.10 Look back at your list of achievements and what they say about you. 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. projects you’ve tackled successfully. needs and values. It’s also useful as evidence when you’re completing a CV or attending an interview. You may have learnt more about your personality. Some people have been taught or have learnt particular skills for themselves – competence in a computer language. This question is of particular interest to employers. others are skilful with statistics. Others have specialist knowledge. for example. by reading and so on. initiatives you’ve put into practice.uk/careers . as it enables you to recognise the talents you have and also to see whether there are gaps you want to work on. It’s also important for you to know what you’re good at. relation or a careers adviser. You may have begun to gain more insights or realisations about your own nature. Now list some of your work/voluntary/domestic achievements. You might discover that your strengths are grouped in some areas rather than others. visit our website at www. temperament or way of dealing with the world. It’s useful to know this. as you learn through your own study. What have you learnt? It can help. You should also remember that you’ll go on developing as you cope with different demands. 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. by trial and error.
taking in what others say and checking your understanding of the information 2 Clear verbal expression. reliably perform better than average Good level. generally able to do it quite well Reasonable level. Be as honest as you can both in admitting lack of skill and in acknowledging your competence. not usually adequate No significant level of skills Communication Rating 1 Listening. ability to convey information without confusion 3 Fluent speech.open. words flowing easily 4 Drawing people out. visit our website at www. outstanding performance High level. just acceptable skills Very basic level.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.11 This activity will help you to assess your skills in more detail. to encourage them to speak 5 Commanding an audience. matching style to purpose 9 Structuring reports and other written communications logically 10 Using a wide vocabulary accurately and appropriately 11 Speaking (accent and pronunciation) in a way that’s acceptable in a wide range of social situations 12 Spelling and grammar Total score To find out more. Try to use the full range of ratings.ac. often referred to as ‘employability’ or ‘transferable skills’.uk/careers 19 . Consider how well you can carry out each one in comparison with other people. giving a presentation 6 Using the telephone effectively: few misunderstandings 7 Reading efficiently: readily taking in written information 8 Writing effectively. The activity is grouped into skills which are of particular importance to employers. 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.
dealing with conflict 9 Interviewing. assessing or appraising 10 Persuading. 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. teaching or coaching others 4 Delegating and managing others 5 Leading a work group. getting the best out of others 7 Counselling: helping with personal problems 8 Negotiating: mediating. motivating.ac.open. visit our website at www. uses and sources of loan finance 12 Operating costing system Rating Total score 20 To find out more.uk/careers . chairing a meeting 6 Encouraging. encouraging.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Dealing with people 1 Showing sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others.
practical problems 9 Using manual dexterity. visit our website at www.ac.open.uk/careers 21 . hand-eye coordination 10 Understanding physical sciences 11 Understanding engineering 12 Maintaining or repairing complex equipment Rating Total score To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Thinking and analysis 1 Using critical path analysis 2 Using statistics 3 Logical thinking. 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. 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.
colours. visit our website at www. systems. 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.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. layouts. events or courses 5 Being insightful.ac. filing system or recording procedures Rating Total score 22 To find out more.open.uk/careers . sounds and patterns 12 Innovating and improving procedures in your own field Rating Total score Administrative/organisational 1 Managing your time 2 Planning systematically 3 Operating procedures precisely 4 Making things run like clockwork 5 Handling in-trays efficiently 6 Meeting deadlines 7 Producing clear operational structures 8 Developing resources to achieve objectives 9 Organising working time 10 Monitoring procedures and progress 11 Making detailed plans of action 12 Having a well-organised work space.
and that the wider the range of skills you have. visit our website at www. Look at the skills you scored most highly in and those you most enjoy. To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Summary Now add up all your total scores. 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.open.ac. List those here: Pause for thought What does this activity tell you? Are there any surprises or does it confirm your expectations? Either way. the greater the variety of job options open to you. but would like to develop. 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. Remember that skills can always be developed simply by using them more. Now look through the original ratings to see whether there are skills you’re not yet very competent in.uk/careers 23 .
This doesn’t mean that you can achieve everything you wish. Try to use the full range of scores. a local authority. handling things Taking risks.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. In the same way. not to limit yourself by concentrating so much on restrictions that you achieve less than you might.ac. a financial institution and so on will each have a different ‘feel’ as a place to work. analyse Making friendly contacts with others Large income. expensive possessions Expressing ethical code or religious beliefs Using talents. a newspaper office. though. 4 Very important 3 Important 2 Less important 1 Not important Description Making decisions. some kinds of work have more to do with ALTRUISM and others with ECONOMIC or CREATIVE values. think.uk/careers . developing skills Being part of an important organisation Having lots of stimulus. people. independent action Change or variety in tasks. visit our website at www. places Scope to learn. It is important. thrills Having influence or power over others Enjoying or making beautiful designs or things Getting promotion. study.2. excitement. 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.12 Rate the values below for importance. developing new ideas Activity. Try to think through which would suit you best. a charity.6 What do I really want from work? Now that you’ve thought about who and where you are and the skills you have.open. a manufacturing company. Activity 1. as restrictions of one kind or another will limit everyone’s range of choice. 24 To find out more. keeping moving. the next step is to recognise what you’re satisfied with and what you’re dissatisfied with. career progression Helping or caring for others Concern for surroundings or location Being original.
Too little About right Too much Opportunity to use skills Most of us enjoy using and developing our skills and competence. Too little About right Too much Opportunity for control Simple. inadequate income causes many problems and dissatisfactions.open. 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.ac. chatting over coffee or working in a team. for example) can be stressful. Circle the level that applies to your present or most recent job. challenges to rise to. But having very high-level. but most of us get satisfaction from being with others. Money Clearly. targets to be achieved. Too little About right Too much Social contact Everyone’s need for contact is different.13 To complete your examination of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. We all have our own preferred level of demand. Too little About right Too much Goals People function best when there are demands to be met.uk/careers 25 . but it’s stimulating to have some change and variation in the work environment. repetitive. being in a tightly defined job can feel restricting. Too little Adequate Well paid Variety Individuals differ in the amount of variety they prefer. 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. 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.7 How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? Activity 1. but on the other hand having a high level of responsibility (being a managing director. To find out more. closely controlled work is generally far from satisfying.2. Equally. Too little About right Too much Respect Most of us like to be thought well of and respected by others.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. For work satisfaction it’s important to feel that there’s some match between your contribution and the position you hold. Note any ideas that occur to you. complicated demands repeatedly made on us can be stressful. consider the following.
Any significant mismatch is likely to leave you feeling dissatisfied or stressed or becoming cynical about your job.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. Note your thoughts here. visit our website at www. Take time to reflect on the results of the activities in this section.open. agree with your beliefs in general and allow you to express your personality.uk/careers .ac. 26 To find out more.14 Review You’ve now considered the reasons why you work (other than financial necessity) and which things you most enjoy doing. it’s important that it should be fulfilling. perhaps discuss them with a confidant and if necessary modify them. If your occupation is to ‘feel right’.
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. Tick Yes. Try to imagine whether you’d like doing the others or not. you also need to consider your interests. It’s not a question of your ability or qualifications. Activity 1. Interests are to do with the things you find most appealing or enjoyable.8 What kind of work would I like to do? To help you decide on the kind of work you’d like to do.2.open. but only of your own preferences. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.15 Look through these kinds of work and consider whether you would like to carry each one out.ac. Not sure or No according to how you feel about each activity. You will have had experience of some of them. Assume that you could do the activity if you wanted to.uk/careers 27 .
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. visit our website at www.ac.uk/careers .15 continued Yes 22 Instruct computer users on procedures 23 Coordinate work of audit staff 24 Brief sales staff 25 Design new technical equipment 26 Collect and collate information 27 Supervise warehouse staff 28 Report on legal matters affecting the organisation 29 Set up a staff-grievance procedure 30 Plan equipment-maintenance schedules 31 Review data-processing installations 32 Monitor productivity of operations 33 Analyse effectiveness of advertising 34 Organise scientific research 35 Design publicity leaflets 36 Monitor productivity of operations 37 Implement new administrative procedures 38 Investigate staff turnover problems 39 Monitor laboratory testing services 40 Write computer documentation 41 Brief colleagues on effects of taxation changes 42 Report on sales performance 43 Produce design specifications 44 Manage external relations 45 Supervise a building-maintenance programme 46 Take minutes of meetings 47 Prepare a staff handbook 48 Carry out an energy usage audit 49 Deal with computing problems Not sure No 28 To find out more.open.
17. 34. 26. 37. 15. 18. 22. 13. 10. 54 To find out more. 43. 51 Questions 7. 35. visit our website at www.15 continued Yes 50 Prepare financial reports 51 Review a product range and pricing 52 Develop and improve mechanical or electronic equipment 53 Edit a newsletter or magazine 54 Improve plant layout to increase productivity Not sure No Scoring Give 4 points for each ‘Yes’ response Give 2 points for each ‘Not sure’ response Give 0 points for each ‘No’ response Now add up the scores for the groups of questions shown here: Total Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F Group G Group H Group I Questions 1. 48 Questions 4. 21. 23.uk/careers 29 . 47 Questions 3. 36. 42. 44. 16.ac. 20. 25. 19. 12. 11.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. 28. 40. 30. 14. 45. 33. 39. 24. 52 Questions 8. 29. 38. 50 Questions 6. 53 Questions 9. 41. 27. 31. 49 Questions 5. 32. 46 Questions 2.
Alternatively.g. If you have interests outside this ‘managerial scheme’. health service manager B Personnel/training/education e. architect H Information/communication e. the pattern may suggest a move to a different area of work.g. 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. sales manager G Scientific/engineering/research and design e. Simply click on Login/Register in the My Prospects account box on the home page and go from there.16 You may also find it useful to work through Prospects Planner. laboratory technician D Data processing e.ac. This is an online career-planning tool that will help you explore your skills. management accountant. craft and natural environment areas.uk/careers . dancing. It might be that you work or have worked in your highest-scoring area and enjoyed it. transport planner.15 continued What your scores mean Your scores relate to different kinds of work activity: Score A Administrative/legal/secretarial e. It doesn’t include artistic.prospects.g.g. Use Section 2 of this workbook to help you research the results you have got in the above activities. Before carrying on. charity officer.g. 30 To find out more. even if in a different kind of organisation. you’ll need to register. playing a musical instrument. IT consultant.g. librarian. Access Prospects Planner via the Prospects website by logging on to: www. do take account of them in considering your future. nor those that depend on performance skills such as acting.ac. database administrator E Accounting/finance e. primary teacher. and motivations.g. quality assurance manager. interpreter I Operational/production/distribution e.g. Prospects Planner. If so. creative. like similar programs.uk/links/Pplanner First. recruitment manager C Technical support e.g. tax inspector F Marketing/sales/purchasing e. production manager Write in your total score for each group. but it will give you a starting point to explore areas of work that may interest you. visit our website at www. The result may be no surprise. electronics engineer. retail buyer.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. doesn’t tell you what you should do. this is a reassuring confirmation and suggests that you should consider continuing in that or related work.open. The list of interests we’ve considered in this activity reflects common graduate and managerial areas of work. interests. Activity 1. It will then match your profile with an occupational database to produce a list of job suggestions for you to consider.
When you’ve done that. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Review Read through the results of your work and reflect on the notes you’ve made. Now complete the summary chart below.uk/careers 31 . 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. you may want to look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’.ac.open. or you might prefer to move on to the possibilities that this knowledge could open up for you in Section 2. 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.
uk/careers . travel. What changes would I like to make? Write down some changes you would like to make to help in your job searching 32 To find out more. visit our website at www.ac. such as location. 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. 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.open. etc.
good luck with the next step! Further resources Try these resources for developing self-awareness. Windmills consists of seven stages or ‘tactics’.learndirect-futures.uk/careers 33 .uk To find out more. It covers job roles at all levels of responsibility rather than those just at graduate level as covered by Prospects Planner.uk/careers Whichever route you choose. You may find it useful to complete this section before you book an interview. You need to register (free) to use it at: www.open.com Learndirect Futures is another career interestassessment website that generates job suggestions.ac.windmillsprogramme. 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. This is a virtual career coach which teaches individual career-management skills. visit our website at www. You could take a look at the Windmills website. general and specialist skills analyses • Tactic 2: Finding your ideal job – includes a motivation assessment You can access the website at: www. The content of Section 1 can provide a really useful starting point to an individual consultation with a careers adviser.ac. people. 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. however. which OU students can do by contacting your regional centre.co.open. The tactics you will find most relevant at this stage are: • Tactic 1: Focusing your skills – self-reliance. You may prefer.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.
3 2. It’s also important that you don’t spend valuable time applying for jobs where you have little chance of success. the only thing they might have in common is that they probably use an interview during the selection procedure. visit our website at www. • Get a general view before you start to draw up a shortlist. jobs and developments in sectors you’re interested in. private and voluntary sectors.ac. As a result. or for jobs that don’t fit your needs or meet your expectations. people’s job-seeking methods can be disorganised and inefficient. 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. • Don’t forget that you need to review and evaluate your progress from time to time. This means that you must be flexible enough to adapt your approach to the diversity of methods used by potential employers. 2. Always keep copies of your applications.open.uk/careers 35 .1 2. when.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43 2. you will be able to focus much more accurately on what you need to do to achieve your goal.4 2. What information they do have can often be based on personal experience or rumour.1 A typical strategy A strategic approach pays dividends. • Look into and follow up all sources of information.2 Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Exploring possibilities In this section 2. To find out more. A typical strategy means that you will: • Consider all the opportunities open to you: public.) Otherwise. 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. the recruitment process will be quite different. • Build up a file of background information about companies. Another key fact you need to understand is that different sectors and employers have their own traditional methods for recruiting. By planning your job-search strategy. So.1 Planning your strategy Many job-seekers actually have very little knowledge of how the job market works and how people are in fact recruited.1. rather than carefully organised and systematic.2 2. so be organised and systematic. (In fact. and be prepared to ask for comments on how you’ve done. where and how often vacancies are advertised. We are assuming at this stage that you know what you want to do. work through Section 1 ‘Knowing yourself’ before going any further. If you haven’t yet got a clear picture of the kind of work or job you want to pursue. The local sawmill is likely to approach the task differently from a multinational advertising agency. • Do some research: find out how.
2 36 To find out more. It’s becoming apparent that it isn’t always the classification of the job that’s important. and capable of learning new skills.ac.uk/links/SectorBs 2. File copies of letters and applications and record the progress on each one. • Set up a file of job information. You can do this by exploring jobs in sectors on the Prospects website at www. and the more you know about each possibility. job descriptions and person specifications. for all graduate job-seekers and job-changers. Research conducted by Elias and Purcell in 2004 (Seven Years On: Graduate Careers in a Changing Labour Market. www.open. As you research the main occupational areas that interest you. A high level of interactive and communication skills is usually required for these areas in addition to having received training in the specific area. relevant journals. look into trends in the area. for instance.2 Information Information is an essential tool in job hunting. more adaptable to change. websites. • Use local career libraries. 2.3 Review your progress Keep records of all contacts and applications you make. the better the choices you make will be. solicitors or research scientists. it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define exactly what’s meant by a ‘graduate job’.2.1. employment seeking strategies have had to be flexible and responsive to the employment market. journalism or social work. visit our website at www. for example.1. specialist and general trade directories. You need to find out as much as you can about the job(s) and the companies you’re applying to.prospects.uk/links/ CSDSevenYears) grouped graduate jobs into five distinct categories: 1 Traditional graduate occupations Established professions for which a degree has historically been required.uk/careers/links • Personal contacts can be invaluable: tutors.prospects. and don’t forget to follow up useful contacts from job advertisements. However. fellow students. professional bodies. • Constantly reassess your assumptions about questions such as your mobility and your job preferences. press releases etc. and ask yourself why. representatives from professional bodies. • Keep notes of your conversations. the graduate labour market boundaries are blurring.ac. details of salary bands.ac. so that you can present yourself effectively.ac. sample advertisements. The fuller your awareness of the opportunities open to you. look at the OU Career Links scheme where you can talk to a ‘career helper’ from the OU community at www. useful articles. • Acknowledge those who have helped you – quick telephone calls or thank-you notes may pay dividends. • Be prepared to persist. They’ll all have a bearing on employment. • Get to know the main sources of information about careers and jobs.2 Graduate-level jobs Another important aspect of any job-search strategy is to consider your options realistically in the context of the current and future employment market.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. • If you are a student. but the nature of the graduate’s experience and aspirations. 2. Modern graduate occupations Since the expansion of higher education in the 1960s. and graduates are now entering a much wider range of jobs. regional representatives. The graduate has to be an expert in a very specific area. To review your progress: • Consider what appears to work and what doesn’t. This is still so. As large numbers of graduates enter an increasingly diverse range of jobs. alumni. • Use a range of job-search methods.open. there has been a development of new professional areas requiring graduate-level qualifications.1 What is a ‘graduate’ job? One of the main reasons employers recruit graduates is that they expect them to be more flexible. useful company and sector contacts. both on the number of people employed and on the work that they do.uk/careers . • Be realistic about the skills and experience you have and those you need to acquire. • Follow up this information by talking to professional careers advisers and people in the job areas that interest you. 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.
The ability to access and use specialist information is an additional skill for these areas. environmental health). nursing. There are many instances of graduates in these occupations demonstrating their potential and developing their initial role to fit their skills.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.ac.prospects.ac.8 million SMEs in the UK and it is predicted that they will create a further 2 million jobs by 2010. 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. the data shows the unemployment figure for OU students from the 2003/4 survey to be 2. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3 4 5 New graduate occupations These reflect changes in technology and organisational structures and priorities. 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. visit our website at www. there were 3.prospects. engineering. For more information on SMEs go to: www.ac.5 per cent.uk In 2004 unemployment among all students was 6. a growing proportion of graduates find their first jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). retail management. This data is published annually and can be seen at www. Many are in nongraduate jobs but using the skills that they have developed as a result of their studies. Although we know that OU students start from a different point as many are working while they study. marketing. graphic design. Barclays) only 14 per cent of respondents had a place on a graduate training scheme with a blue chip employer. According to the Graduate Experience 2002 Report (DTI. In fact.2.2 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.1 per cent six months after leaving.tqi. Niche graduate occupations This is an expanding area. 2. At the beginning of 2002.open.uk/links/wdgd and on the Teaching Quality website at www. 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. Non-graduate occupations Increasing numbers of graduates don’t immediately enter the ‘graduate labour market’.uk/careers 37 .
Try to contact the person who makes the decisions and might be interested in your talents. None of us can predict what kind of jobs might be available in the next few years. 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. Make sure they keep you in mind for suitable vacancies.4. which were discussed above in Section 2. So. You may want to ask to meet people. In fact. What will your job search strategy look like? 2. how can you do a creative job search? Here are a few essential steps to get you started: • You need to ‘market’ yourself. in particular. • 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. • Don’t limit your marketing to letters of application. they are classified as either ‘open’ or ‘hidden’. knowledgeable people. but prefers specific skills. or talk to them in person. qualities and experience. how long for. but don’t let them use you.ac. • Investigate the possibility of employment through a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’.uk/careers .5. and customise them with a particular opportunity or employer in mind (see Section 4 ‘Getting the job’).10).ktponline. visit our website at www. in times of recession. SMEs. in that they are never even advertised! Often. Consider temporary or part-time work to enhance your marketability. Be clear about what you’re offering to do. See Section 2. it’s estimated that 7 out of 10 jobs are ‘hidden’. you need to play by a set of new rules. • Develop an excellent CV and application letter.9 and 2.5.6 for details. [Adapted from the AGCAS booklet Job Seeking Strategies] Pause for thought Ask yourself what you can take forward from these ideas.2.open. Most of us need to review our careers now and again to take account of changes in ourselves and the opportunities open to us.4. a partnership between employers and higher education institutions – look at www. Today’s labour market is increasingly diverse. • Cultivate well-placed.2.4. 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. The best advice is to start as early as possible and be creative in your job search. skill development and knowledge of the industry or job area. this hidden job market increases as some employers shy away from the administrative burden of dealing with the overwhelming number of responses their recruitment advertisements produce.2).3 Creative job search The career-review process isn’t something you do once and for all and then never do again. • Use the internet to research into companies and job vacancies. This may give you an identifiable edge in the job market.uk • Don’t forget the increasingly important nontraditional graduate recruiters (small and mediumsized enterprises – SMEs. Learn how to use the telephone effectively – there’s some advice about this in Section 2. may not advertise so as not to be inundated with applications. 2.1 Applying for hidden jobs Hidden jobs are produced: • by organisational changes that make old jobs obsolete and create new ones. Consider what you can do for them. 38 To find out more.4 Finding vacancies When it comes to job vacancies. and what benefits you hope to gain from the experience. including those in organisations you’ve already worked for (if any). • Think about doing voluntary work. • Find out about getting appropriate training or study with work experience. • Use employment agencies.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. To succeed.org. • Find contacts in the sorts of organisation and job you’d really like. and to foster contacts.
Demonstrate that they can’t afford not to employ you. promotion and retirement continually create new job opportunities. Turnover. • Look at company websites and find out more about them.uk/links/occupations to see if there are any. You’re not asking for a job or hoping there might be a vacancy. Remember. Treat the employer as a client. Thompson Directory. It isn’t enough just to wait for jobs to be advertised in the media. jobs and areas most appeal to you. for example. selection dates.ac.4. Your letter. nor appropriate in some areas of employment. com) • Specialist trade directories for different occupational areas. teaching. relocating? Use all your information sources and network contacts (which we will discuss in more detail below) to select a portfolio of companies.g. Be prepared to negotiate. This approach isn’t comfortable for some people for example. for instance. show where you can fit in. Marketing yourself means keeping ahead of the competition. even open jobs are hidden during the early stages. The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book. • Always follow up If you hear nothing within two weeks of writing.open. Offer dates and times. You’re making a business proposition. and concentrate on those. • Consult the main directories in your local reference library. visit our website at www. Convince employers that you have exactly the skills they need to solve their business problems. Be flexible.2 Making speculative approaches Please note that making speculative approaches to companies is not permitted in Northern Ireland. You decide which organisations. • Get a meeting No one ever got a job merely by writing a letter. reorganising. explaining what you offer and what you can do. Does the profession you’re interested in produce one? Use www. perhaps to arrange a meeting through a secretary.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. Yellow Pages. sectors. Get any agreements – proposals or contracts – in writing as soon as you can.uk/careers 39 . telephone call or email must reach the right person. • Give a specific reason for contact Have a peg to hang your letter on. And be sure you can deliver the goods! • When you meet Be businesslike and professional in making your proposals. develop or help it become more effective. KOMPASS (www.3 To make an effective speculative contact • Pick out likely targets Be discriminating and choose worthwhile prospects. follow up by telephone. advertising space and so on. To find out more. job titles and addresses are correct. You’re not sending out a mail drop or a circular letter. • Contact a named individual Approach only the person who can take the decision to employ or help you (you might be asking for information rather than a job). Prepare for the meeting as you would for a job interview. Consider what’s right for you and your ‘target’ area. Be prepared to fit in with the employer’s availability. 2. You must prepare a thoroughly argued case to prove that the cost of employing you is more than outweighed by the benefits. there may be a possibility of employing you for a particular shortterm project. To get started try: • General trade directories e. You want a meeting: say so clearly when you write. Economic. Check with the organisation to make sure that names. If a fulltime appointment isn’t practical. Research the organisation.prospects. Each approach must be tailor made and will take time to prepare. Familiarise yourself with its problems and needs. This approach gives you the initiative. The effective job-seeker must tap the hidden market by making speculative approaches to prospective employers. Speculative approaches can even create new jobs. 2. Prove that they need your abilities and would benefit from your expertise. Ask questions about the employer’s needs. ac. a very nervous jobhunter. while decisions are being made about internal versus external recruitment campaigns.kompass. and how you would improve. Which organisations have the sort of position that attracts you? Who is recruiting. showing how your abilities can contribute to the success of the enterprise.4. technological and organisational change always affect employment patterns.
Make a note of the advertising patterns: you will find that most of the quality daily papers (The Times. start planning early in your job search. Because advertising in national newspapers is costly. Each rejection may be one step nearer to the job you want. 40 To find out more. especially in particular companies • get an introduction to a key decision-maker in a company. Local and regional papers sometimes concentrate their job advertisements on Thursdays. as recruiters seldom place their advertisements more than once. Independent. the day on which most papers are sold.com 2. Show initiative by telephoning or emailing if you need to know more.uk/careers .4 Networking In the 2003/4 Destination of Leavers Survey. If you are an OU student. Making speculative contacts can pay off in several ways.uk/links/occupations 2.5 below. always follow the instructions given. trade and professional journals Professional associations Recruitment agencies Executive search firms In all these cases. 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. At first. visit our website at www. Make the most of it.ac. Even if you have no luck with a particular employer. During holiday periods. whom you can convince of your qualities as a candidate. You may have to do some detective work if the advertisement doesn’t give a telephone number. Many employers send very poor information.prospects.thepaperboy. or none at all. August to mid-September and December. look for sources through www.5 Applying for advertised jobs Many jobs are of course advertised and here we look at where. At the start. after an initial refusal. If it says write. Guardian. The big Sunday papers advertise a variety of jobs. 2.6 Replying to advertised jobs If you reply to an advertisement. Daily Telegraph. advertising is reduced. The best place to consult newspapers and journals is your local library or online if you have access to the internet.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Take a long-term view It takes time to build up a mailing list. 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. telephone or email for an application form.7 Newspapers and journals You will find many job vacancies advertised in newspapers and specialist or trade journals. ‘Networking’ is the systematic use of personal contacts to: • gather information about an industry or company • discover hidden jobs. you may need to look at them every day. Each employer you see is a new contact. 2. But experience supports the practical wisdom of doing so. If you’re going to make speculative approaches. and familiarise yourself with the kinds of advertisement placed in each paper. about the job advertised or the selection methods they use. but their relatively high advertising rates tend to restrict the salary range to the higher end. Use these meetings to get more information about the job market. Make a note of advertising patterns in your local press.open. You will find links to national and regional papers from www. • Persevere Occasionally persistence will pay off and.4.open. 21 per cent of OU students reported that they had got their job as a result of personal contacts and networking. go to www. Remember every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’! • • • • • The internet Newspaper. or to concentrate on particular companies just because they appeal to you. We will deal with networking in more detail in Section 2. Here you will find links to jobs notified to the OU Careers Service and access to other UK wide and local vacancies. • develop further contacts to expand your network.4. it may seem a little strange to seek out hidden jobs. 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. For now.4. 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. there’s no point in sending a CV. you may be offered a meeting. and responses may be slow and few.ac.4.ac. you may be referred or recommended to another. Financial Times) advertise certain kinds of work on particular days of the week.uk/ careers and to the section entitled ‘Moving on’ and look at the ‘Advertised Jobs’ and ‘Virtual Employer Fair’ pages.
Remember that it’s there to fill its clients’ posts.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. 2. the British Psychological Society and the Training and Development Agency for Schools. They often act for small to medium-sized employers that have no personnel or recruitment departments of their own. not to help you sort out your career plans. have a regional education or training officer and sometimes specialist careers adviser whom you can contact.ac.8 Professional associations Many professional associations and institutions. about what the agency is offering you.4.cbdresearch. To find out more.uk/careers 41 . for example.9 Recruitment agencies Recruitment agencies tend to deal with lowerlevel salaried positions. visit our website at www.4.com and in most major libraries.open. Some produce yearbooks and lists of members. Many specialise in particular kinds of work or industry. Be clear. and in some areas of employment (such as medical sales) they are almost the standard source of recruits. Addresses and other details are in the Directory of British Associations at www. usually a percentage of your first year’s salary. Services are free to you – the employing company is charged a fee. though.
if the website’s main interest is simply to capture personal details and sell on a CV. If you decide to use a search firm. Always try to cross-check information.uk/links/MyProspects 42 To find out more.html You can also register free on My Prospects. They are of two main kinds: • Fee/assignment firms are given sole charge of a particular search. Remember that: • Websites may not always deliver what they promise.open. 2. Sometimes contingency firms will distribute your CV widely in the hope of generating new business.com • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is the national association for the recruitment and staffing industry.strath. Most consultants limit interviews and initially are likely to carry out a telephone screening with you. search firms may deal with a limited type of vacancy.uk. published annually by Kogan Page. You can access this at: www.rec. You can search for agencies by geographical location and by type of work from their website at: www. they prefer to receive a CV to judge whether you fit what they have on their books at that moment.careers. Bear in mind that not all sites offer confidentiality. If they send you to an interview they’ll want to know how things went. specialist IT skills. and always include details of your former salary and the range you’re looking for. There are also opportunities to ‘post’ your CV on the web. their role is limited by the high fees they charge to employers (typically 30–35 per cent of annual salary). • It’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees – not everyone has a brilliant web designer. edited by Patricia Leighton. or when commercial confidentiality is essential. You could find yourself treated like a trading commodity.11 The internet Most jobs are now advertised on the internet through national websites directly associated with particular careers. You can also receive the Prospects Graduate Digital magazine.000. Although some firms deal only with positions above £50. As a result. • Websites sometimes go online while still under development.uk/careers . 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.4.10 Executive search firms There are more than 200 executive search firms in the UK.uk/graduatejobsearch/ index. • Contingency firms are paid only when the company hires someone they have presented. As noted above. You can find this at: www. The average search firm has only three or four consultants.ac. You can find addresses of search firms in The Daily Telegraph’s Recruitment Handbook. Try to make sure you use vetted or recommended websites only to post your CV. they can be a useful source of information about how you were received by the client.com Consultants often don’t share information with one another.ac. Most graduate recruiters now recruit online as well as using other methods. they’re worth considering if you have skills that are in short supply – accountancy is a particular example. visit our website at www. similarly. 2.prospects. and your personal details may become public property. so if you apply to a large firm operating in many locations you need to send your CV to all of them. Some employers let more than one contingency firm work on a particular job. or are marketable enough to fit something that might turn up in the future. While they are important in the market place.4. Further resources Look at the following website developed by Strathclyde University Careers Service which directs job seekers to vetted job websites.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. 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. They tend to be used for jobs that are at a high level or require scarce specialist skills for example.badenochandclark.ac. They may interview you and construct a pen picture to go with your CV. send a CV and covering letter. They get most of their fee whether the employer hires their candidates or not. Many sites change rapidly and there are no guarantees about the accuracy of the information displayed. They receive enormous numbers of CVs and often don’t bother to acknowledge them. They seldom divulge information about their clients.
or to refer you to someone else who can. keep a record of each letter. so that you don’t get confused over important details. so it’s difficult to judge what impression you’re making. Some people are natural and relaxed on the telephone. you may be able to discover: • • • • • a company’s competitive position whether it’s in a state of growth. they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. 2.1 Approaching your contacts You need to decide how you will approach your contacts. 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. especially those in the function that interests you. Unease usually arises from the misconception that using contacts means asking people for jobs. Your network of contacts can include friends. the impression you make • get you noticed. Through building up a network of contacts.5. information and ideas. By telephone Your first approach is likely to be by telephone. Put contacts at ease about this to avoid embarrassment. It’s often difficult getting through to someone during the day. even after years of practice. telephone call. Pause for thought Perhaps you feel uncomfortable about networking in this fashion. voluntary work or casual part-time jobs. 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 very succinct. In fact. tutors. To take some of the stress out of the situation. Be persistent. what you’re doing is making the most of them as sources of advice. Others. or telephoning to follow up a contact you’ve been given or to make an appointment for an interview. conversation and so on. stability or decline its working climate and culture its business strategy the background of key managers. but they can become your publicity agents and your information sources. how do you build your network? Your primary contacts are people who know you directly. own business contacts. Make a note in your career file of your list of contacts. fellow students. As you work towards developing and extending your network. smiles and so on. all potential sources of information or advice.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.open. plan the format and content of your call: To find out more.1 Building up a network Draw up a list of everyone who might be able to help you – friends.uk/careers 43 . A number of methods are possible but you need to decide what is right for you. what is appropriate for the area of work and what might be effective. family. 2. visit our website at www. So.5 Building a network of contacts Personal contacts can be a fantastic source of help in your job search. They may not have the job openings you want. Think what they can do for you: • keep you informed • comment on your strategy and approach. Getting the approach right is important. Busy managers are usually in early and late. or they may lead to other secondary sources.5. relatives. Some will be able to give you names of their Activity 2.2 Using the telephone effectively You may be making a speculative call. Even if these people can’t help you themselves. former colleagues.ac. any business contacts you have. You don’t get the usual clues from nods. are stilted and anxious. so try outside normal office hours if you can. Most people will be only too glad to help.
> Re-read the advice in Section 4 about job applications and interviews. and to read the following example. they are likely to have general knowledge about making contacts. you might find it helpful to look again at the advice in Section 2-3 ‘Creative job search’. • State the objectives of your call. • Try to avoid being interviewed over the phone unless this is pre-arranged. • Get the contact interested straight away – make notes beforehand of what you want to say. and decided on further preparation. Pause for thought Meetings need to be well planned and purposeful.ac. 2. It was produced by one of the students who tried out this pack before publication and was preparing to approach a particular company. Whilst this person won’t necessarily be familiar with a specific company. > Talk again to contacts. I set up an appointment with her. prospects for development/training/promotion).g. • Get to the point quickly – treat it like a minicommercial for yourself. as follows: > Carry out more research on the company (e. > List which issues I want to investigate (e.5. • Offer your telephone number or email in case of a change in arrangements. possible openings.open. using published sources.4 Career Links As an OU student.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. before you talk to your contacts. • 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. to get a ‘feel’ for the culture.ac. you can register with Career Links. • Suggest times and dates for an appointment. visit our website at www. • Introduce yourself succinctly.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • If they have a secretary. journal and newspaper stories).uk/careers . 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. exposure to risk. and how I am going to present myself.open. For a productive meeting. • Clarify the exact place of the appointment. 2. get their full name if you can. considering what further preparation you need at this point. etc. you need a carefully planned agenda. Other people have their own agendas. Make sure that you’ve done your research thoroughly. • Use the name of the referral source discreetly. (A discussion with an ex-employee could be particularly revealing. preferably decision-makers for your kind of job who you can ask about opportunities in the industry. and there’s a lot to cover in twenty minutes. Before reading on. 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. 44 To find out more. (Think about what sort of help the company may need.5.) – Put myself in the shoes of my prospective boss. political battles. They will respect you more and be more prepared to help if they have evidence of your professional approach.) > How do my strengths match the needs? > Plan which of my strengths/ accomplishments I am going to mention. trading problems/ opportunities (for me).uk/careers/links Pause for thought Building a network of contacts plays a key part in creative job search. You can access career links at: www.g.
co. ac.do-it. You will also find links to professional bodies and related sites from the ‘Broad Career Areas’ within the above site. 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.lgjobs.co.com allows you to search by occupation and location.gov.uk/careers. 2.uk Employee Volunteering www.ac.ac.thepaperboy. Use it to mention an achievement related to the job you’re seeking and strike a chord of need in the reader.cev.uk Search facility with links to regional. etc.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Note in your career file what preparation you want to make at this point.charitypeople.ac.org.com Job Centre vacancies are online at www.uk Do-it-: search this database for a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the UK. Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ offers advice to help you with the practical side of drawing up a letter to accompany a CV. Go to www. and prune ruthlessly. • Get someone else to check your spelling.connexions-direct. To find out more.employeevolunteering.5. Local centres seek to place people into suitable voluntary work – meals on wheels. etc. 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. hobbies.org. For example.co. outline how you tackled it and state what results you got.charityjob.uk Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) www. Be critical over matters of style. membership.open.htm lists member organisations for EU countries including the UK and Ireland. visit our website at www.org.uk CR Search and Selection www.) To decrease expenses To obtain specialist expertise that leads to an increase of sales or a decrease in expenses On the Prospects site you can register free and have information about jobs emailed to you.be/members. Further resources For further information and resources go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www. you may find the following websites helpful for exploring opportunities to work with charities and voluntary organisations: Charity Job www. grammar and layout.uk Citizens Advice www. In addition.5 Drawing up your letter When it comes to drawing up a letter. describe a relevant problem.citizensadvice. Includes non graduate jobs on this site www.5.uk Community Service Volunteers www.org. Your letter must list accomplishments that correspond to these reasons.vso.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.com/uk/ Local Government Jobs at www. • You should include Key achievements and relevant experience Only the last five to ten years A maximum of two uncrowded pages • Exclude Personal data (marital status.jobs.org.jobcentreplus.prospects. A speculative letter will need many drafts in order to polish it.crsearch.uk/careers 45 . etc.uk The European Volunteer Centre www.uk along with links to information about New Deal initiatives.csv. If you are a student.uk Charity People www. 2.) Dates Salary Copies of references • The first paragraph is crucial. national and international newspapers www.open.6 Voluntary work Voluntary work can be a fantastic way of getting experience and building networks as well as showing commitment to an area you are interested in. From here you can link to the various volunteer bureaus for your areas of the UK www.
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
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3.open.uk/careers .3 Balance helpful resources against restrictions Now look back to the restrictions and resources you listed.ac. visit our website at www.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. Each restriction is set against a helping resource. 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. giving a balanced picture of the situation. 50 To find out more. What actions would help you to reduce their effects? You’ve now listed actions you can take towards your goals. 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. Activity 3. It was produced by someone who wanted to apply for promotion. but there’s more to do.3 Look first at the example below.2. The next activity will help with this. What actions would help you to make the most of them? Minimise restrictions Now look at the restrictions you underlined.
uk/careers 51 . 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. You should also be clear about the main helping forces and problems you need to deal with. Actions Attend course on finance for non-managers Attend outside course in the evenings Find out about the budget process Family support Now do this for each of the actions you listed. visit our website at www.open.3 continued Bring actions and resources together List the resources that can help you to carry out each step. Look at the example.ac. To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 3. ‘No experience of managing budgets’ was listed as a problem.
You should consider five factors when drawing up your action plan: 1 2 3 4 5 What you need to do How you are going to take action Resources that could help you (e. If. So. To discover what kind of decision maker you are. and perhaps discuss your plans either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser.3.ac. but you’re setting out on a potentially exciting journey. try the learndirect activity at: www. Put a note in your diary or ask someone to remind you. you’ll have to revise it. visit our website at www.learndirect-advice. and then revise your targets if necessary. You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations. This means taking a few different steps: • Setting out your goals (long. you still find that you’re unable to reach your goal. If you don’t manage to meet your goals it may be that your first plan wasn’t good enough.uk/careers and find ‘Action Planning and Decision Making’ using the ‘A-Z’. You might need to gain experience or qualifications. You may need to improve it or change it completely. friends) When you will achieve your targets How you will know when you have achieved your goal Pause for thought You might want to complete action plans for several goals.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3. If you want to plan your career effectively. 52 To find out more. achievable. measurable. with all its potential for improvement and advancement. Further resources Look at the careers website at: www.com Action plans need to be SMART (specific. You could also look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. finance. time based). it might be necessary to go through several stages.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. you’re ready to start taking action. 3. gather information or get access to a particular resource. Review At this stage it might be useful to read through the work you’ve done in this section. after doing that. information.windmillsprogramme.g. 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. To achieve what you want.1 Back-up plan You should always try to have a back-up plan. Set aside time to review your goals and see how you are progressing. realistic. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life.co.3 Plan of action The next stage is to bring everything together into a detailed plan of action. you might have to reconsider it. you are going to amass a lot of information from which you will need to identify realistic options and create suitable goals. Once you’ve done this. This process will involve making a number of decisions. Ask yourself. If you monitor your progress by checking your plan from time to time you can identify what you have achieved.ac. keep an eye on progress and adapt your plan if necessary.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. ‘Is it realistic?’ If it isn’t.uk/careers .
g.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.uk/careers Tomorrow Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 53 .ac.Activity 3. then fill in your own plan on the following page.open. weekly Find someone else keen to do it To find out more. visit our website at www.4 Showing a worked example of an action plan Look at the worked example below. 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.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 54 Actions required Constraints Resources.ac.who or what can help me? Target date for actions Activity 3.4 Your action plan To find out more.uk/careers My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal . visit our website at www.open.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.open. visit our website at www.ac.uk/careers 55 .
uk/careers 57 . In addition to working hard to gain a good degree.3 4.’’ Carl Gilleard.1 4.5 4.1 overleaf is taken and adapted from the 2006 version of What do Graduates do? It shows very clearly what types of skill employers want. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Getting the job In this section 4.2 4. Association of Graduate Recruiters ‘What do Graduates 2006 do?‘ (HECSU/AGCAS/AGR/UCAS) Analysis of years of national employer surveys suggests the desired skills of graduates fall into four broad areas: 1 Self-reliance skills 2 People skills 3 General employment skills 4 Specialist skills. 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. They particularly value skills such as communication. Table 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 4. teamworking and problem solving.4 4.1 What do employers look for in graduates? ‘‘A degree alone is not enough. Chief Executive.open. Together they make up what is referred to as ‘employability skills’. Equally importantly perhaps. 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’. 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. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. Confederation of British Industry. visit our website at www. it shows you how these specific skills can be developed: To find out more.ac.’’ Digby Jones.6 4. Director-General.
ambitious Networking – initiator. e. trustworthy. focused. drive.uk/careers . competitive. languages. 58 To find out more. engineering. relationship-builder. planner. NVQ qualification. use of IT.ac. roles within work e. software packages Numeracy – accurate. results skills orientated Flexibility – versatile. caring. Roles within your working situation. coordinating others Self-reliance skills Self-awareness – purposeful. work responsibilities in a team.g. assertive Oral communication – communicator. European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). enthusiastic Self-promotion – positive. coordinator. sport. 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. able to prioritise People skills Team working – supportive. web design skills. organised. journalism. accounting. visionary Customer orientation – friendly. voluntary work. first aid at work qualification. travel. deliverer Caring responsibilities. co-operative. member of orchestra.g. keyboard skills. risk taker IT/computer literacy – office skills.open. multi-skilled Business acumen – entrepreneurial. sales Source: HECSU.g. methodical Commitment – dedicated. AGCAS. Involvement in community groups. work experience OU study. IT Technical skills – e. diplomatic Foreign language – specific language skills General employment Problem-solving – practical. quick-thinker. self-belief. resourceful Planning action – decision-maker. realistic Interpersonal skills – listener. logical. fundraising for charity. motivated. UCAS and AGR Roles within the home – budgeting. guide/scout leader. willing. persistent.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Table 4. language skills. conscientious Specialist skills Specific occupational skills – specialist relevant knowledge. work and education OU study. influencer Leadership – motivator. self-reliant Willingness to learn – inquisitive. adviser.1. Proactivity – resourceful. visit our website at www. Roles within the home – planning. presenter. energetic.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook The requirements an employer sets out in a job advertisement are likely to be much more specific. 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. Analyse each noun and adjective for its implications. So. low key. First of all you need to read between the lines. For example.2 Matching vacancies You’ve seen a vacancy advertised that you’d like to apply for. You may have to motivate yourself with little support or encouragement. 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. As we show here. as the contact will form an impression of you from the very beginning. What are you looking for. Rehearse your introduction and be prepared for the question. They’re usually set out under headings such as experience. (It might help to refer to Section 1. • Location and geographical mobility How far would you travel each day? Would you consider moving house? If you need to travel around.open. If the opportunities seem limited. ‘What would you like to know about us?’ Be ready to highlight your suitability for the post. qualifications and personal qualities. visit our website at www. The advert should specify what the employer is 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. ‘committed self starter’ could imply that there’ll be little supervision. Now you want to make sure you have a ‘match’. before finding out more about the position. but may also mean that no training is provided. or even in the face of resistance. 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. do you need a driving licence. flamboyant. ‘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. but you have to be aware of the going rate for that occupation. • Prospects What opportunities are there for advancement in this job? The employer may be looking for evidence of your willingness and ability to progress. you need to try and match yourself to the requirements of the job to judge whether or not you want to apply for it. Look at your advertisement and analyse it under these headings: • Style and language What’s the general style of the advertisement – formal. 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. 4. even a brief newspaper advertisement can reveal a great deal of useful information.ac. it’s important to see how you can use it to develop your skills and experience.) To find out more. so you need to consider how you can show that you meet the requirements. attention seeking? What does this tell you about the organisation? What is the vocabulary used to describe the organisation – ‘dynamic’.uk/careers 59 . Find out what this will mean in practice. and be honest about whether your personality and needs match what the employer wants.2. but be prepared when you do. nobody will do it for you! 4. • Salary Usually a good guide to the level of qualifications and experience required. you need to analyse the information you already have. Remember to use this evidence when you apply for jobs! If you don’t shout about it.
> I have also organised and facilitated presentations to local schools and governors using a variety of media. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Look at the following example.uk/careers . current part-time study. Example Vacancy: Fundraiser for Scottish Wildlife Preservation Society Analysis of key requirements Experience Numeracy e. > I am a regional fundraiser for BTCV and the PDSA.g.g. tutorials and revision alongside a part-time job and voluntary work. > Worked in Windows based environment for numerous holiday jobs – secretarial role. Here the key experience requirements are listed. This is a useful way of approaching any job advert. > I work alternate Sundays at the local animal hospital as a volunteer. > Marketing module completed as part of my degree studies (12 months) – identifying. My evidence 60 To find out more. visit our website at www. > Responsible for assessing potential expenditure in terms of value for money and taking appropriate action to ensure this is achieved.g. Treasurer of Residents’ Association: > Draw up budget bids or plans within agreed guidelines and procedures for submission to internal and external bodies. > 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. assignments. Keyboard skills > Self-taught packages in order to produce a dissertation for my degree. > I have worked unsupervised as a treasurer for a local Residents Association for two years and have always met deadlines for reports. Ability to work on own e. Presentation skills > I have used Power Point to present information on the decline of local bird populations to a community group and to councillors. anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. Marketing knowledge > Temporary job (with full induction and training) over two summer holidays as a market research interviewer.open. and the second column shows how a candidate would provide evidence of having the necessary experience. Interest in wildlife e.ac. > I am an avid reader and subscriber of the Warbler and make regular contributions to this national magazine. as it helps you to focus on the important aspects as you complete your application form or prepare a CV.
look at the occupational information on the Prospects website: www. These kinds of activities are really helpful in preparing for the completion of application forms or for producing your CV.ac.uk/links/occupations Whichever way you choose.open.ac. ask yourself: • Does the work genuinely interest me? • Does it match my personality.uk/careers.uk. values. Vacancy/job description: Analysis of key requirements My evidence If you are an OU student.open. You should also take a look at Section 4.ac.jobs. you can also try the ‘Job Analysis Activity’ on the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www.uk/careers 61 .4. To find out more. Alternatively. try to produce evidence of your suitability against each point.10 below. If you don’t have a specific one in mind you might look in a careers publication or website such as www. In the right-hand column.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. Go to the section ‘Personal and Career Development’ from the site map.ac. note down in the left-hand column the key characteristics and requirements of your selected vacancy. visit our website at www. interests.1 Begin by looking at an advert or job description for a position that interests you. 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.prospects.
open. If you do.g. • Be sure to answer all the elements of each question (e. and not only for senior jobs. You’ll come to some sample questions below in Section 4. If you haven’t looked at employers’ application forms for some time. it shouldn’t just repeat what’s on your form. an NHS Trust). If a question doesn’t apply to you. OU students can access this on the Careers Advisory Service website. Most are intended for a wide variety of posts in the organisation (e.2 Filling in your form • Complete all sections of the form. Keep the following points in mind when it comes to completing an application form: • The purpose of a completed application form. In fact. When completing online forms you may find that some of your experiences do not fit neatly into the categories provided. underlined topic headings. unless you’re told that you must not attach any other papers. to clarify your points. You may find the Select Simulator useful for practising completing online forms. as most organisations will have comprehensive information on their websites. • If there isn’t enough space for factual information (e. • Usually. if possible. We suggest you contact the employer for advice on how to approach this.1 Before you start your application form • Find out as much as you can about the vacancy and the organisation. Use it effectively to include or to emphasise information that you think is relevant and isn’t allowed for on the form. • Make a photocopy of the blank form (or print it from the screen) and use it for your rough draft. graduate engineer). ‘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. • When answering extended (multi-part) or difficult questions. as that makes them difficult to read. • Remember that presentation can be as important as content. the space allowed for each question indicates its relative importance. Look for ‘online applications’ in the ‘A–Z’.2 . think of: 62 To find out more. the principles for completing application forms are very similar. you may be surprised at the probing nature of some of the questions they ask. also. Convince them that they need to see you.g. • Don’t cram sections too full. • If there isn’t enough space for general interest information (e. Ask the organisation for more details and. don’t send a CV instead. what do you contribute and what do you get out of them?’). etc.ac. 4. because many large employers now optically scan applications to enter them into their recruitment databases. Whatever format they come in though. You can also research online. Often – but not always – you’re told that you may also enclose a CV. Some are designed for recruiting people for a particular function or training scheme (e. addresses and dates of all previous employers’). ‘Give names. Being able to write succinctly is evidence of your written communication skills. Layout can help – consider using bullet points. This means that on an initial read through they may spend as little as two minutes looking at your form.3.g. visit our website at www. attach a separate sheet.3. • Comply with instructions such as using black ink or block capitals. • 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.g. • Read through the whole form before you fill in any of the sections. ‘What are your spare time activities.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. • Many larger employers ask you to complete an online application. the kind of person the organisation wants to employ.3. write ‘N/A’ or ‘Not applicable’ to show that you haven’t overlooked it.uk/careers .g. If you’re asked to submit an application form. Bear in mind that employers often receive a lot of forms. 4.3 Application forms Application forms come in all shapes and sizes. so it is crucial that you sell yourself effectively. is to get an interview. • Your aim is to convince the employer that you’re worth interviewing – you appear to be a suitable candidate for the job and. most large organisations now make their forms available online (which can save you time and postage). visit a career service or large library to look for other information. You must keep to the prescribed format.
flexibility and time management skills. ideally get someone else to check rather than relying on a spell checker.5 above) and some look for a mixture of both. 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. Practise answering the typical questions in the next activity.3.2. • Use an envelope of suitable size so that the form isn’t folded. Inaccuracy in one section can raise doubts about other areas of the form. Always send it by first class post.g. 4. If you’ve been unemployed. working odd hours. one should be an academic referee. If possible. to be a teacher) while some put emphasis on transferable skills (which you dealt with in Section 1. You can often use the same material.ac. ‘I worked as a volunteer classroom assistant for three years’ rather than ‘I love children’). handling money. the name and address of the person you sent the form to. If you are a student. with a little editing. Be convincing. but mention any part-time or voluntary work you did during that period.uk/careers 63 . Give evidence and avoid bland generalities (e. and keep them well briefed so that they can write supportive references. • Make a copy of your completed form so that you can re-read it before the interview. give fuller details of your course than you would if it’s not particularly relevant. interests and skills the employer is looking for) Make your points relevant.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. Get your referees’ agreement before giving their names. You’ll rarely find the perfect application form that exactly suits your background and experience.3 Skills you have attained as an OU student As an Open University student. Generalised waffle convinces no one. or not more than once.open. 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. Usually. Leave no unexplained gaps in your employment record.g. Tailor your responses to the post you’re applying for. ask someone else to look over your application before you send it. working under pressure. and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied and pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop. Your regional centre can provide you with a confidential reference – name the Regional Director as the referee. say so.open. self-discipline. in your use of personal pronouns). Make the most of these skills as well as your academic success. visit our website at www. Use the ‘any other information’ section to draw attention to activities and qualities not covered elsewhere on the form. Use positive language. If you’re applying for a job related to your degree subject. go to the sections on ‘Personal and Career development’ and ‘Moving on’.g.3. Make sure you’ve been consistent in style (e. Look at Section 6 if you are or have been an offender. Some jobs may require subject-specific knowledge (e. You may be able to look back at the course descriptions To find out more.ac. It’ll also take some of the tedium out of tackling other forms. and the date you sent it. dealing with members of the public. Be positive and honest. • Look over the presentation. If you want to do this in a more structured way. It is up to you to pick these out from your own experience so that you can present this on an application form. 4. These may have been expressed as learning outcomes.4 When you’ve completed the form • Check it thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors.uk/careers. not ‘we’). another someone you’ve worked for who can write about you as an employee. Learning outcomes will give you some help in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. interesting and personal (say ‘I’. • Make a note of the job you’ve applied for. You’ll need to adapt your answers to the questions you find. you can stress the personal qualities and skills that OU study demands.g. Every employer values determination. for several applications. give their full titles and status. If appropriate. They can help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. there are a number of resources in the Careers Advisory Service website at www.
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.2 Read the sample questions below. Explain why we should select you ahead of other candidates.ac.uk/careers . Look back at the answers you gave to Activity 1. 64 To find out more. Include such details as your achievements and responsibilities. Go for key points and give evidence from your record. This section will tell them more about you as an individual than any other part of the form. Question 2 Outline any activities you have planned and organised. the people. There is 80mm space available on the form. Every word should justify its inclusion. You’ll need a lot of time. Question 3 Write a short autobiography. your ambitions and aspirations. events or experiences that have influenced you. All are genuine questions from graduate application forms used by large companies. Question 1 On the first page of this application you stated a preference for a particular job or function.1 and consider answers based on the evidence you’ve already gathered. Remember to cover ‘planned.’ ‘what you did’ and ‘results’. There is 30mm space available on the form to show that you understand what the job involves and what you have to offer. drafts and fine tuning.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4.open.’ ‘organised. visit our website at www. Tell us what you did and how you achieved results.
The right one is the one that works for you in your situation and succeeds in getting you interviews. some professions. Most people tend to prefer one style over the others (though as you will see. 4. when it comes to preparing your CV.4.uk/careers 65 . such as the legal profession. it should be flexible enough to allow modification to match the job you’re seeking. In addition.2 What style of CV? The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation it’s addressed to. However. it’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you. 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. look at: www.) And you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter. 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). as well as the work I want? There’s no right or wrong way to write a CV. 4. some job areas have expectations that a particular kind of CV is submitted. 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). Whichever format you choose. your CV doesn’t need to conform to a set format. 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. but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual company. Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements.open. 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.prospects. You want to make sure that you present yourself positively and accurately.4. When researching jobs.4. a CV is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you. content and design to show off your strengths and present you in the most positive light. it is useful to highlight this in a separate section as it draws attention to it. For instance. For example. look at what the expectations might be.ac.open. 4.4.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.uk/careers Alternatively.4 – 4. (So you may in fact be doing just that. When you have work experience that is directly relevant. you need to make a decision about the kind of CV to use as most employers will not specify. my strengths and qualities? • What experiences shall I emphasise? • How can the style of my CV match the culture of the organisation(s) I’m sending it to. You can tailor the style. To use the same approach for. say. Bear this in mind when you design your own CV.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.4 The curriculum vitae (CV) Like an application form. for tips and example CVs. prefer CVs in a chronological format. Be prepared then to spend a considerable amount of time on creating and reworking an effective document. a financial institution or a local authority might have an adverse effect. Instead. go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website and choose the ‘Moving on’ section if you are a student at: www.1 The importance of tailoring your CV However.7 below. The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight. For more information on CVs.ac.ac. not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies you found in the Yellow Pages. and what to leave out or minimise. an academic CV is used mainly for applying for academic posts). visit our website at www. This is only likely to work if you always apply for the same function in several very similar organisations.uk/links/CVwriting We also show you sample CVs in Sections 4. So. To find out more. For most jobs. so you have more control over the impression it will create.
com Profile An experienced. This lists jobs by date. highly motivated CIMA professional with in-depth knowledge of the financial services and strong team-working skills. beginning with the most recent. As a result. The chronological CV Malcolm Lewis 16 London Road Portsmouth PO9 6AL Tel.ac.4 The chronological CV You are probably most familiar with a chronological CV.4. visit our website at www. if you’ve changed jobs frequently. In addition. the period you were employed.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. • It allows prospective employers to see very quickly how an individual has progressed and increased responsibility. showing the name of each employer. the disadvantages to a chronological CV are that any gaps in your employment stand out.uk/careers . • It has for many years been recognised as a standard approach to CVs. your job title(s). where you worked. The advantages of a chronological CV are: • It can be very easy to produce. looking for an opportunity to take on wider responsibilities within the industry. responsibilities and key achievements.open. with a chronological CV. Employment Current position: 1996 – Ace Holdings Plc Portsmouth Main responsibilities: Key achievements: • Preparing financial reports • Supervising office of 25 staff • Planned and co-ordinated computerisation of management accounts system • Trained staff in use of new system • Strengthened and simplified reporting of financial information • Reduced staff costs by 11% in 1999/2000 • Researched a detailed marketing study leading to refocused annual marketing plan • Negotiated £2m loan for major construction project • Handled credit analyses and made credit recommendations Deputy Finance Manager 66 To find out more. it can suggest instability and will require explanation – particularly if you’ve changed profession or career direction./fax 01903 562366 email mcrlewis@wizard. However. it isn’t always easy to spot key achievements or skills which might get ‘buried’ under different job titles.
handled cash Education 2001–2005 The Open University 1995–2000 The Open University Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Professional Diploma in Management. 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.uk/careers 67 . French Training 1990–95 Passed all stages of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants examinations Various short professional courses In-house interviewing. English. Chemistry. interviewed clients.open. History.ac. staff appraisal course Additional skills IT skills: competent in the use of Microsoft Office and SAGE financial management software. 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.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. visit our website at www.
a functional CV allows you to place more emphasis on relevant strengths and experience from earlier periods. as demonstrated by successful completion of my degree by part-time study while employed full time. This kind of CV shows that you’re conscious of the demands of the prospective employer and of what you have to offer. • Created computer applications for environmental microbiological trends for control of plant cleanliness. This facilitated a faster. • Developed and instituted a statistical quality control programme to cover all critical control points in the manufacturing process. Contributed to the development of a new line of Polish foods for wholesale distribution.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.com Skill profile A graduate biologist with strong food industry experience in quality assurance. analytic. The system alerts operators when to change the process parameters without disturbing production flow. Keen to find a challenging position that offers long-term potential in quality assurance and/or new product development. presented according to the function or responsibilities you’ve undertaken rather than according to individual jobs. more accurate means of inspection. Experience CONTINENTAL KITCHENS LTD. • You can group different achievements together to match the job that you are applying for. visit our website at www.5 The functional CV A functional CV focuses attention on your skills and achievements. • Formulated new and improved existing food products. • If your current or most recent experience isn’t related to the position you’re applying for. saving £200K annually.uk/careers . 01788 529445 email: Sandra@hotmail. Career orientated. Achievements • Analysed the quality assurance system at Continental Kitchens Ltd. resulting in significant improvement in overall sanitation.ac.4. Goal orientated. research and development and creation of new products. The disadvantages are that it takes more thought to prepare a functional CV and you have to ensure that it is clear and relevant to the chosen job without looking as though you might be hiding something! The Functional CV Sandra Simpson 5 Malvern Road Cherry Hinton Cambridge CB1 4LX Tel.open. highly organised and energetic. making recommendations for new procedures which led to an entirely new quality control system. Cambridge 1999 to present Quality Assurance Coordinator (2000) Quality Assurance Auditor (1999) Responsible for – all quality control. 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. Capable of achieving personal objectives. with a clear and concise vision of future objectives. Its advantages are: • It can highlight your skills rather than job changes.
On return to Britain. CB2 1PF Tel. Mathematics (D) 8 GCSEs Grove Comprehensive School Leicester 1986–1992 Additional information After ‘A’ levels. CB10 3QY Tel. 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).uk/careers 69 . 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). Full driving licence Referees Mrs Joan Whitaker Director of Quality Assurance Continental Kitchens Ltd 12–16 London Road Cambridge. 01223 599886 Regional Director The Open University in the East of England 12 Hills Road Cambridge.ac. From 1995–99. I gained employment as a research technician and applied to study part time with The Open University.open. visit our website at www. particularly scuba diving.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. I took time out of work to raise a family. 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. I have been interested in watersports since school. I took a ‘year out’ to travel the world and consider my future. 01233 364721 To find out more.
like the functional CV. dates and so on. Hons.6 The targeted CV A targeted CV is even more closely matched to the needs of a particular employer. N10 8EP TELEPHONE: 020 8887 5131 EMAIL: Vkozlowski@wizard. No less important has been my ability to express myself clearly and effectively both face-to-face and on paper. this one isn’t easy to prepare. and to resolving potentially disruptive differences of opinion.1 Courses chosen to obtain recognition by the British Psychological Society. implementation and evaluation of new systems and their effect on staff at all levels. Most candidates for managerial posts use this format. Sound judgement.open. Skill profile A Coordinator: As a project manager currently working simultaneously on a range of demanding projects. The disadvantages are that.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. • You can adapt it to suit the job you’re after without sacrificing quality.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. devising questionnaires and analysing data. 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.uk/careers . • It is more likely to catch the reader’s interest. Distinctions obtained in Social and Cognitive Psychology. with the skills required and the evidence of them clearly laid out at the beginning. This experience has shown me the importance of good interpersonal and communication skills. I have been responsible for cultivating a spirit of teamwork and cooperation. It has to change to match each job. in Biology: Brain and Behaviour. have been essential to the success of my section. It combines elements from both the chronological and the functional CV. whilst working in a team. The work involves planning. • You can lead the reader in the direction you want to go – your skills and achievements.4. and in Principles of Social and Educational Research.ac. followed by the details. I have become used to seeking and learning from criticism. BSc. A Participant: An Individual: An Enthusiast: Education 1987–1994 The Open University. making sure that I always fulfil my function and deliver to deadlines. believing that this is the key to achieving worthwhile results. I thrive on the challenge of change. 2. in projects and reports. autonomy and judgement. London. visit our website at www. combined with organisational sensitivity and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. My main research topic involved interviewing a wide cross-section of both adults and children in small groups and on an individual basis. The Targeted CV Vigla Kozlowski ADDRESS: 45 Longhurst Avenue. 70 To find out more. I am hardworking and have always put considerable energy and enthusiasm into all of my activities. I have to be able to prioritise work within both strict financial and time constraints and ensure that others do too. The advantages are: • It focuses straight away on your strengths. with all the time. Both my work as a nurse and in banking has demanded a high level of personal responsibility. effort and skill that implies.
• I spend one evening a week as a volunteer tutor with a literacy project. working with the personnel of companies and other institutions with a financial interest in the company’s future. so I decided to train at the local hospital. I decided to apply for a job and combine this with part-time study with The Open University. Lloyds Bank. As I had enjoyed the studying and wanted to further my academic studies in a related subject. Counter Clerk – Responsible for serving customers. 1989–1992 1987–1989 1986–1987 1983–1986 Additional skills • Sound working knowledge of Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. However. To find out more. pay and pensions. handling cash. in charge of four staff. Recruitment Officer – Recruitment interviewing. record keeping. Referees Names available on request. London Three ‘A’ levels: English (C). working with adults on a one-toone basis and in small groups. Lloyds Bank.ac. during my training I realised that this career was not for me.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1979–1983 Parsifal Comprehensive. Banking attracted me because it offered a structured training and a wide range of opportunities within each department. • I keep fit by swimming and running regularly each week. Activities and interests • I am teaching myself to play the saxophone and enjoy getting together with my friends for musical improvisation. frequently for larger loans. Dbase IV and Q&A databases and word-processing using Word 2000 and Word NT • Interviewing • Psychological test administration and interpretation • Car owner. three staff. Personnel Assistant – Personnel administration. Student Nurse Although I could have gone to university when I left school I had always wanted to be a nurse. I would now like to broaden my experience into personnel in a large retail organisation. This involves initial discussions with individuals and. Biology (D). Lloyds Bank. Full. clean driving licence. Finchley Road.uk/careers 71 .open. Chemistry (D) Training 1992 1987 IPM Certificate in Personnel Practice Lloyds Bank short in-house course in Personnel Management. Section leader with responsibility for the work of six staff who report directly to me. visit our website at www. Work experience 1992 to date. North London Hospital. Business Loans Section Responsible for assessing loan applications and making loan decisions. Lloyds Bank.
ac. Jordan and Dr.co.’ Modules studied included: cell biology. • Remember to include examples of the skills that you have developed through your research.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. genetics. These CVs place more emphasis on the subject matter of the degree and/or research and on the knowledge and achievements gained. 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. Milton Keynes. You should also include three referees rather than two. The Academic CV Hilary Michelle McArthur 18 Poole Avenue. Remember to emphasise the transferable skills that you have developed in undertaking higher level study.BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (first class) 1998– 2001 Dissertation project: ‘Autoimmunity: A genetic perspective. microbiology. you should consider a chronological. validated and implemented a “novel” assay to investigate leukocyte migration and survival. This was a broad-based degree in biochemistry with the second year spent studying at Oregon State University. 72 To find out more.PhD in Medicine 2002–2005 Thesis Title: The regulation of leukocyte migration away from the subendothelial compartment.open. MK6 3DY Tel. and physiology.uk EDUCATION The Open University . you should do this without using any subject-specific jargon so that it is understandable to the employer. Because of this.’ Modules studied included: tolerance and autoimmunity.uk/careers . academic CVs are often longer than other types of CV. such as communication. USA. analysis and working to deadlines. Supervisors: Professor R. haemopoietic cell differentiation and malignancies. University of Salford . James Project synopsis: Adapted.4.MSc in Immunology (distinction) 2001– 2002 Dissertation project: ‘Neutrophil spontaneous apoptosis is mediated through the acid sphingomyelinase dependent generation of ceramide. • If you are a postgraduate or research student who is applying for a job outside academia. D. it is expected that candidates (for academic jobs such as lecturer and postdoctoral research posts) will produce an academic CV. 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. transplantation biology and cell adhesion. visit our website at www.7 The academic CV For academic jobs in universities. skills or targeted CV.mcarthur@yahoo. depending on what you are applying for. University of Manchester . Identified phenotypic alterations in T-cell subpopulations following migration through an endothelialfibroblast bilayer. Systematically investigated the role of soluble mediators and adhesive interactions in the survival of neutrophils following transendothelial migration. oncology. immunology. 07900 543 21 E-mail: h. In presenting your research.
Laboratory Assistant. • Adaptation of a novel co-culture system: culture stromal cells on the apical and basal surface of Transwell inserts. January 2006 ABSTRACTS.. and a working knowledge of WinMDI and Image Pro. and McArthur. Jones. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. COMPUTER SKILLS Extensive experience of Microsoft Word. S. • Isolation of leukocytes subsets and endothelial cells. and McArthur. Student Mentor for the Open University’s Outreach Programme 2002 .. J. and McArthur. March 2005 Bennett.. H. Rapidly recruited TNF-stimulated endothelial cells – is this a novel route for neutrophil clearance from inflamed tissue? International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis. International Conference..M.M.2004 • Responsible for communicating and demonstrating technical skills to A level science students at a local college. Manchester.. July 2005 • Trained undergraduates in basic laboratory skills • Allocated tasks and ensured their completion. PUBLICATIONS Bennett. Jones..M. Scientific Laboratories. Jones. • Image-based analysis of leukocyte behaviour in static and flow adhesion and migration assays. Excel. Identification of a phenotypically and functionally distinct population of neutrophils in a model of reverse endothelial migration.uk/careers 73 . British Society of Immunology.open. H. POSTERS AND PRESENTATIONS Bennett. • Developed technical writing skills for industry purposes.. and McArthur.. Bennett A. J. • Marked undergraduate work and provided individual guidance to undergraduate students. visit our website at www. as well as showing visiting work experience students laboratory protocols.ac. H. Ceramide rich lipid rafts and acid sphingomyelinase activity are required for spontaneous neutrophil apoptosis. Summer 1998 • Worked independently on an assigned project. Layerton S. • Microscopy: phase contrast and fluorescence.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook RESEARCH EXPERIENCE AND TECHNICAL SKILLS • Development of static adhesion and migration assay.. J. and McArthur.M. H. A. A. (Paper submitted to the UK Medical Biology Journal) Bennett. To find out more. • Subcellular fractionation. July 2005. American Journal of Medicine. H. A. Salford. along with presentation and communication skills.. A. • Flow cytometry. RESEARCH AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE Tutor on an Open University Summer School. Layerton. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. 2004.M. PowerPoint and Prism.
It should be quite obvious what it is. content and layout. experience education training interests.ac. consider investing in an answering service or machine.uk Dr Steven Mayes s. visit our website at www. number and extension.ac. Employment experience Your aim here is to stress your achievements at work.4. number of children. you don’t need to give initials or middle names. Always give the full area code. but you may find the following ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ helpful. CVs usually contain: • • • • • • • • personal data employment.ac. but don’t give the address or the name of your manager at this stage.jordan2@open. 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. Include your mobile number if you have one.d. they’re unnecessary at this stage and may confuse matters.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).uk/careers . At home.mayes@open. Other personal details There’s no need to include such details as date of birth. 4. REFEREES Professor Rebecca Jordan r. say during the last ten years. personal profile (optional) references.ac. For more recent jobs. so that you can be reached as easily as possible. Address Be sure to give a full address with postcode.open.uk Dr David James d.r. If you’re employed and prospective employers can contact you during office hours. These are irrelevant on a CV. nationality. Received award for best overall academic achievement at the end of my BSc (2001).f.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). give your number and say that it’s a work number. However. Telephone It’s important to give a telephone number where you can be reached or where a message can be left. Personal data Name Give the name you want to be known by if you’re called for interview or appointed.g. You can discuss them at the interview if appropriate. marital status. give more detail about particular 74 To find out more. so that the caller will be discreet. when you have more opportunity to negotiate any difficulties. since invitations to interview are often sent at short notice and speedy delivery is in your interest. Include an email address if you have one. gender. Include the nature and place of your employer’s business if it isn’t obvious from the name. where your aim is to get yourself invited for interview.8 What to include (and not to include) in your CV Your CV is uniquely yours in style. activities additional skills career aims.james1@open.
They can also help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. • If you had a series of short-lived jobs and you want to abbreviate the list. • Be specific about what you studied in your Open University courses. you could say something like ‘In the five years 1995-2000 I worked in various temporary positions in the catering industry’. to be a teacher) while others place more emphasis on transferable skills (see Section 1. with appropriate detail. Education How far back should you go? School or young college-leavers should be quite explicit about their education since age 11. Of course. assignments and results achieved. But everyone agrees that the most relevant job should appear at the top of the list. This allows you to highlight the experience the employer is likely to be most interested in. then work backwards or forwards chronologically.ac. Whichever system you use. It can show that you have a well-rounded life and don’t live for work alone. If you’ve worked your way up from the bottom and lack formal qualifications altogether. Interests. so that the reader is encouraged to read on. state this. • Start with the most relevant work experience. some jobs do require subject-specific knowledge (e.uk/careers 75 . projects. names and towns. • If your qualifications were awarded overseas. preferably in quantitative terms. with figures such as staff. visit our website at www. that you keep yourself fit. e. activities This section has various uses. fulltime course. It is up to you to identify them from your own experience so that you can present this on a CV. 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. You might find the course descriptions and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied very useful: pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop. you could expand your work achievements and contract the education section. and highlight in a covering letter or skill section the personal qualities and skills that this kind of study requires. that you’re a sociable person who gets on with others. Your hobbies To find out more. • Divide your experience under the headings Related and Other. 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. For a technical post or one that requires special knowledge. day-release. If you have served time in prison. and play down other. A onesentence description of the scope of your job. enabling the employer to see at once that you meet the requirement. but also how you obtained it. consider giving additional information to show that you have the relevant work experience. Include useful information about training and development – courses of a week or more. if appropriate) and the awarding institution. then the rest of the employment history in backward or forward chronological order. Avoid specialised language unless you’re sure the reader will understand it.open. please refer to Section 6 below for tips on dealing with this. Training Don’t give an exhaustive list of all the training courses and seminars you’ve attended. even if it’s not the most recent. make sure it’s clear and that the way you present starting and leaving dates is consistent.. For example.5 of this workbook). or training in relevant specialist skills. • 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’. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps. mention the British equivalent so that the employer knows what level you’ve reached. • If you’re offering professional qualifications it might be worth specifying not only the qualification (with the S/NVQ level.g. should be followed by a statement of achievements.2. knowledge or training. which are often listed as learning outcomes. budget etc.g. So much depends on the nature and relevance of your previous employment to the job you’re applying for. but it’s more appropriate for senior managers to include a brief résumé of schools attended and exams passed. Some possible sequences are: • Put your present or most recent job at the head of the list.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook responsibilities. There’s no need to include the full address of each school or college – condense the information to dates. Some look for a mixture of both. less important jobs. Learning outcomes can assist you in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. if you’ve had time out of paid work to bring up a family. There are different opinions about whether you set your experience out in forward or reverse chronological order.
course tutor). It might be helpful to read it alongside CV Example 3. additional skills such as foreign languages (if possible.ac. You’ll need it again. Write the words out in full the first time you use them and put the abbreviation in brackets. first aid training.g. run a computer club. • Seek other people’s views on your draft. and in particular the skills it calls for. you have an unconventional record. follow it up by sending a hard copy straight away. • Put the most important information on the first page and as near the top as possible.4.open. say so in your CV or covering letter. Yours will be one of many that the employer has to read. chronological order) and in your layout. 4. and don’t clutter it up with unnecessary punctuation. and the notes that follow it suggest some inferences that can be drawn from them about the nature of the work of personnel management. 4. • Don’t cram the page. Keep a copy of your CV (and disk) in a safe place. Concentrate on the aspects that are most important for the employer to know. It is also important to outline your level of IT and keyboard skills. Some of the key words in the description have been emphasised. Space makes text easier to read and more attractive. to adapt for other employers. word-processed and printed or copied on goodquality white or cream paper. you’ll need to analyse the job itself. you’re a mature graduate. addresses and telephone numbers. (e. Don’t fold it. or you’re applying for a job for which the competition is particularly keen. Additional skills The diversity of individual careers sometimes makes extra sections desirable: you can make up your own subheadings. Use bullet points to make reading quicker. complicated sentences. Give their names. Career aims. Use an ‘easy-to-read’ font. It gives your CV an interesting feature and makes it memorable. • Your CV should be produced to a high standard. To illustrate this.g. and their status or relationship to you (e. Consider using an appendix for very detailed information such as a list of publications. 76 To find out more.10 Analysing a job description In order to construct a CV that’s effectively related to the job you’re seeking. If you need to demonstrate an interest in design (e.g. An unusual hobby such as sky-diving or genealogical research can be worth mentioning. line manager. • 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). we’ve chosen a description for human resource management. such as Arial 11 point.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.4. • Be consistent in how you present the information. • Avoid long. • If you send your CV by email. done voluntary work that demonstrates organisational and management skills. The employer may not bother to read on if there’s nothing of interest to begin with. underlining). jargon and abbreviations the reader may be unfamiliar with. References You’ll usually need two referees. and proofread the final version carefully. Make sure the copies are sharp and clear. Don’t use clichés. One way to do this is from the job description. • Make sure that your CV arrives looking like a quality document. pay attention to its appearance as well as its content. give an indication of your level of competence). even though it has no obvious relevance to the job. particularly if you want to offer a targeted CV. If you don’t want your employer approached at this stage. and so on. Word and Excel. • The space you give to each section should reflect its importance. bold. for some media jobs) more elaborate graphics and perhaps coloured paper might be appropriate.9 Presentation of your CV To produce an effective CV . You might prefer to omit referees on the CV and put ‘Available on request’.uk/careers . including software you are familiar with e. • Make it easy to read and follow.g. which is designed for this area of work. Have headings in the same style (capital letters. one your present or last employer. after that you can use it on its own. visit our website at www. Include details you think a prospective employer really ought to know – driving licence. Use an A4 envelope with cardboard reinforcement.
but the style is standard for academic CVs in general. (undertaking job analysis and evaluations as appropriate). The examples (all fictitious by the way) illustrated each of the four main CV formats in turn – chronological. discussing. – Maintaining staff records. interviewing applicants and advising on the selection of those most suitable. the academic CV showed that the applicant studied medicine which you can’t do with the OU. – Helping to undertake staff appraisals and. working conditions. visit our website at www. Activity 4. would accompany these CVs. And bear in mind that covering letters. staff promotion schemes and other matters. interviewing. • Look again at the example CVs to see whether any of the three formats would be particularly appropriate to convey what you want. – Arranging for dissemination of vacancy details by internal and external means. • Words such as consultations. Some typical tasks may include. as appropriate.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example Human Resource Management Advising on. • 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. uninteresting. personal welfare and other matters with individual members of staff. evaluations. targeted and academic. (Indeed. management/ staff communications. wordy. – Analysing staffing requirements in consultation with department and other managers. discussing career development. functional. developing and administering policies in relation to staff recruitment and training. general conditions of employment and other personnel matters. • If you think that your CV looks feeble. None was perfect. • If you already have a CV. advising and negotiations imply the need for skills in dealing with people. It’s time to redesign it. industrial relations. – Assisting in negotiations in the field of industrial relations and ensuring observance of regulations and agreements relative to personnel matters. especially the ability to communicate effectively with them.ac. ask yourself whether it presents the information you want to give in the way you want it to be seen. appraisals.) You may well decide that a quite different layout and format are more appropriate for your individual circumstances. human resource planning and forecasting imply the need for skills in evaluating information and reaching appropriate conclusions.uk/careers 77 . career development. To find out more. it probably is.open. • Think about the general style of your CV in relation to the person who’s going to read it. records of labour turnover and other necessary information and assisting with human resource planning procedures and programmes. • Words such as arranging and records imply the need for administrative skills. messy …. The examples of the CVs above illustrated some of the points you should consider when designing your own CV. the subject of the next section.3 Take some time to reflect again on the CV guidelines and examples. • Words such as analysing. – Advising management on standards of remuneration.
78 To find out more. or whether vacancies will arise in the near future. Two examples of covering letters are set out overleaf. if done well.5. At the same time you must leave the impression that you’re someone it’s useful for the employer to know about. • Although you should be business-like. So make clear who you are. job title and organisation of the person you’re writing to. appropriate qualification. without duplicating what’s on the application form. type or word-process your letter (though very occasionally an employer will ask for a handwritten letter). Convey clearly what kind of work you’re seeking. Say why you want to work for that particular organisation. Switchboard staff can be very helpful in supplying this information if it isn’t otherwise available.uk/careers . steer clear of stilted expressions like ‘re your advertisement of 29th July.1 Applying for a job in a vacancy list or answering an advertisement Mention the job title (including any reference number). address. Ask someone else to read it – don’t rely on your computer’s spelling check. • Put your name. If you’ve worked through Section 2 in this book. especially as it may be based on US spelling. or highlight aspects of your CV which you feel are particularly important. If you do have to resort to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. If there’s a vacancy this will. end ‘Yours faithfully’.3 Drafting your letter • If possible. Keep a copy of your letter. • When writing to a named individual. • Address your letter to an individual person by name and job title. The second letter accompanies a CV in response to a newspaper advertisement. where you are. not repeat what’s on the application form or CV. A CV will usually require more of an introduction. If you haven’t received an acknowledgement within two or three weeks. Add some other detail to reinforce your suitability. your qualifications and what you have to offer. Always include a covering letter unless the employer specifically tells you not to.2 Applying speculatively Remember. and that you’ve expressed yourself clearly. and say where and when you saw the vacancy. Application forms often allow you reasonable scope to sell yourself and may need only a brief covering letter. interests and activities.5. • Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. It will usually be read first. • If there are any special circumstances not covered in the application form or CV. related experience. Highlight your strongest selling points. Stress how you think the organisation can benefit from employing you. mention them in the letter. the name. you’ll know that to make a speculative approach you have to present your case in a letter.ac. The first is a speculative approach asking for an advice interview from an executive the writer doesn’t know. then highlight the relevant points in the CV such as work experience. You’re trying to find out whether there are any vacancies.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. • Print your name clearly below your signature. 4. • Keep it brief – usually not more than one side of A4. a speculative approach is not allowed in Northern Ireland. It should enhance your application. and when you would be able to start. visit our website at www. telephone number and date at the top right-hand corner and. so make sure that the reader will want to find out more about you. end ‘Yours sincerely’.open. what you’re studying. such as a relevant degree. on the lefthand side. usually accompanied by your CV.’ and ‘I beg to remain’. send a brief follow-up letter or telephone to make sure that it’s been received.5. It introduces your application and draws attention to the main factors that make you suitable for the job. • You can use your covering letter to give additional information such as reasons for an unusual change in career. translate into being someone the employer ought to see. • Use plain A4 paper of good quality. 4.5 The covering letter Your covering letter is your opportunity to market yourself. 4. such as a disability and how you overcome potential difficulties.
ac. I should appreciate your advice concerning the development of my career. Yours sincerely Joginder Singh 01926 850973 To find out more. including experience of exporting electronic. your advice and suggestions would also be helpful and influential in helping me research my options to develop my career. Some of my key achievements have been: • Locating new lines of products and developing international sales for them. • Selecting and working with local distributors throughout the world.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.uk/careers 79 . Your success in selling computer components to Asian countries has been something few companies have achieved in the last few years. I noted in yesterday’s Financial Times that your company received an export award from the Department of Trade and Industry. I am now seeking a career change that will build on this experience. Having had over ten years’ experience in export sales. I should appreciate a personal meeting with you and will contact you in the next week to discuss this. visit our website at www. With your knowledge of exporting.open. Although I would like to work for your company. and I wish to congratulate you. • Increasing sales by 26 per cent in one year when the pound was at its highest exchange rate. and computer based control equipment.
I am confident that I could make a significant contribution to Fairplay Industries Ltd. I am enclosing my CV in response to your advertisement for the above post which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 1 March. I am free to relocate to another area and see this as a positive addition to my professional and personal development.open. 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. I have recently taken voluntary redundancy as a consequence of a nationwide organisational restructuring programme. Assistant Finance Director. and discussed specific aspects with the Finance Director over the telephone yesterday. Working in a team alongside other senior management colleagues. Yours sincerely Margaret Minty 80 To find out more.ac. I look forward to hearing from you. visit our website at www. I have brought about a sustained improvement in my office’s financial performance over the past five years. I am a qualified accountant with substantial professional experience. Having read the detailed description of the post. I have particular interest in computer-based accounting procedures and extensive staff management experience. Although I currently live in Edinburgh.uk/careers .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. Fairplay Industries Ltd.
• Show acceptance of the interviewer as a person. Don’t be panicked into responding too quickly. use the opportunity to add relevant information about yourself that you haven’t had an adequate opportunity to express. To find out more.6 The interview Interviews remain the most common method of filling vacancies. • A few seconds silence in an interview can seem an eternity. If the interview has already covered that.ac. You can set a standard against which the others will be judged. it can be useful to ask about future business plans. but they make very consistent judgements and assessments between candidates. Here are some initial tips for interviews: • Interviewers want you to do yourself justice.’ • Always try to be positive in what you say and never be critical of a previous employer. • 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. initial answers are critical.open.uk/careers 81 . while the interviewer sets the format. although as the candidate you should do most of the talking – in effect determining the content. They’ll be asking themselves ‘Could we get on?’ ‘Would this person be supportive?’ • Balance the initiative-taking. I need a moment or two to think about it. • Interviewers’ judgements about a candidate are always made in relation to judgements about earlier candidates. so the sequence of interviews assumes an importance of its own. Neither should psychologically dominate the discussion. First impressions count. • Interviewers may be poor at assessing the personality characteristics of individual candidates with any validity. not maintaining eye contact) in an interview can be more important in determining its outcome than experience or qualifications. go first. visit our website at www. perhaps in an illogical way. reaching greater depths as the rapport develops between the two parties. The ideal interview should flow like a conversation. and aren’t easily swayed by factual information thereafter. some important insights for candidates emerge: • Some interviewers make up their minds about candidates within the first four minutes of an interview. • A candidate’s body language (for example. Interviews tend to exclude rather than to include. It’s up to you to help them out and make them feel comfortable. If you’re given a choice. Fill a thinking gap with comments such as ‘That’s an interesting question. This suggests that a good interview performance is likely to impress. • Interviewers too may be inexperienced or nervous. • When asked whether you have any questions. Remember that interviewers want to be liked and hope to be supported in their day-to-day work and career by your appointment. • Guard against being too open. From the vast amount of research into interviews as a selection method. • Interviewers are more likely to be swayed by negative information or behaviour on the part of the candidate than positive. They’re hoping that you’ll be an excellent candidate and that the interviewing time and effort will be well spent.
9 below and practise some answers out loud. • What are your weak spots and what do you feel uncomfortable talking about? • Why would you not employ yourself? Produce convincing counter-arguments. • Ask for comments from a partner. How you sound will be crucial. Consult some of the books listed at the end of this booklet.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. • Think about the interview and plan for it. Practise speaking on the phone to a friend and ask what impression you’re making. within a broader organisational framework May have standard questions.uk/careers . Below we list the four main types of interviewers you may come across. problems.6.6. 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. • Learn from observing others – take the role of interviewer with a partner. Human resource/recruitment managers Well-trained and experienced. • Review your CV. solutions. may try to ‘sell’ the job Head of a group or department A technical expert with wider managerial experience Will talk shop. Collect as many concrete examples of things you’ve done as you can. Evaluate your performance and incorporate the learning into your next interview. Practice is essential. and may not be entirely their usual selves.1 Interviewers There are as many kinds of interviewer as there are people. Do it out loud. 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. into a tape recorder. or interviewers who have rejected you. 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. • Reflect on your experience. How you project yourself through your social and communication skills will determine your success whenever you speak with potential employers. Don’t let your own stereotyping of the interviewer affect your interview technique. Try to foresee questions or situations and work out possible answers. for insight often leads to heightened anxiety. 82 To find out more. often astute and very sensitive Acting as internal screener. • Practise your answers in the weak areas. If you can.ac. • Practise by role-play with a partner. find out something about the people interviewing you. Read the section on ‘Tough questions’ in Section 4.open. 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. network contacts. Even experience as an interviewer doesn’t make for a flawless performance. 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. visit our website at www.6.2 Before your interview • Research the job and employer thoroughly beforehand. Find out all you can about interviewing techniques and be ready to cope with them: • Read about the process. 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. Practise some answers into a tape recorder and listen critically to yourself. Remember that when managers interview they’re playing a role to a set of social rules.
If there’s no suitable literature you could telephone and ask the person on the switchboard or the secretary of the person interviewing you. ask for repetition or clarification.5 Body language • Walk and sit with good posture. clichés. and judge when you’ve said enough. 4. and keep your hands away from your mouth. . Some people need to practise this.6 Answering questions Whatever the nature of the job. • Use plain language that doesn’t confuse or divert. • Speak concisely. Don’t drop your voice towards the end of sentences. so that if it doesn’t feel right you’ve got time to change your plans. A lucid style is a transparent window on the content. • Convey the right amount of enthusiasm. warmth.6. • Maintain good eye-contact with the person you’re speaking to. allow yourself time to relax. If in doubt ask ‘Would you like me to go on?’ • Show through your answers that you’ve done your research into the company. Avoid jargon.6.4 How you sound • Sound as if you have confidence in yourself. papers.6.ac. Dress appropriately for the culture. confident first impression. the interviewer will be working to a mental model consisting of three related profiles. and achievment profile. professional. • Remember the need for a poised. which will give you clues to whether you are answering the questions and timing your replies appropriately.uk/careers 83 . Conservative dress is more likely to pay off than flamboyance. • Don’t be overburdened with bags. • If delayed. umbrellas. • Remember to take a copy of your application with you. and if possible do a dummy run. Watch the interviewer’s behaviour. • Don’t fold your arms. 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. If you’re very unsure about this. polishing your shoes and so on. • Arrive in good time. • Listen attentively to the questions. 4. • Speak clearly. or groups of characteristics – your personal. • Decide what to wear. It’s your task to provide evidence in your answers that demonstrates these characteristics.open. • Shake hands firmly and briefly. Show that you know the interview ‘rules’ by wearing smart clothes. • Use your natural gestures – there’s no need to look frozen! • Avoid fidgeting. • Don’t smoke anywhere on the premises. friendliness and sincerity.3 On the day . • Don’t forget to turn off your mobile phone. 4. Smile! • Avoid negative statements. • Prepare some questions that you would like to ask. telephone. 4. look at company literature to get an idea of how people dress.6. Try the whole outfit some days before. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Plan travel and arrival times. .
e. or monotonous or tentative? • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone. Pause for thought If you fail to plan.g. stop and leave it at that. there may be other positions coming up. 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. The smile won’t be seen but it can be heard.uk/careers . • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview. write a letter asking for some constructive comment by telephone. Look through the next examples – you’re bound to come up against some of them in one form or another.9 Tough questions Everyone has a different perception of what constitutes a tough question. Ask for the question to be repeated. you’re half way to giving an appropriate answer. often with a technical content. There’s some general advice about using the telephone effectively in Section 2. and say where you’d need more information.6. marketing or telesales staff. If you can show that you know what they’re getting at.ac. as you would when talking to someone face to face. ‘What if the policy changed to carrying more freight by rail?’ In reply be methodical.6.g. keep your answer simple and short. They do this in several ways: • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring. 4. • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone. Even if you’re unsuccessful this time. 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. 4. at the employer’s convenience.8 Interviews by telephone Increasing numbers of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process. • If you’re rejected. • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. ‘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.7 After the interview • Think about the questions and your answers. take time and keep to the point. visit our website at www. • Some candidates dress in the clothes they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind. The advice that follows about personal interviews below applies just as much to telephone interviews. e. you’ll tend not to listen so acutely. state assumptions you’re making.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook You need to also be prepared to adapt your responses to the different kinds of question: • Specific questions invite factual replies. A 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). Here are some tips to help you through them followed by some examples and how to approach them.open. The questions are 84 To find out more.g. you plan to fail.g. • Standing up while talking can make you sound more confident. ‘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. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained interviewers. This reinforces recollections of you. e.6. • In response to embarrassing – rather than simply tough – questions.’ • Hypothetical questions test speed and quality of thought. ‘Tell me about the three years you spent studying with The Open University. When you’ve answered. 4. This technique is used for recruiting sales. • Try to show that you understand why the interviewers have asked you the question. e. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response. In general: • If you feel yourself under pressure.
professional and achievement – we discussed in ‘Answering questions’ above to produce a rounded picture. Q A How much are you worth? Try to delay answering this until you know the responsibilities and scope of the job.uk/careers 85 . Try to restrict yourself to four or five as too long a list will confuse the interviewer.open. Draw on examples from the three profiles – personal. Isn’t it a bit late in your working life to change career? It is perhaps unlikely that you would be asked this. Mention your previous salary and any financial commitments that lead you to raise or lower your expectations. the fresh perspective of Q an outsider.g. Add a balanced. Use phrases like ‘learning a valuable lesson’ rather than admitting to making a mistake. Tell me about yourself. Cover relevant aspects of your life. Remember that this question isn’t simply about your factual history so don’t give too much detail. Describe how you’ve adapted to different subcultures you’ve encountered by doing different jobs in your career. particularly in view of age leglislation in 2006 but you never know…! The interviewer could be suggesting either that you’re too old to adapt or that you haven’t got a realistic appreciation of the demands of the new job. credibility with clients.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. domestic stability. conscientiousness) to end on a positive note.g. Include any particular characteristics that you feel relate to the job. Draw attention to the possibilities of bringing in skills or experience that the company would benefit from. coaching and mentoring skills. Either choose one that isn’t particularly significant. to counter any thoughts that you might simply be looking for a refuge. visit our website at www. Negotiations like this might seem strange to you if your only experience is of fixed salary scales. time management) but have taken action to overcome it. Q A What are your weaknesses? Don’t claim to be faultless! Most strengths taken to the extreme become weaknesses. This question needs practice. emotional stability. and the ‘political’ gains of instigating change through appointing an outsider. for example: Early years (if appropriate) Education Work experience Significant events Keep your answer short (three to four minutes). wellreasoned argument for your choice of this new kind of work.ac. freedom from childcare. Or explain how you had a weakness (e. or pair one with something that can be turned from a weakness into a strength (e. and the typical salary ranges. Q A A Q A Q A To find out more. Concentrate on the many positive features of your greater maturity: experience of life and work. You could also provide evidence of being a quick learner. 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. 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. Then express your motivation and drive. 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.
Make clear statements about your willingness to shoulder responsibility and say that you would consider career progression within the company at an appropriate time. What sort of relationship did you have with your last manager? Concentrate on understanding your manager’s expectations and objectives. What are your ambitions? Concentrate on your desire to do the job well and to develop your skills and confidence. What interests you least about this job? Choose a routine activity (filing. Plead ignorance about other potentially boring duties. Uncertainties in the business environment will probably lead to growth opportunities for the company and you.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. and your hope that some of these needs will be met. either at work or at leisure. Relate your answer in the final stages to the job you’re applying for. What were the circumstances of your leaving your last employer? Keep your reply short and don’t touch on any conflict or bitterness. filling in expense claim forms). finding an appropriate job takes time. Be honest. How would you describe your management style? Have a well thought-out answer ready. Why has it taken you so long to find a new job? Finding any sort of job is easy.ac. Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q 86 To find out more. relate this to the job you are applying for. but be careful that it isn’t a core function of the job. Create a favourable impression based on the things you’ve done to help yourself. If you had complete freedom of choice of jobs and employers. There’s no research evidence to support this assumption. Why do you want to work for us? Your research will pay off here.uk/careers . mentally sharp and so on. Statements about far-reaching ambitions should sound realistic. visit our website at www. A trite or bland answer will seriously undermine your application. You might start by briefly describing how your style has developed as you’ve grown in experience and social expectations have changed. If possible. 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. Emphasise your desire to develop your skills by moving to a more demanding job. Include a reference to how important work is to you. Emphasise that you are adaptable and respond positively to circumstances and would not necessarily expect to use all of your skills in the first instance.) A A Quote samples of your own recent learning. Include examples of support and how you kept your manager informed. It is also important to emphasise IT skills and keeping up with professional journals/research in the area.open. Mention steps you’ve taken to keep up to date. what would you choose? Talk about the kind of work you’re being interviewed for and why this company interests you. your variations in style according to different people and different tasks. Concentrate on flexibility.
this job. they are fairer to you. 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. To find out more. All the other candidates will be nervous too.7. • 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. • 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. the Health Service. in any combination. • 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. 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. this company…) today? Do you feel well equipped to meet those challenges? • None of your experience is at managerial level. in-tray exercises and the like. beyond the interview’.g. 4.ac.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. It can include situational activities. here are some general guidelines: • Don’t be intimidated. If you are asked to attend an assessment centre. particularly at graduate level. 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. aware that interviews have many shortcomings. are increasing their use of additional tools.uk/careers 87 . 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. what do/did you spend most time on. education. group discussions. as well as interviews and psychometric tests.g. but a technique (a mixture of tests.1 Assessment centres This approach has been defined as ‘the use of any selection device. 4. exercises and interviews) for recruiting new employees. and why? • Do/did you have any frustrations in your present/last job? • What did you learn from (e. medium and long-term goals? • Why have you decided to change careers? • What are the main challenges facing (e.4 Here are some more examples of interviewers’ questions to think through yourself.g. One such tool is the use of assessment centres – these are not places. You would normally find out about the way an organisation uses these by researching their recruitment literature or website. visit our website at www.7 Other selection techniques Larger employers.
for sales personnel. Your results are usually compared with how others have done on the tests in the past. verbal. and your preferences and attitudes. Personality questionnaires These gather information about how and why you do things in your own particular way.g.Z’. When the time comes: • Arrive in good time. getting in some practice will probably make you feel better. or how you respond to different situations. ability or intelligence tests These aim to assess your capabilities in tests of reasoning: that is. • Make sure that you know exactly what you’re required to do. The tests should have been carefully researched and tried out to ensure that they’re fair to everyone who takes them. • Assume that you’ll be closely observed the whole time. • In summer.7.shldirect. • Assessment centres sometimes have the advantage that they give you longer to judge the organisation and the people within it.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. induction loop. The tests are used in a variety of ways. both mentally and physically: • Your invitation may include a programme of events. a good test can offset weaknesses in interview performance – it never seems to work the other way round.2 Psychometric tests Psychometric tests are structured pencil-and-paper or computer exercises.open. Tests are designed so that you have a few items to practise on first. the level and nature of your thinking skills (typically. • Go to the loo before major exercises. they have no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. cognitive. visit our website at www. The selectors aren’t looking for a rigidly ‘typical’ personality. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact. The ability to listen and support others is also highly valued. There are two main kinds of psychometric test: Aptitude. although certain characteristics will be more or less appropriate for the job (e. such as personality and interest questionnaires.ac. • Take the pens and pencils you like to write with. but if you’re anxious about them. You may face hours of hot sticky work in examination conditions. Unlike aptitude tests. 4. Study it carefully. 88 To find out more. • 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. choose something that’s cool as well as smart to wear. failure in one or two elements won’t automatically mean rejection. A highlighter pen could be useful.uk/links/AssessmentCntrs www.g. • If you have a disability and need special arrangements (e.uk/careers .open.ac. numerical and perceptual skills). special seating) discuss it with the selector in advance. You might be asked to prepare something in advance. They’re designed to assess your reasoning abilities. or bring your own calculator. They look at how you react or behave in different situations. Get yourself ready. often in the form of multiplechoice questions.ac. independence. You will find practice tests at: www. have no time limits • Ask during the practice session if you don’t understand.prospects. • Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. they can last several hours. Further resources For further information and resources on assessment centres go to: www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Decisions are made by drawing on all the evidence. • 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.uk/careers and look for ‘Assessment Centres’ in the ‘A. If you wear glasses for reading. make sure you take them with you. for example. 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. paying attention to any special instructions. social confidence and persuasiveness would be considered important characteristics). Decisions about senior appointments are never based on test results alone.
For one thing. To find out more. They’re easy to set up and provide a useful sample of logical thinking. If you have trouble with it. There could be questions afterwards. Be cooperative.uk/careers 89 . but there are dangers in trying to do this.7. Talk directly to them. • You won’t get any marks if the marker can’t read your writing. • What’s usually wanted is a business report. most tests contain ‘lie scales’. If asked to do so. • Keep a careful eye on the time. 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.4 Presentations These are often used as part of an assessment exercise. If you’ve been asked to prepare in advance. but make good use of your allowance. communication skills and persuasiveness. verbal expression. you’ll be given a lot of written data and asked to write a report. applicants who fail selection tests often do so because they don’t answer the questions. • Make assumptions explicit. Remember the rubric: 4. with the selectors acting as observers. Make it a lively delivery. • Make an early contribution.3 Written exercises Typically. You’ll probably have only five minutes of presentation time. Some selection procedures include a discussion about the test results with a psychologist. it is advisable to talk to the employer about this beforehand to discuss whether there are any alternative arrangements that would be appropriate for your situation. 4. Make liberal use of subheadings and bullet points to make your answer easy to read. 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. • Don’t be tempted to produce complex visuals. • Remember to put your name on all the sheets of paper you use. come to a conclusion or recommendation. • Don’t rework chunks of the brief.open. If you have a disability that you believe may affect your ability to do these tests. The marker will be looking for original thought. but not necessarily the first. Very often you’ll be set a task as a group or given a case study to look at. and if more information might be needed say what it is. for another you’ll have to guess what sort of personality the company is looking for. Keep the presentation simple. 4. Never read from a prepared script. sometimes during the assessment centre. and how?) If you’re faced with a written exercise: • Follow the instructions. don’t use a ballpoint pen – it tends to make things worse. Honesty is the best policy. You may need to make your presentation just to the selectors. Don’t ignore the possibility of recombining parts of different options. with reasoning to support your choice. • Don’t spend so much time thinking and planning that you haven’t got time to write the report. How you say it is as important as what you say. but you’re always given time to prepare. practise so that you’ve got the timing right. You’re not going to be judged on your ability to dominate. relationship with other participants).Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Personality tests are easy to fake. outline a proposal or draft a letter. not enough to do them justice.ac.7. with their pros and cons. Like examination candidates. • Recommendation of an option. • Be clear about the aims of the exercise: keep the group focused on the task.5 Group discussions Three to eight candidates sit in a group and discuss one or more topics. and faking then becomes very difficult to sustain. Concentrate your thinking and be succinct in your expression so that you have less to write.7. or sometimes to the other candidates as well. don’t over-run. see it as a task in which you have to convince or persuade the selectors. The observers will be making notes about the quality of your contribution (logic. Sometimes you’re told the topic before the day. Candidates often fail through producing two to three times too much material. visit our website at www. not an essay. and you may have access to audio-visual materials. remember that getting the best out of others is a skill in itself. • Be supportive and pleasant to the other candidates.
but often a special form is needed. Evidence offers little support for its use as a predictor of performance. follow this up by tackling the items according to those you set. You’re likely not to know that graphology is being used.7. abroad.analysis of handwriting – is used a lot for managerial selection in continental Europe. You may be allowed to use the floor if the desk isn’t big enough. A cleverly constructed in-tray will generate emotional responses that can cloud decision-making. and between intrays if there’s more than one. Staffing issues are most likely to spring this trap. colleagues are ill. Best marks are obtained by candidates who produce the largest volume of appropriate written output.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Mentally ‘stand back’ occasionally and evaluate what’s happening. other than statistical correlation. So. a contraction of ‘biographical data’.6 In-tray exercises These simulations of the administrative aspects of a job can be very taxing. even if you’re not asked to do so. • You can be judged only on what you’ve written down. or conflict between the other participants. and may take time. 90 To find out more. • Keep a careful eye on the time. if you’re asked to submit a demonstration piece. take care over presentation as well as content.open.7. A well constructed test in-tray will contain distracting trivia. make reporting and follow-up clear.7. and ability to communicate in clear English. but they’re not as detailed or as accurate as information gathered from psychometric tests and exercises. remind the group if necessary. organisation. medical tests cover sight. • Look for links within an in-tray. They’re usually set in an unrealistic scenario that prevents you from talking to other people in the organisation (e. • Remain balanced in your judgement. • If the first part of the exercise asks you to set priorities. The qualities most likely to be assessed are analysis. As well as general fitness. 4. particularly in France.7 Graphology Graphology .ac. and that can be a clue. However. just like a real one. with appropriate levels of formality and informality in your responses. 4. Make a point of discussing your strategy and interpretation of the group discussion with the interviewer later. you’ll be maximising your chance of success. 4. it’s Saturday afternoon). How to go about it: • It may be possible to take the in-tray apart and sort it into heaps. not on what went through your head. visit our website at www. Intervene if there’s loss of direction. Studies indicate that graphologists can produce generalised personality descriptions. If you have to reach a decision within thirty minutes. 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. Most candidates find these tests tough.10 Medical tests The job advertisement or person specification should state clearly whether a certain level of physical fitness is required. Information may be collected from the standard application form.9 Proficiency tests These tests are used to find out whether candidates have the skills they claim – 120 words per minute shorthand. If you like to work like that. • Don’t be discouraged.7.uk/careers . decisionmaking. Signal in your comments that you’ve spotted these links.8 Biodata analysis ‘Biodata’. some employers ask candidates to submit a handwritten piece on a management topic. • Give reasons for your decisions. Pause for thought Getting the job you want is always a challenge. 4. or 90 words per minute wordprocessing.7. means that details of an individual’s history are correlated with the biographical details of others who have succeeded in the same occupation. Don’t just put your head down and plough through the lot. for example. colour perception and hearing. but is a controversial technique in the UK. use your diary and your secretary well. Treat the whole exercise like real life. The biographical data need not have any recognised link with performance.g. By taking the trouble to reflect and to prepare. set timescales. Related tests of ‘potential for proficiency’ (trainability) assess characteristics such as hand–eye coordination. make sure that it’s permitted. • Read the instructions carefully and plan your time accordingly. judgement. 4.
uk/careers 91 . Kogan Page.prospects. ask for the OU Toolkit on Presentations from your regional centre or look under Study Strategies for the link to Student Toolkits at: www.uk/careers If you are an OU student look at the ‘Moving on’ section on the Prospects website at: www. Byron (2003) How to pass the Civil Service Qualifying Tests. The OU careers website at: www.ac.ac. M.ac.open. M.open. Kogan Page. visit our website at www.open. Yate (2005) Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Further resources For giving presentations.uk/links/AppsInterviews To find out more. Parkinson (2004) How to master Psychometric Tests.ac.uk/learning M. Kogan Page.
go to www. For more information and links on job-seeking strategies when facing discrimination. However.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. strategies to help you in your job search and further resources that you may find helpful.2 5.open.4 5. The issues of whether. the same principles of career planning and job seeking apply to everyone.uk/careers 93 . In this section we highlight some of the additional challenges that may be faced by students and graduates. Each section includes a discussion of some of the issues you may encounter. visit our website at www. when or how you should do so. and you will often see this highlighted in job advertisements.3 5.6 5. on your application form.ac.1 5. some organisations aim specifically to recruit a workforce that reflects the community they serve. on a covering letter. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Equality and Diversity Issues In this section 5. there is evidence that certain groups of people are at a disadvantage and may experience difficulty in achieving their career aims. before or during an interview will be considered later in Section 5. the legal position.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. Many employers have well-developed equal opportunities policies to help them to recruit a diverse workforce.ac. To find out more. In fact.5 5.prospects.
1. Then contact the Careers Advisory Service in your region to get help with your marketing plan. your age will count against you in the job market? 5. you need to present your experience and skills positively and highlight your ‘added value’.1 Age Are you concerned that. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 5. So. This should also help you to feel confident about what you can offer to the workplace. or contact your local OU Careers Advisory Service. It’s not enough to think that because you have completed a part-time degree. For instance. look at the Careers Advisory Service website for contacts for volunteering opportunities. which you might like to discuss with a careers adviser. If you haven’t had any recent work experience (paid or voluntary). 5. Remember. gender. 5.. as a mature graduate. ‘Yes. visit our website at www.1 Note here any issues that could affect you at work. 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. You may need to allow some time for appropriate arrangements to be made. and paid work. They are saying.1 Your rights By October 2006. we will be happy to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs. So. Employers are looking for more than a qualification. selection procedures in large organisations are being reviewed.2 How to help yourself in the job market Take a look at Section 4 on applying for jobs. 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’. This may feel unfair. 94 To find out more. then you could consider exploring your local options.ac.’. This is where you are able. For example..uk/careers . juggling study and home responsibilities. especially when you have used all your spare time to get the degree in the first place. sexual orientation and religion. to offer a range of transferable skills and experience to an employer. hone your CV to highlight that ‘extra’ you can offer to enhance your application. Having a degree is not enough to secure a job. 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.open.1. If you have additional requirements that may lead to difficulties accessing any of our services. that you are automatically going to be offered a job. you have a degree and. Braille or large print. please contact your regional centre who will arrange this. having completed your degree. if you need any information in an alternative format such as an audio recording. disability.
some have started new careers in their 50s. Don’t be put off by negative reactions if at first you don’t succeed! One graduate wrote: My method worked because of planning. You do need to be clear about what you want and what you can offer. Published by Age Positive at: www.org.uk/links/Discrimination 5. 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. Most employers will be impressed by your commitment and motivation! Indeed. adaptability. organisational and self-motivational skills. investment of time and 143 stamps and envelopes. you may be confused about its implications for working in the future. teamwork. and view life experience as an advantage e. • Use positive language in applications and interviews and never apologise for your age.2 Criminal record If you have a criminal record.ac. some areas of work look for maturity. social work. when and if to disclose a conviction to a prospective employer. • Demonstrate your experience when making effective business decisions and give examples.g. communication.realworldmagazine. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www.asp Age diversity at work – A practical guide for business. Nonetheless. (A level playing field.taen. • Stress your ability to hit the ground running – you know all about working for a living. • Convey your reliability.ac.uk/careers 95 .1 Your rights Do note that there are legal requirements regarding disclosure of certain convictions. work and earn for as long as they want.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Many OU graduates have changed careers in midlife.2.agepositive.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. or need. occupational therapy. Further resources For the latest information on age legislation 2006. • Demonstrate your flexibility and experience of studying and working in mixed-age environments. including a section for mature students. For some areas To find out more. you have just spent a number of years improving these through part-time study.uk Mature students – the way forward (AGCAS publication) is available at: www. to do so.efa. • Create your own network using contacts from previous jobs/friends/family. and archive work.prospects. psychotherapy. • What impact a criminal record will have on your gaining and keeping employment.com/mat_home. Some of your concerns may include: • Whether you must declare any convictions.org. You can access the network at: www. • Fully research each employer.open. • Highlight your time management. 5. And you must be determined and active in your approach. research.ac. AGCAS) Tell employers about your skills and what you have had to do to get an OU qualification. counselling.gov. visit our website at www.prospects.uk/links/Mature AdvantAGE – A magazine published by ‘realworld’ to help ‘mature’ students to take control of their future. • Be confident if you are offered an interview as this means your CV/application form has obviously been successful. go to Employers Forum on Age at: www. studies and general life experience e. • How. • Identify the skills you developed in previous work. it’s vital – whatever your aims – to research your chosen area thoroughly and market yourself effectively. starting by using the company website (if there is one available). Available for reference in your regional centre or at: www.uk The Third Age Employment Network (TAEN) works for better opportunities for mature people to continue to learn. loyalty and confidence to manage change. good targeting and carefully written documentation. Be prepared to produce more than one CV.g. teaching.
The key starting point is to explore career areas that are relevant to your interests and skills. but smaller companies with lesser funds may not have to do so. those who have recurring or progressive conditions.co. or applying for jobs.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook of work.disclosurescotland. do check the legal situation carefully.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. particularly in relation to employment and access to goods.nacro.ac. employers are required to seek disclosure of criminal records from the relevant criminal records office. 5. training and selection for redundancy or dismissal. Part II of the DDA is intended to prevent discrimination against disabled people at work and in recruitment. including recruitment. • Make use of other agencies that can help and advise you. altering hours or buying equipment. Discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment.uk/careers .gov. information and advice for ex-offenders seeking work at: www. It does not apply to employers who employ workers on board ships or aircraft. as defined by the Act. promotion. Here is a range of strategies to help you: • Discuss your situation with a careers adviser at your regional centre. 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’. it can seem a challenging task to seek employment.open.org Further resources Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) at: www. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments both to the workplace and to the job description. such as ‘regularly caring for.uk The Apex Trust – support.ac. 5. and what funding is available from other sources.org. • Market yourself as positively as possible (see Section 4).crb. training.apextrust. additional support can help to enable access to work.2 How to help yourself in the job market If you have unspent convictions. This covers people who have had a disability. in the past. They define rights for disabled people. and so must the finances of the employer. 5. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www.drc-gb. Employers must show that they have looked into the costs of adaptations.uk Scottish Criminal Record Office (Scotland) at: www. without the need for specific adjustments or support. All employers are covered except for the armed forces.uk/links/Discrimination 96 To find out more.3 Disability or additional requirements Many students and graduates with disabilities have the same skills and abilities to offer as anyone else. • Be realistic about the employment area you wish to enter. supervising or being in sole charge of persons aged under eighteen’. The effectiveness of the adjustment in reducing the disadvantage must be taken into account. For some students. and people with severe disfigurements.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. and then to consider the next steps as outlined below. including a section for offenders. Large companies will probably be expected to adapt the workplace. services and facilities. You can access them at: www.prospects. visit our website at www. You can find out more from the Disability Rights Commission: Disability Rights Commission www.2. These may include adjusting premises. Keep in mind that there are certain jobs for which convictions never become spent.com The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) publishes a number of advice leaflets.3. Before you start studying for a specific career area.
• Referral where appropriate to a work preparation programme. • Information on employers in your area who are Disability Symbol users. 5. So.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. not what you can’t.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.uk or look up Jobcentre Plus in the Yellow Pages. your coping strategies. 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. Specialist DEAs can discuss your current employment situation with you to plan the best way into work. • You might feel that you will be discriminated against and rejected straight away. • • • • • To find out more. To find your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. If you do decide to disclose your disability. visit our website at www. • Don’t assume that an employer will view your disability in a negative way. When you apply for jobs and you are considering whether to disclose your disability: • Always focus on what you can do. If you give false information and an employer finds out the truth later. You must make your own judgement. Many employers have equal opportunities policies.3.open.co.uk/careers 97 . If you’re concerned about losing the job you’re already in for a reason associated with disability.jobcentreplus. Many application forms ask about disability and health. The majority of disabled jobseekers who find work through Jobcentre Plus are assisted by a disability employment adviser (DEA).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. However.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. training and self-employment. You should always point this out to employers.ac. the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 entitles you to take your case to a tribunal. You will be able to describe things in a positive light – your strengths. Access to Work – a Jobcentre Plus programme (see below) can provide support for you in a job. • Referral if needed to an occupational psychologist. • Perhaps you prefer not to discuss your disability with a stranger. If you declare your disability and believe that you have been discriminated against during the application process. Services the DEAs can offer include: • An employment assessment to identify what work or training suits you best. look at the website: www. Here are some reasons why it might be a good a idea to not disclose your disability • You may believe that your disability has no effect on your ability to do the job. though you may find it helpful to talk it over with a careers adviser at your regional centre. the DEA can provide advice to you and your employer and explore practical ways to help you keep your job. it may fund specialist equipment or transport costs.3. 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. • A job matching and referral service.employers-forum. For instance. 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 restrict your applications only to employers who are keen to recruit disabled people. look for employers who make these kinds of positive statements even if they don’t use the disability symbol. • You may think that an employer will automatically see you as a potential expense. you will need to consider the method and timing.uk Each is committed to creating and developing opportunities for people with disabilities. • 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. There are now over 400 member companies in the Employers’ Forum on Disability www. you risk losing your job.
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.ac.uk Diversity Works at: www.net The Open University Careers Advisory Service web pages have some useful links.uk Disabled Entrepreneurs Network: www.disabled-entrepreneurs. and looking for flexible working arrangements.uk/links/Discrimination The Hobson’s guide for Disabled Students – This is a free annual publication for disabled students. visit our website at www. www.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.) 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. facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of employment. 98 To find out more.open. (You might also want to check whether a prospective employer has an equal opportunities policy.org. It’s important that you are aware of the issues concerning sex and gender discrimination – at both recruitment stage.uk/disability Further resources Association of Disabled Professionals at: www.uk SKILL – The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – has a large range of relevant information sources: www. needing time off work for parenting duties. 5. The EPA applies to England.skill. and disabled children under 18. Employers are not required to provide the same pay and benefits if they can prove that the difference in pay or benefits is genuinely due to a reason other than one related to sex.org.open. • Information on local and national disability organisations of and for disabled people.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook WORKSTEP – Individual programme of support through a variety of different job opportunities – leading to unsupported employment. If you check on the legal situation. and graduate case studies. or • work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study. we still find gender discrimination in the workplace. The OU provides information about DSAs on the website at: www.scope. If you live outside the UK you will need to check the legal position for your country of residence.ac. and the provision of goods.disabilitytoolkits. published by AGCAS and available online at: www.uk/careers 5.4. the necessity for a work/life balance is highlighted by the legal right for mothers and fathers of children under 6. and in employment.org. or • work that is proved to be of equal value. yes: despite the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).diversityworks. where the man and the woman are doing • like work.ac. and in ongoing communication with your employer.4 Gender/sex Does it make a difference if you are a man or a woman when applying for a job? Unfortunately.1 Your rights (The following information is from the EOC website.ac. this can help you in presenting yourself in your application for work. advice and resources for students with disabilities.ac. Wales and Scotland. education. including a section on disability. which came into force in the UK on 6 April 2003. Look in the ‘A-Z’ under ‘Disability’ for further resources. academics involved in work placements and prospective employers: www. available for reference in each regional centre. It also prohibits discrimination in employment against married people.) Other equality issues that you might encounter include harassment at work. June 2003. • Details about work-based learning for adults. There is also an interactive web-based service providing dedicated information. 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. to request flexible working. and in fact.adp. There is a lot of discussion about the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from achieving ‘top jobs’. Times are changing: for instance.prospects. includes employers’ case studies.uk/careers .
4. You can access this at: www. • Concentrate on your strengths. 5.org A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. it is not justifiable. Therefore.5 How to help yourself in the job market So. although there is not yet any legal authority on this point. another is treating a woman adversely because she is pregnant.uk/careers 99 . 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.uk/links/Discrimination To find out more. there is a good argument that the general definition of sex discrimination prohibits this. there are special provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment in employment.worklifebalancecentre. • Make it easier for parents to balance work with family responsibilities. and this will help to counter any negative stereotypes that may exist.4.prospects.org. irrespective of sex. There are no express provisions prohibiting discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in the other fields covered by the SDA. Part I of the SDA describes the forms of discrimination to which the SDA applies. • Break free of male and female stereotypes.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. However. including children and prohibits direct and indirect sex discrimination. Three months (less one day) from the act of the discrimination for employment tribunal cases. • Make public services relevant to the differing needs of men and women.ac.ac. 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. 10 – Top Careers for Women – careers publication focusing on issues relating to graduate women in the labour market. 5. • Provide clear evidence of your ability to do the job. For instance.4. • Discuss your application with a careers adviser in your regional centre.4. This is especially important if you are looking to enter a field of employment that is traditionally dominated by the opposite sex. 5. The SDA applies to women and men of any age. Strict time limits apply. irrespective of sex. including a section on gender.eoc. • Increase the number of women in public life. There are special provisions about discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment.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.uk Work life balance centre – available at: www. England. one type of direct sex discrimination is sexual harassment. a requirement to work full-time might be unlawful discrimination against women. Employment-related claims are brought in an employment tribunal. Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission at: www. For instance.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.4. Scotland and Wales. The EOC campaigns to: • Close the pay gap between women and men. to apply a condition or practice.co. • End sexual harassment at work. an unnecessary requirement to be under 5’ 10” would discriminate against men. The EPA has been interpreted to cover indirect sex discrimination as well as direct discrimination.open. to apply that condition or practice.uk No. 5. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. visit our website at www.4 Discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment With certain exceptions.numberten. 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.
discrimination continues to exist for students from minority ethnic groups who do meet barriers to getting work. in 2004. law centres. citizens advice bureaux and other advice agencies. 5.ac.2 Direct racial discrimination Direct racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. racial equality councils. Some ethnic minority groups have done well in the education system and in the labour market. If you are thinking of bringing a case of racial discrimination. in similar circumstances. ‘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’. the amended Act gives you the right to take your complaint before an employment tribunal or a county court (or sheriff court in Scotland). nationality (including citizenship). it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different racial group who. March 2003 5.3 Indirect racial discrimination Indirect racial discrimination occurs when a person from a particular racial group is less likely to be able to comply with a requirement or condition that applies to everyone but which cannot be justified. visit our website at www. If you think you have been discriminated against at work. colour. But too many members of ethnic minority communities are being left behind. or work at an appropriate level to their qualifications.5.6 How to help yourself in the job market So what can and should you do to market yourself. This happens when a person is treated less favourably because they have complained about racial discrimination or supported someone else who has. and to challenge unfair discrimination? Here are some suggestions: 100 To find out more. In March 2003.4 Victimisation Victimisation has a special legal meaning in the Race Relations Act. or to one of a number of other organisations such as trade unions. In practice.5. and national or ethnic origin. has been treated more favourably than you. 5. And even those individuals who achieve academic success do not necessarily reap the rewards in the workplace that their qualifications merit. If you think you have been discriminated against on racial grounds. 5. you can apply to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). despite legislation.5. most racial discrimination in Britain is against people from minority ethnic groups. the UK government launched a new strategy to remove the barriers to employment success for job-seekers from minority ethnic backgrounds. Tony Blair. but people of every background. to target employers.open. 5.5.5 Time limits Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for filing your case at an employment tribunal or court.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. and you need to plan your own job-seeking strategies to maximise your opportunities.5. and you want to prove it. you have three months to file an employment case and six months to file a case in the county court or sheriff court. you have the right under the amended Act to take your complaint before an employment tribunal.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. so don’t delay. So.5 Race According to research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. The report proposes a fresh approach to address the many barriers that can get in the way of success in jobs and careers. In general. for help. or when applying for work. 5. If you think this has happened to you.5. These cover grounds of race. colour and nationality are protected by the law. Government initiatives take time to implement however. Racist abuse and harassment are also forms of direct discrimination.uk/careers . race. 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.
6. This relates to England.windsor-fellowship. plus details of work experience and career-enhancement programmes www. universities and schools to support learners from minority ethnic groups. You can ask for a copy of the policy before applying for a job.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Make use of Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ to prepare your marketing tools.blackandasiangrad.ac. Includes job-hunting techniques. You will need to consider how comfortable you will be in an area of work where you are not open about your sexuality. and how much to disclose to a potential employer and to work colleagues is of course a matter of personal choice. campaigns and services as well as vacancies in the commission Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) www. the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 came into force in the UK.open. • Develop contacts and make the most of your networking skills.gov. National Mentoring Consortium Unit The National Mentoring Consortium Unit works with employers.6.com Black and Asian Graduates –The UK’s official website for black and Asian graduates. You can log onto their website at: www.5.6. students and recruiters. vacancies. Further resources KAL – Careers publication for students from minority ethnic groups (formerly Kaleidoscopic). Their website is: www. Scotland and Wales.uk/links/Discrimination • Understand the relevant legal situation.uk. 5. run by BITC. that is dedicated to ethnic minority issues. Windsor Fellowship The Windsor Fellowship is a charitable organisation that offers skills development programmes to undergraduates and graduates from minority ethnic groups.6.com 5.2 Transsexuals In May 1999.org To find out more. • Many employers have sub-groups for minority ethnic groups. If the EOP is incorporated into your contract you might be able to directly rely upon it.6 Sexuality and sexual orientation Are you worried about possible discrimination in the workplace because of your sexuality? Whether to.prospects. application forms and covering letters. It holds an annual careers day for black and Asian students and graduates. which apply to the Sex Discrimination Act (1997).ac.uk 5.ac. Target employers with a reputation for good equal opportunity policy and practice.1 Your rights The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment.uk 5. formally made illegal a whole catalogue of discrimination against transsexual people in employment. available for reference in your regional centre or at www. You can find more information at the Press for Change website (see Section 5. especially public sector and large private employers.org. • Discuss your plans and approach with a careers adviser in your regional centre. Race for Opportunity is a programme.uk/careers 101 . visit our website at www.7 Resources for employment and training Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is the national organisation for monitoring racial equality.uk 5.bitc. For advice on finding positive employers take a look at: www.nmc-online. your CV.4).org. TeacherWorld UK TeacherWorld UK provides information and support for teachers (and those intending to teach) from minority ethnic backgrounds. The amendments. and this will depend on your own experience and lifestyle.cre. Contact them for information on legal issues.kalmagazine. Find out more about the unit at: www.teacherworld. • Check if the organisation is a member of Business in the Community (BITC) www. when to.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.
gba. gay men and bisexual people and launched Diversity Champions in 2001.prospects. 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. and Diversity Champions allows employers to focus on the new challenges and opportunities for addressing issues of diversity in the workplace.uk Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission www.ac. Press for Change Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational organisation.co. through legislation and social change www. to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone. these employers are at the cutting edge of innovation in business and public service. the support of a trade union can protect you where the legislation doesn’t. www.pfc. age or disability. 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. 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. At IBM we employ the best people irrespective of religion.org. sexual orientation.uk Gay Business Association www. The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) were introduced to protect against discrimination in employment and vocational training in England.ac. Usually. • If your employer recognises more than one union. gender. race.6.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Consider joining a trade union where you will receive support and legal advice.org. days when they choose to interview. including a section on sexuality and sexual orientation. This is a forum in which employers work with Stonewall to encourage diversity in the workplace. IBM (UK and Ireland) says: 5.org. If you encounter discrimination.uk Regard – the national organisation of disabled lesbians. General Manager. staff development or training days clashing with days of worship or festivals and promotion.org. 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.4 Resources for employment and training Stonewall Stonewall works to achieve legal equality and social justice for lesbians. • Find out about employers who belong to the Diversity Champions group set up by Stonewall in 2001. unless the employer can show that there is a legitimate business need.uk/stonewall In December 2003.stonewall.uk/careers . It is also unlawful to harass or bully someone because of their religion or belief. Under the new regulations it is unlawful.regard.eoc. gay men. 102 To find out more.open.dircon.uk/links/Discrimination 5. Published by AGCAS and available online at www.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the UK. visit our website at www. Scotland and Wales and similar regulations were also introduced in Northern Ireland. on the grounds of religion or belief.7 Religion or belief I greatly value IBM’s participation in the Diversity Champions Scheme. The most usual ways in which employers may discriminate might be around the way in which they recruit new staff. Larry Hirst. where they advertise.
As it is recent legislation. 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. it doesn’t necessarily mean that the employer doesn’t care about this. if this is a concern for you.uk/careers 103 . But how do you know this? • Look out for race equality schemes/equality and diversity policies.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. if the organisation has one. • Read the information in the recruitment pack. In the meantime. Alternatively.org. 5.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook If this is an area that is of concern to you. • Look out for employee profiles on employer websites. someone from human resources may be able to help. unless it is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR).pdf To find out more.ac.open. there is very little case law at present – greater understanding of how the legislation is interpreted and practised will come with time.bitc.gov. Does it include information about equality and diversity? If not. 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.lowpay. • Speak to the equality and diversity officer.7.1 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. visit our website at www. keep up to date on the law and your rights. Further resources The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 www.uk/er/equality/eeregs Managing the New Legislation on Religion and Belief www.
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
You are advised to ring first. with all its potential for improvement and advancement. look at these websites: England www.uk www.open.careerswales.prospects.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 6.3 Other sources of help 6.com Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland www.org.careers-scotland.org.ac. visit our website at www. but remember that you’re setting out on an exciting journey.uk/links/careersservices For details of adult advice and guidance services in the following countries.uk/library Finally You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations. Look in larger libraries for other publications mentioned in this book.uk/careers 107 .egsa.1 External guidance providers Other university careers services may be happy for OU students to use their information rooms. Some may be available for reference at your regional centre.open. go to: www.com Scotland www. Further resources A list of further resources is given at the end of each section of this book. Good luck and best wishes for your future! To find out more. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life. To find out about services offered by the Open University library at Walton Hall.guidancecouncil.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.3.uk Wales www.gradireland.ac. Look at the following website to find details of the nearest service to you: www.ac.
visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 108 To find out more.open.ac.uk/careers .
uk/careers 109 . visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.open.ac.
visit our website at www.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 110 To find out more.uk/careers .ac.
open.ac.uk/careers 111 . visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.
ac. visit our website at www.uk/careers .open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 112 To find out more.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.