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.
Working through the activities at your own pace gives you scope for quiet reflection. interests. people and materials are all useful resources. The best place to start is with yourself. and • Begin to plan how you might achieve it. the more precisely you can specify what you want and communicate it to employers. so the clearer you are about your own characteristics. make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with. with a careers adviser or perhaps through your appraiser at work or your line manager. so that you can build a sound foundation for later steps in reviewing your career. • I know what I want to do but don’t know how to achieve it Look at Sections 2. 4 and 5. It is you who will be in the work situation. and the more time and effort you put into them. values and personal needs • Decide what you want to achieve. they can act as a sounding board and suggest different ways of looking at things. and to define what you’re really looking for. You could take a relatively informal approach. They’re likely to be helpful when you reach the stage of completing application forms. You’ll certainly find it helpful to get comments and opinions from people who know you well. The more open minded. putting your CV together or preparing for an interview. This book invites you to recognise your own qualities and abilities.open. If you have particular concerns If you recognise concerns of your own – you may find more than one – in this list. Activities We encourage you to take time over the activities suggested in this book. visit our website at www. Time It’s difficult to foresee exactly how much time you’ll need. the most important influence on your career and life planning is you. • Will my age be a problem in changing career? Look at Sections 2.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. This is a reference source that can stand on its own. As we make changes and as circumstances change around us.ac. 4 and 6.ac. • I need to find a job in a particular geographical area Look at Section 2. Keep your activities as you work through them. This book focuses on you because although organisations. you might prefer to tackle the process in stages.uk/careers We recommend working through the workbook sections in order. designing a curriculum vitae (CV) and presenting yourself at interviews. the basis of our original plans inevitably shifts. Working through the activities should be challenging but rewarding. You may To find out more. but you might want to dip into different areas at different stages of your career planning and job seeking. make a note of the recommended sections: • I don’t know where to begin Look particularly at Section 1. The workbook outlines the practical steps needed for looking for a job. Working with others can give you ideas. the more productive they’ll be. working with a partner or friend. completing application forms. Whatever approach you decide on. and you might well need to return to them as your ideas develop. agencies. skills.open. perhaps when you’re not in the midst of your studies. • How should I use the internet in looking for jobs? Look at Section 2. but you could become distracted by the mechanics of the process. 3. To begin with. Ways of working Give some thought now to how you might work with these materials before you begin. support and encouragement. or set up a more formal relationship. planning a strategy. Career planning has to be a recurring process – you can’t do it once and for all. but it also complements information on our careers website. find some of them particularly time consuming. they can’t make things happen for you Remember. then settle back secure in the knowledge that you won’t have to do it again. • How should I update my CV? Look at Section 4.uk/careers 5 . You might find it useful to link up with another person or a small group. The website for the Careers Advisory Service is at: www. positive and constructive you are.
ac. that some of the activities (and others) are also available online on the Careers Advisory Service website at: www. Some of these resources and links are provided by The Open University and some by external agencies such as Graduate Prospects www. This is the first step in the career-review process. At intervals you’ll be asked to ‘pause for thought’ and note down your responses. for example.ac.uk/careers Here you will find links to lots of different activities and resources to assist in career planning and job seeking. You might be able to reduce your mortgage by moving to a smaller house or a cheaper area. training.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Knowing yourself In this section 1. and learnt how you cope with things and respond to different tasks and challenges. They offer different ways of considering what you’re like and what you can do. visit our website at www. less well-paid work. take a clear view of your career and life. Your past has shaped you through your family background. after exploring them. Try to keep an open mind when considering future possibilities. Note. and consider the questions ‘What am I like?’ and ‘What can I do?’ It will help you to review your life and work experience and the skills and qualities that have grown out of them.ac. You may find that some seemingly unchangeable things can be changed. The section starts by asking you to look back. You’ve gained knowledge and skills from your experiences. so that you can learn new skills or take up more enjoyable. This kind of self-knowledge is the soundest basis for making decisions about your future.uk To find out more.2 What work would suit me? 13 Remember that you may have potential that has yet to be developed. 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. work and leisure activities. there’s good reason to.prospects. This section will help you to develop your self-awareness. your education.open. and reject them only if. The activities in this section ask you to think about a series of questions as a beginning to your career review. 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.uk/careers 7 . however.1 What am I like? 8 1.
1 In this activity you’re going to draw a ‘lifeline’. Diploma) Daughter Bought flat (Improvement Grant) Bought house – garden-mortgage! Changes in company policy (new job. Another noted that all his positive job changes followed disappointments in his private life. noting any thoughts or ideas that occur to you: • What does the lifeline say about you and how you’ve lived your life? • Are there recognisable themes that have run through your life? • Is the pattern generally up or down? Is it steady or changeable? What sorts of incident were associated with the highs and lows? Are the highs generally associated with your own choices and the lows with the unexpected? Are there some experiences you cope with easily and others that really throw you? • Are there any lessons to be learnt? For instance. and to discover aspects of yourself that you might want to develop or change. this activity revealed to one person that all her high points were associated with praise from others and her low points with geographical moves.1. showing high and low points at different times of your life. A third recognised someone else as consistently and unobtrusively acting as a mentor. and he saw that each disappointment motivated him towards a change and offered opportunities. retirement and so on. Think about the feelings aroused by each experience and answer these questions.open. children. Example When you’ve drawn a lifeline that reflects your experiences. Note down key events. 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. and to consider how your early history contributed to it.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.ac.1 What am I like? 1.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Activity 1. visit our website at www. You may find it useful to talk through any difficult emotions with someone you trust. This activity can help you to gather insights that can influence your future choices. marriage. Put them in the form of a diagram like the one here. You’ll be asked to refer back to your lifeline later on. to help you think about the pattern of your life.uk/careers . 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. Moved House HIGH POINT Secondary School Qualified (production engineer) Marriage Son Became management trainee (part time study. consider it as a whole. such as education.
Some of this information will be useful when you put your CV together (see Section 4). such as strong aspects of your personality or talents. perhaps. school sports or activities you took part in. concentrating on your childhood and school life. 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.ac. family lifestyle. Pause for thought Now spend some time considering what your notes say about you – what you’re like.open. Maybe you had various abilities but developed one rather than another – sporting ability rather than artistic talent. could you have made different choices? Make a note of any insights you’ve gained through remembering and reflecting. the area and house you lived in. how your teachers saw you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. To find out more. what your parents expected of you. 4 Teenage years What activities were you good at or did you enjoy? How did your friends see you? What were you like as a teenager? What did you want to be? 1 Family influences If applicable. activities you participated in. experiences you had. with dates. the subjects you were good at and enjoyed. Make notes under the headings below. Looking back. and you might want to return to it later to change or add points. The activity may take some time. your role in the family. why and how you arrived at where you are today. You may see themes appearing. visit our website at www. how you saw your teachers. how you got on with other children. say something about any occupational influences on you.2 This activity brings out some of the early themes from your lifeline. 3 Schooling List the schools you went to.uk/careers 9 . For instance.
visit our website at www.uk/careers . note the achievements you’re most proud of and what they say about you. For example. things you do in your spare time.open. 10 To find out more.3 Looking back at your lifeline. passing your driving test on the fifth attempt may say a lot about your staying power and determination. They could be workrelated or to do with relationships. recent or a long time ago. Activity 1. 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.1. It can be a particularly useful approach if you haven’t had much formal experience like paid work – it’s easy to assume that skills gained outside work somehow don’t count. passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student. Set them out in the table below.ac.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.
1. You may be an employee (team leader. you develop skills of briefing and dealing with people as well as those of managing meetings. You may take part in voluntary work (counsellor. visit our website at www. By chairing meetings of a club. listener or organiser). You may be a parent (cook.open.uk/careers 11 .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.ac. working group member. communication and keeping to schedules. How do you feel about them? Which do you most enjoy using? How could you use them in work? To find out more. As a student. time management. Each role demands different skills. gardener and household manager). time management.4 Now complete the table below. you need skills of learning. If you are a parent. My main roles 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Looking at all your roles. If you enjoy DIY. project manager).Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. you’ve developed not only practical skills but planning and organising skills as well. Circle the ones that are particular strengths. you have needed to develop skills of budgeting. Again. Activity 1. cooking. delegating. are you surprised at the number of things you do and take for granted every day? Look at the skills you’ve listed. as many skills are learnt outside paid work. and so on. this is a particularly useful exercise if you have little work experience to draw on.
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. visit our website at www.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. personal characteristics or interests. they need not be barriers to the future.ac.1. What are the possibilities in your interests? Swimming? DIY? Photography? Have you held positions of responsibility in any of them? What have you contributed to your household for instance? Can you see any interests or hobbies that might be helpful to future work plans? For example. but your spare-time activities could help you to demonstrate skills and qualities.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. 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. what would you now say are your main strengths and weaknesses? They can be skills. My main strengths 1 2 3 4 5 6 My main weaknesses 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 To find out more.open. What have you learnt about yourself? Bringing some of your answers together.uk/careers . Remember that strengths can be built on for the future and weaknesses can be reduced by your efforts. It’s easy to forget that leisure activities can give us as many skills and abilities as work. Activity 1.
2. or you may prefer something that can give you a better balance between work and home life. 1. you need to be clear about how important work is to you. You might be highly ambitious. it’s time to think about work.1 How big a part of my life is work? Before considering what you want to do.open. Activity 1. How does this feel? Is it right for you or would you like to change this aspect of your life? To find out more. 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. for example. for example if you scored –20. and might be seen as ‘laid back’. have little concern about getting on in your career. If you don’t have much experience of paid work.6 Rate each of the following statements Use this scale – try to avoid choosing 3 if you can: 5 4 3 2 1 Always true Usually true Neither true nor untrue Usually untrue Always untrue Add up your scores From the odd-numbered questions From the even-numbered questions Take the ‘even’ score away from the ‘odd’ score (even if it produces a minus score) What did you score? If you have a plus (+) score The higher your score. If you scored +20. The next activity can help you to think about this. This is something that varies from person to person. but you don’t let work rule your life.2 What work would suit me? Now that you’ve spent some time considering the skills and qualities you’ve developed through experience. visit our website at www. At the lower end of the scale. think about your approach to activities or projects. You may have found yourself in a post that takes over and leaves little time for family life. You might even be seen as ‘workaholic’! If you have a minus (–) score You don’t see work as the most important aspect of your life. you would always put work first and aim high in your achievements. You have some concern about doing well and making progress. the stronger your ambition.uk/careers 13 . or you might avoid positions that regularly eat into your leisure time. If you have a more central score You keep a balance between work and leisure.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.ac. even workaholic. you would put your social life before work.
visit our website at www. and you might want to come back to it later. You may also have learnt from others. make a similar list of unpaid or voluntary experience for example. Did you volunteer or were you directed into it? If you had some choice. If you have limited or no experience of paid employment. but it’s easy to take yourself for granted and not recognise the wide range and high level of skills and abilities you have. unpaid or voluntary) by noticing how you feel about different tasks and respond to work situations. 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. You will have learnt a huge amount through work (whether paid. note how it came about. Activity 1. note the range of tasks or activities you had to do. with dates. The activity may take some time. Many will be ‘transferable skills’ that you can use in other situations.7 1 List the jobs you’ve had. either through formal appraisal or from informal comments and reactions. The next activity helps you to explore your experience. and will be useful when preparing for interviews (see Section 4).2 What work experience have I had? Most people would agree that work experience is very important when considering future directions.open. fundraising for a charity or involvement in a conservation project. what factors seemed important in deciding to take it up? 3 For each job. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. helping readers at school. delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’.ac. or how well you perform particular activities in comparison with other people.uk/careers . 2 For each job. 4 Did you have to deal with any difficulties? 5 Which tasks or activities did you find most appealing.2.
8 Some work roles and areas of competence are listed below.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. To find out more. cross it out. If you’re not sure or if it’s only partly true.uk/careers 15 .2. visit our website at www. Circle any that describe you particularly. All the words describe positive qualities. Does it sound like you? If it comes to you easily. Activity 1.3 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. apply this to whatever activity has taken up a lot of your time. If work hasn’t been a major part of your life. 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. leave it blank. if it isn’t a usual role for you.open. Work through each role in the list. put a tick beside it. Can you think of any specific activities or actions at work or in non-work activities that show that they describe you? What evidence can you give to prove them? How do you feel about them? Which do you most relish carrying out? You’ll find this list useful when you come to preparing a CV. completing an application form or attending an interview (which you will cover in more detail in Section 4).
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. visit our website at www. caring for others (s) Always like to win. circling your position on the scale. think more generally about your life if your workplace experiences are limited. come in top (f) Like persuading.ac. deciding how you compare with other people. 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. show feelings (f) Happy to be in charge of others (s) Prefer traditional ways of action (t) Equable. Activity 1. Again.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. More Plan ahead and keep to it (t) Stickler for detail or accuracy (t) Easy mixer. get anxious (f) Like deadlines and timetables (t) Usually take a leading role (s) Good with complex ideas or data (t) Demonstrative.2. act independently (s) More practical than theoretical (t) Determined (f) Sympathetic.open. Try to use the full range of ratings from 5 (much more so than most) to 1 (much less so than most).9 Work through the following descriptions.4 What sort of person am I to work with? Your personality affects your style of operating in the workplace and the way you respond to situations. negotiating (s) Tend to worry.uk/careers .
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.uk/careers 17 .ac. 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.open. 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.9 continued Now look over your ratings. visit our website at www. You can group them into those to do with relating to people and social situations (s). one is a stickler for detail while another is not too concerned about fine accuracy. While one is reserved. The better you know yourself. the more opportunities you create for finding a situation that will suit you. and to do with your drives and emotions (f). If you think about your colleagues you’ll be aware how they differ from each other. but you do need to take your own traits into account. some people are at ease giving a presentation while others find it very nerveracking. to do with your approach to work tasks (t).
Your discoveries might be to do with your skills and abilities or your attitudes.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. Some people have been taught or have learnt particular skills for themselves – competence in a computer language. temperament or way of dealing with the world. The next activities are based on your own knowledge. You can learn about your aptitudes from other people’s comments. Others have specialist knowledge. such as accounting standards or employment law. Review As you may be discovering. projects you’ve tackled successfully. It’s also important for you to know what you’re good at. You might discover that your strengths are grouped in some areas rather than others. or perhaps you used or developed a skill you already had. Activity 1.10 Look back at your list of achievements and what they say about you. Some people have a creative imagination. as you learn through your own study. etc.uk/careers . 18 To find out more. as it enables you to recognise the talents you have and also to see whether there are gaps you want to work on.2. by trial and error. but it’s not a necessary connection. by reading and so on. rather than simply thinking through these questions. It’s also useful as evidence when you’re completing a CV or attending an interview. relation or a careers adviser. What have you learnt? It can help. for example. There’s generally some connection between what we can do well and what we enjoy doing. others a photographic memory. You should also remember that you’ll go on developing as you cope with different demands. others are skilful with statistics. You may have learnt more about your personality. This question is of particular interest to employers.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. as it affects the work or the parts of a particular job that you can perform best. to have someone else with whom to talk through your answers – perhaps a friend. You may have begun to gain more insights or realisations about your own nature.ac. initiatives you’ve put into practice. Now list some of your work/voluntary/domestic achievements. 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. Perhaps you had to learn a new technique. It’s useful to know this. but do use any other information you can get. it’s helpful to reflect on your past as you approach a decision that will significantly affect your life. visit our website at www. Then think about the knowledge and abilities you needed to apply in order to achieve the result. by observing others.open. by going on training courses. You can be good at something without particularly enjoying it. ambitions. Consider your answers so far. needs and values. 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.
just acceptable skills Very basic level. ability to convey information without confusion 3 Fluent speech. reliably perform better than average Good level.ac. not usually adequate No significant level of skills Communication Rating 1 Listening. Be as honest as you can both in admitting lack of skill and in acknowledging your competence. giving a presentation 6 Using the telephone effectively: few misunderstandings 7 Reading efficiently: readily taking in written information 8 Writing effectively.open. Try to use the full range of ratings. Rate each of the following statements Use this scale – try to avoid choosing 3 if you can: 6 5 4 3 2 1 Very high. 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. generally able to do it quite well Reasonable level. The activity is grouped into skills which are of particular importance to employers.uk/careers 19 . outstanding performance High level.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. visit our website at www. often referred to as ‘employability’ or ‘transferable skills’.11 This activity will help you to assess your skills in more detail. Consider how well you can carry out each one in comparison with other people. words flowing easily 4 Drawing people out. to encourage them to speak 5 Commanding an audience. taking in what others say and checking your understanding of the information 2 Clear verbal expression.
teaching or coaching others 4 Delegating and managing others 5 Leading a work group. encouraging.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Dealing with people 1 Showing sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others. chairing a meeting 6 Encouraging. motivating. dealing with conflict 9 Interviewing. assessing or appraising 10 Persuading.uk/careers .ac. getting the best out of others 7 Counselling: helping with personal problems 8 Negotiating: mediating. taking account of this in dealing with them 2 Getting on with a variety of people and building up working relationships 3 Instructing. visit our website at www. 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. uses and sources of loan finance 12 Operating costing system Rating Total score 20 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. practical problems 9 Using manual dexterity.uk/careers 21 .ac. hand-eye coordination 10 Understanding physical sciences 11 Understanding engineering 12 Maintaining or repairing complex equipment Rating Total score To find out more. 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. visit our website at www.open.
visit our website at www. intuitive or imaginative 6 Developing others’ products or ideas 7 Writing with imagination or creativity 8 Seeing new possibilities or openings 9 Appreciating new or unconventional aspects 10 Visualising: imagining how something will look 11 Working creatively with shapes. colours.uk/careers .ac. filing system or recording procedures Rating Total score 22 To find out more.open. systems. events or courses 5 Being insightful. sounds and patterns 12 Innovating and improving procedures in your own field Rating Total score Administrative/organisational 1 Managing your time 2 Planning systematically 3 Operating procedures precisely 4 Making things run like clockwork 5 Handling in-trays efficiently 6 Meeting deadlines 7 Producing clear operational structures 8 Developing resources to achieve objectives 9 Organising working time 10 Monitoring procedures and progress 11 Making detailed plans of action 12 Having a well-organised work space.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Creative/innovative 1 Generating alternative solutions to problems 2 Creating original ideas 3 Improvising or adapting for other purposes 4 Designing new things. layouts.
you can use the information when you come to consider alternatives. Look at the skills you scored most highly in and those you most enjoy. Recognising the skills you have to offer is key in being able to market yourself to an employer (see also Section 4). and that the wider the range of skills you have.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Summary Now add up all your total scores. To find out more. the greater the variety of job options open to you. Remember that skills can always be developed simply by using them more. List those here: Pause for thought What does this activity tell you? Are there any surprises or does it confirm your expectations? Either way.uk/careers 23 . but would like to develop.open.ac. visit our website at www. Now look through the original ratings to see whether there are skills you’re not yet very competent in. 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.
business and trading Value AUTONOMY VARIETY INTELLECTUAL SOCIAL ECONOMIC SPIRITUAL USING ABILITIES COMMITMENT EXCITEMENT AUTHORITY AESTHETIC ADVANCEMENT ALTRUISM COMFORT CREATIVITY PHYSICAL COMMERCIAL Rating Pause for thought Does this make clear your reasons for wanting to work? Does it suggest the kind of work you like to do or the type of organisation you feel most at home working for? Clearly. people. keeping moving. This doesn’t mean that you can achieve everything you wish. It is important. though.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. as restrictions of one kind or another will limit everyone’s range of choice. thrills Having influence or power over others Enjoying or making beautiful designs or things Getting promotion. excitement. Activity 1.6 What do I really want from work? Now that you’ve thought about who and where you are and the skills you have. developing skills Being part of an important organisation Having lots of stimulus. places Scope to learn. think. a newspaper office.uk/careers . the next step is to recognise what you’re satisfied with and what you’re dissatisfied with. In the same way. visit our website at www. a financial institution and so on will each have a different ‘feel’ as a place to work. study.open. handling things Taking risks. career progression Helping or caring for others Concern for surroundings or location Being original. expensive possessions Expressing ethical code or religious beliefs Using talents.2.12 Rate the values below for importance. analyse Making friendly contacts with others Large income. 4 Very important 3 Important 2 Less important 1 Not important Description Making decisions. Try to use the full range of scores. independent action Change or variety in tasks. Try to think through which would suit you best. some kinds of work have more to do with ALTRUISM and others with ECONOMIC or CREATIVE values. a charity. not to limit yourself by concentrating so much on restrictions that you achieve less than you might. developing new ideas Activity. a manufacturing company. a local authority. 24 To find out more.
consider the following. repetitive.13 To complete your examination of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. visit our website at www. 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. challenges to rise to. Too little Adequate Well paid Variety Individuals differ in the amount of variety they prefer. Circle the level that applies to your present or most recent job. But having very high-level. for example) can be stressful. For work satisfaction it’s important to feel that there’s some match between your contribution and the position you hold. closely controlled work is generally far from satisfying. complicated demands repeatedly made on us can be stressful. Too little About right Too much Opportunity for control Simple. Note any ideas that occur to you. Too little About right Too much Goals People function best when there are demands to be met. targets to be achieved. Too little About right Too much Opportunity to use skills Most of us enjoy using and developing our skills and competence. but most of us get satisfaction from being with others.ac. inadequate income causes many problems and dissatisfactions. We all have our own preferred level of demand. Money Clearly. but on the other hand having a high level of responsibility (being a managing director. but it’s stimulating to have some change and variation in the work environment.2. being in a tightly defined job can feel restricting.open. To find out more. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Equally. Too little About right Too much Respect Most of us like to be thought well of and respected by others. Too little About right Too much Social contact Everyone’s need for contact is different. chatting over coffee or working in a team.uk/careers 25 .7 How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? Activity 1. Too little About right Too much Clear boundaries A work situation where boundaries aren’t clear can cause uncertainty and conflict.
26 To find out more. visit our website at www. If your occupation is to ‘feel right’. Any significant mismatch is likely to leave you feeling dissatisfied or stressed or becoming cynical about your job.ac.uk/careers . perhaps discuss them with a confidant and if necessary modify them. Take time to reflect on the results of the activities in this section. agree with your beliefs in general and allow you to express your personality.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.open.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. Note your thoughts here.
ac. Tick Yes. Not sure or No according to how you feel about each activity. visit our website at www. Activity 1. you also need to consider your interests.2. but only of your own preferences.15 Look through these kinds of work and consider whether you would like to carry each one out. Assume that you could do the activity if you wanted to. You will have had experience of some of them.uk/careers 27 .8 What kind of work would I like to do? To help you decide on the kind of work you’d like to do.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Yes 1 Supervise staff dealing with correspondence 2 Design a staff appraisal scheme 3 Monitor quality control activities 4 Keep up to date with computing developments 5 Put budgeting procedures into practice 6 Develop a marketing plan for a new service 7 Keep abreast of scientific developments 8 Write information booklets 9 Supervise process control staff 10 Organise renewal of insurance cover 11 Plan staff training schemes 12 Forecast drawing office work schedules 13 Find new areas for computer applications 14 Keep abreast of money market changes 15 Negotiate prices with suppliers 16 Plan research and development (R and D) 17 Handle public relations issues (PR) 18 Revise road delivery schedules 19 Plan introduction of new clerical procedures 20 Interview job applicants 21 Organise installation of an internal telephone system Not sure No To find out more.open. Try to imagine whether you’d like doing the others or not. Interests are to do with the things you find most appealing or enjoyable. It’s not a question of your ability or qualifications.
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. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.uk/careers .ac.
visit our website at www. 17. 27. 24. 47 Questions 3. 40. 39. 48 Questions 4. 10. 52 Questions 8. 25. 51 Questions 7. 28. 34. 20. 29. 15. 44. 45. 54 To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.15 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.open. 19. 38. 46 Questions 2. 43. 13. 21. 23. 33. 18. 22. 16. 49 Questions 5. 41. 32.ac.uk/careers 29 . 14. 36. 31. 53 Questions 9. 26. 42. 37. 30. 12. 50 Questions 6. 11. 35.
15 continued What your scores mean Your scores relate to different kinds of work activity: Score A Administrative/legal/secretarial e. The list of interests we’ve considered in this activity reflects common graduate and managerial areas of work. IT consultant. Access Prospects Planner via the Prospects website by logging on to: www. It will then match your profile with an occupational database to produce a list of job suggestions for you to consider. Prospects Planner. even if in a different kind of organisation. It might be that you work or have worked in your highest-scoring area and enjoyed it. quality assurance manager. The result may be no surprise. database administrator E Accounting/finance e. Alternatively.open. electronics engineer. sales manager G Scientific/engineering/research and design e.ac. laboratory technician D Data processing e. 30 To find out more. interests.uk/careers . recruitment manager C Technical support e. interpreter I Operational/production/distribution e.g. visit our website at www.g. the pattern may suggest a move to a different area of work.g. If so. 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. do take account of them in considering your future. If you have interests outside this ‘managerial scheme’. dancing.prospects. you’ll need to register. charity officer. but it will give you a starting point to explore areas of work that may interest you. production manager Write in your total score for each group. This is an online career-planning tool that will help you explore your skills. craft and natural environment areas.g.uk/links/Pplanner First. health service manager B Personnel/training/education e.g. tax inspector F Marketing/sales/purchasing e. and motivations. librarian. this is a reassuring confirmation and suggests that you should consider continuing in that or related work. It doesn’t include artistic.g. management accountant.ac.g. primary teacher.g. Use Section 2 of this workbook to help you research the results you have got in the above activities.16 You may also find it useful to work through Prospects Planner. doesn’t tell you what you should do. playing a musical instrument. like similar programs. Simply click on Login/Register in the My Prospects account box on the home page and go from there. nor those that depend on performance skills such as acting. transport planner. Activity 1. retail buyer. Before carrying on.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. architect H Information/communication e.g. creative.
open.ac. 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.uk/careers 31 . When you’ve done that.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Review Read through the results of your work and reflect on the notes you’ve made. 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. you may want to look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. Now complete the summary chart below. visit our website at www.
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.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. such as location.ac.open. visit our website at www. travel. organisational structure.uk/careers . etc. 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.
open.ac. You could take a look at the Windmills website. You need to register (free) to use it at: www. You may prefer.uk/careers Whichever route you choose.uk/careers 33 .ac. people.open. however.com Learndirect Futures is another career interestassessment website that generates job suggestions. visit our website at www.co. The tactics you will find most relevant at this stage are: • Tactic 1: Focusing your skills – self-reliance. It covers job roles at all levels of responsibility rather than those just at graduate level as covered by Prospects Planner. which OU students can do by contacting your regional centre.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook You may wish to talk over some of your initial thoughts with a careers adviser before you go on to the next section.learndirect-futures. general and specialist skills analyses • Tactic 2: Finding your ideal job – includes a motivation assessment You can access the website at: www.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. good luck with the next step! Further resources Try these resources for developing self-awareness. 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. Windmills consists of seven stages or ‘tactics’. This is a virtual career coach which teaches individual career-management skills. The content of Section 1 can provide a really useful starting point to an individual consultation with a careers adviser. You may find it useful to complete this section before you book an interview.uk To find out more.
private and voluntary sectors.1 A typical strategy A strategic approach pays dividends.) Otherwise. so be organised and systematic. (In fact.1. If you haven’t yet got a clear picture of the kind of work or job you want to pursue. where and how often vacancies are advertised. and be prepared to ask for comments on how you’ve done. As a result. What information they do have can often be based on personal experience or rumour. • Get a general view before you start to draw up a shortlist. 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. visit our website at www. • Don’t forget that you need to review and evaluate your progress from time to time. people’s job-seeking methods can be disorganised and inefficient. 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. We are assuming at this stage that you know what you want to do. the recruitment process will be quite different. Always keep copies of your applications.2 Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Exploring possibilities In this section 2. when. 2. 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. you will be able to focus much more accurately on what you need to do to achieve your goal. rather than carefully organised and systematic. So. To find out more.2 2. or for jobs that don’t fit your needs or meet your expectations. • Look into and follow up all sources of information.ac.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. • Do some research: find out how.1 2. jobs and developments in sectors you’re interested in. work through Section 1 ‘Knowing yourself’ before going any further.3 2. This means that you must be flexible enough to adapt your approach to the diversity of methods used by potential employers.open. The local sawmill is likely to approach the task differently from a multinational advertising agency.uk/careers 35 . Another key fact you need to understand is that different sectors and employers have their own traditional methods for recruiting.4 2. • Build up a file of background information about companies. By planning your job-search strategy.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43 2. A typical strategy means that you will: • Consider all the opportunities open to you: public.
look into trends in the area. The graduate has to be an expert in a very specific area.ac. and graduates are now entering a much wider range of jobs. Research conducted by Elias and Purcell in 2004 (Seven Years On: Graduate Careers in a Changing Labour Market. employment seeking strategies have had to be flexible and responsive to the employment market. both on the number of people employed and on the work that they do. However. and don’t forget to follow up useful contacts from job advertisements. This is still so. it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define exactly what’s meant by a ‘graduate job’.open. • Be prepared to persist. representatives from professional bodies.ac.ac. • Use local career libraries. As you research the main occupational areas that interest you. so that you can present yourself effectively. regional representatives. You can do this by exploring jobs in sectors on the Prospects website at www. • Follow up this information by talking to professional careers advisers and people in the job areas that interest you. www.1.1 What is a ‘graduate’ job? One of the main reasons employers recruit graduates is that they expect them to be more flexible. alumni. professional bodies. File copies of letters and applications and record the progress on each one. the better the choices you make will be. To review your progress: • Consider what appears to work and what doesn’t. It’s becoming apparent that it isn’t always the classification of the job that’s important. websites. 2 36 To find out more. fellow students. for all graduate job-seekers and job-changers. more adaptable to change. for example.2. sample advertisements.ac. there has been a development of new professional areas requiring graduate-level qualifications. • Set up a file of job information. • Be realistic about the skills and experience you have and those you need to acquire. Modern graduate occupations Since the expansion of higher education in the 1960s. solicitors or research scientists.uk/links/SectorBs 2. relevant journals. • Acknowledge those who have helped you – quick telephone calls or thank-you notes may pay dividends. specialist and general trade directories. and ask yourself why. 2. press releases etc. job descriptions and person specifications.prospects. • If you are a student. look at the OU Career Links scheme where you can talk to a ‘career helper’ from the OU community at www.open. • Get to know the main sources of information about careers and jobs. As large numbers of graduates enter an increasingly diverse range of jobs.2 Graduate-level jobs Another important aspect of any job-search strategy is to consider your options realistically in the context of the current and future employment market. useful company and sector contacts.uk/careers/links • Personal contacts can be invaluable: tutors. details of salary bands. • Use a range of job-search methods. the graduate labour market boundaries are blurring.3 Review your progress Keep records of all contacts and applications you make.2 Information Information is an essential tool in job hunting. and capable of learning new skills. visit our website at www. A high level of interactive and communication skills is usually required for these areas in addition to having received training in the specific area.1. 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. 2.uk/links/ CSDSevenYears) grouped graduate jobs into five distinct categories: 1 Traditional graduate occupations Established professions for which a degree has historically been required. The fuller your awareness of the opportunities open to you. and the more you know about each possibility. useful articles. They’ll all have a bearing on employment. • Constantly reassess your assumptions about questions such as your mobility and your job preferences. but the nature of the graduate’s experience and aspirations.prospects.uk/careers . You need to find out as much as you can about the job(s) and the companies you’re applying to. journalism or social work. • Keep notes of your conversations. for instance.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.
2. the data shows the unemployment figure for OU students from the 2003/4 survey to be 2. In fact. marketing.uk In 2004 unemployment among all students was 6. nursing. Barclays) only 14 per cent of respondents had a place on a graduate training scheme with a blue chip employer. This data is published annually and can be seen at www. engineering. 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.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. According to the Graduate Experience 2002 Report (DTI.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. retail management. Niche graduate occupations This is an expanding area. environmental health).uk/links/wdgd and on the Teaching Quality website at www.ac.ac.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.ac. There are many instances of graduates in these occupations demonstrating their potential and developing their initial role to fit their skills. For more information on SMEs go to: www.5 per cent. At the beginning of 2002. Non-graduate occupations Increasing numbers of graduates don’t immediately enter the ‘graduate labour market’.prospects.tqi. Some are relatively new occupations whereas the nature of others has changed so that an increasingly common route into them is via a graduate level qualification (for instance.uk/careers 37 .1 per cent six months after leaving. Many are in nongraduate jobs but using the skills that they have developed as a result of their studies.prospects. a growing proportion of graduates find their first jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). graphic design. 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. Although we know that OU students start from a different point as many are working while they study.open. The ability to access and use specialist information is an additional skill for these areas. 2. there were 3.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3 4 5 New graduate occupations These reflect changes in technology and organisational structures and priorities. visit our website at www.
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. in that they are never even advertised! Often.ac. Consider what you can do for them.uk/careers . Today’s labour market is increasingly diverse. • Think about doing voluntary work. Most of us need to review our careers now and again to take account of changes in ourselves and the opportunities open to us. • 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. or talk to them in person. [Adapted from the AGCAS booklet Job Seeking Strategies] Pause for thought Ask yourself what you can take forward from these ideas.4. • Investigate the possibility of employment through a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’. You may want to ask to meet people. a partnership between employers and higher education institutions – look at www.4 Finding vacancies When it comes to job vacancies. qualities and experience. and customise them with a particular opportunity or employer in mind (see Section 4 ‘Getting the job’).2). including those in organisations you’ve already worked for (if any). Learn how to use the telephone effectively – there’s some advice about this in Section 2. visit our website at www. you need to play by a set of new rules. This may give you an identifiable edge in the job market. 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.2. knowledgeable people.9 and 2. Try to contact the person who makes the decisions and might be interested in your talents.2. In fact. Be clear about what you’re offering to do.10). So. it’s estimated that 7 out of 10 jobs are ‘hidden’. See Section 2. • Develop an excellent CV and application letter. they are classified as either ‘open’ or ‘hidden’. skill development and knowledge of the industry or job area. What will your job search strategy look like? 2. None of us can predict what kind of jobs might be available in the next few years. • Don’t limit your marketing to letters of application. 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. but prefers specific skills. but don’t let them use you. which were discussed above in Section 2.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. The best advice is to start as early as possible and be creative in your job search.open.1 Applying for hidden jobs Hidden jobs are produced: • by organisational changes that make old jobs obsolete and create new ones. • Find contacts in the sorts of organisation and job you’d really like.ktponline.3 Creative job search The career-review process isn’t something you do once and for all and then never do again.5. and to foster contacts.org. and what benefits you hope to gain from the experience.6 for details. • Cultivate well-placed. in times of recession. 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. Make sure they keep you in mind for suitable vacancies. 38 To find out more.4.5. • Use the internet to research into companies and job vacancies. • Find out about getting appropriate training or study with work experience. 2. may not advertise so as not to be inundated with applications. To succeed. • Use employment agencies. Consider temporary or part-time work to enhance your marketability. SMEs.uk • Don’t forget the increasingly important nontraditional graduate recruiters (small and mediumsized enterprises – SMEs.4. how long for.
Offer dates and times. Economic. even open jobs are hidden during the early stages. Ask questions about the employer’s needs. Be prepared to negotiate. sectors. To get started try: • General trade directories e. Marketing yourself means keeping ahead of the competition. selection dates. teaching. reorganising. showing how your abilities can contribute to the success of the enterprise. This approach isn’t comfortable for some people for example. • Look at company websites and find out more about them. Familiarise yourself with its problems and needs. Does the profession you’re interested in produce one? Use www. • Get a meeting No one ever got a job merely by writing a letter. You’re not sending out a mail drop or a circular letter. Turnover. for example. Which organisations have the sort of position that attracts you? Who is recruiting.uk/links/occupations to see if there are any. a very nervous jobhunter. Speculative approaches can even create new jobs. This approach gives you the initiative. You decide which organisations. com) • Specialist trade directories for different occupational areas.ac.2 Making speculative approaches Please note that making speculative approaches to companies is not permitted in Northern Ireland. jobs and areas most appeal to you. • Consult the main directories in your local reference library. while decisions are being made about internal versus external recruitment campaigns. You’re making a business proposition.kompass. Be flexible.open. Be prepared to fit in with the employer’s availability. The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book.3 To make an effective speculative contact • Pick out likely targets Be discriminating and choose worthwhile prospects. Convince employers that you have exactly the skills they need to solve their business problems.4. visit our website at www. Get any agreements – proposals or contracts – in writing as soon as you can. • 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). promotion and retirement continually create new job opportunities. Yellow Pages. show where you can fit in. KOMPASS (www. and how you would improve. job titles and addresses are correct. • Always follow up If you hear nothing within two weeks of writing. perhaps to arrange a meeting through a secretary. follow up by telephone.4. Your letter. Research the organisation. Remember. for instance.g. Prove that they need your abilities and would benefit from your expertise. The effective job-seeker must tap the hidden market by making speculative approaches to prospective employers.prospects. relocating? Use all your information sources and network contacts (which we will discuss in more detail below) to select a portfolio of companies. Thompson Directory. If a fulltime appointment isn’t practical. telephone call or email must reach the right person. technological and organisational change always affect employment patterns. You’re not asking for a job or hoping there might be a vacancy. develop or help it become more effective. • Give a specific reason for contact Have a peg to hang your letter on. Treat the employer as a client. there may be a possibility of employing you for a particular shortterm project. 2. Consider what’s right for you and your ‘target’ area. explaining what you offer and what you can do.uk/careers 39 . And be sure you can deliver the goods! • When you meet Be businesslike and professional in making your proposals. Check with the organisation to make sure that names. Demonstrate that they can’t afford not to employ you. You want a meeting: say so clearly when you write.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. 2. ac. Each approach must be tailor made and will take time to prepare. Prepare for the meeting as you would for a job interview. advertising space and so on. It isn’t enough just to wait for jobs to be advertised in the media. and concentrate on those. nor appropriate in some areas of employment. You must prepare a thoroughly argued case to prove that the cost of employing you is more than outweighed by the benefits. To find out more.
open. and responses may be slow and few. Make the most of it. ‘Networking’ is the systematic use of personal contacts to: • gather information about an industry or company • discover hidden jobs. the day on which most papers are sold.6 Replying to advertised jobs If you reply to an advertisement. there’s no point in sending a CV. For now.7 Newspapers and journals You will find many job vacancies advertised in newspapers and specialist or trade journals. The best place to consult newspapers and journals is your local library or online if you have access to the internet. as recruiters seldom place their advertisements more than once.uk/careers .prospects. Remember every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’! • • • • • The internet Newspaper. Make a note of the advertising patterns: you will find that most of the quality daily papers (The Times. about the job advertised or the selection methods they use. August to mid-September and December. Here you will find links to jobs notified to the OU Careers Service and access to other UK wide and local vacancies.5 below. it may seem a little strange to seek out hidden jobs.com 2. look for sources through www.4.ac.5 Applying for advertised jobs Many jobs are of course advertised and here we look at where.4. If it says write.4. trade and professional journals Professional associations Recruitment agencies Executive search firms In all these cases. 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. Local and regional papers sometimes concentrate their job advertisements on Thursdays.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Take a long-term view It takes time to build up a mailing list. During holiday periods. Many employers send very poor information. Use these meetings to get more information about the job market.ac. 40 To find out more.thepaperboy. If you are an OU student. 2. 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. visit our website at www. You may have to do some detective work if the advertisement doesn’t give a telephone number. you may need to look at them every day. especially in particular companies • get an introduction to a key decision-maker in a company. Each employer you see is a new contact. Make a note of advertising patterns in your local press.ac.4 Networking In the 2003/4 Destination of Leavers Survey. Guardian. Independent. always follow the instructions given. Financial Times) advertise certain kinds of work on particular days of the week. But experience supports the practical wisdom of doing so. At the start. Even if you have no luck with a particular employer. Because advertising in national newspapers is costly. We will deal with networking in more detail in Section 2. you may be referred or recommended to another. 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.uk/links/occupations 2.4. 21 per cent of OU students reported that they had got their job as a result of personal contacts and networking. whom you can convince of your qualities as a candidate. telephone or email for an application form. after an initial refusal. Making speculative contacts can pay off in several ways. 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. but their relatively high advertising rates tend to restrict the salary range to the higher end. You will find links to national and regional papers from www. If you’re going to make speculative approaches. • develop further contacts to expand your network. Show initiative by telephoning or emailing if you need to know more. Each rejection may be one step nearer to the job you want. go to www. you may be offered a meeting. Daily Telegraph. or none at all. At first. and familiarise yourself with the kinds of advertisement placed in each paper. • Persevere Occasionally persistence will pay off and. or to concentrate on particular companies just because they appeal to you.open. 2. advertising is reduced.uk/ careers and to the section entitled ‘Moving on’ and look at the ‘Advertised Jobs’ and ‘Virtual Employer Fair’ pages. The big Sunday papers advertise a variety of jobs. start planning early in your job search.
Remember that it’s there to fill its clients’ posts. though. Some produce yearbooks and lists of members. They often act for small to medium-sized employers that have no personnel or recruitment departments of their own.open. about what the agency is offering you.uk/careers 41 . the British Psychological Society and the Training and Development Agency for Schools. have a regional education or training officer and sometimes specialist careers adviser whom you can contact. usually a percentage of your first year’s salary. Be clear. To find out more. Addresses and other details are in the Directory of British Associations at www.9 Recruitment agencies Recruitment agencies tend to deal with lowerlevel salaried positions.8 Professional associations Many professional associations and institutions. not to help you sort out your career plans. visit our website at www. Many specialise in particular kinds of work or industry.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.4. for example.ac. and in some areas of employment (such as medical sales) they are almost the standard source of recruits. 2.4. Services are free to you – the employing company is charged a fee.com and in most major libraries.cbdresearch.
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. Many sites change rapidly and there are no guarantees about the accuracy of the information displayed. If you decide to use a search firm. they can be a useful source of information about how you were received by the client. and always include details of your former salary and the range you’re looking for.html You can also register free on My Prospects.uk. You can also receive the Prospects Graduate Digital magazine. You can access this at: www. so if you apply to a large firm operating in many locations you need to send your CV to all of them. Always try to cross-check information. Sometimes contingency firms will distribute your CV widely in the hope of generating new business. specialist IT skills. They are of two main kinds: • Fee/assignment firms are given sole charge of a particular search. Most graduate recruiters now recruit online as well as using other methods. Bear in mind that not all sites offer confidentiality. Remember that: • Websites may not always deliver what they promise. You can find this at: www. Further resources Look at the following website developed by Strathclyde University Careers Service which directs job seekers to vetted job websites. They seldom divulge information about their clients.prospects. visit our website at www. • It’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees – not everyone has a brilliant web designer. Most consultants limit interviews and initially are likely to carry out a telephone screening with you. if the website’s main interest is simply to capture personal details and sell on a CV. As a result. send a CV and covering letter. published annually by Kogan Page. They tend to be used for jobs that are at a high level or require scarce specialist skills for example. They receive enormous numbers of CVs and often don’t bother to acknowledge them. 2. You can search for agencies by geographical location and by type of work from their website at: www. As noted above. their role is limited by the high fees they charge to employers (typically 30–35 per cent of annual salary).000. search firms may deal with a limited type of vacancy.ac.careers.11 The internet Most jobs are now advertised on the internet through national websites directly associated with particular careers.ac. • Contingency firms are paid only when the company hires someone they have presented.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. edited by Patricia Leighton. They get most of their fee whether the employer hires their candidates or not.open.uk/links/MyProspects 42 To find out more. and your personal details may become public property. they prefer to receive a CV to judge whether you fit what they have on their books at that moment. You can find addresses of search firms in The Daily Telegraph’s Recruitment Handbook.uk/graduatejobsearch/ index. or are marketable enough to fit something that might turn up in the future.com • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is the national association for the recruitment and staffing industry.ac. or when commercial confidentiality is essential. Try to make sure you use vetted or recommended websites only to post your CV. The average search firm has only three or four consultants. similarly.10 Executive search firms There are more than 200 executive search firms in the UK.4.uk/careers . Some employers let more than one contingency firm work on a particular job.strath. • Websites sometimes go online while still under development. they’re worth considering if you have skills that are in short supply – accountancy is a particular example. If they send you to an interview they’ll want to know how things went. They may interview you and construct a pen picture to go with your CV. You could find yourself treated like a trading commodity. 2. 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.badenochandclark. While they are important in the market place.4. Although some firms deal only with positions above £50.rec.com Consultants often don’t share information with one another. There are also opportunities to ‘post’ your CV on the web.
conversation and so on. so it’s difficult to judge what impression you’re making. they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. or they may lead to other secondary sources. Be persistent. Even if these people can’t help you themselves.5. smiles and so on. Others. Make a note in your career file of your list of contacts. all potential sources of information or advice. They may not have the job openings you want. but they can become your publicity agents and your information sources. former colleagues. what is appropriate for the area of work and what might be effective. Some will be able to give you names of their Activity 2.uk/careers 43 . Unease usually arises from the misconception that using contacts means asking people for jobs.1 Approaching your contacts You need to decide how you will approach your contacts. so that you don’t get confused over important details.2 Using the telephone effectively You may be making a speculative call. These secondary contacts can act as a bridge between you and the decision makers in the companies you’re interested in. what you’re doing is making the most of them as sources of advice. 2. plan the format and content of your call: To find out more. In fact. tutors.open. You don’t get the usual clues from nods. any business contacts you have.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. 2. Pause for thought Perhaps you feel uncomfortable about networking in this fashion. keep a record of each letter. Most people will be only too glad to help. information and ideas. tutors or people you’ve met through leisure interests. the impression you make • get you noticed. By telephone Your first approach is likely to be by telephone. Think what they can do for you: • keep you informed • comment on your strategy and approach. telephone call. Getting the approach right is important. Be very succinct. Your network of contacts can include friends. Put contacts at ease about this to avoid embarrassment. how do you build your network? Your primary contacts are people who know you directly. So. It’s often difficult getting through to someone during the day. especially those in the function that interests you. so try outside normal office hours if you can.5 Building a network of contacts Personal contacts can be a fantastic source of help in your job search. Through building up a network of contacts. own business contacts. relatives. As you work towards developing and extending your network. family. are stilted and anxious. you may be able to discover: • • • • • a company’s competitive position whether it’s in a state of growth. even after years of practice.ac. To take some of the stress out of the situation. visit our website at www. A number of methods are possible but you need to decide what is right for you. or to refer you to someone else who can. 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. voluntary work or casual part-time jobs. or telephoning to follow up a contact you’ve been given or to make an appointment for an interview.1 Building up a network Draw up a list of everyone who might be able to help you – friends. stability or decline its working climate and culture its business strategy the background of key managers. Some people are natural and relaxed on the telephone. fellow students. Busy managers are usually in early and late.5.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • If they have a secretary.ac. before you talk to your contacts. journal and newspaper stories). Make sure that you’ve done your research thoroughly.ac. you can register with Career Links. • 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.) > How do my strengths match the needs? > Plan which of my strengths/ accomplishments I am going to mention. get their full name if you can. political battles. 2. • Get the contact interested straight away – make notes beforehand of what you want to say. using published sources. 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. For a productive meeting. • Suggest times and dates for an appointment. > List which issues I want to investigate (e. It was produced by one of the students who tried out this pack before publication and was preparing to approach a particular company.4 Career Links As an OU student. 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. • State the objectives of your call. prospects for development/training/promotion). (Think about what sort of help the company may need. • Use the name of the referral source discreetly.uk/careers . considering what further preparation you need at this point. visit our website at www. • Clarify the exact place of the appointment. they are likely to have general knowledge about making contacts.uk/careers/links Pause for thought Building a network of contacts plays a key part in creative job search. (A discussion with an ex-employee could be particularly revealing. They will respect you more and be more prepared to help if they have evidence of your professional approach. trading problems/ opportunities (for me). I set up an appointment with her.5. exposure to risk. as follows: > Carry out more research on the company (e. preferably decision-makers for your kind of job who you can ask about opportunities in the industry. • Try to avoid being interviewed over the phone unless this is pre-arranged. and there’s a lot to cover in twenty minutes.g. • Introduce yourself succinctly. possible openings. • Offer your telephone number or email in case of a change in arrangements.) – Put myself in the shoes of my prospective boss. > Re-read the advice in Section 4 about job applications and interviews. etc. • Get to the point quickly – treat it like a minicommercial for yourself. to get a ‘feel’ for the culture. and to read the following example. and decided on further preparation. you might find it helpful to look again at the advice in Section 2-3 ‘Creative job search’.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.5. Whilst this person won’t necessarily be familiar with a specific company.g. You can access career links at: www. you need a carefully planned agenda.open. Other people have their own agendas. > Talk again to contacts. and how I am going to present myself. 44 To find out more. Pause for thought Meetings need to be well planned and purposeful. Before reading on. 2.open.
uk Employee Volunteering www. etc.uk The European Volunteer Centre www. describe a relevant problem.uk CR Search and Selection www. national and international newspapers www. Be critical over matters of style.uk Search facility with links to regional.uk/careers. In addition.open. etc. Go to www. outline how you tackled it and state what results you got.thepaperboy.) 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.charityjob.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.crsearch. go to Section 2 to research jobs or the section ‘Moving on’ if you want to find out more about looking for jobs and if you want access to vacancies both locally and UK wide. A speculative letter will need many drafts in order to polish it.uk Community Service Volunteers www. If you are a student. You will also find links to professional bodies and related sites from the ‘Broad Career Areas’ within the above site.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.5. ac.htm lists member organisations for EU countries including the UK and Ireland.org.csv.com allows you to search by occupation and location. membership.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Note in your career file what preparation you want to make at this point.vso.co. Local centres seek to place people into suitable voluntary work – meals on wheels.be/members. etc. To find out more.uk Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) www. From here you can link to the various volunteer bureaus for your areas of the UK www.org. Use it to mention an achievement related to the job you’re seeking and strike a chord of need in the reader. and prune ruthlessly.) Dates Salary Copies of references • The first paragraph is crucial. Your letter must list accomplishments that correspond to these reasons.co.gov. • Get someone else to check your spelling.do-it.open.citizensadvice.employeevolunteering.connexions-direct.charitypeople. hobbies.uk/careers 45 . Further resources For further information and resources go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www.5 Drawing up your letter When it comes to drawing up a letter.org.ac.uk Citizens Advice www.jobcentreplus.org.cev. visit our website at www. 2.uk along with links to information about New Deal initiatives. you may find the following websites helpful for exploring opportunities to work with charities and voluntary organisations: Charity Job www.ac.uk Charity People www. 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.ac.org.uk Do-it-: search this database for a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the UK.com Job Centre vacancies are online at www.com/uk/ Local Government Jobs at www. 2.prospects. • 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. Includes non graduate jobs on this site www.5. For example. Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ offers advice to help you with the practical side of drawing up a letter to accompany a CV.lgjobs.co.jobs. grammar and layout.
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
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. Make the most of resources Look at the resources you underlined. 50 To find out more. Example Goal – Promotion Resources Line manager’s support Personal ambition/determined Prepared to take responsibility Project management experience Restrictions Colleagues’ reactions Limited mobility Little experience of managing people No experience of managing budgets Now balance resources and restrictions for your own goal(s) Which of the goals you’ve listed in Activity 3. giving a balanced picture of the situation.ac.2.3 Balance helpful resources against restrictions Now look back to the restrictions and resources you listed.1 are the most important? Underline them.open. Activity 3.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3. You now need to consider each of your goals in terms of all the resources that could be helpful or cause restrictions. visit our website at www. 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. It was produced by someone who wanted to apply for promotion. Each restriction is set against a helping resource. but there’s more to do. What actions would help you to reduce their effects? You’ve now listed actions you can take towards your goals.3 Look first at the example below.uk/careers .
3 continued Bring actions and resources together List the resources that can help you to carry out each step. Look at the example.ac. visit our website at www. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 3. To find out more. Resources Internal training courses Local college has course Line manager’s support Actions Resources Actions Resources Actions Resources Pause for thought You should now have a clear picture of what you really want and what ideas you want to develop. You should also be clear about the main helping forces and problems you need to deal with.uk/careers 51 . ‘No experience of managing budgets’ was listed as a problem.open.
with all its potential for improvement and advancement. If. realistic. Put a note in your diary or ask someone to remind you.uk/helpandadvice/dmr/ You could also look at Tactic 5 (Master the art of action thinking – how to attain your goals and action plan) on the Windmills Virtual Career Coach at: www. 3. it might be necessary to go through several stages.windmillsprogramme.ac. you’ll have to revise it. You might need to gain experience or qualifications.uk/careers and find ‘Action Planning and Decision Making’ using the ‘A-Z’. keep an eye on progress and adapt your plan if necessary. 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.ac.open.g. 52 To find out more. measurable. This means taking a few different steps: • Setting out your goals (long. you are going to amass a lot of information from which you will need to identify realistic options and create suitable goals.1 Back-up plan You should always try to have a back-up plan.com Action plans need to be SMART (specific.3. So. you might have to reconsider it. If you want to plan your career effectively. This process will involve making a number of decisions. and perhaps discuss your plans either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. You may need to improve it or change it completely. To discover what kind of decision maker you are. achievable. ‘Is it realistic?’ If it isn’t. visit our website at www. Review At this stage it might be useful to read through the work you’ve done in this section. Set aside time to review your goals and see how you are progressing. Once you’ve done this.uk/careers . finance.learndirect-advice. and then revise your targets if necessary.3 Plan of action The next stage is to bring everything together into a detailed plan of action. You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations. If you don’t manage to meet your goals it may be that your first plan wasn’t good enough. 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. 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. You could also look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life. you’re ready to start taking action.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3. Ask yourself. 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.co. time based). information. If you monitor your progress by checking your plan from time to time you can identify what you have achieved. after doing that. you still find that you’re unable to reach your goal. To achieve what you want. but you’re setting out on a potentially exciting journey. Further resources Look at the careers website at: www. gather information or get access to a particular resource. try the learndirect activity at: www.open.
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.4 Showing a worked example of an action plan Look at the worked example below.g.ac. visit our website at www. weekly Find someone else keen to do it To find out more.who or what can help me? Target date for actions To become a journalist Postgraduate course in journalism Next week Apply early By the end of the month Within two months Gain relevant voluntary/paid experience Write freelance articles and submit Find out where classes are offered locally Cost? Motivation to complete? Write to local newspapers Take an evening class in shorthand or word-processing Check if special arrangements are possible for payment e.Activity 3. then fill in your own plan on the following page.open.uk/careers Tomorrow Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 53 .
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 54 Actions required Constraints Resources.4 Your action plan To find out more.who or what can help me? Target date for actions Activity 3.ac.open. visit our website at www.uk/careers My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal .
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.open.ac. visit our website at www.uk/careers 55 .
In addition to working hard to gain a good degree. Confederation of British Industry. Chief Executive. 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’. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage. Table 4.6 4.’’ Carl Gilleard.1 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.3 4.open. Equally importantly perhaps.’’ Digby Jones. Director-General. it shows you how these specific skills can be developed: To find out more.uk/careers 57 . 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.1 What do employers look for in graduates? ‘‘A degree alone is not enough.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Getting the job In this section 4.2 4. They particularly value skills such as communication.7 What do employers look for in graduates? 57 Matching vacancies 59 Application forms 62 The curriculum vitae (CV) 65 The covering letter 78 The interview 81 Other selection techniques 87 4.4 4. teamworking and problem solving.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. 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.5 4. visit our website at www.ac. Together they make up what is referred to as ‘employability skills’.
willing. fundraising for charity. Roles within the home – planning. European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). work experience OU study. diplomatic Foreign language – specific language skills General employment Problem-solving – practical. self-belief. accounting. relationship-builder. competitive. multi-skilled Business acumen – entrepreneurial.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Table 4. sales Source: HECSU. work and education OU study. ambitious Networking – initiator. software packages Numeracy – accurate. trustworthy. visit our website at www. enthusiastic Self-promotion – positive. Involvement in community groups. risk taker IT/computer literacy – office skills. guide/scout leader. self-reliant Willingness to learn – inquisitive. sport. IT Technical skills – e.uk/careers . motivated. Roles within your working situation. journalism. e.ac. web design skills. co-operative. able to prioritise People skills Team working – supportive. planner.g. voluntary work. assertive Oral communication – communicator. UCAS and AGR Roles within the home – budgeting. 58 To find out more. coordinating others Self-reliance skills Self-awareness – purposeful. visionary Customer orientation – friendly. Proactivity – resourceful. 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. logical. language skills. methodical Commitment – dedicated. influencer Leadership – motivator. AGCAS. caring. drive.1. resourceful Planning action – decision-maker. keyboard skills. presenter. first aid at work qualification.g. languages. organised. NVQ qualification. use of IT. focused. conscientious Specialist skills Specific occupational skills – specialist relevant knowledge. engineering. energetic. persistent.g. adviser. quick-thinker. coordinator. realistic Interpersonal skills – listener. roles within work e. travel. member of orchestra. work responsibilities in a team. results skills orientated Flexibility – versatile. deliverer Caring responsibilities.
and be honest about whether your personality and needs match what the employer wants. even a brief newspaper advertisement can reveal a great deal of useful information. The advert should specify what the employer is looking for. ‘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. visit our website at www. or even in the face of resistance. (It might help to refer to Section 1. 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. it’s important to see how you can use it to develop your skills and experience. Rehearse your introduction and be prepared for the question. low key. as the contact will form an impression of you from the very beginning. flamboyant. Look at your advertisement and analyse it under these headings: • Style and language What’s the general style of the advertisement – formal.2. 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.uk/careers 59 . As we show here. • Salary Usually a good guide to the level of qualifications and experience required. What are you looking for. Analyse each noun and adjective for its implications.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook The requirements an employer sets out in a job advertisement are likely to be much more specific. attention seeking? What does this tell you about the organisation? What is the vocabulary used to describe the organisation – ‘dynamic’. but may also mean that no training is provided. but you have to be aware of the going rate for that occupation. so you need to consider how you can show that you meet the requirements. but be prepared when you do. For example. You may have to motivate yourself with little support or encouragement. 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.2 Matching vacancies You’ve seen a vacancy advertised that you’d like to apply for. • Prospects What opportunities are there for advancement in this job? The employer may be looking for evidence of your willingness and ability to progress. Remember to use this evidence when you apply for jobs! If you don’t shout about it.) To find out more. They’re usually set out under headings such as experience.1 Matching the requirements Once you’ve analysed your advertisement. Many OU graduates have lots of evidence with which they can demonstrate these skills: • experience of the world of work and working environments both paid and unpaid • commitment to their own personal development demonstrated by undertaking OU study • time management and organisational skills required to successfully combine OU study and other responsibilities. you need to try and match yourself to the requirements of the job to judge whether or not you want to apply for it. If the opportunities seem limited. nobody will do it for you! 4. ‘What would you like to know about us?’ Be ready to highlight your suitability for the post. Now you want to make sure you have a ‘match’. 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. before finding out more about the position.open. ‘committed self starter’ could imply that there’ll be little supervision. 4. First of all you need to read between the lines. do you need a driving licence. you need to analyse the information you already have. So. qualifications and personal qualities. Find out what this will mean in practice. • Location and geographical mobility How far would you travel each day? Would you consider moving house? If you need to travel around.
visit our website at www. Example Vacancy: Fundraiser for Scottish Wildlife Preservation Society Analysis of key requirements Experience Numeracy e. Marketing knowledge > Temporary job (with full induction and training) over two summer holidays as a market research interviewer. as it helps you to focus on the important aspects as you complete your application form or prepare a CV. > I have also organised and facilitated presentations to local schools and governors using a variety of media. > I am an avid reader and subscriber of the Warbler and make regular contributions to this national magazine. tutorials and revision alongside a part-time job and voluntary work.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Look at the following example. Presentation skills > I have used Power Point to present information on the decline of local bird populations to a community group and to councillors. > Worked in Windows based environment for numerous holiday jobs – secretarial role. > Marketing module completed as part of my degree studies (12 months) – identifying.g. Ability to work on own e. > I have worked unsupervised as a treasurer for a local Residents Association for two years and have always met deadlines for reports. Keyboard skills > Self-taught packages in order to produce a dissertation for my degree. current part-time study. > I am a regional fundraiser for BTCV and the PDSA.g. > As a part-time student I have worked within a thirty-two week study calendar and managed a weekly workload of reading. My evidence 60 To find out more. > I work alternate Sundays at the local animal hospital as a volunteer. anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. Interest in wildlife e.ac. > Responsible for assessing potential expenditure in terms of value for money and taking appropriate action to ensure this is achieved. Here the key experience requirements are listed. This is a useful way of approaching any job advert. From recent employment.open. Treasurer of Residents’ Association: > Draw up budget bids or plans within agreed guidelines and procedures for submission to internal and external bodies. assignments. 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.uk/careers . and the second column shows how a candidate would provide evidence of having the necessary experience.g.
Vacancy/job description: Analysis of key requirements My evidence If you are an OU student.jobs.ac.uk/links/occupations Whichever way you choose. To find out more. In the right-hand column. Alternatively.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. visit our website at www. These kinds of activities are really helpful in preparing for the completion of application forms or for producing your CV.uk. You should also take a look at Section 4.open. If you don’t have a specific one in mind you might look in a careers publication or website such as www.prospects.ac. you can also try the ‘Job Analysis Activity’ on the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www. values.open. 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.ac. Go to the section ‘Personal and Career Development’ from the site map.uk/careers 61 . interests. ask yourself: • Does the work genuinely interest me? • Does it match my personality. note down in the left-hand column the key characteristics and requirements of your selected vacancy. try to produce evidence of your suitability against each point.10 below.uk/careers.1 Begin by looking at an advert or job description for a position that interests you.ac.4. look at the occupational information on the Prospects website: www.
g. If you’re asked to submit an application form. • Your aim is to convince the employer that you’re worth interviewing – you appear to be a suitable candidate for the job and.3 Application forms Application forms come in all shapes and sizes. • Many larger employers ask you to complete an online application. Some are designed for recruiting people for a particular function or training scheme (e. • Don’t cram sections too full. ‘Give names. so it is crucial that you sell yourself effectively. the principles for completing application forms are very similar. it shouldn’t just repeat what’s on your form. most large organisations now make their forms available online (which can save you time and postage). • Be sure to answer all the elements of each question (e. If you do. You may find the Select Simulator useful for practising completing online forms. Layout can help – consider using bullet points. Being able to write succinctly is evidence of your written communication skills. You can also research online. When completing online forms you may find that some of your experiences do not fit neatly into the categories provided. is to get an interview. OU students can access this on the Careers Advisory Service website. Convince them that they need to see you. Use it effectively to include or to emphasise information that you think is relevant and isn’t allowed for on the form. graduate engineer). also. the space allowed for each question indicates its relative importance. We suggest you contact the employer for advice on how to approach this. and not only for senior jobs. the kind of person the organisation wants to employ. If a question doesn’t apply to you.g.g.3.2 Filling in your form • Complete all sections of the form.open. If you haven’t looked at employers’ application forms for some time. what do you contribute and what do you get out of them?’). Often – but not always – you’re told that you may also enclose a CV. • If there isn’t enough space for general interest information (e. write ‘N/A’ or ‘Not applicable’ to show that you haven’t overlooked it. ‘What are your spare time activities. • Remember that presentation can be as important as content. • If there isn’t enough space for factual information (e.uk/careers . You’ll come to some sample questions below in Section 4. think of: 62 To find out more.g. This means that on an initial read through they may spend as little as two minutes looking at your form. Look for ‘online applications’ in the ‘A–Z’. Keep the following points in mind when it comes to completing an application form: • The purpose of a completed application form. attach a separate sheet. • Usually. Ask the organisation for more details and. you may be surprised at the probing nature of some of the questions they ask.3. • Make a photocopy of the blank form (or print it from the screen) and use it for your rough draft.2 . an NHS Trust). • When answering extended (multi-part) or difficult questions. like a CV or a speculative letter. 4. because many large employers now optically scan applications to enter them into their recruitment databases.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. In fact. to clarify your points. visit a career service or large library to look for other information. • Read through the whole form before you fill in any of the sections.ac. if possible. don’t send a CV instead. visit our website at www. ‘What have been the significant factors in your life to date?’) prioritise and keep it within the space allowed. as that makes them difficult to read. • Comply with instructions such as using black ink or block capitals. underlined topic headings. as most organisations will have comprehensive information on their websites. Bear in mind that employers often receive a lot of forms.g.3. unless you’re told that you must not attach any other papers. Whatever format they come in though. Most are intended for a wide variety of posts in the organisation (e. 4. addresses and dates of all previous employers’). You must keep to the prescribed format.1 Before you start your application form • Find out as much as you can about the vacancy and the organisation. • 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. etc.
You’ll rarely find the perfect application form that exactly suits your background and experience. ask someone else to look over your application before you send it. They can help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. you can stress the personal qualities and skills that OU study demands. ‘I worked as a volunteer classroom assistant for three years’ rather than ‘I love children’). If possible. ideally get someone else to check rather than relying on a spell checker. Make sure you’ve been consistent in style (e.g.open. Always send it by first class post. in your use of personal pronouns). If you’ve been unemployed. 4. It’ll also take some of the tedium out of tackling other forms. • Make a note of the job you’ve applied for. Usually. These may have been expressed as learning outcomes. Make the most of these skills as well as your academic success. Use the ‘any other information’ section to draw attention to activities and qualities not covered elsewhere on the form.3. Be convincing. not ‘we’). You may be able to look back at the course descriptions To find out more. Some jobs may require subject-specific knowledge (e. If you are a student. Every employer values determination. 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.open. handling money. If you want to do this in a more structured way. and keep them well briefed so that they can write supportive references. working under pressure. another someone you’ve worked for who can write about you as an employee.g. If you’re applying for a job related to your degree subject. Practise answering the typical questions in the next activity. Leave no unexplained gaps in your employment record. dealing with members of the public. give their full titles and status. • Use an envelope of suitable size so that the form isn’t folded. flexibility and time management skills. give fuller details of your course than you would if it’s not particularly relevant.g. but mention any part-time or voluntary work you did during that period. If appropriate. working odd hours.uk/careers 63 .4 When you’ve completed the form • Check it thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. You will find that by studying with the OU – whatever the subject area – you will have developed a range of both subject knowledge and transferable skills that many employers will value. or not more than once. and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied and pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop. Tailor your responses to the post you’re applying for. Give evidence and avoid bland generalities (e.g. • Make a copy of your completed form so that you can re-read it before the interview. for several applications. self-discipline. You can often use the same material. to be a teacher) while some put emphasis on transferable skills (which you dealt with in Section 1.5 above) and some look for a mixture of both. Your regional centre can provide you with a confidential reference – name the Regional Director as the referee.3 Skills you have attained as an OU student As an Open University student. there are a number of resources in the Careers Advisory Service website at www. and the date you sent it. the name and address of the person you sent the form to. Be positive and honest. visit our website at www. go to the sections on ‘Personal and Career development’ and ‘Moving on’.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.ac. • Look over the presentation. Look at Section 6 if you are or have been an offender. with a little editing. interests and skills the employer is looking for) Make your points relevant.2. Get your referees’ agreement before giving their names. It is up to you to pick these out from your own experience so that you can present this on an application form. Learning outcomes will give you some help in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. Inaccuracy in one section can raise doubts about other areas of the form.ac. 4. Use positive language. say so. interesting and personal (say ‘I’. one should be an academic referee. Generalised waffle convinces no one.uk/careers.3. You’ll need to adapt your answers to the questions you find.
Go for key points and give evidence from your record. Every word should justify its inclusion. This section will tell them more about you as an individual than any other part of the form.2 Read the sample questions below.open. Question 2 Outline any activities you have planned and organised.uk/careers . Question 3 Write a short autobiography. drafts and fine tuning.ac. Include such details as your achievements and responsibilities.’ ‘organised. visit our website at www. Explain why we should select you ahead of other candidates.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. 64 To find out more.1 and consider answers based on the evidence you’ve already gathered. events or experiences that have influenced you.’ ‘what you did’ and ‘results’. Question 1 On the first page of this application you stated a preference for a particular job or function. Don’t forget that you can ask a careers adviser for advice on what to include in your application. There is 30mm space available on the form to show that you understand what the job involves and what you have to offer. All are genuine questions from graduate application forms used by large companies. your ambitions and aspirations. You’ll need a lot of time. Tell us what you did and how you achieved results. There is 180mm space available on the form to influence the selectors. Look back at the answers you gave to Activity 1. There is 80mm space available on the form. the people. Remember to cover ‘planned.
Instead. When researching jobs. To find out more. so you have more control over the impression it will create.uk/careers 65 . a CV is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you.open.ac. for tips and example CVs.ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. 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. In addition. look at: www. 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).prospects. The right one is the one that works for you in your situation and succeeds in getting you interviews. This is only likely to work if you always apply for the same function in several very similar organisations. Most people tend to prefer one style over the others (though as you will see. For example. it is useful to highlight this in a separate section as it draws attention to it. it’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you. 4. Whichever format you choose.4. but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual company.4.4. say. So. prefer CVs in a chronological format.4. When you have work experience that is directly relevant. it should be flexible enough to allow modification to match the job you’re seeking. and what to leave out or minimise. 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. For most jobs. your CV doesn’t need to conform to a set format. an academic CV is used mainly for applying for academic posts). visit our website at www. content and design to show off your strengths and present you in the most positive light.2 What style of CV? The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation it’s addressed to. go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website and choose the ‘Moving on’ section if you are a student at: www. For instance. However. some professions.uk/careers Alternatively. you need to make a decision about the kind of CV to use as most employers will not specify. 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. 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). when it comes to preparing your CV. You can tailor the style.1 The importance of tailoring your CV However. To use the same approach for. 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. For more information on CVs. not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies you found in the Yellow Pages.) And you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter. (So you may in fact be doing just that.4.4 The curriculum vitae (CV) Like an application form. some job areas have expectations that a particular kind of CV is submitted. as well as the work I want? There’s no right or wrong way to write a CV. The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight. 4. Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements. such as the legal profession.7 below. You want to make sure that you present yourself positively and accurately. a financial institution or a local authority might have an adverse effect. Bear this in mind when you design your own CV. 4. look at what the expectations might be.open. Be prepared then to spend a considerable amount of time on creating and reworking an effective document.ac.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 – 4.uk/links/CVwriting We also show you sample CVs in Sections 4.
However. • It has for many years been recognised as a standard approach to CVs.com Profile An experienced. The chronological CV Malcolm Lewis 16 London Road Portsmouth PO9 6AL Tel. visit our website at www./fax 01903 562366 email mcrlewis@wizard.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.4. if you’ve changed jobs frequently. it isn’t always easy to spot key achievements or skills which might get ‘buried’ under different job titles. beginning with the most recent. with a chronological CV.ac. it can suggest instability and will require explanation – particularly if you’ve changed profession or career direction. where you worked. responsibilities and key achievements. • It allows prospective employers to see very quickly how an individual has progressed and increased responsibility.4 The chronological CV You are probably most familiar with a chronological CV. your job title(s). showing the name of each employer. the period you were employed. the disadvantages to a chronological CV are that any gaps in your employment stand out. This lists jobs by date. 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. highly motivated CIMA professional with in-depth knowledge of the financial services and strong team-working skills.open. looking for an opportunity to take on wider responsibilities within the industry. The advantages of a chronological CV are: • It can be very easy to produce.uk/careers . As a result. In addition.
ac. English. handled cash Education 2001–2005 The Open University 1995–2000 The Open University Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Professional Diploma in Management. staff appraisal course Additional skills IT skills: competent in the use of Microsoft Office and SAGE financial management software. interviewed clients.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. 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. Chemistry.open.uk/careers 67 . French Training 1990–95 Passed all stages of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants examinations Various short professional courses In-house interviewing. visit our website at www. Physics. History. by part-time study Courses: B784 The effective manager B785 Accounting for managers B786 Managing customer and client relations B751 Managing development and change B752 Managing resources for the market 1981–1986 Hampshire High School O-levels: Maths.
analytic. • Developed and instituted a statistical quality control programme to cover all critical control points in the manufacturing process. Experience CONTINENTAL KITCHENS LTD.com Skill profile A graduate biologist with strong food industry experience in quality assurance. making recommendations for new procedures which led to an entirely new quality control system.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. • If your current or most recent experience isn’t related to the position you’re applying for. The system alerts operators when to change the process parameters without disturbing production flow. • You can group different achievements together to match the job that you are applying for.5 The functional CV A functional CV focuses attention on your skills and achievements. visit our website at www.uk/careers . more accurate means of inspection. This facilitated a faster. highly organised and energetic. Capable of achieving personal objectives. a functional CV allows you to place more emphasis on relevant strengths and experience from earlier periods. 01788 529445 email: Sandra@hotmail. saving £200K annually. Its advantages are: • It can highlight your skills rather than job changes. Achievements • Analysed the quality assurance system at Continental Kitchens Ltd. as demonstrated by successful completion of my degree by part-time study while employed full time. • Created computer applications for environmental microbiological trends for control of plant cleanliness. Contributed to the development of a new line of Polish foods for wholesale distribution. This kind of CV shows that you’re conscious of the demands of the prospective employer and of what you have to offer.open. Cambridge 1999 to present Quality Assurance Coordinator (2000) Quality Assurance Auditor (1999) Responsible for – all quality control. resulting in significant improvement in overall sanitation.4. Keen to find a challenging position that offers long-term potential in quality assurance and/or new product development. • Formulated new and improved existing food 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. sanitation and pest-control programmes – creation of statistical programmes to help with the transition of quality assurance responsibility to individual operators 68 To find out more. with a clear and concise vision of future objectives. presented according to the function or responsibilities you’ve undertaken rather than according to individual jobs. Career orientated. research and development and creation of new products. Goal orientated.ac.
01223 599886 Regional Director The Open University in the East of England 12 Hills Road Cambridge. 01233 364721 To find out more. I took a ‘year out’ to travel the world and consider my future. I have been interested in watersports since school. My other interests include cycling and mountaineering. I took time out of work to raise a family. CB10 3QY Tel. CB2 1PF Tel.uk/careers 69 . Mathematics (D) 8 GCSEs Grove Comprehensive School Leicester 1986–1992 Additional information After ‘A’ levels.open. visit our website at www. 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.ac. 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 gained employment as a research technician and applied to study part time with The Open University. From 1995–99. 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). On return to Britain. 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.
uk/careers . dates and so on. and in Principles of Social and Educational Research. implementation and evaluation of new systems and their effect on staff at all levels. The advantages are: • It focuses straight away on your strengths.1 Courses chosen to obtain recognition by the British Psychological Society. Distinctions obtained in Social and Cognitive Psychology. I am hardworking and have always put considerable energy and enthusiasm into all of my activities. followed by the details. The work involves planning. I thrive on the challenge of change.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. like the functional CV. The disadvantages are that. Hons. N10 8EP TELEPHONE: 020 8887 5131 EMAIL: Vkozlowski@wizard. This experience has shown me the importance of good interpersonal and communication skills. It has to change to match each job. have been essential to the success of my section. BSc. London. The Targeted CV Vigla Kozlowski ADDRESS: 45 Longhurst Avenue. • You can lead the reader in the direction you want to go – your skills and achievements. with the skills required and the evidence of them clearly laid out at the beginning. Most candidates for managerial posts use this format. this one isn’t easy to prepare. 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. devising questionnaires and analysing data. I have been responsible for cultivating a spirit of teamwork and cooperation. Skill profile A Coordinator: As a project manager currently working simultaneously on a range of demanding projects. with all the time.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. and to resolving potentially disruptive differences of opinion. believing that this is the key to achieving worthwhile results. autonomy and judgement. effort and skill that implies.ac. Sound judgement.6 The targeted CV A targeted CV is even more closely matched to the needs of a particular employer. visit our website at www.open. No less important has been my ability to express myself clearly and effectively both face-to-face and on paper. It combines elements from both the chronological and the functional CV. I have become used to seeking and learning from criticism. My main research topic involved interviewing a wide cross-section of both adults and children in small groups and on an individual basis. whilst working in a team. in projects and reports. making sure that I always fulfil my function and deliver to deadlines. A Participant: An Individual: An Enthusiast: Education 1987–1994 The Open University. 70 To find out more. combined with organisational sensitivity and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. • It is more likely to catch the reader’s interest. • You can adapt it to suit the job you’re after without sacrificing quality.4. Both my work as a nurse and in banking has demanded a high level of personal responsibility. 2. in Biology: Brain and Behaviour. I have to be able to prioritise work within both strict financial and time constraints and ensure that others do too.
Dbase IV and Q&A databases and word-processing using Word 2000 and Word NT • Interviewing • Psychological test administration and interpretation • Car owner. Lloyds Bank. Student Nurse Although I could have gone to university when I left school I had always wanted to be a nurse. clean driving licence. pay and pensions. during my training I realised that this career was not for me. Lloyds Bank. record keeping. Work experience 1992 to date. Recruitment Officer – Recruitment interviewing. so I decided to train at the local hospital. Business Loans Section Responsible for assessing loan applications and making loan decisions. Counter Clerk – Responsible for serving customers. To find out more. • I keep fit by swimming and running regularly each week.open. working with adults on a one-toone basis and in small groups. As I had enjoyed the studying and wanted to further my academic studies in a related subject. Lloyds Bank. This involves initial discussions with individuals and. London Three ‘A’ levels: English (C). Chemistry (D) Training 1992 1987 IPM Certificate in Personnel Practice Lloyds Bank short in-house course in Personnel Management. Biology (D). Lloyds Bank. 1989–1992 1987–1989 1986–1987 1983–1986 Additional skills • Sound working knowledge of Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. handling cash.uk/careers 71 . Full. I decided to apply for a job and combine this with part-time study with The Open University.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1979–1983 Parsifal Comprehensive. in charge of four staff. visit our website at www. Personnel Assistant – Personnel administration. However. three staff. frequently for larger loans. I would now like to broaden my experience into personnel in a large retail organisation.ac. • 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. Section leader with responsibility for the work of six staff who report directly to me. North London Hospital. Finchley Road. Referees Names available on request. Banking attracted me because it offered a structured training and a wide range of opportunities within each department. Activities and interests • I am teaching myself to play the saxophone and enjoy getting together with my friends for musical improvisation.
open. analysis and working to deadlines. validated and implemented a “novel” assay to investigate leukocyte migration and survival.uk EDUCATION The Open University . Because of this. Remember to emphasise the transferable skills that you have developed in undertaking higher level study. Systematically investigated the role of soluble mediators and adhesive interactions in the survival of neutrophils following transendothelial migration. D.MSc in Immunology (distinction) 2001– 2002 Dissertation project: ‘Neutrophil spontaneous apoptosis is mediated through the acid sphingomyelinase dependent generation of ceramide.ac. and physiology.7 The academic CV For academic jobs in universities. Milton Keynes. University of Manchester .’ Modules studied included: cell biology. Jordan and Dr. genetics. such as communication. transplantation biology and cell adhesion. immunology. depending on what you are applying for. 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. 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. you should do this without using any subject-specific jargon so that it is understandable to the employer. MK6 3DY Tel. it is expected that candidates (for academic jobs such as lecturer and postdoctoral research posts) will produce an academic CV. • Remember to include examples of the skills that you have developed through your research. Identified phenotypic alterations in T-cell subpopulations following migration through an endothelialfibroblast bilayer. you should consider a chronological. The Academic CV Hilary Michelle McArthur 18 Poole Avenue.4. In presenting your research.’ Modules studied included: tolerance and autoimmunity. 07900 543 21 E-mail: h. James Project synopsis: Adapted. academic CVs are often longer than other types of CV.co. You should also include three referees rather than two. skills or targeted CV.PhD in Medicine 2002–2005 Thesis Title: The regulation of leukocyte migration away from the subendothelial compartment. Supervisors: Professor R.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. visit our website at www.uk/careers . These CVs place more emphasis on the subject matter of the degree and/or research and on the knowledge and achievements gained. haemopoietic cell differentiation and malignancies. oncology. USA. 72 To find out more.BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (first class) 1998– 2001 Dissertation project: ‘Autoimmunity: A genetic perspective. This was a broad-based degree in biochemistry with the second year spent studying at Oregon State University. microbiology. • If you are a postgraduate or research student who is applying for a job outside academia.mcarthur@yahoo. University of Salford .
. Summer 1998 • Worked independently on an assigned project.M.. and a working knowledge of WinMDI and Image Pro. RESEARCH AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE Tutor on an Open University Summer School. January 2006 ABSTRACTS. International Conference. July 2005 • Trained undergraduates in basic laboratory skills • Allocated tasks and ensured their completion. • Isolation of leukocytes subsets and endothelial cells. Jones. American Journal of Medicine. COMPUTER SKILLS Extensive experience of Microsoft Word. J. British Society of Immunology. To find out more. J. Manchester. PUBLICATIONS Bennett..M.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook RESEARCH EXPERIENCE AND TECHNICAL SKILLS • Development of static adhesion and migration assay. H. S. Layerton. Laboratory Assistant.. • Image-based analysis of leukocyte behaviour in static and flow adhesion and migration assays.. and McArthur.ac. Bennett A. as well as showing visiting work experience students laboratory protocols. • Flow cytometry. Jones. • Microscopy: phase contrast and fluorescence. A.. July 2005. Identification of a phenotypically and functionally distinct population of neutrophils in a model of reverse endothelial migration. Rapidly recruited TNF-stimulated endothelial cells – is this a novel route for neutrophil clearance from inflamed tissue? International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis.. H.M. PowerPoint and Prism.M. March 2005 Bennett. A. along with presentation and communication skills. A. and McArthur. • Marked undergraduate work and provided individual guidance to undergraduate students. Excel. A.. (Paper submitted to the UK Medical Biology Journal) Bennett. H. • Developed technical writing skills for industry purposes. H. • Subcellular fractionation. 2004. Salford. J.2004 • Responsible for communicating and demonstrating technical skills to A level science students at a local college.open.M.uk/careers 73 . Ceramide rich lipid rafts and acid sphingomyelinase activity are required for spontaneous neutrophil apoptosis. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. and McArthur. POSTERS AND PRESENTATIONS Bennett.. and McArthur. • Adaptation of a novel co-culture system: culture stromal cells on the apical and basal surface of Transwell inserts. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. visit our website at www. Scientific Laboratories. and McArthur. H.. Student Mentor for the Open University’s Outreach Programme 2002 . Jones. Layerton S.
These are irrelevant on a CV. marital status. Employment experience Your aim here is to stress your achievements at work. when you have more opportunity to negotiate any difficulties. Include your mobile number if you have one.james1@open. but you may find the following ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ helpful. Received award for best overall academic achievement at the end of my BSc (2001). For more recent jobs. It should be quite obvious what it is. Always give the full area code. you don’t need to give initials or middle names.ac.4.d. If you’re employed and prospective employers can contact you during office hours. number of children.mayes@open. visit our website at www. number and extension. Personal data Name Give the name you want to be known by if you’re called for interview or appointed. However. gender. personal profile (optional) references. nationality. At home. CVs usually contain: • • • • • • • • personal data employment. where your aim is to get yourself invited for interview. You can discuss them at the interview if appropriate.uk Dr David James d.uk/careers . give your number and say that it’s a work number. since invitations to interview are often sent at short notice and speedy delivery is in your interest.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). Include the nature and place of your employer’s business if it isn’t obvious from the firstname.lastname@example.org. consider investing in an answering service or machine. but don’t give the address or the name of your manager at this stage.f.ac.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). give more detail about particular 74 To find out more.ac.8 What to include (and not to include) in your CV Your CV is uniquely yours in style. Other personal details There’s no need to include such details as date of birth. Include an email address if you have one. they’re unnecessary at this stage and may confuse matters. Address Be sure to give a full address with postcode. say during the last ten years.ac. experience education training interests. 4. so that the caller will be discreet.uk Dr Steven Mayes s. Telephone It’s important to give a telephone number where you can be reached or where a message can be left. content and layout. so that you can be reached as easily as possible.open.r. activities additional skills career aims. 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. REFEREES Professor Rebecca Jordan r.
assignments and results achieved. mention the British equivalent so that the employer knows what level you’ve reached. and highlight in a covering letter or skill section the personal qualities and skills that this kind of study requires.g. This allows you to highlight the experience the employer is likely to be most interested in. But everyone agrees that the most relevant job should appear at the top of the list. Education How far back should you go? School or young college-leavers should be quite explicit about their education since age 11. Interests. projects. should be followed by a statement of achievements. if appropriate) and the awarding institution. which are often listed as learning outcomes. • If you had a series of short-lived jobs and you want to abbreviate the list. If you’ve worked your way up from the bottom and lack formal qualifications altogether. with figures such as staff. some jobs do require subject-specific knowledge (e. but it’s more appropriate for senior managers to include a brief résumé of schools attended and exams passed. A onesentence description of the scope of your job. day-release. less important jobs. visit our website at www.2. state this. knowledge or training. then the rest of the employment history in backward or forward chronological order. For a technical post or one that requires special knowledge. budget etc. • 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’. It is up to you to identify them from your own experience so that you can present this on a CV. so that the reader is encouraged to read on. • Start with the most relevant work experience.5 of this workbook). but also how you obtained it. So much depends on the nature and relevance of your previous employment to the job you’re applying for. 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.ac. • Divide your experience under the headings Related and Other. or training in relevant specialist skills. fulltime course.g. e. that you’re a sociable person who gets on with others. enabling the employer to see at once that you meet the requirement. even if it’s not the most recent.. • Be specific about what you studied in your Open University courses. 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. that you keep yourself fit. They can also help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. Your hobbies To find out more. to be a teacher) while others place more emphasis on transferable skills (see Section 1. It can show that you have a well-rounded life and don’t live for work alone. Some possible sequences are: • Put your present or most recent job at the head of the list. then work backwards or forwards chronologically. consider giving additional information to show that you have the relevant work experience. make sure it’s clear and that the way you present starting and leaving dates is consistent. Include useful information about training and development – courses of a week or more. • If you’re offering professional qualifications it might be worth specifying not only the qualification (with the S/NVQ level. There are different opinions about whether you set your experience out in forward or reverse chronological order. if you’ve had time out of paid work to bring up a family. • If your qualifications were awarded overseas. you could expand your work achievements and contract the education section. Training Don’t give an exhaustive list of all the training courses and seminars you’ve attended. 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. If you have served time in prison.uk/careers 75 . and play down other. For example. please refer to Section 6 below for tips on dealing with this. Of course.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook responsibilities. Learning outcomes can assist you in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. Avoid specialised language unless you’re sure the reader will understand it. names and towns. preferably in quantitative terms. activities This section has various uses. with appropriate detail. 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.open. you could say something like ‘In the five years 1995-2000 I worked in various temporary positions in the catering industry’. Whichever system you use. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps.
4. you’re a mature graduate. If you need to demonstrate an interest in design (e. follow it up by sending a hard copy straight away. you have an unconventional record. give an indication of your level of competence). Some of the key words in the description have been emphasised. 76 To find out more. after that you can use it on its own. and in particular the skills it calls for. visit our website at www. One way to do this is from the job description. Word and Excel. You’ll need it again. and the notes that follow it suggest some inferences that can be drawn from them about the nature of the work of personnel management. It might be helpful to read it alongside CV Example 3. • If you send your CV by email.g. even though it has no obvious relevance to the job.ac. Consider using an appendix for very detailed information such as a list of publications. • Your CV should be produced to a high standard. • Put the most important information on the first page and as near the top as possible. Include details you think a prospective employer really ought to know – driving licence. or you’re applying for a job for which the competition is particularly keen. complicated sentences. you’ll need to analyse the job itself. Keep a copy of your CV (and disk) in a safe place.g. personal profile Including career aims and a skill profile can be particularly effective if you’re seeking a career change. An unusual hobby such as sky-diving or genealogical research can be worth mentioning. Have headings in the same style (capital letters. word-processed and printed or copied on goodquality white or cream paper. course tutor). It is also important to outline your level of IT and keyboard skills.uk/careers . underlining). additional skills such as foreign languages (if possible. • Make it easy to read and follow. including software you are familiar with e. and proofread the final version carefully. 4.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. (e. Don’t fold it. It gives your CV an interesting feature and makes it memorable. Concentrate on the aspects that are most important for the employer to know. to adapt for other employers. for some media jobs) more elaborate graphics and perhaps coloured paper might be appropriate. The employer may not bother to read on if there’s nothing of interest to begin with. Additional skills The diversity of individual careers sometimes makes extra sections desirable: you can make up your own subheadings. If you don’t want your employer approached at this stage. Don’t use clichés.4. Write the words out in full the first time you use them and put the abbreviation in brackets. • 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). Space makes text easier to read and more attractive. and their status or relationship to you (e. we’ve chosen a description for human resource management. • Don’t cram the page. You might prefer to omit referees on the CV and put ‘Available on request’. References You’ll usually need two referees. such as Arial 11 point. done voluntary work that demonstrates organisational and management skills.10 Analysing a job description In order to construct a CV that’s effectively related to the job you’re seeking. Give their names. jargon and abbreviations the reader may be unfamiliar with. To illustrate this. one your present or last employer. addresses and telephone numbers. and so on. say so in your CV or covering letter.open.g. Use bullet points to make reading quicker. • Avoid long. and don’t clutter it up with unnecessary punctuation. Make sure the copies are sharp and clear. Use an A4 envelope with cardboard reinforcement. line manager. bold. • The space you give to each section should reflect its importance. • Seek other people’s views on your draft. Use an ‘easy-to-read’ font. • Be consistent in how you present the information. Yours will be one of many that the employer has to read. first aid training. which is designed for this area of work.9 Presentation of your CV To produce an effective CV .g. pay attention to its appearance as well as its content. chronological order) and in your layout. 4. Career aims. • Make sure that your CV arrives looking like a quality document. run a computer club. particularly if you want to offer a targeted CV.
general conditions of employment and other personnel matters. • Think about the general style of your CV in relation to the person who’s going to read it. – Maintaining staff records. records of labour turnover and other necessary information and assisting with human resource planning procedures and programmes. interviewing.3 Take some time to reflect again on the CV guidelines and examples. interviewing applicants and advising on the selection of those most suitable. To find out more. • Look again at the example CVs to see whether any of the three formats would be particularly appropriate to convey what you want. working conditions. None was perfect. advising and negotiations imply the need for skills in dealing with people.open. the academic CV showed that the applicant studied medicine which you can’t do with the OU. – Arranging for dissemination of vacancy details by internal and external means. • Words such as analysing. – Helping to undertake staff appraisals and. management/ staff communications. industrial relations. It’s time to redesign it. functional. – Assisting in negotiations in the field of industrial relations and ensuring observance of regulations and agreements relative to personnel matters. human resource planning and forecasting imply the need for skills in evaluating information and reaching appropriate conclusions. • If you already have a CV. • 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. but the style is standard for academic CVs in general. The examples (all fictitious by the way) illustrated each of the four main CV formats in turn – chronological. – Analysing staffing requirements in consultation with department and other managers. would accompany these CVs. messy …. • If you think that your CV looks feeble.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example Human Resource Management Advising on. targeted and academic. appraisals. • Words such as arranging and records imply the need for administrative skills. personal welfare and other matters with individual members of staff. (Indeed. staff promotion schemes and other matters. ask yourself whether it presents the information you want to give in the way you want it to be seen. uninteresting. And bear in mind that covering letters. as appropriate. discussing career development. – Advising management on standards of remuneration. developing and administering policies in relation to staff recruitment and training. Activity 4. (undertaking job analysis and evaluations as appropriate). visit our website at www. Some typical tasks may include. the subject of the next section. especially the ability to communicate effectively with them. discussing.ac.) You may well decide that a quite different layout and format are more appropriate for your individual circumstances. it probably is. • Words such as consultations. evaluations.uk/careers 77 . career development. wordy. The examples of the CVs above illustrated some of the points you should consider when designing your own CV.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. Convey clearly what kind of work you’re seeking.’ and ‘I beg to remain’. If you haven’t received an acknowledgement within two or three weeks. if done well. related experience. It should enhance your application. especially as it may be based on US spelling. 4. So make clear who you are. and say where and when you saw the vacancy. 4. Ask someone else to read it – don’t rely on your computer’s spelling check.5.5. a speculative approach is not allowed in Northern Ireland. • Although you should be business-like. The second letter accompanies a CV in response to a newspaper advertisement. end ‘Yours sincerely’. • When writing to a named individual. • Use plain A4 paper of good quality. • Put your name. If there’s a vacancy this will. It introduces your application and draws attention to the main factors that make you suitable for the job. what you’re studying. type or word-process your letter (though very occasionally an employer will ask for a handwritten letter). then highlight the relevant points in the CV such as work experience. 78 To find out more. so make sure that the reader will want to find out more about you. visit our website at www. and when you would be able to start. interests and activities. the name. • Keep it brief – usually not more than one side of A4. • If there are any special circumstances not covered in the application form or CV. If you do have to resort to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. • You can use your covering letter to give additional information such as reasons for an unusual change in career. you’ll know that to make a speculative approach you have to present your case in a letter. The first is a speculative approach asking for an advice interview from an executive the writer doesn’t know. Switchboard staff can be very helpful in supplying this information if it isn’t otherwise available. your qualifications and what you have to offer. • Print your name clearly below your signature. A CV will usually require more of an introduction. telephone number and date at the top right-hand corner and. • Address your letter to an individual person by name and job title. At the same time you must leave the impression that you’re someone it’s useful for the employer to know about.1 Applying for a job in a vacancy list or answering an advertisement Mention the job title (including any reference number). such as a relevant degree. 4. on the lefthand side. Add some other detail to reinforce your suitability. not repeat what’s on the application form or CV. Say why you want to work for that particular organisation. translate into being someone the employer ought to see. You’re trying to find out whether there are any vacancies. mention them in the letter. address.5 The covering letter Your covering letter is your opportunity to market yourself.uk/careers . send a brief follow-up letter or telephone to make sure that it’s been received. or highlight aspects of your CV which you feel are particularly important. or whether vacancies will arise in the near future. end ‘Yours faithfully’. Two examples of covering letters are set out overleaf. It will usually be read first.3 Drafting your letter • If possible.5. without duplicating what’s on the application form. • Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. Application forms often allow you reasonable scope to sell yourself and may need only a brief covering letter. appropriate qualification. and that you’ve expressed yourself clearly. job title and organisation of the person you’re writing to. Highlight your strongest selling points. Always include a covering letter unless the employer specifically tells you not to. usually accompanied by your CV.2 Applying speculatively Remember. Keep a copy of your letter.ac. steer clear of stilted expressions like ‘re your advertisement of 29th July. If you’ve worked through Section 2 in this book. where you are. such as a disability and how you overcome potential difficulties. Stress how you think the organisation can benefit from employing you.open.
I should appreciate your advice concerning the development of my career. I noted in yesterday’s Financial Times that your company received an export award from the Department of Trade and Industry. visit our website at www. I should appreciate a personal meeting with you and will contact you in the next week to discuss this. and I wish to congratulate you. and computer based control equipment. your advice and suggestions would also be helpful and influential in helping me research my options to develop my career. With your knowledge of exporting.open.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. • Increasing sales by 26 per cent in one year when the pound was at its highest exchange rate. • Selecting and working with local distributors throughout the world. Some of my key achievements have been: • Locating new lines of products and developing international sales for them. Having had over ten years’ experience in export sales. Yours sincerely Joginder Singh 01926 850973 To find out more. I am now seeking a career change that will build on this experience. Your success in selling computer components to Asian countries has been something few companies have achieved in the last few years. including experience of exporting electronic.ac. Although I would like to work for your company.uk/careers 79 .
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. Assistant Finance Director. Fairplay Industries Ltd.ac. Having read the detailed description of the post. I am confident that I could make a significant contribution to Fairplay Industries Ltd. My decision was based on a desire to change employers in order to broaden my professional experience as I am keen to develop my career in a managerially demanding environment. I am enclosing my CV in response to your advertisement for the above post which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 1 March. I have particular interest in computer-based accounting procedures and extensive staff management experience. I look forward to hearing from you. Working in a team alongside other senior management colleagues. I have recently taken voluntary redundancy as a consequence of a nationwide organisational restructuring programme. I am a qualified accountant with substantial professional experience. Yours sincerely Margaret Minty 80 To find out more.uk/careers . Although I currently live in Edinburgh. and discussed specific aspects with the Finance Director over the telephone yesterday. I have brought about a sustained improvement in my office’s financial performance over the past five years. visit our website at www.open. I am free to relocate to another area and see this as a positive addition to my professional and personal development.
uk/careers 81 .’ • Always try to be positive in what you say and never be critical of a previous employer. I need a moment or two to think about it. If you’re given a choice. If the interview has already covered that. • Show acceptance of the interviewer as a person. not maintaining eye contact) in an interview can be more important in determining its outcome than experience or qualifications. This suggests that a good interview performance is likely to impress. • 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. • A candidate’s body language (for example. • Interviewers are more likely to be swayed by negative information or behaviour on the part of the candidate than positive. Neither should psychologically dominate the discussion. They’ll be asking themselves ‘Could we get on?’ ‘Would this person be supportive?’ • Balance the initiative-taking. use the opportunity to add relevant information about yourself that you haven’t had an adequate opportunity to express. • Interviewers’ judgements about a candidate are always made in relation to judgements about earlier candidates. The ideal interview should flow like a conversation. First impressions count. • Interviewers too may be inexperienced or nervous. Interviews tend to exclude rather than to include. It’s up to you to help them out and make them feel comfortable. Don’t be panicked into responding too quickly. • Interviewers may be poor at assessing the personality characteristics of individual candidates with any validity. Remember that interviewers want to be liked and hope to be supported in their day-to-day work and career by your appointment.open. • When asked whether you have any questions.ac. it can be useful to ask about future business plans. Fill a thinking gap with comments such as ‘That’s an interesting question. Here are some initial tips for interviews: • Interviewers want you to do yourself justice. • A few seconds silence in an interview can seem an eternity. and aren’t easily swayed by factual information thereafter. but they make very consistent judgements and assessments between candidates. perhaps in an illogical way.6 The interview Interviews remain the most common method of filling vacancies. To find out more. although as the candidate you should do most of the talking – in effect determining the content. go first. while the interviewer sets the format. initial answers are critical. visit our website at www. They’re hoping that you’ll be an excellent candidate and that the interviewing time and effort will be well spent. You can set a standard against which the others will be judged. • Guard against being too open. so the sequence of interviews assumes an importance of its own. some important insights for candidates emerge: • Some interviewers make up their minds about candidates within the first four minutes of an interview. From the vast amount of research into interviews as a selection method.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. reaching greater depths as the rapport develops between the two parties.
Evaluate your performance and incorporate the learning into your next interview. Practice is essential. or use audio or video recordings. • Learn from observing others – take the role of interviewer with a partner. If you can. or interviewers who have rejected you.ac. • Reflect on your experience. • Review your CV. Read the section on ‘Tough questions’ in Section 4. • What are your weak spots and what do you feel uncomfortable talking about? • Why would you not employ yourself? Produce convincing counter-arguments. Try to foresee questions or situations and work out possible answers.6. • Practise your answers in the weak areas. 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. problems.9 below and practise some answers out loud. for insight often leads to heightened anxiety. within a broader organisational framework May have standard questions.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. find out something about the people interviewing you. Don’t let your own stereotyping of the interviewer affect your interview technique.1 Interviewers There are as many kinds of interviewer as there are people. How you project yourself through your social and communication skills will determine your success whenever you speak with potential employers. 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. • Think about the interview and plan for it. Practise some answers into a tape recorder and listen critically to yourself. 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. 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. Below we list the four main types of interviewers you may come across.open. pick bits from CV Concerned about your professional competence and the rapport between you Managing director or company founder May digress into lengthy company history Concerned about cultural fit. 82 To find out more. often astute and very sensitive Acting as internal screener. 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. Collect as many concrete examples of things you’ve done as you can. and may not be entirely their usual selves. Find out all you can about interviewing techniques and be ready to cope with them: • Read about the process. into a tape recorder. Human resource/recruitment managers Well-trained and experienced.2 Before your interview • Research the job and employer thoroughly beforehand. may try to ‘sell’ the job Head of a group or department A technical expert with wider managerial experience Will talk shop. Do it out loud. • Ask for comments from a partner. Consult some of the books listed at the end of this booklet. Practise speaking on the phone to a friend and ask what impression you’re making. • Practise by role-play with a partner. How you sound will be crucial.uk/careers .6. Remember that when managers interview they’re playing a role to a set of social rules. solutions. visit our website at www.6.
• Don’t forget to turn off your mobile phone. Watch the interviewer’s behaviour.ac. • Don’t be overburdened with bags. ask for repetition or clarification. and achievment profile. Avoid jargon. • Don’t fold your arms. friendliness and sincerity. 4.6. Show that you know the interview ‘rules’ by wearing smart clothes. which will give you clues to whether you are answering the questions and timing your replies appropriately. look at company literature to get an idea of how people dress.6. It’s your task to provide evidence in your answers that demonstrates these characteristics. • Arrive in good time. • Speak clearly. telephone. and if possible do a dummy run. A lucid style is a transparent window on the content. • Use your natural gestures – there’s no need to look frozen! • Avoid fidgeting.3 On the day . and keep your hands away from your mouth.6 Answering questions Whatever the nature of the job. • Prepare some questions that you would like to ask. If there’s no suitable literature you could telephone and ask the person on the switchboard or the secretary of the person interviewing you.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Plan travel and arrival times. • Use plain language that doesn’t confuse or divert. papers. so that if it doesn’t feel right you’ve got time to change your plans. confident first impression. . clichés. • Remember to take a copy of your application with you. Try the whole outfit some days before. • Speak concisely. Smile! • Avoid negative statements. allow yourself time to relax. and judge when you’ve said enough.5 Body language • Walk and sit with good posture. • Decide what to wear. professional. • If delayed. Dress appropriately for the culture. polishing your shoes and so on. • Listen attentively to the questions. Don’t drop your voice towards the end of sentences. .6. visit our website at www. 4. warmth. • Shake hands firmly and briefly. If you’re very unsure about this.6. 4. • Maintain good eye-contact with the person you’re speaking to. 4. • Convey the right amount of enthusiasm.4 How you sound • Sound as if you have confidence in yourself. umbrellas. • Don’t smoke anywhere on the premises.uk/careers 83 . or groups of characteristics – your personal. Some people need to practise this. 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. the interviewer will be working to a mental model consisting of three related profiles. If in doubt ask ‘Would you like me to go on?’ • Show through your answers that you’ve done your research into the company. • Remember the need for a poised. Conservative dress is more likely to pay off than flamboyance.
6. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response. The questions are 84 To find out more. Ask for the question to be repeated. stop and leave it at that. ‘What if the policy changed to carrying more freight by rail?’ In reply be methodical.6. e. state assumptions you’re making. • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone. write a letter asking for some constructive comment by telephone. there may be other positions coming up. at the employer’s convenience. The advice that follows about personal interviews below applies just as much to telephone interviews. • Standing up while talking can make you sound more confident. Pause for thought If you fail to plan. • In response to embarrassing – rather than simply tough – questions.g. This technique is used for recruiting sales. often with a technical content.ac. as you would when talking to someone face to face. • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. you plan to fail. visit our website at www. Look through the next examples – you’re bound to come up against some of them in one form or another. In general: • If you feel yourself under pressure.g.g.uk/careers . 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. take time and keep to the point. If you can show that you know what they’re getting at. you’ll tend not to listen so acutely. marketing or telesales staff. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained interviewers.open. Here are some tips to help you through them followed by some examples and how to approach them. Even if you’re unsuccessful this time. and say where you’d need more information. 4. keep your answer simple and short. • Some candidates dress in the clothes they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind. ‘Tell me about the three years you spent studying with The Open University. you’re half way to giving an appropriate answer. or monotonous or tentative? • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone. • If you’re rejected.9 Tough questions Everyone has a different perception of what constitutes a tough question. 4. • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview.6. A wide range of questions is covered in Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions by Martin Yate (see the end of this section for further details). • Try to show that you understand why the interviewers have asked you the question. They do this in several ways: • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring.g. This reinforces recollections of you.’ • Hypothetical questions test speed and quality of thought. e. ‘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. There’s some general advice about using the telephone effectively in Section 2.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. ‘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. 4.8 Interviews by telephone Increasing numbers of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process.7 After the interview • Think about the questions and your answers. When you’ve answered. e. 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. e.
Either choose one that isn’t particularly significant. freedom from childcare. to counter any thoughts that you might simply be looking for a refuge. Remember that this question isn’t simply about your factual history so don’t give too much detail.open. Having worked for one company for so long. Then express your motivation and drive. Add a balanced. for example: Early years (if appropriate) Education Work experience Significant events Keep your answer short (three to four minutes). emotional stability. This question needs practice. Cover relevant aspects of your life. and the typical salary ranges. 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. time management) but have taken action to overcome it.g. coaching and mentoring skills. You could also provide evidence of being a quick learner. and the ‘political’ gains of instigating change through appointing an outsider. Draw attention to the possibilities of bringing in skills or experience that the company would benefit from. Describe how you’ve adapted to different subcultures you’ve encountered by doing different jobs in your career. 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. Concentrate on the many positive features of your greater maturity: experience of life and work. or pair one with something that can be turned from a weakness into a strength (e. credibility with clients. Use phrases like ‘learning a valuable lesson’ rather than admitting to making a mistake. wellreasoned argument for your choice of this new kind of work. Try to restrict yourself to four or five as too long a list will confuse the interviewer. visit our website at www. Draw on examples from the three profiles – personal. Include any particular characteristics that you feel relate to the job.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. Tell me about yourself. 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. Or explain how you had a weakness (e.g. domestic stability. Why should you be appointed rather than an internal candidate? This is an invitation to list your main strengths. Q A A Q A Q A To find out more. Q A What are your weaknesses? Don’t claim to be faultless! Most strengths taken to the extreme become weaknesses. the fresh perspective of Q an outsider.uk/careers 85 . Q A How much are you worth? Try to delay answering this until you know the responsibilities and scope of the job. Mention your previous salary and any financial commitments that lead you to raise or lower your expectations. conscientiousness) to end on a positive note. Negotiations like this might seem strange to you if your only experience is of fixed salary scales. professional and achievement – we discussed in ‘Answering questions’ above to produce a rounded picture.ac. Isn’t it a bit late in your working life to change career? It is perhaps unlikely that you would be asked this.
) A A Quote samples of your own recent learning. Create a favourable impression based on the things you’ve done to help yourself. Include examples of support and how you kept your manager informed. Include a reference to how important work is to you. Be honest. Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q 86 To find out more. You might start by briefly describing how your style has developed as you’ve grown in experience and social expectations have changed. What sort of relationship did you have with your last manager? Concentrate on understanding your manager’s expectations and objectives. A trite or bland answer will seriously undermine your application.uk/careers . Emphasise your desire to develop your skills by moving to a more demanding job. mentally sharp and so on. If you had complete freedom of choice of jobs and employers. Why has it taken you so long to find a new job? Finding any sort of job is easy. filling in expense claim forms). your variations in style according to different people and different tasks.ac. There’s no research evidence to support this assumption. It is also important to emphasise IT skills and keeping up with professional journals/research in the area. What interests you least about this job? Choose a routine activity (filing. 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. relate this to the job you are applying for. Make clear statements about your willingness to shoulder responsibility and say that you would consider career progression within the company at an appropriate time.open. either at work or at leisure.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. If possible. 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. Relate your answer in the final stages to the job you’re applying for. what would you choose? Talk about the kind of work you’re being interviewed for and why this company interests you. finding an appropriate job takes time. Why do you want to work for us? Your research will pay off here. visit our website at www. How would you describe your management style? Have a well thought-out answer ready. Concentrate on flexibility. and your hope that some of these needs will be met. Mention steps you’ve taken to keep up to date. but be careful that it isn’t a core function of the job. Plead ignorance about other potentially boring duties. Uncertainties in the business environment will probably lead to growth opportunities for the company and you. Statements about far-reaching ambitions should sound realistic. What are your ambitions? Concentrate on your desire to do the job well and to develop your skills and confidence. What were the circumstances of your leaving your last employer? Keep your reply short and don’t touch on any conflict or bitterness.
It can include situational activities.g. as well as interviews and psychometric tests.7. the Health Service. visit our website at www. group discussions. To find out more.ac. Because assessment centres are more thorough. this job. aware that interviews have many shortcomings. particularly at graduate level. exercises and interviews) for recruiting new employees.uk/careers 87 . education. • 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. and why? • Do/did you have any frustrations in your present/last job? • What did you learn from (e. • 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4.1 Assessment centres This approach has been defined as ‘the use of any selection device. here are some general guidelines: • Don’t be intimidated. 4. 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. 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. what do/did you spend most time on. in-tray exercises and the like. One such tool is the use of assessment centres – these are not places. in any combination. this company…) today? Do you feel well equipped to meet those challenges? • None of your experience is at managerial level. 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.g.4 Here are some more examples of interviewers’ questions to think through yourself.7 Other selection techniques Larger employers. beyond the interview’. • 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. medium and long-term goals? • Why have you decided to change careers? • What are the main challenges facing (e. You would normally find out about the way an organisation uses these by researching their recruitment literature or website.open. If you are asked to attend an assessment centre. they are fairer to you. are increasing their use of additional tools. being a manager…)? • How do you react to criticism? • How do you feel about the progress you made in your present/last position? • In your present/last job.g. All the other candidates will be nervous too. 4. but a technique (a mixture of tests.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. • Make sure that you know exactly what you’re required to do. If you wear glasses for reading.ac. although certain characteristics will be more or less appropriate for the job (e. • 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. have no time limits • Ask during the practice session if you don’t understand. • In summer.ac.ac. depending on the organisation and more usually by large blue chip companies: • as a selection exercise before an interview • to accompany an interview selection • as part of a number of selection exercises at an assessment centre. They look at how you react or behave in different situations. or bring your own calculator.g. 88 To find out more. verbal. cognitive.uk/careers and look for ‘Assessment Centres’ in the ‘A. • Assume that you’ll be closely observed the whole time. • 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. special seating) discuss it with the selector in advance. When the time comes: • Arrive in good time. Tests are designed so that you have a few items to practise on first. visit our website at www. but if you’re anxious about them. • Assessment centres sometimes have the advantage that they give you longer to judge the organisation and the people within it. both mentally and physically: • Your invitation may include a programme of events. the level and nature of your thinking skills (typically. failure in one or two elements won’t automatically mean rejection. The ability to listen and support others is also highly valued. choose something that’s cool as well as smart to wear. social confidence and persuasiveness would be considered important characteristics). • If you have a disability and need special arrangements (e. The selectors aren’t looking for a rigidly ‘typical’ personality. for sales personnel. 4. Your results are usually compared with how others have done on the tests in the past. numerical and perceptual skills). Study it carefully. Decisions about senior appointments are never based on test results alone. paying attention to any special instructions.uk/careers . for example. You may face hours of hot sticky work in examination conditions. Further resources For further information and resources on assessment centres go to: www. • Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. induction loop.Z’. You might be asked to prepare something in advance. • Take the pens and pencils you like to write with. • Go to the loo before major exercises. You will find practice tests at: www. getting in some practice will probably make you feel better.uk/links/AssessmentCntrs www. or how you respond to different situations.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Decisions are made by drawing on all the evidence.open.prospects. make sure you take them with you.shldirect. Get yourself ready.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. There are two main kinds of psychometric test: Aptitude. Unlike aptitude tests. such as personality and interest questionnaires.g. ability or intelligence tests These aim to assess your capabilities in tests of reasoning: that is.2 Psychometric tests Psychometric tests are structured pencil-and-paper or computer exercises. they can last several hours. The tests are used in a variety of ways. In fact. A highlighter pen could be useful.7. Personality questionnaires These gather information about how and why you do things in your own particular way.open. The tests should have been carefully researched and tried out to ensure that they’re fair to everyone who takes them. often in the form of multiplechoice questions. independence. They’re designed to assess your reasoning abilities. and your preferences and attitudes. they have no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. a good test can offset weaknesses in interview performance – it never seems to work the other way round.
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. • You won’t get any marks if the marker can’t read your writing. • Keep a careful eye on the time. communication skills and persuasiveness. outline a proposal or draft a letter. see it as a task in which you have to convince or persuade the selectors. remember that getting the best out of others is a skill in itself. • Make assumptions explicit.4 Presentations These are often used as part of an assessment exercise. Make it a lively delivery. 4. If you’ve been asked to prepare in advance. If you have trouble with it. • Be clear about the aims of the exercise: keep the group focused on the task. Like examination candidates. Some selection procedures include a discussion about the test results with a psychologist.7. • Recommendation of an option. with reasoning to support your choice. There could be questions afterwards. but you’re always given time to prepare. don’t use a ballpoint pen – it tends to make things worse. with their pros and cons. • Don’t spend so much time thinking and planning that you haven’t got time to write the report. • Make an early contribution. Concentrate your thinking and be succinct in your expression so that you have less to write. for another you’ll have to guess what sort of personality the company is looking for. and you may have access to audio-visual materials. Remember the rubric: 4.7. but make good use of your allowance. • Don’t be tempted to produce complex visuals. Talk directly to them.3 Written exercises Typically.7. • Don’t rework chunks of the brief. If you have a disability that you believe may affect your ability to do these tests. and if more information might be needed say what it is. 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. • Be supportive and pleasant to the other candidates. Make liberal use of subheadings and bullet points to make your answer easy to read.uk/careers 89 . or sometimes to the other candidates as well. with your reasons (is it practicable. and faking then becomes very difficult to sustain. You’re not going to be judged on your ability to dominate. You’ll probably have only five minutes of presentation time. • Remember to put your name on all the sheets of paper you use. Keep the presentation simple. not an essay. practise so that you’ve got the timing right. Very often you’ll be set a task as a group or given a case study to look at. Sometimes you’re told the topic before the day. 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. applicants who fail selection tests often do so because they don’t answer the questions. with the selectors acting as observers. They’re easy to set up and provide a useful sample of logical thinking. but there are dangers in trying to do this.ac. verbal expression. Don’t ignore the possibility of recombining parts of different options. not enough to do them justice. Never read from a prepared script. Be cooperative. you’ll be given a lot of written data and asked to write a report.open. The observers will be making notes about the quality of your contribution (logic. How you say it is as important as what you say. • What’s usually wanted is a business report. but not necessarily the first. Honesty is the best policy. You may need to make your presentation just to the selectors. The marker will be looking for original thought. visit our website at www. and how?) If you’re faced with a written exercise: • Follow the instructions. To find out more. Candidates often fail through producing two to three times too much material. don’t over-run. If asked to do so. 4.5 Group discussions Three to eight candidates sit in a group and discuss one or more topics. come to a conclusion or recommendation.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Personality tests are easy to fake. relationship with other participants). most tests contain ‘lie scales’. sometimes during the assessment centre. For one thing.
some employers ask candidates to submit a handwritten piece on a management topic. If you have to reach a decision within thirty minutes. and ability to communicate in clear English. How to go about it: • It may be possible to take the in-tray apart and sort it into heaps.10 Medical tests The job advertisement or person specification should state clearly whether a certain level of physical fitness is required. organisation. Make a point of discussing your strategy and interpretation of the group discussion with the interviewer later. particularly in France. • Give reasons for your decisions. visit our website at www. By taking the trouble to reflect and to prepare. Don’t just put your head down and plough through the lot. other than statistical correlation. but they’re not as detailed or as accurate as information gathered from psychometric tests and exercises. use your diary and your secretary well. Pause for thought Getting the job you want is always a challenge. Most candidates find these tests tough. 4. A well constructed test in-tray will contain distracting trivia. If you like to work like that. decisionmaking. a contraction of ‘biographical data’. Evidence offers little support for its use as a predictor of performance. A cleverly constructed in-tray will generate emotional responses that can cloud decision-making. • Read the instructions carefully and plan your time accordingly. you’ll be maximising your chance of success. and may take time. • Keep a careful eye on the time. Staffing issues are most likely to spring this trap.7. and between intrays if there’s more than one.7.uk/careers . or 90 words per minute wordprocessing. • Look for links within an in-tray. just like a real one.6 In-tray exercises These simulations of the administrative aspects of a job can be very taxing. follow this up by tackling the items according to those you set. make sure that it’s permitted. or conflict between the other participants. 4.9 Proficiency tests These tests are used to find out whether candidates have the skills they claim – 120 words per minute shorthand. So.g. You’re likely not to know that graphology is being used. medical tests cover sight.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Mentally ‘stand back’ occasionally and evaluate what’s happening. Treat the whole exercise like real life. for example. Information may be collected from the standard application form.7 Graphology Graphology . 4. it’s Saturday afternoon). 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.7. colour perception and hearing. They’re usually set in an unrealistic scenario that prevents you from talking to other people in the organisation (e. remind the group if necessary. 90 To find out more. 4.8 Biodata analysis ‘Biodata’. • Remain balanced in your judgement. abroad. if you’re asked to submit a demonstration piece.7.open. You may be allowed to use the floor if the desk isn’t big enough. with appropriate levels of formality and informality in your responses. • Don’t be discouraged. but is a controversial technique in the UK. take care over presentation as well as content.7. but often a special form is needed. The qualities most likely to be assessed are analysis. Intervene if there’s loss of direction. • You can be judged only on what you’ve written down. Best marks are obtained by candidates who produce the largest volume of appropriate written output. set timescales.analysis of handwriting – is used a lot for managerial selection in continental Europe. However. • If the first part of the exercise asks you to set priorities. not on what went through your head. make reporting and follow-up clear. The biographical data need not have any recognised link with performance. Studies indicate that graphologists can produce generalised personality descriptions.ac. As well as general fitness. means that details of an individual’s history are correlated with the biographical details of others who have succeeded in the same occupation. Signal in your comments that you’ve spotted these links. 4. judgement. Related tests of ‘potential for proficiency’ (trainability) assess characteristics such as hand–eye coordination. even if you’re not asked to do so. and that can be a clue. colleagues are ill.
Kogan Page.ac.open.open.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. Kogan Page.uk/links/AppsInterviews To find out more. M.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Further resources For giving presentations. 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.open.uk/careers 91 .ac. Parkinson (2004) How to master Psychometric Tests.uk/learning M. Yate (2005) Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions. The OU careers website at: www.ac. M.ac. visit our website at www.
Many employers have well-developed equal opportunities policies to help them to recruit a diverse workforce.2 5. on a covering letter. go to www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Equality and Diversity Issues In this section 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 Regardless of their background.uk/careers 93 . In this section we highlight some of the additional challenges that may be faced by students and graduates.ac. strategies to help you in your job search and further resources that you may find helpful. The issues of whether. some organisations aim specifically to recruit a workforce that reflects the community they serve. the legal position.4 5. Each section includes a discussion of some of the issues you may encounter.6 5.uk/links/ discrimination Pause for thought Keep in mind that disclosure of personal information during the recruitment process can be a concern for some people. However. 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. To find out more.open. before or during an interview will be considered later in Section 5. there is evidence that certain groups of people are at a disadvantage and may experience difficulty in achieving their career aims. when or how you should do so. For more information and links on job-seeking strategies when facing discrimination.5 5.3 5.1 5. on your application form. the same principles of career planning and job seeking apply to everyone.ac.prospects. visit our website at www. In fact. and you will often see this highlighted in job advertisements.
if you need any information in an alternative format such as an audio recording. as a mature graduate. You may need to allow some time for appropriate arrangements to be made. plan ahead and make use of the study breaks and any contacts you have to find out all you can about the area of work you are interested in.1. visit our website at www.ac.2 How to help yourself in the job market Take a look at Section 4 on applying for jobs. Remember. look at the Careers Advisory Service website for contacts for volunteering opportunities. sexual orientation and religion. gender. Then contact the Careers Advisory Service in your region to get help with your marketing plan. Employers are looking for more than a qualification. then you could consider exploring your local options. ‘Yes. If you have additional requirements that may lead to difficulties accessing any of our services. So. we will be happy to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs. Having a degree is not enough to secure a job. 5. that you are automatically going to be offered a job.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 5.’.1 Note here any issues that could affect you at work. For example. 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’.1 Your rights By October 2006.1 Age Are you concerned that.. or contact your local OU Careers Advisory Service. selection procedures in large organisations are being reviewed. which you might like to discuss with a careers adviser. This may feel unfair. They are saying. Braille or large print. So. For instance.uk/careers . hone your CV to highlight that ‘extra’ you can offer to enhance your application. and paid work. please contact your regional centre who will arrange this. disability. This should also help you to feel confident about what you can offer to the workplace. you have a degree and. 5. to offer a range of transferable skills and experience to an employer.open. juggling study and home responsibilities. This is where you are able. 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. having completed your degree. especially when you have used all your spare time to get the degree in the first place. 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’. If you haven’t had any recent work experience (paid or voluntary).. 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.1. It’s not enough to think that because you have completed a part-time degree. 94 To find out more.
go to Employers Forum on Age at: www. You do need to be clear about what you want and what you can offer.asp Age diversity at work – A practical guide for business. • How.com/mat_home.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Many OU graduates have changed careers in midlife. And you must be determined and active in your approach. you may be confused about its implications for working in the future.prospects. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. teaching. • Be confident if you are offered an interview as this means your CV/application form has obviously been successful.1 Your rights Do note that there are legal requirements regarding disclosure of certain convictions. when and if to disclose a conviction to a prospective employer. • Fully research each employer.prospects.realworldmagazine. communication.ac. and view life experience as an advantage e. starting by using the company website (if there is one available).org. • Convey your reliability. work and earn for as long as they want. Some of your concerns may include: • Whether you must declare any convictions.g. organisational and self-motivational skills.uk The Third Age Employment Network (TAEN) works for better opportunities for mature people to continue to learn. or need.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. • Identify the skills you developed in previous work. some have started new careers in their 50s. occupational therapy. AGCAS) Tell employers about your skills and what you have had to do to get an OU qualification. teamwork. • What impact a criminal record will have on your gaining and keeping employment. research.taen.open. For some areas To find out more.2 Criminal record If you have a criminal record. and archive work.ac. You can access the network at: www. • Stress your ability to hit the ground running – you know all about working for a living. you have just spent a number of years improving these through part-time study.2.agepositive. to do so. Published by Age Positive at: www. Available for reference in your regional centre or at: www. • Use positive language in applications and interviews and never apologise for your age. loyalty and confidence to manage change.efa.ac.uk/careers 95 .uk Mature students – the way forward (AGCAS publication) is available at: www. social work. good targeting and carefully written documentation. • Highlight your time management.uk/links/Mature AdvantAGE – A magazine published by ‘realworld’ to help ‘mature’ students to take control of their future. it’s vital – whatever your aims – to research your chosen area thoroughly and market yourself effectively. (A level playing field. 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. studies and general life experience e. Be prepared to produce more than one CV. adaptability. Most employers will be impressed by your commitment and motivation! Indeed.org. visit our website at www. psychotherapy. • Create your own network using contacts from previous jobs/friends/family. counselling.uk/links/Discrimination 5. • Demonstrate your experience when making effective business decisions and give examples. • Demonstrate your flexibility and experience of studying and working in mixed-age environments.gov.g. including a section for mature students. Nonetheless. Further resources For the latest information on age legislation 2006. investment of time and 143 stamps and envelopes. Don’t be put off by negative reactions if at first you don’t succeed! One graduate wrote: My method worked because of planning. some areas of work look for maturity.
The key starting point is to explore career areas that are relevant to your interests and skills. The effectiveness of the adjustment in reducing the disadvantage must be taken into account. and people with severe disfigurements.nacro. promotion. They define rights for disabled people. This covers people who have had a disability.3 Disability or additional requirements Many students and graduates with disabilities have the same skills and abilities to offer as anyone else.ac. Large companies will probably be expected to adapt the workplace.prospects. • Market yourself as positively as possible (see Section 4). including a section for offenders. Here is a range of strategies to help you: • Discuss your situation with a careers adviser at your regional centre. but smaller companies with lesser funds may not have to do so. supervising or being in sole charge of persons aged under eighteen’. Part II of the DDA is intended to prevent discrimination against disabled people at work and in recruitment. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook of work.ac. particularly in relation to employment and access to goods. such as ‘regularly caring for.gov. • Make use of other agencies that can help and advise you. and so must the finances of the employer. in the past. Employers must show that they have looked into the costs of adaptations. 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’. do check the legal situation carefully.crb. and then to consider the next steps as outlined below. it can seem a challenging task to seek employment. 5. without the need for specific adjustments or support.co. • Be realistic about the employment area you wish to enter. including recruitment.3.open. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments both to the workplace and to the job description. or applying for jobs.disclosurescotland. and what funding is available from other sources. training.org. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. For some students. training and selection for redundancy or dismissal.uk/links/Discrimination 96 To find out more.2.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. Before you start studying for a specific career area. All employers are covered except for the armed forces. 5. You can find out more from the Disability Rights Commission: Disability Rights Commission www.uk/careers . These may include adjusting premises. services and facilities.org Further resources Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) at: www. Discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment.apextrust. employers are required to seek disclosure of criminal records from the relevant criminal records office. You can access them at: www.drc-gb. as defined by the Act. additional support can help to enable access to work.uk The Apex Trust – support. 5. Keep in mind that there are certain jobs for which convictions never become spent.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.2 How to help yourself in the job market If you have unspent convictions. altering hours or buying equipment. information and advice for ex-offenders seeking work at: www.com The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) publishes a number of advice leaflets. It does not apply to employers who employ workers on board ships or aircraft. those who have recurring or progressive conditions.uk Scottish Criminal Record Office (Scotland) at: www.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. • Don’t restrict your applications only to employers who are keen to recruit disabled people. If you do decide to disclose your disability.co. • Perhaps you prefer not to discuss your disability with a stranger. 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. Many employers have equal opportunities policies. though you may find it helpful to talk it over with a careers adviser at your regional centre. You should always point this out to employers.jobcentreplus. • Referral if needed to an occupational psychologist. • Information on employers in your area who are Disability Symbol users. You will be able to describe things in a positive light – your strengths. you risk losing your job. 5. • • • • • To find out more. So. your coping strategies. you will need to consider the method and timing. Here are some reasons why it might be a good a idea to not disclose your disability • You may believe that your disability has no effect on your ability to do the job. Many application forms ask about disability and health.uk Each is committed to creating and developing opportunities for people with disabilities. 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.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.gov. Access to Work – a Jobcentre Plus programme (see below) can provide support for you in a job.uk or look up Jobcentre Plus in the Yellow Pages.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. • Referral where appropriate to a work preparation programme. To find your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. For instance. If you give false information and an employer finds out the truth later. When you apply for jobs and you are considering whether to disclose your disability: • Always focus on what you can do. • 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.3. look for employers who make these kinds of positive statements even if they don’t use the disability symbol. • You might feel that you will be discriminated against and rejected straight away. If you declare your disability and believe that you have been discriminated against during the application process.uk/careers 97 . the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 entitles you to take your case to a tribunal.employers-forum. However. • A job matching and referral service. • You may think that an employer will automatically see you as a potential expense. look at the website: www. You must make your own judgement.open. visit our website at www.3. Specialist DEAs can discuss your current employment situation with you to plan the best way into work. not what you can’t. There are now over 400 member companies in the Employers’ Forum on Disability www. If you’re concerned about losing the job you’re already in for a reason associated with disability. Services the DEAs can offer include: • An employment assessment to identify what work or training suits you best. 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. it may fund specialist equipment or transport costs.ac. the DEA can provide advice to you and your employer and explore practical ways to help you keep your job. The majority of disabled jobseekers who find work through Jobcentre Plus are assisted by a disability employment adviser (DEA). • Don’t assume that an employer will view your disability in a negative way. training and self-employment. 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.
uk SKILL – The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – has a large range of relevant information sources: www. this can help you in presenting yourself in your application for work. and in fact.uk/disability Further resources Association of Disabled Professionals at: www.diversityworks. The OU provides information about DSAs on the website at: www. Times are changing: for instance.) 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. advice and resources for students with disabilities. Wales and Scotland. education. 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.adp. or • work that is proved to be of equal value. It’s important that you are aware of the issues concerning sex and gender discrimination – at both recruitment stage.4. the necessity for a work/life balance is highlighted by the legal right for mothers and fathers of children under 6. 98 To find out more.org.org.4 Gender/sex Does it make a difference if you are a man or a woman when applying for a job? Unfortunately. including a section on disability.open. and in employment. • Details about work-based learning for adults. www.ac.uk Disabled Entrepreneurs Network: www. 5.uk Diversity Works at: www. June 2003. It also prohibits discrimination in employment against married people. Look in the ‘A-Z’ under ‘Disability’ for further resources.skill. needing time off work for parenting duties. or • work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study.uk/careers . and graduate case studies.1 Your rights (The following information is from the EOC website. • Information on local and national disability organisations of and for disabled people. and the provision of goods.scope.ac. There is a lot of discussion about the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from achieving ‘top jobs’. facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises. visit our website at www. we still find gender discrimination in the workplace. and looking for flexible working arrangements.disabilitytoolkits. Employers are not required to provide the same pay and benefits if they can prove that the difference in pay or benefits is genuinely due to a reason other than one related to sex.uk/links/Discrimination The Hobson’s guide for Disabled Students – This is a free annual publication for disabled students. If you check on the legal situation. and disabled children under 18.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook WORKSTEP – Individual programme of support through a variety of different job opportunities – leading to unsupported employment.ac. which came into force in the UK on 6 April 2003.ac.) Other equality issues that you might encounter include harassment at work.disabled-entrepreneurs. and in ongoing communication with your employer. published by AGCAS and available online at: www.open. If you live outside the UK you will need to check the legal position for your country of residence. (You might also want to check whether a prospective employer has an equal opportunities policy. where the man and the woman are doing • like work.open. 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.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.uk/careers 5. academics involved in work placements and prospective employers: www. There is also an interactive web-based service providing dedicated information. includes employers’ case studies.prospects. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of employment. yes: despite the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). The EPA applies to England.org.net The Open University Careers Advisory Service web pages have some useful links.ac. available for reference in each regional centre.
and this will help to counter any negative stereotypes that may exist. The EPA has been interpreted to cover indirect sex discrimination as well as direct discrimination. The SDA applies to women and men of any age. Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission at: www. an unnecessary requirement to be under 5’ 10” would discriminate against men. There are special provisions about discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment.ac. 5.numberten. irrespective of sex.4. • Break free of male and female stereotypes.4 Discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment With certain exceptions.3 Indirect sex discrimination Indirect sex discrimination is where a condition or practice is applied to both sexes but it adversely affects a considerably larger proportion of one sex than the other. Therefore.org A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. However.5 How to help yourself in the job market So. • Increase the number of women in public life. Strict time limits apply. there are special provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment in employment.ac. one type of direct sex discrimination is sexual harassment. there is a good argument that the general definition of sex discrimination prohibits this.4. For instance. • Secure comprehensive equality legislation in Europe. Scotland and Wales. This is especially important if you are looking to enter a field of employment that is traditionally dominated by the opposite sex. • End sexual harassment at work. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. although there is not yet any legal authority on this point. Three months (less one day) from the act of the discrimination for employment tribunal cases.prospects.4. another is treating a woman adversely because she is pregnant. a requirement to work full-time might be unlawful discrimination against women. • Discuss your application with a careers adviser in your regional centre. visit our website at www. 10 – Top Careers for Women – careers publication focusing on issues relating to graduate women in the labour market. to apply a condition or practice. England. • Provide clear evidence of your ability to do the job. • Concentrate on your strengths. 5.uk No.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.uk/careers 99 .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. including children and prohibits direct and indirect sex discrimination. 5.eoc. • Make public services relevant to the differing needs of men and women.4.4. 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.org.uk Work life balance centre – available at: www. to apply that condition or practice. including a section on gender. You can access this at: www. The EOC campaigns to: • Close the pay gap between women and men. 5. For instance. • Make it easier for parents to balance work with family responsibilities. 5.open.worklifebalancecentre. 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. Employment-related claims are brought in an employment tribunal. it is not justifiable.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. irrespective of sex.uk/links/Discrimination To find out more. Part I of the SDA describes the forms of discrimination to which the SDA applies.co. There are no express provisions prohibiting discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in the other fields covered by the SDA.
5.5 Time limits Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for filing your case at an employment tribunal or court. The report proposes a fresh approach to address the many barriers that can get in the way of success in jobs and careers. 5. If you think this has happened to you. If you think you have been discriminated against on racial grounds. 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.open. or work at an appropriate level to their qualifications. despite legislation.uk/careers . Tony Blair. So. you have the right under the amended Act to take your complaint before an employment tribunal. so don’t delay. in similar circumstances. March 2003 5. These cover grounds of race. the UK government launched a new strategy to remove the barriers to employment success for job-seekers from minority ethnic backgrounds. But too many members of ethnic minority communities are being left behind.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. 5. 5.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. Some ethnic minority groups have done well in the education system and in the labour market. the amended Act gives you the right to take your complaint before an employment tribunal or a county court (or sheriff court in Scotland). And even those individuals who achieve academic success do not necessarily reap the rewards in the workplace that their qualifications merit.220.127.116.11. If you think you have been discriminated against at work. has been treated more favourably than you.6 How to help yourself in the job market So what can and should you do to market yourself.5.5. it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different racial group who.2 Direct racial discrimination Direct racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. and you want to prove it. In March 2003. visit our website at www. most racial discrimination in Britain is against people from minority ethnic groups. or when applying for work. you can apply to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). colour and nationality are protected by the law. or to one of a number of other organisations such as trade unions. If you are thinking of bringing a case of racial discrimination. citizens advice bureaux and other advice agencies. but people of every background.4 Victimisation Victimisation has a special legal meaning in the Race Relations Act. ‘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’. and to challenge unfair discrimination? Here are some suggestions: 100 To find out more. colour. In practice. Government initiatives take time to implement however. discrimination continues to exist for students from minority ethnic groups who do meet barriers to getting work.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.ac. This happens when a person is treated less favourably because they have complained about racial discrimination or supported someone else who has. to target employers. for help. 5.5 Race According to research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. and you need to plan your own job-seeking strategies to maximise your opportunities. Racist abuse and harassment are also forms of direct discrimination. race. In general. in 2004. racial equality councils. law centres. and national or ethnic origin. you have three months to file an employment case and six months to file a case in the county court or sheriff court. nationality (including citizenship).
especially public sector and large private employers.6. Further resources KAL – Careers publication for students from minority ethnic groups (formerly Kaleidoscopic).com Black and Asian Graduates –The UK’s official website for black and Asian graduates.kalmagazine.6. and how much to disclose to a potential employer and to work colleagues is of course a matter of personal choice. • Discuss your plans and approach with a careers adviser in your regional centre.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. You will need to consider how comfortable you will be in an area of work where you are not open about your sexuality. formally made illegal a whole catalogue of discrimination against transsexual people in employment.org. You can find more information at the Press for Change website (see Section 5. TeacherWorld UK TeacherWorld UK provides information and support for teachers (and those intending to teach) from minority ethnic backgrounds.1 Your rights The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Make use of Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ to prepare your marketing tools. the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 came into force in the UK.teacherworld. vacancies. For advice on finding positive employers take a look at: www. available for reference in your regional centre or at www. Their website is: www. Windsor Fellowship The Windsor Fellowship is a charitable organisation that offers skills development programmes to undergraduates and graduates from minority ethnic groups.cre. National Mentoring Consortium Unit The National Mentoring Consortium Unit works with employers.uk/careers 101 .5. • Develop contacts and make the most of your networking skills. 5.org To find out more.windsor-fellowship.org. application forms and covering letters. and this will depend on your own experience and lifestyle. Find out more about the unit at: www.uk. If the EOP is incorporated into your contract you might be able to directly rely upon it. visit our website at www.uk 5. Race for Opportunity is a programme. which apply to the Sex Discrimination Act (1997). Scotland and Wales. It holds an annual careers day for black and Asian students and graduates.uk/links/Discrimination • Understand the relevant legal situation. Includes job-hunting techniques.ac. that is dedicated to ethnic minority issues.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.gov. You can ask for a copy of the policy before applying for a job. The amendments. Target employers with a reputation for good equal opportunity policy and practice. universities and schools to support learners from minority ethnic groups.uk 5. when to. your CV. This relates to England.prospects.6.blackandasiangrad.com 5. students and recruiters. plus details of work experience and career-enhancement programmes www.2 Transsexuals In May 1999.nmc-online.uk 5.6. You can log onto their website at: www. run by BITC. campaigns and services as well as vacancies in the commission Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) www. • Many employers have sub-groups for minority ethnic groups.open.6 Sexuality and sexual orientation Are you worried about possible discrimination in the workplace because of your sexuality? Whether to.ac.bitc. Contact them for information on legal issues.4).ac. • Check if the organisation is a member of Business in the Community (BITC) www.
7 Religion or belief I greatly value IBM’s participation in the Diversity Champions Scheme. race. Scotland and Wales and similar regulations were also introduced in Northern Ireland.co.4 Resources for employment and training Stonewall Stonewall works to achieve legal equality and social justice for lesbians. which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the UK. It is also unlawful to harass or bully someone because of their religion or belief. days when they choose to interview. the support of a trade union can protect you where the legislation doesn’t. Published by AGCAS and available online at www.open.regard. to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone. General Manager. where they advertise. This is a forum in which employers work with Stonewall to encourage diversity in the workplace. 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. 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.uk/stonewall In December 2003. 102 To find out more. If you encounter discrimination. gay men and bisexual people and launched Diversity Champions in 2001.prospects. bisexuals and transgender people.pfc. including a section on sexuality and sexual orientation.eoc. and Diversity Champions allows employers to focus on the new challenges and opportunities for addressing issues of diversity in the workplace. Usually. age or disability. sexual orientation. www. IBM (UK and Ireland) says: 5. Under the new regulations it is unlawful.uk/links/Discrimination 5. gender. 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.uk/careers . through legislation and social change www. Press for Change Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational organisation.ac.org. these employers are at the cutting edge of innovation in business and public service. unless the employer can show that there is a legitimate business need. gay men. • Find out about employers who belong to the Diversity Champions group set up by Stonewall in 2001. visit our website at www.6.uk Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission www.org. • If your employer recognises more than one union.dircon. Larry Hirst. on the grounds of religion or belief. staff development or training days clashing with days of worship or festivals and promotion.uk A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.uk Regard – the national organisation of disabled lesbians. Working with Stonewall enables us to share and learn best practice from others and to ensure IBM is an inclusive and positive company in our dealings with employees and customers alike.gba. The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) were introduced to protect against discrimination in employment and vocational training in England.stonewall.ac. www.org.uk Gay Business Association www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Consider joining a trade union where you will receive support and legal advice.org. At IBM we employ the best people irrespective of religion. The most usual ways in which employers may discriminate might be around the way in which they recruit new staff.
visit our website at www.ac. 5.uk/er/equality/eeregs Managing the New Legislation on Religion and Belief www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook If this is an area that is of concern to you. But how do you know this? • Look out for race equality schemes/equality and diversity policies. In the meantime. it is important (as is the case with all job applications and career decisions) to research jobs and organisations to ensure that they are right for you. 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.org.7.uk/careers 103 .bitc.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. unless it is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR). keep up to date on the law and your rights.gov. As it is recent legislation. • Speak to the equality and diversity officer. Further resources The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 www. • Look out for employee profiles on employer websites. Alternatively.lowpay. someone from human resources may be able to help. Does it include information about equality and diversity? If not.pdf To find out more. if this is a concern for you. • Read the information in the recruitment pack.uk/docs/RFO_Religion. there is very little case law at present – greater understanding of how the legislation is interpreted and practised will come with time. it doesn’t necessarily mean that the employer doesn’t care about this. if the organisation has one. 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.open.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook
The next steps
In this section 6.1 Open University Careers Advisory Service 105 6.2 Open University study materials 106 6.3 Other sources of help 107
When you’ve worked through this book there’s a lot to gain not only by reflecting and reconsidering things, but also by discussing them either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. You might want to arrange this through your regional centre.
As you clarify your objectives, you’ll be able to develop a plan of action. In order to achieve what you want, you may need to go through several smaller steps such as gaining particular experience or qualifications, gathering information or getting access to a particular resource. Look through the information and resources that we recommend. Remember that many of the resources listed are concerned primarily with the UK job market. Readers outside the UK should look at www.prospects.ac.uk/links/ countries
6.1 OU Careers Advisory Service
The Open University Careers Advisory Service provides access to appropriate careers information, advice and guidance for prospective and current students and recent graduates. Ask your regional centre for a copy of the OU Careers Advisory Service Statement of Service, which outlines the range of services available, or you can view it on our website from the ‘About the OU Careers Advisory Service’ page. You may want to request an individual consultation with one of the OU’s careers advisers. This is usually conducted by telephone, and you can arrange this by contacting your regional centre. Some careers advisers may also be available at large regional events such as course choice meetings. Most one-week residential schools provide an opportunity to talk to a careers adviser.
6.1.1 Open University Careers Advisory Service website
Have a look at our website at: www.open.ac.uk/careers You can either work your way through the site or go straight to the sections that are of particular interest to you. (There are also links to other useful websites.) The site takes you through the various stages of planning your career, from analysing your potential to applying for jobs. The section ‘OU Study and your Career’ contains information on occupational areas linked to relevant OU courses and qualifications.
6.1.2 Career Advisory First Class Conference
All OU students have access to our online ‘Career Advisory Conference’ in FirstClass. We use this to post notices about events and any other careers information that is relevant to OU students. We also periodically run topic- or subject-based conferences where students can post questions and receive replies from a careers adviser – see: www.open.ac.uk/careers/ conferences
To find out more, visit our website at www.open.ac.uk/careers
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook
6.1.3 Career Links
This is an OU networking scheme run by the Careers Advisory Service where OU students who want to enter a specific career can register as Career Seekers. They are then matched with a suitable Career Helper who is already working in that career and who can share their personal experiences. For more information and to register for Career Links visit www.open.ac.uk/careers/links.
Applications and interviews: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/AppsInterviews ‘Beyond nine to five’ (flexible working): www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Flexiblework Prospects website also includes the free online career planning tool ‘Prospects Planner’. This asks users to answer questions on a range of factors related to their career choice and a list of potential occupations is generated according to their responses. OU students may find it helpful to discuss their results with a careers adviser. You can access this at: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Pplanner. Your regional centre may also be able to provide or suggest other sources of information.
6.1.4 Publications and information
There are also a number of useful publications and sources of careers information available to all students of The Open University. OU study and your career – Looking at the career benefits of OU study and how your choice of course may affect your career plans. You can ask your regional centre for a copy or download it from the careers website. Recognition leaflets – Information about external recognition of some OU qualifications, transferring credit, membership of UK professional bodies, funding and sources of support. See: www.open.ac.uk/recognition You can also look at and/or download careers information written by members of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) on the Prospects website at: www.prospects.ac.uk This includes information such as: Opportunities linked to your degree: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/options Information about specific jobs: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/occupations An overview of job sectors (for example, education, information technology, legal and social care): www.prospects.ac.uk/links/SectorBs You will also find information on special interest topics, for example: Mature students: www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Mature
6.2 Open University study materials
6.2.1 Y154 Open to change
The Openings programme of short introductory courses has been specially designed to give you a chance to ‘test the water’ before committing yourself to full undergraduate study. Y154 Open to change can help you to assess your skills and explore possibilities for further learning. The course is for people who are thinking about returning to education or training as well as those who are unemployed or hoping to get back into employment. The cost of the course is £85 (£99 from September 2006). Some financial assistance is available for students receiving state benefits. You will find more information about Open University courses on our website at www.open.ac.uk/courses
To find out more, visit our website at www.open.ac.uk/careers
open. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life.uk www.uk/links/careersservices For details of adult advice and guidance services in the following countries.prospects.org.ac.guidancecouncil.uk/library Finally You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations.com Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland www.gradireland. look at these websites: England www. Good luck and best wishes for your future! To find out more.uk/careers 107 .careerswales. Look at the following website to find details of the nearest service to you: www.org. To find out about services offered by the Open University library at Walton Hall.ac. with all its potential for improvement and advancement. Further resources A list of further resources is given at the end of each section of this book.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 6. visit our website at www.careers-scotland. You are advised to ring first.ac.com Scotland www.egsa. Some may be available for reference at your regional centre.1 External guidance providers Other university careers services may be happy for OU students to use their information rooms.open.3. go to: www.3 Other sources of help 6. Look in larger libraries for other publications mentioned in this book.uk Wales www. but remember that you’re setting out on an exciting journey.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.
uk/careers . visit our website at www.open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 108 To find out more.ac.
ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.uk/careers 109 .open. visit our website at www.
uk/careers .open.ac. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 110 To find out more.
Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.uk/careers 111 . visit our website at www.open.ac.
open.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 112 To find out more.ac.uk/careers . visit our website at www.