Category Archives: resume

Get your CV ready for the #UoCJobsFair

pt-jobs-fair-poster-for-social-media-only

It’s nearly time for the part-time and seasonal jobs fair which is being held at both the Lancaster and Carlisle campuses! So now is the perfect time to have a look at your CV and make sure that it is up-to-date and fit for purpose.

Are you looking for a part-time job to help fund your studies? Want a bit of extra cash for Christmas? There will be loads of local employers at the jobs fairs, and if you can leave them with a copy of your CV it could really help with your job search.

Here are the careers team’s top tips for an effective part-time CV:

CV’s are used to demonstrate to employers what knowledge, learning, skills, competencies and experience you have. An effective CV will not only show your current abilities, but demonstrate the potential you have to be successful in a working environment.

How long should a CV be?

Ideally, a CV should be no longer than two sides of A4. CVs that exceed this may not be read to the end or at all. For part time work (during studies), a one page CV is sufficient.

Do I need to include a personal profile?

It’s not essential to produce one, but some may like to use this as an opening introduction. If you do decide to include one it should be only around a couple of lines long and follow immediately after your personal details at the top of your CV.

Personal summaries should introduce who you are, what skills you can offer and generally what you are looking for in your next role.

Do I list work experience or education first?

This depends on the type of CV you are creating and how much work experience you have. If you have recently graduated and don’t have much work experience it is probably best to start with your education.  For part time work, employers will be looking at what key skills and experiences you have in a working environment (customer service skills, teamwork etc)

Should I include my interests?

It’s not necessary to include interests in a CV. If you do, use them as examples of specific achievements, such as teamwork roles, personal achievements, leadership roles etc.

How should I present my CV?

Ideally, aim to put your strongest and most recent qualification/experience towards the beginning of your CV, where it will be noticed by an employer.

Avoid cramping your CV with irrelevant information. Instead, concentrate on what important aspects need to included, backing it up with experience. It is always important to remember where you are applying and for which position. Keep your information short, snappy and to the point.

It is important to have your CV proof read for spelling/ grammar mistakes by someone you trust. Bad spelling or simple errors can often put an employer off instantly by demonstrating lack of care/attention.

Do I need to add references?

It is not necessary at this point to provide details of references, but mention that you have references “ available on request”.

 

Remember that you can book to see one of the careers team at your campus for some feedback on your CV. We don’t offer a proofreading service but we can advise on areas that could be improved. Email careers@cumbria.ac.uk or enquire at the library desk. 

Don’t finish your career before it starts!

in-jail-monopoly

The UK fraud prevention service is warning new graduates that they could be risking risk their futures by lying on job applications

So you’ve graduated from Uni – congratulations! After all the partying, it’s time to get your CV ready and start applying for those all-important graduate jobs. But what are the consequences of lying on your job application?

The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service (CIFAS) has produced a new publication: Don’t finish your career before it starts. This leaflet is targeted at current students as well as graduates and explains to young people about job application fraud – which despite the myths that lying on your CV is harmless, could result in imprisonment. A lot of graduates think that ’embellishing’ your CV, by adding A Levels or making up references is acceptable, even expected. In reality, if you submit false or exaggerated information on your application, you could end up being dismissed, getting a criminal record or even in jail.

The aim of the publication is not to portray young people as fraudsters, but to educate them in the risk they are taking if they are tempted to embellish their experience and achievements. Research carried out by CIFAS demonstrates that a lot of applicants are unaware that job application fraud is a crime.

Did you know that there is an Internal Fraud Database run by CIFAS that allows employers to record cases of actual or attempted job application fraud (as well as fraud committed within employment such as stealing money, bribery and corruption)? They can also check any new applications to the company against this database.

What this means is that if you attempt to gain employment after being recorded in the database, then your previous fraudulent application will be uncovered – even if your most recent application is genuine. This could have a massive impact on your graduate job prospects!

We know how tempting it can be to tell a little white lie on your application, especially if you haven’t been getting a very good response from those applications you have submitted – but it just isn’t worth the risk! If you feel that your application or CV is not working for you, make an appointment with the Careers Team, or send it to the careers inbox for some feedback (careers@cumbria.ac.uk) – we are here all summer and happy to help!!

 

Post adapted from http://www.cifas.org.uk/warning_to_new_graduates

7 Steps to a Killer Cover Letter

source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hjjanisch/8586202382/

(image source)

Trying to land that graduate job? Sending out that standard cover letter to anyone and everyone who’ll have it? Stop right there! The scattergun approach rarely works – think of those recruiters in their offices receiving CVs and cover letters – how do you make yours stand out from the rest, and transform your application into a career?

1.  Appearance

First of all, if the presentation of your cover letter isn’t up to scratch, it might not even be read. Don’t fall down at the first hurdle. Oh, and make sure you look at your CV too (useful blog posts can be found here and here). Make sure you have the obvious on your letter – the date, your name, address, phone number(s) and email address. You could make this into a ‘letterhead’ by centering at the top of the page, or use one of the more traditional layouts.

Ensure that the company information is as close to the top-left corner as possible. You should have the recipient’s (full) name, job title, the company name, and the full address of the company. The salutation should be placed a couple of lines down from that.

The main body of your letter should be three paragraphs, an introduction, middle and conclusion. Keep them brief and to the point. Make sure you use active (not passive) words and keep to the point – don’t waffle. Don’t use three words when one will do. The third paragraph is your concluding statement – what you want to leave them with. It should be brief and genuine, and leave them with something memorable. Below your closing statement you add in your closing and your first and last name.

You should aim to keep your cover letter to one side of A4. There are exceptions to this, for example when you are asked to state how you meet the criteria in the person specification, but for a general cover letter, this is enough.

2. Salutation

Always address a cover letter to the exact person who will receive it – this might mean you have to do some research, but there are many ways to go about doing this. You could look on the company website, contact the HR department, or even try looking on LinkedIn.

If you can’t find the name of the person to send your letter to, that is okay, but you are more likely to have success if you reach the right person straight away. The most accepted way to address a cover letter nowadays is “Dear Hiring Manager.” Some people address their letters with “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “To whom it may concern.” Don’t do this! Letters with this salutation often get removed straight away due to the broadness of the salutation – and it actually makes you sound unconcerned.

Form your salutation in the simplest way – address your reader properly – it’s as easy as that.

3. Introduction

In order to set yourself apart, you need a killer first sentence to grab the reader’s attention. Think about the hiring manager – they have to read loads and loads of these letters every day – a lot will be the same format, full of clichés and copy-pasted from the web. They are sick to death of reading the same old stuff. So you have to knock their socks off.

Open your letter with a true, simple, straightforward statement: “I have several years’ experience in the restaurant industry, and I hope you will consider me for the position of Kitchen Manager.” However you write it, be clear and concise.

This opening paragraph should be used to show the recruiting manager why you are a good match for the company. Talk about two or three skills and/or qualifications  you have that really suit the position, but don’t just repeat what is contained in your CV! Your cover letter is meant to reveal the strengths within your skill set, so showcase your abilities accordingly.

4. Middle

The second paragraph of your letter is where you give some real-life examples to demonstrate your skills and qualifications mentioned in the first paragraph. The recruiting manager needs to fill a gap in the organisation – make sure you target that need!

Here is where your storytelling skills will come in handy. Outline a few specific activities you have performed in your career that shows you would thrive in the position. Write about scenarios in which you succeeded in overcoming some obstacles in a recent job. Each instance should show how you met the need that the company is looking for. If the position calls for troubleshooting skills and phone etiquette, then describe how you handled that difficult tech support call and turned the customer around. If the employer wants someone to fill a sales position, don’t be afraid to show exactly how many contracts you secured in your last job. These instances should come out of your CV – make them colourful, concise and effective.

The story should have new information about your skills and abilities, within the framework of your CV – DO NOT just copy-and-paste your CV into your cover letter.

5. Conclusion

The concluding paragraph should be the shortest of the three. Make sure you cover the following things in your closing paragraph: an invitation to look at your CV, your interest in an interview, and your thanks for the opportunity. Firstly you must direct the recruiting manager to look at your CV – if it is being sent digitally, you can say: “Please consider my attached CV for the position.” If you are sending a hard copy (physical) letter, then refer to the CV as “enclosed.”

Secondly, express your interest in attending an interview – you can say something as simple as “I look forward to speaking with you further.”

Thirdly, and most importantly, thank the recruiting manager for their time. If you show your gratitude in a genuine fashion, as well as your interest in the opportunity, they may be more likely to consider you for the position. Don’t just assume your abilities can speak for themselves: a little bit of kindness and deference can go a long way.

6. Closing

Your sign-off should be short and sweet, not long and saccharine. The two most acceptable valedictions: “Your sincerely,” and “Yours faithfully”.

7. Finally

Edit your cover letter. Read it, re-read it, and then give it to someone else to read. Spell-check will overlook many grammatical errors, so you must be diligent. Double check names and addresses, ensure every detail is correct.

 

An excellent cover letter requires you pay great attention to detail, and that you put yourself in the shoes of the company. It is important to showcase your talents and to entertain. Be empathetic, and imagine what you would want to read. Most of all, recognize that you are the best person for the position, and reveal your story – you’re bound to land that job with your killer cover letter!

 

Adapted from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/write-killer-cover-letter-7-easy-steps.html

5 Top Tips for an Effective CV

Think about this situation: a recruiting manager has a pile of fifty CVs to look through for a vacancy; the only time they have available is one evening after work. If your CV doesn’t grab them – if it is hard to read, has irrelevant information or is badly laid out – the recruiter will simply move onto the next one. So how can you ensure that the recruiting manager spends more than the average six seconds looking at your CV? And more importantly, how can you make sure that the recruiter selects you for interview?

top-tips-for-an-effective-cv

Keep it original

One of the worst things you can do is copy one of the ‘sample’ CVs from the internet. Recruiters can often tell when an applicant has taken someone else’s words; you are original and unique so use words that reflect that! In the creative industries in particular it is important to stand out from the crowd. Think of a way to present your CV that will really make the recruiters sit up and notice you.

Don’t try to pack in too much information

Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to squeeze as much information as possible onto your CV by using a small font size or not leaving enough space between sections. Easy ways to save some space are by writing your contact details on one line, leaving off references (you can put ‘available on request’ if you want), and by grouping your less-relevant qualifications together. Someone said to me that the only person interested in your GCSE results is your mum, so just group them all together under one ‘GCSEs’ heading, for example ‘9 GCSEs grades A-C’.

Think about the font you use

The University of Kent (and many others) suggest using a sans-serif font, that is, a font without the little ‘stick’ bits at the end of letters, like the font used on this blog. Verdana, Arial and Calibri are all popular san-serif fonts, and with more CVs being read online, these fonts are best suited for on-screen use. However, if you are applying to a law firm, a more traditional font such as Times New Roman may be used. Don’t try and make more space by using a small size font – a minimum of 10 point should be used, with headings in 14 point.

Match your skills and experience to the job

If you are applying for a specific job that has been advertised, take a good look at the advert and job description. What skills is the employer looking for? How can you match you experiences to those skills? You can use a skills-based CV layout to really tailor your CV to a specific role. Even if you are sending in a speculative CV to a company, do your homework and really research the company, and then use your CV to show them what you can bring.

Interesting interests

People disagree on whether to include a list of interests (not hobbies!) on your CV these days, but if you have something unique or interesting that will help you stand out from the crowd, it can be a great way to get noticed. If you do include this section on your CV, always make sure that you relate your interests to the role or the company. If you are applying for a job as a vet and you volunteer at an animal shelter and pet-sit, then add those in – show the recruiter the skills your interests have given you and how you will use them in your new role.

The Careers Service has a CV checking service available, with plenty of advice on how to write an effective CV. Email us at careers@cumbria.ac.uk for more information or to book an appointment at one of our CV drop-ins!

CV Drop-ins at Carlisle – Book Now!

Good Morning Everyone!

Did you have a read of Monday’s post “5 questions to ask yourself when writing your CV”? Would you like some feedback on your CV and/or cover letter?

Today is the first day that the Careers Team in Carlisle are running their CV Drop-in sessions. Make an appointment with Anna, one of our Careers and Employability Coordinators and then take along your CV (and your cover letter too if you have one) and she will provide you with verbal feedback.

CV-drop-in-flyer

Available appointments this afternoon are at 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm.

We are running these drop-ins each week, so if you would like to book an appointment, for today or for a future date, please email careers@cumbria.ac.uk or you can phone 01228 616323. You can also book an appointment at the LiSS desk in the library.

5 Questions to ask yourself when writing your CV

This article has been adapted from the Careers Service’s CV Guidelines handout, which will be available from the Careers Stand at the Refresher’s fair tomorrow in the Gateway building from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm – come and say hello!

You use your CV to show employers what knowledge, skills and experience you have. An effective CV will not only show your current abilities, but demonstrate the potential you have to be successful in a working environment.

http://careers.theguardian.com/work-blog/cv-covering-letter-advice-online-chat

How long should a CV be?

Ideally, a CV should be no longer than two sides of A4. CVs that exceed this may not be read to the end or at all. For part time work (during studies), a one page CV would be sufficient.

Do I need to include a personal profile?

It’s not essential to produce one, but some may like to use this as an opening introduction. If you do decide to include one it should ideally be no more than four lines long and follow immediately after your personal details at the top of your CV. Personal summaries should introduce who you are, what skills you can offer and generally what you are looking for in your next role.

Do I list work experience or education first?

This depends on the type of CV you are creating and how much work experience you have. If you have recently graduated and don’t have much work experience it is probably best to start with your education.  For part time work, employers will be looking at what key skills and experiences you have in a working environment (customer service skills, teamwork etc)

Should I include my interests?

It’s not necessary to include interests in a CV. If you do, use them as examples of specific achievements, such as teamwork roles, personal achievements, leadership roles etc.

How should I present my CV?

Ideally, aim to put your strongest and most recent qualification/experience towards the beginning of your CV, where it will be noticed by an employer. Remember that the information on your CV needs to be readable to anyone accessing it.

Avoid cramping your CV with irrelevant information. Instead, concentrate on what important aspects need to included, backing it up with experience. It is always important to remember where you are applying and for which position. Keep your information short, snappy and to the point.

Bonus Tip!

It is important to have your CV proof read for spelling/ grammar mistakes by someone you trust. Bad spelling or computer typo’s can often put an employer off instantly by demonstrating lack of care/attention.  It is not necessary at this point to provide details of references, but ideally you should inform that references can be made available on request.

For advice on your CV, email it to careers@cumbria.ac.uk and an Adviser will send you some feedback.

A Guide to Pocket Resumes

Having mentioned pocket resumes in an earlier post, I thought it might be useful to provide some information on how to make one. The following is an edited extract from another blog post with the same title from Six Degrees Recruitment, Carlisle:

This Autumn, we are thinking small. Shrink your resume and take it everywhere you go.

It’s called a pocket resume and whether you print it on a business card or plop it on your iPhone with an app, it’s a great way to share some of your strengths. Because of its diminutive dimensions, you won’t give most of your credentials when you give one away, but you will provide new connections and hiring managers with an appetiser size of your talents.

Whether you’re in the thick of a job hunt or just tip-toeing into a stealth search, a pocket resume could be a crucial piece for marketing yourself. Why? Because it’s concise, discrete and easy to use at both career fairs and professional networking events.

“It’s a great networking piece” and a way for people to be “clear, precise and memorable,” said Mark Connor, Managing Director of Six Degrees Recruitment. “It really forces you to think what is absolutely critical,” he said.

Your pocket resume needs to dovetail with your elevator pitch, and may even have some of the same elements and phrases. But because it is the size of a business card, it really must be concise.

So how do you create a pocket resume? Here’s a quick guide:

Here’s what we feel should be on the list:

• Your phone number and email
• Web address for personal website, or social media profile
• Three titles that describe you and what kind of work you’re good at – and are seeking
• Standout traits: bilingual, ability to create web apps, others
• A short memorable summary, for example: “a one-man geek squad”

So what do you take off? Plenty. “You’ve got to cut, cut, cut” to make it concise. That means you skip your work history and university degrees – unless of course they will open a lot of doors.

Make sure the type size is at least 9 point so 50-something recruiters and others can read it. We prefer a one-sided format so the recipient can jot down something about you on the flip side. Other experts say using both sides to sell yourself may be a good idea. If you’re in the arts or creative professions, you may want to express that a bit with the design or a tiny illustration. It may be a good idea to test yours on a variety of people with different perspectives to make sure it works and really captures your essence.

At upcoming networking events, you want people to realise you’re an expert, and “put an impression in that person’s head” and hands with your pocket resume.

Thanks to Mark Connor for permission to use this material.