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Employability

Get the job

Having trouble with the minefield of applications, CV’s and interviews? As always, your Students’ Union is here to help.

We are going to walk you through, step by step, and tell you how to tackle every area from application writing to interview skills and hopefully get you the job.

Sign up to ecoach

On the university website, ecoach will also guide you through how to get a job.

Work your way through all of the modules and with the different training tools at your disposal, you’ll be a wiz in no time.

Sign up on ecoach

Application Forms

Endlessly filling in dates and grades are what make application forms a drag. The additional information section is where you can really sell yourself. Here are our tips to how you should approach your application form.

Read more on Application Forms

Before you start writing, research the company and think…

  • What skills are they seeking?

  • What skills you have which are relevant to the job?

  • What attracts you to the role?

Top Tip

Use the personal specifications and job description as a checklist.

These are what managers and the HR team will measure you against to see if you are a good fit for the role.

Never assume anything

For example, if the person spec says: ‘must have good communication skills,’ just because you’ve got a degree in English Language, never assume they will take that into consideration. You must explicitly say you have good communication skills and, ideally, provide an example of how you have used those skills in the workplace. Similarly, if you’re a web design whiz kid, say that you are advanced in HTML, XML, Javascript and CSS, for example, with an example of a project that you have used them on (even if it's something you did to practice on - any proof of experience is better than none).

Before sending

Check your spelling and grammar

Use short sentences and paragraphs, which are easy to follow.

Use one idea or paragraph and state the key information in the first sentence.

Do not repeat yourself.

Re-read over the job advert to ensure the information you include on the form is relevant. Waffling puts the employer off, but at the same time make sure you are telling them everything they need to hear about how you are perfect for the role.

Ask a critical friend to read through it

Check out this example application form on ecoach

Cover Letters

Without a cover letter, you’re hoping your CV will stand on its own, which can be a big ask if you don’t have a lot of experience. A cover letter can show off your writing ability, expand on your strengths and achievements and show the employer that you’re serious about this position.

Read more on Cover Letters

Top Tip

Here’s what NOT to do in your cover letter

Don’t be corny – Avoid cliché comments like calling yourself a “team player” unless you have a good example to back it up. Employers want examples of how you are a team player and how you will fit in with them, not just a vague statement.

Why do they need you? - The company you’re applying for want to know what it is that you can do for them. It’s important to share your accomplishments, but also think why you’re able to fill the void that they have in place and think how your achievements lend you to this position.

Don’t re-write your CV - The hiring manager has already read your CV in order to pre-qualify you as someone whose cover letter should be read. Do not just vomit your CV out entirely. This is your chance to sell yourself in more detail in a way that is relevant to the role.

Watch this video and get great tips on how to write your cover letter here Read the cover letter master class on ecoach here

CV’s

Writing a CV is easy, writing a good one isn’t.

Luckily there’s load of tips on ecoach that can help in all areas writing you CV to make sure it’s top notch.

Read more on CV's

Top Tip

Tailor it – We’ve all done it, written out a CV and sent to every company we can think of. Stop it, now. By spending a little extra time on your CV and highlighting or prioritising specific skills that you have for a particular role will give you a better return.

Back up your points – Use stats to back up your achievements where possible. Saying you’ve increased social media engagement isn’t impressive, but saying you’ve increased social media engagement by 64% over a 3 month period is.

Update it – Never send out an old CV. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it so you don't later forget something that could be important. Social networks like Linkedin are useful for this.

Read 'How to write a CV' by Staffss here Read the ecoach CV guide here Get feedback on your CV here

Interview

After all this hard work, you’ve finally got an interview. So you don’t fall at the final hurdle. Head over to ecoach and use the interview simulator, practice tests and so much more.

Read more on Interviews

Top Tip

After all this hard work, you’ve finally got an interview. So you don’t fall at the final hurdle. Head over to ecoach and use the interview simulator, practice tests and so much more.

Top Tips

To get maximum points during your interview and to ensure you fully explain yourself, use the STAR technic when answering questions.

Situation – Set the context and give background of the situation.

Task – Explain the task at hand. What did you have to overcome?

Action – What you did to resolve the situation. What steps did you take? What sort of plan did you make?

Result – What was the outcome? Positive or negative, find what you learnt from it and how you apply that to your work now.

Presentations

For more serious and grown up jobs, you might be asked to give a presentation depending on the job role. This is be given in order to test your knowledge in a certain area that will relate to your job role.

Read more on Presentations

Top Tip

Read the question properly

Before you do anything make sure you fully understand the question and what you’ve been asked to do. You could really embarrass yourself.

Test it - Practice, practice, practice. The more you rehearse, the more confident you will be when you deliver it. If you don't practice, there will be a lot of "umm" and "err". You’ll also have a time limit to work to so make sure you time yourself.

Take a back-up - Email it to yourself and take a USB. There would be nothing worse than getting there to find out your usb has broken on the way to then be stuck and unprepared.

Prepare yourself for follow up questions - these might ask you to explain something further, explain how an idea would work in reality or ask if what you proposed in your presentation happened, then what next?

Relax and smile – It’s always going to be nerve wracking, but the more you practice the easier it will be for you to relax and trust that you know the presentation. You don’t want to look like a deer in headlights either, so remember to smile.

Assessment Days

Assessment days vary depending on the job role and the organisation, however they are all designed to test your workplace skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, task management and leadership and how you compare to others.

Read more on Assessment Days

Participate enthusiastically - Try to enjoy the assessment centre as an experience in itself which will enhance your knowledge, regardless of the outcome. Your enthusiasm will shine through.

Think about the process - When asked to deliver a presentation or participate in a group exercise, the assessors are evaluating your general approach, communication and organisation skills. They are more interested in the process than the subject matter. So don’t get drawn into too much detail or agonise about the right answer to a problem. Stick to delivering a few key points well

To prepare yourself for anything they might throw at you, go to the assessment centre on ecoach