You are on page 1of 28

WoW Skills Certificate

Process Handbook
PART

Looking for.
a complete list of the WoW Skills Criteria?
See pages 7-9
general help with writing personal statements?
Go to page 10
in depth help with writing a Bronze statement?
Go to page 13

or for in depth help with


- writing Silver and Gold statements see Part 2
- preparing for your WoW employer interview see Part 3

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 1

Contents
This handbook is designed to give you all the information you need to register
for, engage in and complete the WoW Skills Certificate process.
Sections 1 to 4 are contained in this document and sections 5 to 7 are
available separately on the WoW Skills Certificate Process Blackboard
module, to download when you need them.

Getting started

1.1 All about the WoW Skills Certificate process .......................................... 3


1.2 Signing up to get registered on the Blackboard module ......................... 5
1.3 Resources and support available ........................................................... 5
2

The WoW Skills criteria and marking scheme

2.1 How your WoW Skills statement will be marked ..................................... 6


2.2 The WoW Skills Criteria what were looking for ................................... 7
3

Writing a personal statement

3.1 General principles good practice and pointers .................................. 10


3.2 Presenting evidence - the STAR principle ............................................ 11
3.3 Plagiarism ........................................................................................ 12
4

How to write a WoW Bronze statement

4.1 Step by step guide each criterion explained, with help in how
to answer it and strong examples ......................................................... 13
4.2 Level descriptors explaining what makes for strong, adequate
or weak evidence for each criterion ...................................................... 22
4.3 Quick reference diagram of marking principles .................................... 26
4.4 Self Awareness workbook start thinking about your skills ................. 27

Part 2 (separate document)


5

How to write a WoW Silver statement

How to write a WoW Gold statement

Part 3 (separate document)


7

Preparing for the employer interview

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 2

1. Getting started
1.1 All about the WoW Skills Certificate process
What is the WoW Skills Certificate process?
This is LJMUs unique employer-verified process which enables you to
demonstrate that you have the high level, World of Work skills which they
value so highly and so make a successful transition from University
into the World of Work.

WoW Skills build upon subject knowledge, work related learning and
Graduate Skills ensuring you can effectively demonstrate and
articulate your skills and attributes on paper and at interview.

The WoW Skills Certificate process mirrors a conventional recruitment


process, giving you a dry run at applying for jobs, and giving you
support and feedback to develop your application writing and interview
skills.

In depth support is given in developing criterion-based statement


writing skills a new skill, unlike writing dissertations, essays or reports
so you can sell yourself effectively to potential employers.

How do I get a WoW Skills Certificate?


You need to:
demonstrate your WoW Skills by writing personal WoW Skills
Statements which provide evidence of your WoW skills, and then
verify your WoW skills through an interview with an employer, who will
be from your chosen employment sector, if possible.

What is a WoW Skills Statement?


Each WoW Skills statement is a summary of your individual and personal
skills and abilities in three areas:
-

Bronze - Self Awareness Knowing about your strengths and areas for
development, your work values and your ability to work with and relate to
other people. Understanding your achievements so far and recognising
the type of job roles you are suited to.

Silver - Organisational Awareness Your awareness of the field of


work you are considering, the features of the organisation/sector, the
environment it operates in including its stakeholders and what constitutes
professional behaviour in this area.

Gold - Making Things Happen Your ability to lead projects or activities,


including planning and delivering them to achieve defined objectives,
creatively solve problems, adapt to and manage change, negotiate with
people, and learn from your experiences.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 3

What do I have to do?


1) Sign up for the WoW Skills Certificate process (see section 1.2 below).
2) If you wish, you can engage in various activities to develop your World
of Work skills - such as completing the Virtual Interviews, attending
workshops at the Graduate Development Centre (GDC), engaging in
course-related activities or work-related learning, through volunteering or
leisure activities.
3) Write and submit Bronze, Silver and Gold statements you will
receive detailed and helpful feedback on each statement and the
individual criteria, to help you understand what an employer would be
expecting - to complete each stage.
4) Verify your WoW Skills through an employer interview
Once Gold has been completed, you will be invited to proceed to the final
interview stage, with an employer from your chosen sector, whenever
possible. The interview will last about 45 minutes and you will be
expected to answer questions on all three WoW Skill areas. This final
stage verifies your WoW Skills and results in you achieving a WoW Skills
Certificate endorsed by our employers.
As your Gold statement will go to an employer verifier in preparation for
your interview, it will need to successfully demonstrate the WoW Skills
criteria, (your feedback will help you produce this) including meeting a
standard of spelling and grammar that an employer would expect.
If your Gold statement does not meet all the criteria, you just need to
review your feedback, improve your MTH statement and submit it as an
Interview Application. (And there is one resubmission opportunity for
Interview Applications).

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 4

Writing a criterion-based statement is a new skill for many people, but one
which will help you throughout your career! The WoW Skills Certificate
process is designed to help you develop this skill it does take practice and
perseverance but it will pay dividends, so dont give up!

1.2 Signing up to get registered on the Blackboard module


To get started, the first thing you need to do is sign up for the WoW Skills
Certificate process by visiting the WoW website http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/wow
and clicking the Sign-up for WoW link.
This will register you on the WoW Skills Certificate Process Blackboard
module, so that you can:
access extra resources and information on what you need to do
submit your WoW statements
find out about extra events or workshops being run by the GDC
(Please note it may take up to 3 working days for this to appear in your
current modules list in Blackboard).
NB: All WoW Statement submissions must be made via Blackboard.
Submissions are accepted by the GDC throughout the academic year, apart
from one month following graduation when the module is taken offline for
updates and maintenance. However, please check with your tutor if your
engagement with the WoW Skills Certificate Process is part of a module, as
they may have a specific deadline which you need to meet.

1.3 Resources and support available


There are lots of resources, information and links on the WoW Skills
Certificate Process Blackboard module, to help you get started and develop
your WoW skills.
The GDC also runs a regular programme of free workshops and
employability events which are designed to teach you about WoW skills and
help you to recognise which ones you already have. They also explain where
these skills can be developed, and how they should be articulated in job
applications and interviews. For full details and to book yourself a place, go to
http://gdc.ljmu.ac.uk/events.
You can also drop in to the GDC any time during working hours for quick
queries, such as getting started with the WoW Skills Certificate, and you can
book a half hour appointment with an Employability Adviser, for help with and
feedback on your WoW statement. Phone 0151 231 8099 or email
gdc@ljmu.ac.uk.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 5

2. The WoW Skills criteria and marking scheme


2.1 How your WoW Skills statement will be marked
Each of the three main areas - Self Awareness (SA), Organisational
Awareness (OA) and Making Things Happen (MTH) - is broken down into
detailed criteria. These are detailed in the next section.
For each criterion, you should aim to provide high quality evidence and
examples, to demonstrate how you meet it. Sections 3 and 4 of this guide give
you lots more help with how to do this.
Word Limits
Each WoW Skills statement has a strict word limit, as is usually the case in
job application forms.
WoW Bronze on Self Awareness one page (800-1000 words)
WoW Silver on Organisational Awareness one page (800-1000 words)
WoW Gold on Making Things Happen two pages (1600-2000 words)
Please make sure you stick to these limits! (If you submit a statement which is
over this limit, well return it to you unmarked, ask you to edit it down and
resubmit it.)
Ratings
Your evidence for each criterion is marked separately and given its own
rating of S, A, W or I, depending on whether the evidence you have given is
Strong, Adequate, Weak or Insufficient.
See sections 3 and 4 for help with writing strong evidence and detailed level
descriptors for these ratings.
Stage Completion
The Bronze, Silver and Gold stages are completed by you submitting a valid
statement which attempts to address all the criteria, on which you receive
detailed feedback, to help you understand what an employer would be
expecting from job applicants.
You should then reflect on this feedback and use it to develop your statement
writing skills, to inform the next stage.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 6

2.2 The WoW Skills Criteria

Self Awareness (SA)


This is the list of criteria which you need to provide evidence and examples
of in your WoW Bronze statement.
Understanding and Knowing Yourself
1

Your three key strengths, related to potential employment options, with


examples of how you have developed and demonstrated these.

An area/skill, related to potential employment options, which you need to


develop, together with a realistic action plan for overcoming your area for
development.

Work Values, Motivation, Drive and Energy


3

Your work values and how they may impact on your career choices.

A significant achievement of yours, which demonstrates your drive,


energy and motivation to achieve a goal.

Relating to Others
5

An example of a time when you have worked in a team to achieve a task.

A situation where you have worked or dealt successfully with a difficult


person. Consider how you managed your emotions, recognised their point
of view and achieved a positive solution.

My Future Planning
7

Identify possible career options, having reflected on your strengths,


values and ability to relate to others.

Identify the next steps to prepare for your career options.

Spelling and Grammar


SP Your ability to write your statement to a standard of written English which
would be acceptable to an employer (i.e. no spelling mistakes, typos or
grammatical errors).

For more information and examples, see section 4 How to Write a WoW
Bronze Statement.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 7

Organisational Awareness (OA)


You may not have a clear idea of what you would like to do when you leave
university. However it is important to start researching different career options
while you are still studying. Focusing on one field of work, choose one type of
organisation in this sector which you would consider as a potential
employment option and address the criteria below.
You will be expected to discuss these areas at the employer interview, so
whilst you are encouraged to use a wide range of sources to research the
organisation and sector, you must ensure your responses are in your own
words so you are able to demonstrate your understanding of these issues.
How Organisations Work
1

Your awareness of the features of the type of organisation you have


identified (function, structure, culture, size and sector).

Your understanding of the duties you would expect to undertake in a role


you are considering within the organisation.

Your understanding of what behaviour presents a professional approach


at work.

The External Environment


4

Your knowledge of the external factors likely to affect your chosen


organisation/sector.

Your awareness of a current industry topic recently covered in the media.

Customer Focus within Organisations


6

Your understanding of the main customers/service users of your chosen


organisation and why it is important to understand their needs.

Your understanding of the importance to your chosen organisation of


actively managing its reputation with clients/service users.

Spelling and Grammar


SP Your ability to write your statement to a standard of written English which
would be acceptable to an employer (i.e. no spelling mistakes, typos or
grammatical errors).

For more information and examples, see section 5 How to Write a WoW
Silver Statement.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 8

Making Things Happen (MTH)


For your WoW Gold statement, consider a project or significant activity in
which you had a leading role (i.e. where you had significant responsibility for
defining, planning and delivering the project/activity and where its success
depended upon your contribution) and provide evidence and examples for the
following criteria.

Strategic Thinking
1

Provide an overview and explanation of the project or activity what did


you do?

What objectives did you set for the project/activity?

Planning and Organising


3

How did you plan the project/activity to meet its objectives?

How did you identify likely risks and plan a response to these?

Managing Delivery and Change


5

How did you monitor project progress so that time and resources were
managed effectively?

Your ability to think on your feet and deal with unexpected problems OR
prioritise conflicting demands.

A situation where you had to negotiate with another person and achieve
an outcome agreeable to both parties.

Developing
8

Considering again the aims and objectives of the project/activity, evaluate


its relative success.

Considering your own personal development during the project/activity,


what did you learn about yourself and your abilities?

Spelling and Grammar


SP Your ability to write your statement to a standard of written English which
would be acceptable to an employer (i.e. no spelling mistakes, typos or
grammatical errors).
For more information and examples, see section 6 How to Write a WoW
Gold Statement.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 9

3. Writing a Personal Statement


3.1 General principles
How much should you write?
As with many job applications, your WoW statement needs to strike a balance
between being concise and detailed. Some application forms impose strict
word or character limits for responses and so its good practice to get used to
writing within boundaries. You may be used to this with writing essays or
reports as part of your course at university, but it is likely that the space
constraints for a WoW statement are much tighter.

WoW Bronze statement (Self Awareness) one page


(800 words recommended; maximum 1000 words)

WoW Silver statement (Organisational Awareness) one page


(800 words recommended; maximum 1000 words)

WoW Gold statement (Making Things Happen) two pages


(1,600 words recommended; maximum 2,000 words)

How should you structure your statement?


Structuring your statement is actually a straightforward exercise. If youve
applied for a job which uses a Person Specification then youll know that the
best way to achieve success is to address each criterion one by one in a
methodical fashion. This ensures that you dont miss any of the requirements
and allows the person marking your application to easily assess what youve
written. The same is true for your WoW Statement.
The Step by Step Guide in section 4 can be treated as a plan, where each
question relates to a new paragraph. You dont have to follow this rigidly but
following this guide will ensure that you cover all the necessary elements.
What should you write?
Again, the Step by Step Guide will help you here. As a general rule, the key
focus throughout your statement is evidence. Providing real examples to
back up what you say is essential. When you apply for jobs, youll need to
convince a potential employer that not only have you got relevant experience,
but that you can also reflect on your experiences and appreciate what youve
learnt as a result.
If youre unsure about any of the skills areas, remember that the GDC offers a
wide range of free workshops on all aspects to do with WoW Skills. The
WoW Skills Certificate Process Blackboard module also has lots of
resources available in each of the three main areas.
And remember, a WoW Skills statement isnt an academic assignment its a
personal statement about you! So you shouldnt include academic references
or diagrams. Think of it more as a selling tool an engaging piece of writing
which demonstrates your skills and abilities effectively.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 10

3.2 Presenting evidence


The STAR principle is an excellent guide for structuring a rounded example or
piece of evidence. Its an acronym and corresponds to:
Situation
Task
Action
Result

what was the situation, the setting?


what was to be achieved, what was the goal?
what did you do?
what was the outcome, the result?

A poor statement example:


I have excellent presentation skills.

An improved statement is:


Whilst working as a student mentor in the Universitys recruitment
team last year, I designed and delivered a 20 minute presentation
to a class of Year 10 pupils to encourage them to consider the
benefits of going on to Higher Education. I contacted the school to
get all the background information I needed, so I could design an
effective presentation which would engage this group. The
session went well and I felt confident delivering it. The pupils
asked lots of questions at the end and I had excellent feedback
from the school staff.
By reviewing this example, you can see how the STAR principle has been
applied:
Situation: working as a student mentor in the Universitys recruitment team
last year
Task:
designed and delivered a 20 minute presentation to a class of
Year 10 pupils to encourage them to consider the benefits of
going on to Higher Education.
Action:
contacted the school to get all the background information I
needed, so I could design an effective presentation which would
engage this group.
Result:
session went well and I felt confident delivering it. The pupils
asked lots of questions at the end and I had excellent feedback
from the school staff.

And this could be expanded at interview to a full response, such as:


Situation: Last year, I worked as a mentor/facilitator to a group of students
on the Aim Higher project to encourage pupils from non-traditional
backgrounds to consider applying for university.
Task:

I was asked to design and deliver a 20 minute presentation to a


class of Year 10 Gifted and Talented pupils to outline the benefits
of entering Higher Education

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 11

Action:

I contacted the school to find out further information such as the


size of the group, what information they had been given already,
the main issues that they would see as barriers for them, and
details about the venue and equipment available. From this, I was
able to focus on the objectives of the presentation and a suitable
structure which would engage this group. I pitched it at the level
they would be able to understand and used the pace, language,
examples and graphics that they could relate to. I structured the
session into short sections and made sure I explained any terms
they may not be familiar with eg semester and dissertation. The
session began with a brief interactive activity in order to build a
rapport with the pupils. I also included an activity towards the end
of the session in order to check their understanding of the
information given and assess any areas of misunderstanding so I
could be certain that I had achieved the intended outcomes. I
practised the delivery of the presentation several times before the
session so I felt comfortable with the content and the flow of the
session.

Result:

I felt confident whilst delivering the presentation and the pupils


asked lots of questions at the end, which showed their
enthusiasm. The feedback I received from the school staff was
very positive and they have asked me to deliver the same session
to the Year 9 group.

While answers may not adhere to this format explicitly, evidence which shows
appreciation of these four areas will be stronger and more balanced.

3.3 Plagiarism
Please ensure that what you write is your own work. One of the key purposes
of this process is to help you develop your statement writing skills: you can
only do this if your statement is about you and your understanding and
written in your own words!
Also, remember that you will be expected to talk about the written evidence
given in your WoW statement when you go for your interview with the
employer so you need to be confident and familiar with the content.
Statements containing copied text will not be marked and will be treated
as an invalid submission.
And please note: our marking team are very familiar with the examples we
include in this guide!

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 12

4. How to write a WoW Bronze statement


4.1 Step by Step Guide
What does Self Awareness mean? Knowing about your strengths and areas
for development, your work values and your ability to work with and relate to
other people. Understanding your achievements so far and recognising the
type of job roles you are suited to.
Why is this important? Self reflection enables you to identify your abilities,
likes and preferences and then match these to suitable career options. The
process is also very useful in helping to pin- point the skills and competencies
you need to work on and develop. Importantly, all applications and interviews
ask questions based on self awareness.

Understanding and Knowing Yourself


1

Your three key strengths, related to potential employment options,


with examples of how you have developed and demonstrated these.

Explanation: What are your strengths? What can you do for us that other
candidates can't? What are your strong points? These are typical questions
asked by employers at interview. It is an attempt to discover if you have
relevant skills and competencies that will enable you to make valuable
contributions in the workplace.
In a competitive jobs market this is a chance to put across your Unique
Selling Points three of your key strengths. Examples of strengths might
include team working, creative problem solving, leadership and interpersonal
skills. Think about the skills that are most important to a job role or career
area you are interested in getting into. By identifying your strengths and
matching yourself to suitable job roles, you will also enjoy it more and perform
better.
How to answer: Think of strengths that you have developed during your
education, working life (work experience, graduate skills, part-time, full-time,
voluntary etc.) and social activities. You should outline those relevant skills
and competencies which will demonstrate your suitability for a particular
job role. For example, as a teacher, some of the skills you would be expected
to demonstrate and evidence are excellent communication, organisational and
problem solving skills. Remember, it is not enough to simply state what you
are good at; you need to back this up with examples. Consider using the
STAR technique outlined in section 3.2.
Example:
My three key strengths include effective team working, research skills and my
ability to plan and organise. I am considering a career in business, possibly in
financial management, and feel these skills will be of great importance. An
Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University
The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 13

example of these can be taken from a recent university group-work


assignment. As a team of five, we had to carry out a financial planning
exercise. My role was to research various business planning models and
prepare a briefing paper with my recommendations. I researched these on
relevant web sites, visited several local banks and spoke to the local
Business Link for advice. Through effective planning and organising, I
prepared my final report within the target date. The team was diverse in terms
of background, personality and subject knowledge and I managed to build a
rapport with all members to ensure good working relationships. I provided
suggestions, listened to those of others, was responsible for organising
meetings and was always willing to assist and support the other team
members. We achieved an excellent grade for this assignment and were
commended on the quality and effectiveness of our business plan. (187 words)

An area/skill, related to potential employment options, which you need


to develop, together with a realistic action plan for overcoming your
area for development.

Explanation: Although you wouldnt include development needs or


weaknesses in a job application, this is a very common interview question, so
you need to consider it carefully. An employer will want to see that you are
capable of recognising your area/s for development and that you are
enthusiastic and proactive in plugging gaps in your knowledge and experience.
How to answer: The employer would expect you to describe a weakness/
area for improvement, recognise its importance to the field and how you have
overcome/intend to overcome this. This could be a practical skill you need to
master, experience you need to gain or a required change in attitude or
approach to certain tasks.
A note of caution!!! We have included this criterion in order to help you to plan
your development for the future. Be careful not to detail in job applications any
weaknesses that are essential skills for the role.
Example:
Whilst I am proficient in the use of Microsoft Office applications, I would like to
learn more about Excel and Access so that I can produce professional
spreadsheets, databases and reports. I am interested in pursuing a career in
market research and feel skills in this area will be beneficial particularly in
relation to the collection and analysis of data. I did some temping work in an
office during the holiday period which included populating spreadsheets and
databases with data and correcting mistakes. I assisted a more senior
administrator and realised that I would be able to carry out a wider range of
tasks if I had a more in-depth knowledge of various IT packages. The senior
administrator recommended the ECDL advanced certificate to me, which I
have since enrolled on and am due to complete. (136 words)

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 14

Work Values, Motivation, Drive and Energy


3

Your work values and how they may impact on your career choices.

Explanation: For your work to be satisfying, it must also be compatible with


your values. Works values are things which are important to you in a job. Most
people who pursue work that compliments their values feel satisfied and
successful in their careers. Employers also want to recruit candidates who will
easily fit in to their organisation and share their vision and ethos. Therefore
knowledge about a candidates work values can be helpful. Work values are
also known as career motivators or career drivers.
Examples of work values could include: independence, helping society,
helping others, status, security, variety, recognition, travel, flexibility,
adventure, risk taking, challenge etc.
The importance of values is individual and personal. Some values are
compatible with many careers, and some are not. Some careers instantly call
to mind a particular set of values. For instance, a charity worker may give
helping others as their chief priority, perhaps along with team membership,
and challenges while dismissing values such as material benefits, security
and advancement as irrelevant to his or her career choice.
How to answer: Think about what is important to you in your future career?
Outline the work values that are most important to you, explaining why you
feel they are of major importance to your career. What will make your job
rewarding and satisfying? Try not to just think about material benefits and
rewards such as money and holidays! Salary alone will not make a person
happy and satisfied with their work. Most people, in order to feel truly satisfied
with their work, must find some personal intrinsic value in it.
Example:
As a people-oriented person I have always had a passion for helping people
and am motivated by working with others and seeing differences that can be
made to peoples lives. These motivators have influenced my career
ambitions and goals to date. For example I am currently studying for a nursing
degree and feel a nursing career will fulfil many of my values and bring career
satisfaction. From my placement experiences so far, I have already been
motivated by opportunities to help patients and families recover, work in close
knit multi-disciplinary teams and be challenged on day-to-day basis. Empathy
and compassion are also important values to hold in this career and I have
had the opportunity to observe and develop these attributes whilst on my
professional placements. (126 words)

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 15

A significant achievement of yours, which demonstrates your drive,


energy and motivation to achieve a goal.

Explanation: Employers want to hire candidates who are self-motivated and


have drive and energy to achieve goals and solve problems. They want
candidates who demonstrate ambition and drive to complete projects or tasks,
despite obstacles that may get in the way. Sometimes employers ask
candidates to give them examples of when they have gone above and
beyond'. A candidates answer can provide an insight into their level of energy
and motivation, and may also show additional skills or qualities that the
candidate has not yet revealed.
You do not have to be a Nobel Peace Prize or Olympic Gold medal winner!
Employers are simply trying to ascertain if you are able to identify a real life
achievement and how motivational factors helped you to complete it. In Level
1, your greatest achievement may be getting to University, however by the
end of your final year you will have achieved other personal goals.
As a graduate, you may consider getting your degree your greatest
achievement. However, bear in mind, employers will be looking for more than
this in order to distinguish you from other candidates. So unless you have had
to contend with exceptional difficulties to gain your academic qualifications try
to say something different that will make you stand out.
How to answer: You could talk about an achievement related to university or
a part-time job or something not work-related at all! Whatever you consider
your achievement to be it can reveal a lot about a persons motivation. Think
about an achievement that has made you proud, what was satisfying about
the experience. Examples could include organising a sport or fund raising
event; learning Spanish, completing your degree whilst raising a family etc.
Employers are interested in why you consider your example to be a great
achievement, what skills you have developed, what it has taught you and how
you have used the experience
Example:
To raise 500 for a local hospice, I persuaded four friends to join me last
summer in a sponsored cycle around Cornwall. As well as planning the routes,
I had responsibility for arranging publicity and securing business sponsorship.
I achieved this by phoning and writing to local companies, approaching
business associations and negotiating publicity with the local press and radio
station. When severe rain threatened the event, I convinced a local hotel to
give us free accommodation and a donation in return for publicity in the local
newspaper. The final sum raised was 750. (94 words)

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 16

Relating to Others
5

An example of a time when you have worked in a team to achieve a


task.

Explanation: Team working skills are a highly valued skill in the work place
and not many jobs can be accomplished without working closely with others.
Graduate recruiters actively look for candidates who are good team players,
displaying the ability to co-operate, solve problems and make decisions in a
team environment.
Teamwork involves working confidently within a group, contributing your own
ideas effectively, taking a share of the responsibility, being assertive - rather
than passive or aggressive, accepting and learning from constructive criticism
and giving positive, constructive feedback to others. A prospective employer
will be interested in your team working experience, not for its own sake but
also for what you have learnt from it.
You can use examples from a variety of areas to demonstrate your team
working abilities. For example, you might include participation in sports teams;
drama/music productions; full or part-time employment; voluntary work; being
a course representative; research projects at university; organising events
(festivals, concerts); Duke of Edinburgh activities etc.
Remember good teams have the following characteristics shared goals,
clearly defined roles, active membership, inclusion, good communication,
respect, motivation, leadership and having a plan!
How to answer: Outline an example of when you have worked in a team to
achieve a goal, think about how you discussed issues and worked with people
from a range of backgrounds. Perhaps outline how you may have taken
direction, or suggested how things should move forward? How did you make
decisions in your team? How did you communicate and achieve your
objectives? A common mistake many graduate applicants make is to talk too
much about what they did without giving a description of how they used
specific skills. Use the STAR technique described in section 3.2 to help
structure your answer.
Example:
Last summer I spent four weeks travelling around Europe with four friends.
We planned the trip during the summer term, fitting it in when we needed a
break from our revision and something to look forward to. We firstly took
summer jobs for two months to raise the money for the trip as our agreed
individual budget was 1500. We also had to plan where we wanted to go,
where we would stay, how we would get around and how to fit everything into
our budget. Once we had agreed a general itinerary we divided up the
different tasks between us. My responsibility was to make the travel
arrangements: I researched the various options and decided that an Inter-Rail
ticket would be the cheapest and the most flexible, then I had to check the rail
connections and timetables between the places we wanted to visit. Even
Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University
The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 17

though the trains didn't always run on time, the trip was an enjoyable
experience and we visited all the places we had planned to. (170 words)

A situation where you have worked or dealt successfully with a difficult


person. Consider how you managed your emotions, recognised their
point of view and achieved a positive solution.

Explanation: Being able to get on with people at work, whether its a


customer, patient, colleague or your boss is a key skill. However, this is not
always an easy process as people can be difficult for a variety of reasons, e.g.
a customer may want to complain, a colleague might not pull their weight or
your boss may be overbearing or difficult to approach for help.
Employers want to know that you are able to deal with a difficult person in a
calm and mature way, so you can find out what the problem is and agree on a
positive solution. This will enable you to cope with tensions in the team that
you work in and create a happy working environment.
How to answer: The best way to show that you can deal with a difficult
person is to describe a real life situation where you have used your emotional
intelligence to remain calm, think logically, remain professional and defuse a
heated situation successfully even when your patience is being tested!
Take one situation from your education, or working life (work experience, parttime, full-time, voluntary etc.) or past time activities. Describe the background
to the situation (where you were, who you were with), explain how the person
was being difficult and how that made you feel, then explain how you handled
them (what you said/did to calm the situation down using empathy) and how
they reacted. Finally explain what the outcome was and what you learnt from
the situation.
You should not provide names in your answer, confidentiality is very important!
Example:
Whilst working part-time as a retail assistant in a bookshop I had to deal with
a very agitated customer. The customer was complaining because they had
only just been notified that a book they had ordered on the stores website
three weeks before was in fact out of print. I expressed my disappointment at
the poor service he had received, agreed it was unacceptable and apologised.
I explained the complaints procedure for website customers and was able to
recommend a similar text that we had in store and was actually slightly
cheaper than the original book. I managed to placate the customer and they
thanked me for my help and appeared satisfied with the book they had
purchased. (118 words)
Alternative Example:
Whilst working on community voluntary project it became clear that a member
of the team was not completing tasks assigned to them and this was halting
progress being made. I decided to approach this person to find out what was
Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University
The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 18

at the root of the problem. It became clear that personal reasons were to
blame. The person expressed great distress at not being able to meet the
demands of a commitment to such a worthwhile project. It was for this reason
they had failed to broach the subject with the group. I was able to understand
how upsetting these issues had been for the person and conveyed this to
them. I suggested that the group share the tasks that had been assigned to
this person. The team member was extremely grateful that we had been
supportive and had eased any guilt. As a result the person felt comfortable
enough to come back to the group a few weeks later to fully resume their role.
(164 words)

My Future Planning
7

Identify suitable career options having reflected on your strengths,


values, and ability to relate to others.

Explanation:
Now that you have reflected on your strengths, values and your ability to
relate to others, it would be useful for your future planning to identify which
career areas would suit your preferences best. For some people this may be
easy to do, particularly if you are on a vocational programme and you would
like to stay in this area of work, however others may find this more difficult. If
you are on a vocational programme such as nursing or social work then you
may like to discuss possible specialities which would be open to you.
If you are not sure what you would like to do when you have finished your
course then you may need to do some research. Have a look at the Prospects
website (www.prospects.ac.uk) and other graduate careers website which
may be able to give you an idea of what graduates from your course have
gone on to do. It may suggest new careers to you that you have not
considered before. You can also speak to one of the GDCs Careers Advisers.
They offer one to one appointments throughout the week in the Learning
Resource Centres and at the GDC in Kingsway House to book, just phone
the GDC on 0151 231 8099.
You will then need to explain in your statement how you feel your strengths,
values and interests are linked to the role/roles. Do not worry if you change
your mind later about your career. For the purposes of writing the statement
we need to see that you have considered some career options while you are
still studying. The research that you do for this part of your statement will then
help you in the future when you are considering different job roles.
How to answer: Identify a specific job role and the type of environment you
feel you would be suited to (or a specific organisation if you have one in mind).
Explain why you have made these choices and how your skills and abilities
would enable you to be a successful employee in this area.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 19

Example:
I feel that my skills and experience make me well suited to a career in
journalism. I have a natural interest in current affairs, a proactive approach to
research and am very determined when securing interviews. I gained practical
writing, verbal communication and interpersonal skills through my course and
my experience of working for the student newspaper. My experience at a local
newspaper also provided me with a good insight into the working environment
which I found to be fast paced, highly stressful but exciting. I am very
productive when working under pressure, so believe I would thrive in this kind
of work environment. I had previously considered using my degree to become
an English Teacher, but felt that I would prefer to work in a role where I have
more autonomy to be creative and expressive, plus I like the diversity of work
and unpredictability that journalism offers. (149 words)

Identify the next steps to prepare for your career options.

Explanation: In your previous answer (7) you have explained what you would
like to do in the future, now you need to outline how you plan to do this. For
some job roles you will need to gain qualifications or work experience in
certain areas, for others you may need to complete some further study, e.g. a
postgraduate course. This section of your statement is to show that you have
a career plan.
This criteria is particularly helpful when preparing you for interview questions
such as Where do you see yourself in five years time? by asking this
question at interview the employer is testing your commitment to the
organisation and the sector and to see that you have made plans to underpin
your career aspirations.
How to answer: You would need to emphasise your enthusiasm for the field,
and demonstrate a willingness to keep learning and improving. You might
want to explain that you have set yourself targets and goals in the form of
courses/training you would want to undertake and any areas you would like to
specialise in. You may want to outline any potential setbacks you anticipate,
and explain how you would overcome these.
Example:
My English degree and experience of working for the student newspaper
helped me decide that I want to pursue a career in Journalism. While I have
gained invaluable knowledge and practical skills working on a newspaper, I
have developed a great interest in monthly fashion publications and would
therefore like to train specifically in magazine journalism. Once I have finished
my degree I intend to apply for a fast-track post graduate diploma in Magazine
Journalism. While the course will be intensive, unfortunately I will also need to
work part-time alongside my studies so that I can fund the course as I am not
eligible for any financial assistance. I have already secured a part-time job I

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 20

can fit around the times I will be in lectures and on magazine placements.
(132 words)

Spelling and Grammar


SP Your ability to write your statement to a standard of written English
which would be acceptable to an employer (i.e. no spelling mistakes,
typos or grammatical errors).
Employers regularly complain that they receive large numbers of applications
each year littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Do not make
your application the one that is immediately rejected for this reason!
I hope to hear from you shorty
I sued a computer
Dear Madman
Employers often look at good English on application forms as a means of
sifting out 'poor' candidates. This means that even if you have all the
necessary skills to do a job and would be really good at it, you may not even
get an interview because of your poor written English.
So it's worth taking time to look through anything you write to see if it is
properly spelt and punctuated, and the grammar is correct. Spellcheckers are
a great help in this, of course, and all pieces of work should be run through a
spellchecker before being submitted. However, using a spell checker is not
always sufficient, as errors such as fro instead of for, grate instead of great
and form instead of from will not be picked up, so you need to read your
application and statements carefully as well. If necessary get someone else to
proof read the letter/application to make sure you have not missed anything
and it reads well. These documents are your only introduction to your
potential employer they should represent you and your abilities well.
What if I have a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia?
Larger employers may make reasonable adjustments to their expectations if a
person declares themselves to by dyslexic - but this will not always be the
case. So you need to make every effort to check your statement for errors.
LJMU does have support systems in place to help students with these
difficulties so if you havent done so already, speak to your tutor or contact
Student Advice on 0151 231 6052/6037.
Please check your statement for mistakes in spelling and grammar
before you submit.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 21

4.2 WoW Bronze Self Awareness Level Descriptors


1. Your three key strengths, related to potential employment options,
with examples of how you have developed and demonstrated these.
S
Strong

A
Adequate

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

You have clearly outlined three key strengths which are related to
stated potential employment options. You have given strong examples
of how you have developed and demonstrated each of these.
You have listed three key strengths which are related to stated
potential employment options. You have given adequate examples of
how you have developed and demonstrated each of these.
You have outlined between one and three key strengths which are
related to stated potential employment options. You have given some
examples of how you have developed and demonstrated some of
these.
You have not sufficiently outlined between one and three key strengths
which are not related to any stated potential employment options. You
have not given examples of how you have developed and
demonstrated some of these.

2. An area /skill, related to potential employment options, you need to


develop, together with a realistic action plan for overcoming your area
for development.
S
Strong

A
Adequate

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

You have clearly identified an area or skill you need to develop to help
you to secure a role and succeed in your chosen field of work. You
have clearly outlined a realistic action plan for what you have done or
intend to do to address this.
You have identified an area or skill you need to develop and attempted
to relate this to your chosen field of work. You provide an adequate
realistic action plan for what you have done or intend to do to address
this.
You have outlined an area or skill you need to develop and attempted
to relate this to your chosen field of work. You have provided a weak
action plan for what you have done or intend to do to address this.
You have not sufficiently identified an area or skill you need to develop
to help you to secure a role and succeed in your chosen field of work.
You have not outlined a realistic action plan for what you have done or
intend to do to address this.

3. Your work values and how they may impact on your career choices
S
Strong

A
Adequate

You have clearly reflected on factors that will make your future
job/career rewarding and satisfying and drawn on evidence and
experiences to support this. You have clearly explained how your work
values have influenced your career choice/s.
You have adequately reflected on factors that will make your future
job/career rewarding and satisfying and drawn on some evidence and
experiences to support this. You have adequately explained how your
work values have influenced your career choice/s.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 22

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

You have attempted to reflect on factors that will make your future
job/career rewarding and satisfying. And/or you have attempted to
explain how your work values have influenced your career choice/s.
You have not sufficiently reflected on factors that will make your future
job/career rewarding and satisfying. You have not explained how your
work values have influenced your career choice/s.

4. A significant achievement of yours, which demonstrates your drive,


energy and motivation to achieve a goal
S
Strong

A
Adequate

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

You have very clearly described an example that you consider to be


one of your greatest achievements. Your example is logical and
concise. The example also demonstrates strong evidence of drive,
energy and motivation to achieve a goal.
You have outlined an example that you consider to be one of your
greatest achievements. Your example is appropriate and concise. The
example also demonstrates adequate evidence of drive, energy and
motivation to achieve a goal.
You have identified an example that you consider to be one of your
greatest achievements. Your example however lacks structure and/or
detail. The example attempts to demonstrate evidence of drive, energy
and motivation to achieve a goal.
You have not sufficiently described an example that you consider to be
one of your greatest achievements. Your example is not well structured
and there is no evidence of drive, energy and motivation to achieve a
goal.

5. An example of a time when you have worked in a team to achieve a


task.
S
Strong

A
Adequate

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

You have very clearly described an example of a time when you have
worked in a team to achieve a task. Your example is strong and
demonstrates your ability to work effectively in a team and your
understanding of what makes a team effective. You clearly outline the
situation, the task, your role/contribution and the result.
You have adequately described an example of a time when you have
worked in a team to achieve a task. Your example sufficiently
demonstrates your ability to work effectively in a team and shows you
have an understanding of what makes a team effective.
You have attempted to outline an example of a time when you have
worked in a team to achieve a task. You demonstrate some
understanding of working effectively in a team and what makes a team
effective.
You have not sufficiently described an example of a time when you
have worked in a team to achieve a task. You have not demonstrated
your ability to work effectively in a team or an understanding of what
makes a team effective.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 23

6. A situation where you have worked or dealt successfully with a


difficult person. Consider how you managed your emotions,
recognised their point of view and achieved a positive solution.

S
Strong

A
Adequate

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

You have very clearly described a specific occasion when you have
dealt successfully with a difficult person. Your example demonstrates
your ability to read other peoples emotions, control your emotions and
show empathy. You have outlined the situation, explained your task,
clearly shown how you defused the situation and worked with the other
person to come to a mutually agreeable solution recognising their point
of view.
You have adequately described a specific occasion when you have
dealt successfully with a difficult person. Your example sufficiently
demonstrates your ability to read other peoples emotions, control your
own emotions and show empathy.
You have provided a weak example of a time when you have dealt
successfully with a difficult person. You have not demonstrated your
ability to read other peoples emotions, control your own emotions and
show empathy.
You have not sufficiently described an example of a time when you
dealt successfully with a difficult person. You have not demonstrated
your ability to read other peoples emotions, control your own emotions
and show empathy.

7. Identify suitable career options having reflected on your strengths,


values, and ability to relate to others
S
Strong

A
Adequate

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

You have very clearly identified possible career options having


reflected on your strengths, values, and ability to relate to others. You
very clearly explain why you have made these choices and how your
skills and abilities would enable you to be a successful employee in
this area.
You have adequately identified possible career options having
reflected on your strengths, values, and ability to relate to others. You
adequately explain why you have made these choices and how your
skills and abilities would enable you to be a successful employee in
this area.
You have attempted to identify some career options having reflected
on your strengths, values, and ability to relate to others. Your answer is
weak with little reflection on why you have made these choices and
how your skills and abilities would enable you to be a successful
employee in this area.
You have not sufficiently identified possible career options having
reflected on your strengths, values, and ability to relate to others. You
have not explained why you have made these choices and why you
would be a successful employee in this area.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 24

8. Identify the next steps to prepare for your career options


S
Strong

A
Adequate

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

You have very clearly outlined some possible career paths and
demonstrated strong evidence of engagement in career planning.
You have sufficiently outlined some possible career paths and
demonstrated evidence of engagement in career planning.
You have attempted to outline some possible career paths and
demonstrated some evidence of engagement in career planning.
You have not sufficiently outlined some possible career paths or
demonstrated evidence of engagement in career planning.

SP. Your ability to write your statement to a standard of written English


which would be acceptable to an employer (i.e. no spelling mistakes,
typos or grammatical errors).
S
Strong

A
Adequate

W
Weak

I
Insufficient

Your statement is well structured, with a very high standard of written


English. There are no spelling mistakes and/or grammatical errors.
Your statement is adequately structured, with a good standard of
written English. Spelling mistakes and/or grammatical errors are
minimal.
Your statement is weak in structure, and/or needs development in
written English. There are several spelling mistakes and/or
grammatical errors.
Your statement is poor in structure and/or needs development in
written English. There are several spelling mistakes and/or
grammatical errors.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 25

4.3 Quick reference diagram of marking principles

Has the question


been fully
addressed?

NO

YES

Each component of the criteria must be mentioned in


the answer.

YES

Is the answer
set in a context?

YES

Are specific
events/circumstances/duties
cited in the answer?

YES

Does the answer


demonstrate insight and
detail the components
of the skill/ability/
awareness?

NO

The answers need be set in a real life, experienced


context in order to provide sufficient evidence. This
may be work, study or personal life.

NO

Detail is required when illustrating the context. This


could include duties while employed, topics of projects/
dissertations at University, events in personal life. In
other words, what exactly did you do/have you done to
justify your claims.

NO

To obtain this, the candidate must do more than repeat


the actions/skills cited in the question: They must dig
deeper and unpick what these entail. For example,
rather than say I am aware, say exactly what youve
done to increase your awareness. Rather than say I
have developed my self-confidence by show an
understanding of what having self-confidence involves.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 26

4.4 Self Awareness Workbook - start thinking about your skills


1. What are your three key strengths? Give examples of how you have developed
and demonstrated each of these.

2. Everyone is better at some things than others. What do you need to develop to
improve your prospects in your chosen career area? What have you done, or
what do you intend to do to develop this?

3. In terms of values, what is important to you in your future career? What would
make your career/job rewarding and why?

4. What is an achievement/accomplishment of yours which makes you proud?


Think of an example which demonstrates your drive, energy and motivation.

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 27

5. Give an example when you worked effectively as part of a team. What was
your role in the teamwork? How did you contribute to this task?

6. Describe a situation where you have worked or dealt successfully with a


difficult person, recognised their point of view and achieved a positive solution.

7. Explain why you want to pursue a career in and


why you think you would be well suited to this work or role?

8. Given your career goals how do plan to achieve these?

Version 11.03, 2011 Liverpool John Moores University


The content of this document is copyright material of Liverpool John Moores University. No part of this
document may be reproduced or distributed without prior written permission of the copyright owner

(PT 1) 28