Career planning and job seeking workbook

Acknowledgements and thanks Thanks to Jennifer Nisbet who wrote the publications, Career and Life Planning Workbook and Job Search Guide, on which this workbook is based. Our thanks go also to Christine Adams, Anna Alston, Mary Guthrie, Anne Milne, Clare Riding, Ian Tawse and Jo Ward for their additional material and work on the book, and to other colleagues for comments, editorial suggestions and other production help. Produced by the Student Services Communications Team Copyright © 2006 The Open University While every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this book is up to date at the time of going to press, the material in it may be altered or amended. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United Kingdom by Thanet Press Ltd, Margate ISBN 978-0-7492-1258-2

This book consists of six sections that take you in a progressive series of steps through the process of career review and choice, and applying for jobs:

01 Knowing yourself 7
1.1 What am I like? 8 1.2 What work would suit me? 13
Information and activities which help you build up a file of your skills and experience, interests and achievements, weaknesses and strengths. This will help you to discover career opportunities that are likely to match your strengths and circumstances.

04 Getting the job 57
4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 What do employers look for in graduates? 57 Matching vacancies 59 Application forms 62 The curriculum vitae (CV) 65 The covering letter 78 The interview 81 Other selection techniques 87

02 Exploring possibilities 35
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43

This will guide you through some important areas. It discusses what employers look for and how to tell exactly what skills vacancy adverts are seeking. This section also shows you how to produce high-quality application forms, CVs and covering letters, and discusses how to perform to your best ability in interviews and other selection procedures.

This section suggests how and where you might find information to help in the process.

05 Equality and diversity issues 93
5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Age 94 Criminal record 95 Disability or additional requirements 96 Gender/sex 98 Race 100 Sexuality and sexual orientation 101 Religion or belief 102

03 Making decisions and taking action 47
3.1 Making decisions about your life 47 3.2 Goals, restrictions and resources 48 3.3 Plan of action 52
How to move forward – this section gives you an opportunity to look at your ‘framework of choice’, to consider the restrictions and resources in your life, and to create a ‘plan of action’ for managing change and making things happen.

Explores a range of issues related to equality of opportunity.

06 The next steps 105
6.1 Open University Careers Advisory Service 105 6.2 Open University study materials 106 6.3 Other sources of help 107
Further sources of help – useful organisations, websites and resources.


then settle back secure in the knowledge that you won’t have to do it again. The workbook outlines the practical steps needed for looking for a job. the basis of our original plans inevitably shifts. • I need to find a job in a particular geographical area Look at Section 5 . so that you can build a sound foundation for later steps in reviewing your make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with. or set up a more formal We recommend working through the workbook sections in order. the more precisely you can specify what you want and communicate it to employers. designing a curriculum vitae (CV) and presenting yourself at 4 and 6. As we make changes and as circumstances change around us. Activities We encourage you to take time over the activities suggested in this book. with a careers adviser or perhaps through your appraiser at work or your line manager. but you could become distracted by the mechanics of the process. The more open minded. people and materials are all useful resources. completing application forms. the more productive they’ll be. They’re likely to be helpful when you reach the stage of completing application forms. 4 and 5. The website for the Careers Advisory Service is at: www. and the more time and effort you put into them. you might prefer to tackle the process in stages. You could take a relatively informal approach. interests. • How should I use the internet in looking for jobs? Look at Section 2. values and personal needs • Decide what you want to achieve. they can’t make things happen for you Remember. find some of them particularly time consuming. the most important influence on your career and life planning is you. putting your CV together or preparing for an interview. Working through the activities at your own pace gives you scope for quiet reflection. You may To find out more. so the clearer you are about your own characteristics. This book invites you to recognise your own qualities and abilities. working with a partner or friend. planning a strategy. support and encouragement. and you might well need to return to them as your ideas develop. and • Begin to plan how you might achieve it. but you might want to dip into different areas at different stages of your career planning and job seeking. make a note of the recommended sections: • I don’t know where to begin Look particularly at Section 1. Working with others can give you ideas. Career planning has to be a recurring process – you can’t do it once and for all. Whatever approach you decide on. but it also complements information on our careers website. visit our website at www. they can act as a sounding board and suggest different ways of looking at skills. Time It’s difficult to foresee exactly how much time you’ll need. and to define what you’re really looking for. Keep your activities as you work through them. You might find it useful to link up with another person or a small group. • Will my age be a problem in changing career? Look at Sections 2. To begin with. • I know what I want to do but don’t know how to achieve it Look at Sections 2. • How should I update my CV? Look at Section 4. If you have particular concerns If you recognise concerns of your own – you may find more than one – in this list. Ways of working Give some thought now to how you might work with these materials before you begin. You’ll certainly find it helpful to get comments and opinions from people who know you well. Working through the activities should be challenging but rewarding. This is a reference source that can stand on its 3. perhaps when you’re not in the midst of your studies. positive and constructive you are. This book focuses on you because although organisations.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook How to use this book Use this workbook to help you to: • Take stock • Review your career and life • Evaluate your aptitudes. The best place to start is with yourself. agencies. It is you who will be in the work situation.

01 .

for example. that some of the activities (and others) are also available online on the Careers Advisory Service website at: www. less well-paid work. Note.2 What work would suit me? 13 Remember that you may have potential that has yet to be developed. so that you can learn new skills or take up more 7 . They offer different ways of considering what you’re like and what you can do. This is the first step in the career-review process. The activities in this section ask you to think about a series of questions as a beginning to your career review. Some of these resources and links are provided by The Open University and some by external agencies such as Graduate Prospects www. take a clear view of your career and life. and consider the questions ‘What am I like?’ and ‘What can I do?’ It will help you to review your life and work experience and the skills and qualities that have grown out of them. as far as work is concerned? • What do I really want from work? • How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? • What kind of work would I like to do? You may like to try out some of these activities in writing using this section. You might be able to reduce your mortgage by moving to a smaller house or a cheaper area.1 What am I like? 8 Here you will find links to lots of different activities and resources to assist in career planning and job seeking. You may find that some seemingly unchangeable things can be changed. At intervals you’ll be asked to ‘pause for thought’ and note down your responses. The questions are: • Who am I? What were my early influences and decisions? • What are my main achievements? • What roles do I play in life? • What have I learnt in my spare time? • How big a part of my life is work? • What work experience have I had? • What roles do I play at work? • What sort of person am I to work with? • What am I good at. work and leisure activities. This kind of self-knowledge is the soundest basis for making decisions about your there’s good reason to. You’ve gained knowledge and skills from your The section starts by asking you to look back. and reject them only To find out more. after exploring them. This section will help you to develop your self-awareness. visit our website at www. Your past has shaped you through your family background. and learnt how you cope with things and respond to different tasks and your education. Try to keep an open mind when considering future possibilities.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Knowing yourself In this section 1.

and he saw that each disappointment motivated him towards a change and offered opportunities. retirement and so on.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. visit our website at www. project engineering) NOW Hospital (appendix removed) Left School (apprenticeship) Promotion (problems due to lack of experience Father died Moved sideways (into sales and marketing) Company hit hard time (redundancy) LOW POINT The lifeline exercise can result in a lot of emotions coming to the surface as you review your experiences. such as education. noting any thoughts or ideas that occur to you: • What does the lifeline say about you and how you’ve lived your life? • Are there recognisable themes that have run through your life? • Is the pattern generally up or down? Is it steady or changeable? What sorts of incident were associated with the highs and lows? Are the highs generally associated with your own choices and the lows with the unexpected? Are there some experiences you cope with easily and others that really throw you? • Are there any lessons to be learnt? For instance.1 What am I like? 1. Moved House HIGH POINT Secondary School Qualified (production engineer) Marriage Son Became management trainee (part time study.1 Who am I? What were my early influences and decisions? The two activities in this section will help you to develop an overview of your career so far. You may find it useful to talk through any difficult emotions with someone you trust. marriage. Pause for thought Would someone who knows you well have drawn your lifeline differently? What would that person have said? 8 To find out more. and to consider how your early history contributed to it. Think about the feelings aroused by each experience and answer these questions. Another noted that all his positive job changes followed disappointments in his private life. Activity 1. children. this activity revealed to one person that all her high points were associated with praise from others and her low points with geographical moves. Note down key .1.1 In this activity you’re going to draw a ‘lifeline’.open. consider it as a whole. This activity can help you to gather insights that can influence your future and to discover aspects of yourself that you might want to develop or change. showing high and low points at different times of your life. A third recognised someone else as consistently and unobtrusively acting as a mentor. Example When you’ve drawn a lifeline that reflects your experiences. Put them in the form of a diagram like the one here. Diploma) Daughter Bought flat (Improvement Grant) Bought house – garden-mortgage! Changes in company policy (new job. to help you think about the pattern of your life. You’ll be asked to refer back to your lifeline later on.

3 Schooling List the schools you went to. your role in the family. could you have made different choices? Make a note of any insights you’ve gained through remembering and reflecting. For instance. how your teachers saw you. Looking back.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. You may see themes appearing. why and how you arrived at where you are today. perhaps. activities you participated in. the area and house you lived in. 4 Teenage years What activities were you good at or did you enjoy? How did your friends see you? What were you like as a teenager? What did you want to be? 1 Family influences If applicable. say something about any occupational influences on such as strong aspects of your personality or talents. Pause for thought Now spend some time considering what your notes say about you – what you’re like. The activity may take some time. with dates. visit our website at www. Make notes under the headings below. school sports or activities you took part in. experiences you had. Some of this information will be useful when you put your CV together (see Section 4). and you might want to return to it later to change or add points. how you saw your teachers. family lifestyle. To find out more. the subjects you were good at and enjoyed. was one of your parents a mechanic or another a teacher? 5 Any further education or training What did you do? How did you choose it? How did you get on? What prompted you to begin studying with the OU? 2 What do you remember about your early childhood? For 9 . what your parents expected of how you got on with other children. concentrating on your childhood and school life. Maybe you had various abilities but developed one rather than another – sporting ability rather than artistic talent.2 This activity brings out some of the early themes from your lifeline.

It can be a particularly useful approach if you haven’t had much formal experience like paid work – it’s easy to assume that skills gained outside work somehow don’t count. passing your driving test on the fifth attempt may say a lot about your staying power and things you do in your spare time. note the achievements you’re most proud of and what they say about you. visit our website at . recent or a long time passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student.2 What are my main achievements? The activity in this section can help you to recognise skills and qualities that you might not always be conscious of.3 Looking back at your lifeline. My achievements 1 2 3 4 5 What they say about me 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Which of the skills or qualities you’ve listed could be used in a work situation? What kind of work? The chances are that you’ve highlighted ‘transferable skills’ and qualities that would be welcome in many kinds of work. Set them out in the table below. For example. Activity 1. They could be workrelated or to do with relationships. 10 To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.

Each role demands different skills. this is a particularly useful exercise if you have little work experience to draw on. Circle the ones that are particular strengths. If you enjoy DIY. time management. By chairing meetings of a club. You may be an employee (team leader. Activity 1. delegating. You may take part in voluntary work (counsellor. You may be a parent (cook.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. you develop skills of briefing and dealing with people as well as those of managing meetings. time management. Again. you need skills of learning. you’ve developed not only practical skills but planning and organising skills as well.3 What roles do I play in life? Another way of looking at your skills is to consider the roles you’ve played in your life. visit our website at www. My main roles 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Looking at all your roles. are you surprised at the number of things you do and take for granted every day? Look at the skills you’ve gardener and household manager). and so on.1. cooking.4 Now complete the table below. If you are a parent. you have needed to develop skills of budgeting. listener or organiser). How do you feel about them? Which do you most enjoy using? How could you use them in work? To find out more. project manager). working group member. as many skills are learnt outside paid 11 . As a communication and keeping to schedules.

what would you now say are your main strengths and weaknesses? They can be skills. they need not be barriers to the future.1. personal characteristics or interests. abilities. It’s easy to forget that leisure activities can give us as many skills and abilities as work.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.4 What have I learnt in my spare time? What hobbies do you have or have you had in the past? You may not turn your hobby into a career.5 My main activities outside work are (or have been) 1 2 3 4 5 Review Think about what you’ve done so far in this section. Activity 1. although you may not have financial responsibilities at work you might be treasurer to your local darts team or do the audit for the youth club funds. My main strengths 1 2 3 4 5 6 My main weaknesses 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 To find out more. Remember that strengths can be built on for the future and weaknesses can be reduced by your efforts. but your spare-time activities could help you to demonstrate skills and qualities. visit our website at www. What have you learnt about yourself? Bringing some of your answers together. What are the possibilities in your interests? Swimming? DIY? Photography? Have you held positions of responsibility in any of them? What have you contributed to your household for instance? Can you see any interests or hobbies that might be helpful to future work plans? For

How does this feel? Is it right for you or would you like to change this aspect of your life? To find out You might be highly ambitious.1 How big a part of my life is work? Before considering what you want to You might even be seen as ‘workaholic’! If you have a minus (–) score You don’t see work as the most important aspect of your life. or you may prefer something that can give you a better balance between work and home life. for example if you scored –20.6 Rate each of the following statements Use this scale – try to avoid choosing 3 if you can: 5 4 3 2 1 Always true Usually true Neither true nor untrue Usually untrue Always untrue Add up your scores From the odd-numbered questions From the even-numbered questions Take the ‘even’ score away from the ‘odd’ score (even if it produces a minus score) What did you score? If you have a plus (+) score The higher your score. for example. it’s time to think about work. have little concern about getting on in your career. You may have found yourself in a post that takes over and leaves little time for family life. even workaholic. Activity 1.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. you would always put work first and aim high in your achievements. If you have a more central score You keep a balance between work and leisure. This is something that varies from person to person. If you don’t have much experience of paid work. If you scored +20. You have some concern about doing well and making progress. you would put your social life before work. At the lower end of the scale. you need to be clear about how important work is to you. 1. The next activity can help you to think about this. visit our website at www. the stronger your ambition. or you might avoid positions that regularly eat into your leisure 13 . and might be seen as ‘laid back’. think about your approach to activities or projects. 1 I always aim high in my work 2 My ambition isn’t necessarily to get to the top 3 I set myself difficult goals to achieve 4 I don’t like to let work disturb my social life 5 I want to do well at whatever I’m doing 6 Being a success in life isn’t too important to me 7 I like being seen as dedicated to my job 8 I don’t like to aim too high 9 Work always comes before pleasure 10 People wouldn’t describe me as very ambitious Pause for thought Think about the way you scored in this activity.2.2 What work would suit me? Now that you’ve spent some time considering the skills and qualities you’ve developed through experience. but you don’t let work rule your life.

uk/careers .7 1 List the jobs you’ve had. Activity 1. enjoyable or rewarding? Why? 6 What were your particular achievements? 7 How did you get on with the other people? 8 What was your style of working? 9 Were you known for particular things? 10 What were you most proud of? 11 What were the things you disliked or found frustrating? Pause for thought Look back at what you’ve written. If you have limited or no experience of paid employment.2 What work experience have I had? Most people would agree that work experience is very important when considering future directions. with dates. Did you volunteer or were you directed into it? If you had some choice. 4 Did you have to deal with any difficulties? 5 Which tasks or activities did you find most appealing. The next activity helps you to explore your experience. Do you see any patterns? Can you see particular strengths or areas of difficulty? Do you enjoy some things more than others? Do others turn to you for help with particular things? 14 To find out more. note how it came about. Many will be ‘transferable skills’ that you can use in other situations. delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’. unpaid or voluntary) by noticing how you feel about different tasks and respond to work situations. You may also have learnt from others. either through formal appraisal or from informal comments and reactions.2. visit our website at www. but it’s easy to take yourself for granted and not recognise the wide range and high level of skills and abilities you have. You will have learnt a huge amount through work (whether paid. 2 For each job. fundraising for a charity or involvement in a conservation and will be useful when preparing for interviews (see Section 4). what factors seemed important in deciding to take it up? 3 For each job. and you might want to come back to it later.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. helping readers at school. make a similar list of unpaid or voluntary experience for example. The activity may take some or how well you perform particular activities in comparison with other people. note the range of tasks or activities you had to do.

2. If you’re not sure or if it’s only partly true. if it isn’t a usual role for 15 . Circle any that describe you particularly. To find out more. visit our website at www. Can you think of any specific activities or actions at work or in non-work activities that show that they describe you? What evidence can you give to prove them? How do you feel about them? Which do you most relish carrying out? You’ll find this list useful when you come to preparing a CV. leave it blank. All the words describe positive apply this to whatever activity has taken up a lot of your time.8 Some work roles and areas of competence are listed below. put a tick beside it.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. INITIATE IMPLEMENT MONITOR MAINTAIN IMPROVE CONTROL ALLOCATE SELECT DEVELOP CREATE ENHANCE DELEGATE SEEK ORGANISE SOLVE DECIDE LIAISE COORDINATE EXPLORE INVESTIGATE LINK SELL PLAN TEACH COMMUNICATE HARMONISE CHECK CAMPAIGN PERSUADE MEASURE SUPERVISE CHOOSE GUIDE MAKE TRAIN EVALUATE Pause for thought Look at the roles you’ve ticked. Activity 1. completing an application form or attending an interview (which you will cover in more detail in Section 4).ac. cross it out. Work through each role in the list. If work hasn’t been a major part of your life. Does it sound like you? If it comes to you easily.3 What roles do I play at work or elsewhere? This activity should help you to become aware of the skills and experience you’ve developed through the typical roles you play at work.

visit our website at www. More Plan ahead and keep to it (t) Stickler for detail or accuracy (t) Easy mixer. not easily upset (f) Tend to influence people (s) Ambitious to get on at all costs (f) 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Average 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Less 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 16 To find out more. get anxious (f) Like deadlines and timetables (t) Usually take a leading role (s) Good with complex ideas or data (t) Demonstrative. show feelings (f) Happy to be in charge of others (s) Prefer traditional ways of action (t) What sort of person am I to work with? Your personality affects your style of operating in the workplace and the way you respond to situations. negotiating (s) Tend to worry. caring for others (s) Always like to win. think more generally about your life if your workplace experiences are limited. Again. socially confident (s) Pessimistic (f) Energetic (f) Solitary (s) Like lots of change and variety (t) Very much affected by events or people (f) Go my own way. Try to use the full range of ratings from 5 (much more so than most) to 1 (much less so than most). deciding how you compare with other people.2. come in top (f) Like . Activity 1. circling your position on the Work through the following descriptions. act independently (s) More practical than theoretical (t) Determined (f) Sympathetic.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.

If you think about your colleagues you’ll be aware how they differ from each 17 . to do with your approach to work tasks (t). some people are at ease giving a presentation while others find it very nerveracking. You can group them into those to do with relating to people and social situations (s). visit our website at www. There’s no right or wrong personality. Pause for thought What have you learnt about your typical way of operating? What kind of work situation would be likely to suit you? To find out more. The better you know yourself. one is a stickler for detail while another is not too concerned about fine accuracy. and to do with your drives and emotions (f). another is very chatty and communicative. While one is continued Now look over your ratings. but you do need to take your own traits into the more opportunities you create for finding a situation that will suit you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. Where did you score the most highly? Or did you score evenly across the three categories? For instance. A work situation that suits a very sociable person won’t suit someone who prefers to work alone.

Then think about the knowledge and abilities you needed to apply in order to achieve the result. The next activities are based on your own knowledge. as it affects the work or the parts of a particular job that you can perform best. It’s useful to know this. such as accounting standards or employment law. as you learn through your own study. Consider your answers so far. by going on training courses. relation or a careers adviser. You can learn about your aptitudes from other people’s comments. Some people have been taught or have learnt particular skills for themselves – competence in a computer language. You can be good at something without particularly enjoying it. visit our website at by observing others. needs and values. by trial and error. it’s helpful to reflect on your past as you approach a decision that will significantly affect your life. What have you learnt? It can help. or perhaps you used or developed a skill you already had. initiatives you’ve put into practice. projects you’ve tackled successfully. You may have begun to gain more insights or realisations about your own nature.5 What am I good at as far as work is concerned? This section should help you to think about your aptitudes – what you can do and how well you can do it. through taking psychometric tests (which are discussed in more detail in Section 4) or from your own perceptions of how well you cope with different tasks. You might discover that your strengths are grouped in some areas rather than others. Now list some of your work/voluntary/domestic achievements. Activity 1. for example. others are skilful with statistics. Your discoveries might be to do with your skills and abilities or your attitudes. It’s also important for you to know what you’re good at. etc. Others have specialist knowledge. by reading and so on. to have someone else with whom to talk through your answers – perhaps a friend. Review As you may be discovering.10 Look back at your list of achievements and what they say about you. There’s generally some connection between what we can do well and what we enjoy doing. rather than simply thinking through these questions. This question is of particular interest to employers. but it’s not a necessary connection. Some people have a creative . ambitions.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. It’s also useful as evidence when you’re completing a CV or attending an interview. You should also remember that you’ll go on developing as you cope with different demands. as it enables you to recognise the talents you have and also to see whether there are gaps you want to work on. You may have learnt more about your personality. 18 To find out more.2. What I achieved 1 2 3 4 5 Knowledge/abilities used 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Examine and reflect on what you’ve put under the headings. others a photographic memory. but do use any other information you can get. Perhaps you had to learn a new technique. temperament or way of dealing with the world.

ability to convey information without confusion 3 Fluent speech.11 This activity will help you to assess your skills in more detail. Consider how well you can carry out each one in comparison with other people. The activity is grouped into skills which are of particular importance to not usually adequate No significant level of skills Communication Rating 1 Listening. visit our website at www. Try to use the full range of ratings.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. words flowing easily 4 Drawing people out. to encourage them to speak 5 Commanding an audience. outstanding performance High level. just acceptable skills Very basic level. Rate each of the following statements Use this scale – try to avoid choosing 3 if you can: 6 5 4 3 2 1 Very high. taking in what others say and checking your understanding of the information 2 Clear verbal expression. Be as honest as you can both in admitting lack of skill and in acknowledging your competence. reliably perform better than average Good level. often referred to as ‘employability’ or ‘transferable skills’.ac. matching style to purpose 9 Structuring reports and other written communications logically 10 Using a wide vocabulary accurately and appropriately 11 Speaking (accent and pronunciation) in a way that’s acceptable in a wide range of social situations 12 Spelling and grammar Total score To find out more. giving a presentation 6 Using the telephone effectively: few misunderstandings 7 Reading efficiently: readily taking in written information 8 Writing effectively. generally able to do it quite well Reasonable 19 .

taking account of this in dealing with them 2 Getting on with a variety of people and building up working relationships 3 Instructing. teaching or coaching others 4 Delegating and managing others 5 Leading a work group. assessing or appraising 10 Persuading. encouraging. motivating. chairing a meeting 6 Encouraging. visit our website at changing others’ views 11 Consulting and building agreements 12 Acting assertively (not aggressively) Rating Total score Financial activities 1 Understanding book-keeping 2 Preparing a budget 3 Using a spreadsheet 4 Understanding VAT and taxation 5 Producing a cash-flow forecast 6 Producing annual accounts 7 Carrying out a cost–benefit analysis 8 Interpreting management accounts 9 Working knowledge of volume and expenditure-related variances 10 Operating PAYE 11 Understanding types. uses and sources of loan finance 12 Operating costing system Rating Total score 20 To find out .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Dealing with people 1 Showing sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others. getting the best out of others 7 Counselling: helping with personal problems 8 Negotiating: dealing with conflict 9 Interviewing.

hand-eye coordination 10 Understanding physical sciences 11 Understanding engineering 12 Maintaining or repairing complex equipment Rating Total score To find out more. practical problems 9 Using manual dexterity. visit our website at working out implications 4 Applying critical ability in recognising potential weakness or problems 5 Making logical use of facts or information 6 Using mental Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Thinking and analysis 1 Using critical path analysis 2 Using statistics 3 Logical thinking. estimating orders or probability 7 Flow-charting 8 Rational decision-making 9 Carrying out analysis and evaluation 10 Researching and gathering information 11 Carrying out mathematical operations 12 Carrying out stock or inventory control Rating Total score Technical/practical 1 Competence in using tools and technical equipment 2 Understanding data-processing equipment 3 Applying craft or technical ability 4 Aptitude for diagnosing mechanical or electrical faults 5 Constructing or assembling materials or equipment 6 Understanding current technical developments 7 Using laboratory equipment 8 Dealing with 21 .

sounds and patterns 12 Innovating and improving procedures in your own field Rating Total score Administrative/organisational 1 Managing your time 2 Planning systematically 3 Operating procedures precisely 4 Making things run like clockwork 5 Handling in-trays efficiently 6 Meeting deadlines 7 Producing clear operational structures 8 Developing resources to achieve objectives 9 Organising working time 10 Monitoring procedures and progress 11 Making detailed plans of action 12 Having a well-organised work space. events or courses 5 Being insightful. visit our website at systems. filing system or recording procedures Rating Total score 22 To find out more. intuitive or imaginative 6 Developing others’ products or ideas 7 Writing with imagination or creativity 8 Seeing new possibilities or openings 9 Appreciating new or unconventional aspects 10 Visualising: imagining how something will look 11 Working creatively with . colours.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Creative/innovative 1 Generating alternative solutions to problems 2 Creating original ideas 3 Improvising or adapting for other purposes 4 Designing new things.

but would like to develop. and that the wider the range of skills you have. Look at the skills you scored most highly in and those you most enjoy. visit our website at www. you can use the information when you come to consider Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Summary Now add up all your total scores. Recognising the skills you have to offer is key in being able to market yourself to an employer (see also Section 4). To find out more. Now look through the original ratings to see whether there are skills you’re not yet very competent Write them in this space: Communication Dealing with people Financial activities Thinking and analysis Technical/practical Creative/innovative Administrative/organisational Total score Circle the skills that you’d most like to use in the future. Remember that skills can always be developed simply by using them 23 . the greater the variety of job options open to you. List those here: Pause for thought What does this activity tell you? Are there any surprises or does it confirm your expectations? Either way.

Try to think through which would suit you best. a newspaper independent action Change or variety in tasks. analyse Making friendly contacts with others Large income. handling things Taking risks. Try to use the full range of scores. people. visit our website at www. This doesn’t mean that you can achieve everything you wish. It is important. places Scope to learn. the next step is to recognise what you’re satisfied with and what you’re dissatisfied with. 4 Very important 3 Important 2 Less important 1 Not important Description Making decisions. a charity.12 Rate the values below for importance. as restrictions of one kind or another will limit everyone’s range of choice. keeping moving. a local authority. career progression Helping or caring for others Concern for surroundings or location Being 24 To find out more. thrills Having influence or power over others Enjoying or making beautiful designs or things Getting promotion.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. a financial institution and so on will each have a different ‘feel’ as a place to work. business and trading Value AUTONOMY VARIETY INTELLECTUAL SOCIAL ECONOMIC SPIRITUAL USING ABILITIES COMMITMENT EXCITEMENT AUTHORITY AESTHETIC ADVANCEMENT ALTRUISM COMFORT CREATIVITY PHYSICAL COMMERCIAL Rating Pause for thought Does this make clear your reasons for wanting to work? Does it suggest the kind of work you like to do or the type of organisation you feel most at home working for? Clearly. In the same way. developing new ideas Activity.6 What do I really want from work? Now that you’ve thought about who and where you are and the skills you have. not to limit yourself by concentrating so much on restrictions that you achieve less than you might. developing skills Being part of an important organisation Having lots of stimulus. though. a manufacturing company.2. think. excitement. study. Activity 1. expensive possessions Expressing ethical code or religious beliefs Using . some kinds of work have more to do with ALTRUISM and others with ECONOMIC or CREATIVE values.

2. Too little About right Too much Respect Most of us like to be thought well of and respected by others. Too little About right Too much Clear boundaries A work situation where boundaries aren’t clear can cause uncertainty and conflict. Too little Adequate Well paid Variety Individuals differ in the amount of variety they prefer. Note any ideas that occur to you. But having very high-level.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Too little About right Too much Goals People function best when there are demands to be met. closely controlled work is generally far from 25 . Equally. We all have our own preferred level of demand. consider the following. Circle the level that applies to your present or most recent job. repetitive. Too little About right Too much Social contact Everyone’s need for contact is different. but most of us get satisfaction from being with others. being in a tightly defined job can feel restricting. targets to be achieved. To find out complicated demands repeatedly made on us can be stressful. For work satisfaction it’s important to feel that there’s some match between your contribution and the position you hold. visit our website at www. Too little About right Too much Opportunity for control Simple.7 How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? Activity 1. It may begin to suggest either the kind of work you’d like to do or the kind of organisation you’d like to work for. Too little About right Too much Pause for thought Which of these are the most important to you? Answering that may clarify sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in your current or most recent job. but on the other hand having a high level of responsibility (being a managing director. inadequate income causes many problems and dissatisfactions. challenges to rise to. chatting over coffee or working in a team. but it’s stimulating to have some change and variation in the work environment. Too little About right Too much Opportunity to use skills Most of us enjoy using and developing our skills and competence. Money Clearly.13 To complete your examination of job satisfaction or for example) can be stressful.

If your occupation is to ‘feel right’. perhaps discuss them with a confidant and if necessary modify . 26 To find out more. Any significant mismatch is likely to leave you feeling dissatisfied or stressed or becoming cynical about your job.14 Review You’ve now considered the reasons why you work (other than financial necessity) and which things you most enjoy doing.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. it’s important that it should be fulfilling. Note your thoughts here. Take time to reflect on the results of the activities in this section. agree with your beliefs in general and allow you to express your personality. visit our website at www.

ac. Interests are to do with the things you find most appealing or enjoyable. Activity 1. Not sure or No according to how you feel about each activity.8 What kind of work would I like to do? To help you decide on the kind of work you’d like to do. You will have had experience of some of them.15 Look through these kinds of work and consider whether you would like to carry each one out. visit our website at www. Assume that you could do the activity if you wanted to. Tick Yes.2. but only of your own preferences.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. It’s not a question of your ability or qualifications. Yes 1 Supervise staff dealing with correspondence 2 Design a staff appraisal scheme 3 Monitor quality control activities 4 Keep up to date with computing developments 5 Put budgeting procedures into practice 6 Develop a marketing plan for a new service 7 Keep abreast of scientific developments 8 Write information booklets 9 Supervise process control staff 10 Organise renewal of insurance cover 11 Plan staff training schemes 12 Forecast drawing office work schedules 13 Find new areas for computer applications 14 Keep abreast of money market changes 15 Negotiate prices with suppliers 16 Plan research and development (R and D) 17 Handle public relations issues (PR) 18 Revise road delivery schedules 19 Plan introduction of new clerical procedures 20 Interview job applicants 21 Organise installation of an internal telephone system Not sure No To find out more. Try to imagine whether you’d like doing the others or not. you also need to consider your 27 .open.

visit our website at Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1.15 continued Yes 22 Instruct computer users on procedures 23 Coordinate work of audit staff 24 Brief sales staff 25 Design new technical equipment 26 Collect and collate information 27 Supervise warehouse staff 28 Report on legal matters affecting the organisation 29 Set up a staff-grievance procedure 30 Plan equipment-maintenance schedules 31 Review data-processing installations 32 Monitor productivity of operations 33 Analyse effectiveness of advertising 34 Organise scientific research 35 Design publicity leaflets 36 Monitor productivity of operations 37 Implement new administrative procedures 38 Investigate staff turnover problems 39 Monitor laboratory testing services 40 Write computer documentation 41 Brief colleagues on effects of taxation changes 42 Report on sales performance 43 Produce design specifications 44 Manage external relations 45 Supervise a building-maintenance programme 46 Take minutes of meetings 47 Prepare a staff handbook 48 Carry out an energy usage audit 49 Deal with computing problems Not sure No 28 To find out .

23. 18. 27. 46 Questions 2. 45. 34. 47 Questions 3. 24. 41. visit our website at www. 30. 15. 53 Questions 9. 39. 17. 37. 52 Questions 54 To find out more. 10. 40.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 43. 42. 29 . 11. 22. 50 Questions 6. 33. 31. 20. 25. 19. 51 Questions 7. 36. 44. 35. 21. 16. 29. 28. 49 Questions 5. 12. 26.15 continued Yes 50 Prepare financial reports 51 Review a product range and pricing 52 Develop and improve mechanical or electronic equipment 53 Edit a newsletter or magazine 54 Improve plant layout to increase productivity Not sure No Scoring Give 4 points for each ‘Yes’ response Give 2 points for each ‘Not sure’ response Give 0 points for each ‘No’ response Now add up the scores for the groups of questions shown here: Total Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F Group G Group H Group I Questions 1. 32. 38. 13. 48 Questions 4.

electronics engineer. this is a reassuring confirmation and suggests that you should consider continuing in that or related work. sales manager G Scientific/engineering/research and design e. dancing. charity officer.16 You may also find it useful to work through Prospects Planner. database administrator E Accounting/finance The list of interests we’ve considered in this activity reflects common graduate and managerial areas of work. nor those that depend on performance skills such as acting. interpreter I Operational/production/distribution management accountant. retail buyer. Access Prospects Planner via the Prospects website by logging on to: www. architect H Information/communication e. transport planner.g. recruitment manager C Technical support e. Before carrying on.15 continued What your scores mean Your scores relate to different kinds of work activity: Score A Administrative/legal/secretarial e. craft and natural environment areas.g. health service manager B Personnel/training/education e. The result may be no surprise. and motivations. If you have interests outside this ‘managerial scheme’.g.g. Simply click on Login/Register in the My Prospects account box on the home page and go from there. but it will give you a starting point to explore areas of work that may interest you. If so.g. Use Section 2 of this workbook to help you research the results you have got in the above activities. . like similar programs. production manager Write in your total score for each group. playing a musical instrument. Activity 1. tax inspector F Marketing/sales/purchasing First.g. creative.prospects. It might be that you work or have worked in your highest-scoring area and enjoyed it. It will then match your profile with an occupational database to produce a list of job suggestions for you to consider. librarian. primary teacher.g.g. quality assurance manager. This is an online career-planning tool that will help you explore your skills. doesn’t tell you what you should do. you might find it helpful to look again at the section on the roles you play in your life and any possibilities you noted there.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. 30 To find out more. you’ll need to register. even if in a different kind of organisation. laboratory technician D Data processing e. do take account of them in considering your future. IT consultant. the pattern may suggest a move to a different area of work. It doesn’t include artistic.g. Prospects Planner. visit our website at www. 31 . Now complete the summary chart below. you may want to look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. You should by now have a much clearer picture about: • • • • Your aptitudes Your skills and interests Your achievements and experience Your values At this stage you might like to discuss things either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. or you might prefer to move on to the possibilities that this knowledge could open up for you in Section 2. visit our website at www. When you’ve done that. Summary chart What am I good at? Write down the aptitudes that you’d most like to use What are my main work values? Write down the values you’d like to fulfil What would I like to do? Write down the occupations or job areas you’d like to work in To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Review Read through the results of your work and reflect on the notes you’ve made.

and the kind of environment you’d like What other aspects are important to me? Write down any other factors that are important to you. organisational .open. such as What changes would I like to make? Write down some changes you would like to make to help in your job searching 32 To find out more.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Summary chart continued How would I like to work with people? What kind of environment? Write down the kind of contact you’d like to have with people. visit our website at www. travel. etc.

uk/careers Whichever route you choose. to explore further by continuing to read the remaining sections in this book or by looking at information and activities on the Careers Advisory Service website at: www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook You may wish to talk over some of your initial thoughts with a careers adviser before you go on to the next section. visit our website at www. You need to register (free) to use it at: www. people.learndirect-futures. You may prefer. This is a virtual career coach which teaches individual career-management Learndirect Futures is another career interestassessment website that generates job good luck with the next step! Further resources Try these resources for developing Windmills consists of seven stages or ‘tactics’. The tactics you will find most relevant at this stage are: • Tactic 1: Focusing your skills – self-reliance. You may find it useful to complete this section before you book an 33 . It covers job roles at all levels of responsibility rather than those just at graduate level as covered by Prospects Planner. which OU students can do by contacting your regional To find out more. however. general and specialist skills analyses • Tactic 2: Finding your ideal job – includes a motivation assessment You can access the website at: www. You could take a look at the Windmills It will help if you’re feeling uncertain about where your career is heading and is very useful if you have some work experience but feel as if you are currently under-employed. The content of Section 1 can provide a really useful starting point to an individual consultation with a careers adviser.

02 .

you will be able to focus much more accurately on what you need to do to achieve your goal. visit our website at www. If you haven’t yet got a clear picture of the kind of work or job you want to pursue. We are assuming at this stage that you know what you want to do.1 A typical strategy A strategic approach pays dividends. (In fact.1 Planning your strategy Many job-seekers actually have very little knowledge of how the job market works and how people are in fact recruited.2 2. so be organised and systematic. To find out more. A typical strategy means that you will: • Consider all the opportunities open to you: public. Are graduates usually recruited? Are there formal channels? What are the essential qualities sought in candidates? How do you match up? • Apply for jobs and attend interviews. 2.3 2. • Build up a file of background information about jobs and developments in sectors you’re interested in. people’s job-seeking methods can be disorganised and inefficient. rather than carefully organised and systematic. the recruitment process will be quite different. the only thing they might have in common is that they probably use an interview during the selection procedure. The local sawmill is likely to approach the task differently from a multinational advertising agency. As a result. What information they do have can often be based on personal experience or rumour.1. work through Section 1 ‘Knowing yourself’ before going any further. 35 . Always keep copies of your applications. private and voluntary sectors. • Look into and follow up all sources of information. Another key fact you need to understand is that different sectors and employers have their own traditional methods for recruiting. By planning your job-search strategy.4 • Don’t forget that you need to review and evaluate your progress from time to time.2 Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Exploring possibilities In this section 2. This means that you must be flexible enough to adapt your approach to the diversity of methods used by potential employers. where and how often vacancies are advertised.) Otherwise. • Do some research: find out how. a key fact you need to grasp immediately is that it is vital that you plan your strategy for job hunting in order to get the job you want. when.1 2. • Get a general view before you start to draw up a shortlist.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43 2. or for jobs that don’t fit your needs or meet your expectations. and be prepared to ask for comments on how you’ve done. It’s also important that you don’t spend valuable time applying for jobs where you have little chance of success.

1. • Set up a file of job information. A high level of interactive and communication skills is usually required for these areas in addition to having received training in the specific • Keep notes of your conversations. The graduate has to be an expert in a very specific area. details of salary bands. look at the OU Career Links scheme where you can talk to a ‘career helper’ from the OU community at www.prospects. more adaptable to change. The fuller your awareness of the opportunities open to you. As you research the main occupational areas that interest you. representatives from professional bodies. the graduate labour market boundaries are blurring. and ask yourself why. for example.3 Review your progress Keep records of all contacts and applications you make. This is still so. useful company and sector contacts. solicitors or research • Follow up this information by talking to professional careers advisers and people in the job areas that interest you. professional bodies. • Be realistic about the skills and experience you have and those you need to acquire. • Get to know the main sources of information about careers and jobs. As large numbers of graduates enter an increasingly diverse range of useful articles. It’s becoming apparent that it isn’t always the classification of the job that’s important.2. However. the better the choices you make will be. and don’t forget to follow up useful contacts from job advertisements. • Constantly reassess your assumptions about questions such as your mobility and your job preferences. www. press releases etc. for all graduate job-seekers and job-changers. but the nature of the graduate’s experience and aspirations. • Acknowledge those who have helped you – quick telephone calls or thank-you notes may pay dividends. journalism or social work. fellow students. regional representatives.2 Graduate-level jobs Another important aspect of any job-search strategy is to consider your options realistically in the context of the current and future employment market. To review your progress: • Consider what appears to work and what doesn’t. They’ll all have a bearing on employment. You need to find out as much as you can about the job(s) and the companies you’re applying to. it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define exactly what’s meant by a ‘graduate job’. 2. 2 36 To find out more. Modern graduate occupations Since the expansion of higher education in the 1960s. You can do this by exploring jobs in sectors on the Prospects website at www. websites. both on the number of people employed and on the work that they do.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook job descriptions and person specifications. look into trends in the area.2 Information Information is an essential tool in job hunting. • Be prepared to persist.1 What is a ‘graduate’ job? One of the main reasons employers recruit graduates is that they expect them to be more flexible. alumni.prospects. sample advertisements. Research conducted by Elias and Purcell in 2004 (Seven Years On: Graduate Careers in a Changing Labour Market. and capable of learning new skills. File copies of letters and applications and record the progress on each one. • If you are a student. and graduates are now entering a much wider range of jobs. employment seeking strategies have had to be flexible and responsive to the employment market. there has been a development of new professional areas requiring graduate-level qualifications. • Use a range of job-search • Personal contacts can be invaluable: tutors. and the more you know about each possibility. for instance. • Use local career libraries. specialist and general trade directories. visit our website at CSDSevenYears) grouped graduate jobs into five distinct categories: 1 Traditional graduate occupations Established professions for which a degree has historically been required. relevant . so that you can present yourself effectively. The dramatic reductions in graduate recruitment during the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s and the rise in the numbers of people studying for a degree have meant that.

the data shows the unemployment figure for OU students from the 2003/4 survey to be 2. Niche graduate occupations This is an expanding Some are relatively new occupations whereas the nature of others has changed so that an increasingly common route into them is via a graduate level qualification (for instance.tqi.prospects. Many are in nongraduate jobs but using the skills that they have developed as a result of their 37 . 2. Non-graduate occupations Increasing numbers of graduates don’t immediately enter the ‘graduate labour market’.uk In 2004 unemployment among all students was 6. There are many instances of graduates in these occupations demonstrating their potential and developing their initial role to fit their skills. At the beginning of 2002. a growing proportion of graduates find their first jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).8 million SMEs in the UK and it is predicted that they will create a further 2 million jobs by 2010. graphic Destination of Leavers in Higher Education in the UK Each year universities in the UK are required to ask their graduates about what they are doing and how studying has changed or developed their careers. According to the Graduate Experience 2002 Report (DTI. Most jobs in this category don’t usually ask for a degree but have some areas that are deemed as ‘specialist’ and increasingly ask for a degree at entry – for example. marketing. Here are some ideas on the difference between working for SMEs versus blue-chip organisations: SMEs • • • • • • Fastest growing sector of UK economy Local Early responsibility No formal induction Less red tape and bureaucracy Lower starting salary Blue chip • • • • • • Easily identifiable opportunities National Small cog in big wheel Structured training programme Formal structures embedded Perks and higher starting salary To find out more. Barclays) only 14 per cent of respondents had a place on a graduate training scheme with a blue chip employer.1 per cent six months after per cent.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3 4 5 New graduate occupations These reflect changes in technology and organisational structures and priorities. retail This data is published annually and can be seen at www. Although we know that OU students start from a different point as many are working while they study. visit our website at www.2 New and expanding opportunities for graduates Structured graduate programmes still exist with large ‘blue chip’ companies but competition is fierce and fewer graduates now enter through these and on the Teaching Quality website at www.prospects. The ability to access and use specialist information is an additional skill for these areas. What sort of organisation are you suited to? You need to consider what type of opportunity might be right for you and think about the pros and cons of working for an SME or a large blue chip company. nursing.2. In fact. For more information on SMEs go to: www. there were 3. environmental health).

What will your job search strategy look like? 2. Be clear about what you’re offering to Consider temporary or part-time work to enhance your marketability. and customise them with a particular opportunity or employer in mind (see Section 4 ‘Getting the job’). To succeed.4. visit our website at www.2. [Adapted from the AGCAS booklet Job Seeking Strategies] Pause for thought Ask yourself what you can take forward from these ideas. Most of us need to review our careers now and again to take account of changes in ourselves and the opportunities open to us. in times of recession. Consider what you can do for 38 To find out more. So. SMEs.ktponline. • Investigate the possibility of employment through a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’. • Use employment agencies. • Cultivate . This may give you an identifiable edge in the job market. • Use the contacts you’ve made to get opportunities to work-shadow or to carry out job study interviews that will give you useful knowledge.10). Try to contact the person who makes the decisions and might be interested in your talents. how can you do a creative job search? Here are a few essential steps to get you started: • You need to ‘market’ yourself. • Don’t forget the increasingly important nontraditional graduate recruiters (small and mediumsized enterprises – SMEs. which were discussed above in Section 2. how long for.2. Make sure they keep you in mind for suitable vacancies. in particular.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. or redefine old ones • because an organisation doesn’t recruit enough graduates to warrant much expenditure of effort or money on advertising • because of the volume of unsolicited applications • when an organisation doesn’t particularly demand a degree. • Think about doing voluntary work.3 Creative job search The career-review process isn’t something you do once and for all and then never do again. but don’t let them use • Find out about getting appropriate training or study with work experience.1 Applying for hidden jobs Hidden jobs are produced: • by organisational changes that make old jobs obsolete and create new ones. You may want to ask to meet people. knowledgeable people.5.4. See Section 2. Learn how to use the telephone effectively – there’s some advice about this in Section 2. may not advertise so as not to be inundated with applications. qualities and experience. a partnership between employers and higher education institutions – look at www.9 and 2. • Find contacts in the sorts of organisation and job you’d really like. they are classified as either ‘open’ or ‘hidden’. you need to play by a set of new rules. None of us can predict what kind of jobs might be available in the next few years. In fact. and be sure to get constructive comments on your applications and overall approach (you will find out more about recruitment and executive search agencies in Sections 2. skill development and knowledge of the industry or job area.4 Finding vacancies When it comes to job vacancies. it’s estimated that 7 out of 10 jobs are ‘hidden’.2). • Develop an excellent CV and application letter. Today’s labour market is increasingly diverse. in that they are never even advertised! Often. or talk to them in person. The best advice is to start as early as possible and be creative in your job search. • Use the internet to research into companies and job vacancies. and what benefits you hope to gain from the experience. this hidden job market increases as some employers shy away from the administrative burden of dealing with the overwhelming number of responses their recruitment advertisements produce.5. but prefers specific skills. including those in organisations you’ve already worked for (if any). • Don’t limit your marketing to letters of application. and to foster contacts.6 for details.

jobs and areas most appeal to you. perhaps to arrange a meeting through a secretary. Convince employers that you have exactly the skills they need to solve their business problems. • Consult the main directories in your local reference library. Be prepared to fit in with the employer’s availability. Economic. and concentrate on those. even open jobs are hidden during the early stages. Research the organisation. selection dates. You’re not sending out a mail drop or a circular letter. reorganising. technological and organisational change always affect employment patterns. com) • Specialist trade directories for different occupational areas. Each approach must be tailor made and will take time to prepare. for example. ac. promotion and retirement continually create new job opportunities.2 Making speculative approaches Please note that making speculative approaches to companies is not permitted in Northern show where you can fit in. To get started try: • General trade directories e. You must prepare a thoroughly argued case to prove that the cost of employing you is more than outweighed by the benefits. Yellow Pages.prospects. Your letter. Ask questions about the employer’s needs. follow up by telephone. Marketing yourself means keeping ahead of the competition. You want a meeting: say so clearly when you write. Prepare for the meeting as you would for a job interview. You decide which organisations. If a fulltime appointment isn’t practical. • Give a specific reason for contact Have a peg to hang your letter on.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook To find the kind of company that can use your skills and satisfy your needs: • Look at the resources suggested in this section. • Contact a named individual Approach only the person who can take the decision to employ or help you (you might be asking for information rather than a job). Get any agreements – proposals or contracts – in writing as soon as you can. Which organisations have the sort of position that attracts you? Who is recruiting. It isn’t enough just to wait for jobs to be advertised in the media. Speculative approaches can even create new jobs.4. You’re making a business proposition.3 To make an effective speculative contact • Pick out likely targets Be discriminating and choose worthwhile prospects. visit our website at www. a very nervous jobhunter. Be prepared to negotiate. Check with the organisation to make sure that names. • Always follow up If you hear nothing within two weeks of writing. Consider what’s right for you and your ‘target’ area. This approach gives you the initiative. teaching. Familiarise yourself with its problems and needs. • Get a meeting No one ever got a job merely by writing a to see if there are any. nor appropriate in some areas of employment. there may be a possibility of employing you for a particular shortterm 39 . 2.4. Offer dates and times. Thompson Directory. 2. KOMPASS (www.g. This approach isn’t comfortable for some people for example. relocating? Use all your information sources and network contacts (which we will discuss in more detail below) to select a portfolio of companies. Treat the employer as a client. Turnover. job titles and addresses are correct. explaining what you offer and what you can do. Prove that they need your abilities and would benefit from your expertise. showing how your abilities can contribute to the success of the enterprise. Be flexible. And be sure you can deliver the goods! • When you meet Be businesslike and professional in making your proposals. Demonstrate that they can’t afford not to employ you. sectors. advertising space and so on. Remember. for instance. telephone call or email must reach the right person. and how you would improve. • Look at company websites and find out more about them.kompass. develop or help it become more effective. Does the profession you’re interested in produce one? Use www. The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book. The effective job-seeker must tap the hidden market by making speculative approaches to prospective employers. while decisions are being made about internal versus external recruitment campaigns. To find out more. You’re not asking for a job or hoping there might be a vacancy.

trade and professional journals Professional associations Recruitment agencies Executive search firms In all these cases. 2. Here you will find links to jobs notified to the OU Careers Service and access to other UK wide and local vacancies. but their relatively high advertising rates tend to restrict the salary range to the higher end. Financial Times) advertise certain kinds of work on particular days of the week. just keep in mind that research into how managers change to jobs with other organisations has shown that over half get an introduction through networking.5 below. • develop further contacts to expand your network. Remember every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’! • • • • • The internet Newspaper. Make a note of the advertising patterns: you will find that most of the quality daily papers (The Times. Make the most of 2. Many employers send very poor information. as recruiters seldom place their advertisements more than it may seem a little strange to seek out hidden jobs. At the 2. Making speculative contacts can pay off in several you may need to look at them every day. Advertised jobs can be found through: • The OU Careers Advisory Service We are currently developing services for students that advertise vacancies notified to us by employers. August to mid-September and December.5 Applying for advertised jobs Many jobs are of course advertised and here we look at where.prospects. Each rejection may be one step nearer to the job you want. and familiarise yourself with the kinds of advertisement placed in each paper. telephone or email for an application . If you are an OU student. The best place to consult newspapers and journals is your local library or online if you have access to the internet. During holiday periods. If you’re going to make speculative approaches. or none at all. advertising is reduced. Make a note of advertising patterns in your local press.thepaperboy. We will deal with networking in more detail in Section 2. whom you can convince of your qualities as a candidate. At first. you may be referred or recommended to another. Daily Telegraph. If it says write.7 Newspapers and journals You will find many job vacancies advertised in newspapers and specialist or trade journals. ‘Networking’ is the systematic use of personal contacts to: • gather information about an industry or company • discover hidden careers and to the section entitled ‘Moving on’ and look at the ‘Advertised Jobs’ and ‘Virtual Employer Fair’ pages. You may have to do some detective work if the advertisement doesn’t give a telephone number. there’s no point in sending a CV.4. the day on which most papers are sold. about the job advertised or the selection methods they use. you may be offered a meeting. Show initiative by telephoning or emailing if you need to know more. But experience supports the practical wisdom of doing so. Guardian. Because advertising in national newspapers is • Persevere Occasionally persistence will pay off and. For now. always follow the instructions given. Elias and Purcell (2005) in Class of 99 (Study of the early Labour Market Experiences of Recent Graduates) highlight the value of networks for getting into new employment. or to concentrate on particular companies just because they appeal to you. 21 per cent of OU students reported that they had got their job as a result of personal contacts and networking.4. after an initial refusal.4. The big Sunday papers advertise a variety of jobs. start planning early in your job search.4. You will find links to national and regional papers from www. go to www. Even if you have no luck with a particular employer. 40 To find out more. look for sources through www. visit our website at www. Each employer you see is a new contact. 2.6 Replying to advertised jobs If you reply to an advertisement. especially in particular companies • get an introduction to a key decision-maker in a company. Local and regional papers sometimes concentrate their job advertisements on Thursdays. and responses may be slow and few. Use these meetings to get more information about the job market. Independent.4 Networking In the 2003/4 Destination of Leavers Survey.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Take a long-term view It takes time to build up a mailing list. smaller employers often rely on local advertisements in the regional press because it’s less expensive and brings in a more manageable number of replies.

4. have a regional education or training officer and sometimes specialist careers adviser whom you can contact.9 Recruitment agencies Recruitment agencies tend to deal with lowerlevel salaried positions. and in some areas of employment (such as medical sales) they are almost the standard source of recruits. To find out more. not to help you sort out your career and in most major libraries. though. about what the agency is offering you. Many specialise in particular kinds of work or industry.8 Professional associations Many professional associations and Some produce yearbooks and lists of members.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 41 . Services are free to you – the employing company is charged a fee. for example. the British Psychological Society and the Training and Development Agency for Schools. They often act for small to medium-sized employers that have no personnel or recruitment departments of their own. Remember that it’s there to fill its clients’ posts. Be clear.4. 2. Addresses and other details are in the Directory of British Associations at www. visit our website at www. usually a percentage of your first year’s salary.

com Consultants often don’t share information with one another. Try to make sure you use vetted or recommended websites only to post your CV. They may interview you and construct a pen picture to go with your CV. You could find yourself treated like a trading commodity. they’re worth considering if you have skills that are in short supply – accountancy is a particular example. and your personal details may become public property. They get most of their fee whether the employer hires their candidates or not. They seldom divulge information about their clients. There are also opportunities to ‘post’ your CV on the web. their role is limited by the high fees they charge to employers (typically 30–35 per cent of annual salary). You can find this at: www. • Contingency firms are paid only when the company hires someone they have presented.000. You can also receive the Prospects Graduate Digital or are marketable enough to fit something that might turn up in the future. send a CV and covering letter. The average search firm has only three or four consultants. so if you apply to a large firm operating in many locations you need to send your CV to all of them. the online news and CV-matching service that brings tailored information about jobs and career events to your email address and lets employers search your electronic index. Remember that: • Websites may not always deliver what they promise. They tend to be used for jobs that are at a high level or require scarce specialist skills for example.html You can also register free on My Prospects. Sometimes contingency firms will distribute your CV widely in the hope of generating new business. As a result. Many sites change rapidly and there are no guarantees about the accuracy of the information displayed. they prefer to receive a CV to judge whether you fit what they have on their books at that moment. Some employers let more than one contingency firm work on a particular job. • Websites sometimes go online while still under development. If they send you to an interview they’ll want to know how things Planning and Job Seeking Workbook To find out about recruitment agencies: • Making the Most of Your Recruitment Consultancy A guide obtainable from Badenoch and Clark recruitment consultancy at: www.10 Executive search firms There are more than 200 executive search firms in the UK. entering it into the database of an organisation (usually recruitment organisations) that will either try to find a suitable match for you or allow an employer to search the information and perhaps select you for interview. You can access this at: www. • It’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees – not everyone has a brilliant web designer. They are of two main kinds: • Fee/assignment firms are given sole charge of a particular search. specialist IT skills. While they are important in the market place. edited by Patricia • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is the national association for the recruitment and staffing and always include details of your former salary and the range you’re looking for. Most graduate recruiters now recruit online as well as using other methods. You can search for agencies by geographical location and by type of work from their website at: www. similarly. Most consultants limit interviews and initially are likely to carry out a telephone screening with you. search firms may deal with a limited type of vacancy.rec. 2. published annually by Kogan Page. Always try to cross-check information. Further resources Look at the following website developed by Strathclyde University Careers Service which directs job seekers to vetted job websites. they can be a useful source of information about how you were received by the As noted above. Although some firms deal only with positions above £ The internet Most jobs are now advertised on the internet through national websites directly associated with particular careers.4. 2.4.badenochandclark.prospects. visit our website at www. or when commercial confidentiality is 42 To find out . If you decide to use a search firm. They receive enormous numbers of CVs and often don’t bother to acknowledge them. if the website’s main interest is simply to capture personal details and sell on a CV. Bear in mind that not all sites offer confidentiality. You can find addresses of search firms in The Daily Telegraph’s Recruitment Handbook.

Unease usually arises from the misconception that using contacts means asking people for jobs. So. or telephoning to follow up a contact you’ve been given or to make an appointment for an interview. relatives. Through building up a network of contacts. so try outside normal office hours if you can. all potential sources of information or advice. visit our website at www. Some people are natural and relaxed on the telephone. any business contacts you have. Even if these people can’t help you themselves. own business contacts.1 Approaching your contacts You need to decide how you will approach your contacts. how do you build your network? Your primary contacts are people who know you directly.1 Building up a network Draw up a list of everyone who might be able to help you – friends. but they can become your publicity agents and your information sources. Others. They may not have the job openings you want. plan the format and content of your call: To find out more.5. what is appropriate for the area of work and what might be effective. even after years of practice. conversation and so on. These secondary contacts can act as a bridge between you and the decision makers in the companies you’re interested in. Busy managers are usually in early and late. telephone call. or they may lead to other secondary sources.5. stability or decline its working climate and culture its business strategy the background of key managers. so that you don’t get confused over important details. Be very succinct. former colleagues. fellow students. Make a note in your career file of your list of contacts. It’s often difficult getting through to someone during the day. tutors.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. As you work towards developing and extending your network. 2. so it’s difficult to judge what impression you’re making. 2.5 Building a network of contacts Personal contacts can be a fantastic source of help in your job search. Getting the approach right is important. smiles and so on. or to refer you to someone else who can. In fact. keep a record of each letter. are stilted and anxious. Establish: • • • • What you’re seeking How your contact can help you How much time you’re asking for (15–20 minutes) Time and place for a meeting. what you’re doing is making the most of them as sources of advice. you may be able to discover: • • • • • a company’s competitive position whether it’s in a state of growth. You don’t get the usual clues from nods. Using the telephone effectively You may be making a speculative call. Most people will be only too glad to help. information and ideas. tutors or people you’ve met through leisure interests. To take some of the stress out of the situation. voluntary work or casual part-time 43 .open. especially those in the function that interests you. Think what they can do for you: • keep you informed • comment on your strategy and approach. Some will be able to give you names of their Activity 2. Be persistent. A number of methods are possible but you need to decide what is right for you. Put contacts at ease about this to avoid embarrassment. By telephone Your first approach is likely to be by telephone. Your network of contacts can include friends. the impression you make • get you noticed. they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. Pause for thought Perhaps you feel uncomfortable about networking in this fashion.

Before reading on.g. considering what further preparation you need at this point. (A discussion with an ex-employee could be particularly revealing. • Try to avoid being interviewed over the phone unless this is pre-arranged. > Talk again to contacts. You can access career links at: . before you talk to your contacts. 44 To find out more. and decided on further exposure to risk. This could be a vital step in your networking – it allows you to link up with others in the OU community who have work experience in the area you are aiming for. Whilst this person won’t necessarily be familiar with a specific company. possible openings.g. and there’s a lot to cover in twenty minutes. I set up an appointment with her. • Get to the point quickly – treat it like a minicommercial for yourself. > List which issues I want to investigate (e. get their full name if you can. > Re-read the advice in Section 4 about job applications and interviews. • Clarify the exact place of the appointment. Make sure that you’ve done your research thoroughly. 2. For a productive meeting.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • If they have a secretary. they are likely to have general knowledge about making contacts. political They will respect you more and be more prepared to help if they have evidence of your professional approach. 2. to get a ‘feel’ for the culture. prospects for development/training/promotion). (Think about what sort of help the company may need.4 Career Links As an OU student. as follows: > Carry out more research on the company (e. • Offer your telephone number or email in case of a change in arrangements. It was produced by one of the students who tried out this pack before publication and was preparing to approach a particular • Advice and comment on your job-search strategy Example One of my network contacts led to an introduction to the head of a department in a company I was targeting. • State the objectives of your call. you need a carefully planned agenda.5. and to read the following example. etc. you can register with Career Links.3 Making an approach in person Making an approach in person can be an opportunity to test your interview skills and make a good and lasting impression. • Suggest times and dates for an appointment. visit our website at www. Other people have their own agendas. Pause for thought Meetings need to be well planned and using published sources. • Introduce yourself succinctly.) – Put myself in the shoes of my prospective boss. It might cover: • Why you’re thinking of leaving your present job (or why you left your last one) • Your job goals and some alternatives • Your strategy for getting there • A discussion about the industries you’re interested in and the companies you’ve picked out • Questions about names and referrals to key people. and how I am going to present Pause for thought Building a network of contacts plays a key part in creative job search. journal and newspaper stories). trading problems/ opportunities (for me). preferably decision-makers for your kind of job who you can ask about opportunities in the industry.) > How do my strengths match the needs? > Plan which of my strengths/ accomplishments I am going to mention. • Use the name of the referral source discreetly. • Get the contact interested straight away – make notes beforehand of what you want to say. you might find it helpful to look again at the advice in Section 2-3 ‘Creative job search’.

• You should include Key achievements and relevant experience Only the last five to ten years A maximum of two uncrowded pages • Exclude Personal data (marital The European Volunteer Centre Charity People www.citizensadvice.6 Voluntary work Voluntary work can be a fantastic way of getting experience and building networks as well as showing commitment to an area you are interested in. Use it to mention an achievement related to the job you’re seeking and strike a chord of need in the reader. A speculative letter will need many drafts in order to polish it. From here you can link to the various volunteer bureaus for your areas of the UK • Get someone else to check your Community Service Volunteers allows you to search by occupation and location.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Note in your career file what preparation you want to make at this point. 2. Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ offers advice to help you with the practical side of drawing up a letter to accompany a Do-it-: search this database for a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the UK. outline how you tackled it and state what results you got. To find out 2.employeevolunteering.htm lists member organisations for EU countries including the UK and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) www. Go to www. Further resources For further information and resources go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www. grammar and Citizens Advice www.) To decrease expenses To obtain specialist expertise that leads to an increase of sales or a decrease in expenses On the Prospects site you can register free and have information about jobs emailed to you. go to Section 2 to research jobs or the section ‘Moving on’ if you want to find out more about looking for jobs and if you want access to vacancies both locally and UK wide. keep in mind that there are three main reasons why someone might want to employ you: 1 2 3 To increase sales (or the employer’s equivalent – service volume. You will also find links to professional bodies and related sites from the ‘Broad Career Areas’ within the above and prune ruthlessly. ac. etc. describe a relevant problem. Includes non graduate jobs on this site Employee Volunteering Dates Salary Copies of references • The first paragraph is Local Government Jobs at CR Search and Selection www. If you are a student.charitypeople. national and international newspapers Search facility with links to Be critical over matters of Your letter must list accomplishments that correspond to these along with links to information about New Deal visit our website at 45 . For example.lgjobs. Local centres seek to place people into suitable voluntary work – meals on wheels. etc.5 Drawing up your letter When it comes to drawing up a letter. etc. In you may find the following websites helpful for exploring opportunities to work with charities and voluntary organisations: Charity Job Job Centre vacancies are online at www.connexions-direct. Here’s a selection of other sites that you might like to look at: Vacancies in higher education and related organisations www.

03 .

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook

Making decisions and taking action
In this section 3.1 Making decisions about your life 47 3.2 Goals, restrictions and resources 48 3.3 Plan of action 52
If you’ve developed self-awareness and explored opportunities and now need to make decisions and plan how to put them into action, this section is for you. It will help you to consider the advantages and disadvantages of different decisions, find sources of help and plan for action. You’ve probably put a lot of time into analysing your life and career. You should have considered your strengths, skills and experience, and researched the occupational areas that interest you. Before going on to make decisions, it’s helpful to look at the framework within which you may be making choices about the future.

3.1 Making decisions about your life
It’s not our claim that everyone can achieve everything they want. Obviously you have to be realistic, as life imposes restrictions on us all. But many people don’t achieve all that they’re capable of, because they’re not clear about what they want to do and how to make decisions. It’s important to aim for what you want while being aware of what’s achievable. One way to consider the range of options is to look at your goals alongside your personal restrictions and resources.

3.1.1 Managing your situation
Whenever you’re in a situation you’re not happy with, you have four basic options. You might think about them both in the short term and in the long term. For example, you may be clear that long term you want to change jobs, but in the short term you might be able to ‘change yourself’ to make things easier. • Work for change Try to change the situation to make it more as you want it to be.

If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to do this, you’re left with the other three options. • Change yourself Examine your own attitudes, behaviour, ambitions, skills, lifestyle and so on, and consider how, if you changed any of those, your situation might improve. • Live with it This means much more than ‘putting up with it’. You need a strategy to minimise the aspects of the situation you don’t like and maximise those you do. For example, you might put more energy into activities outside your job if you’re dissatisfied at work, change the way you work so that it reduces your contact with troublesome elements, or spend more time doing the things you enjoy and cutting down those you don’t. • Leave Find a constructive way to move on out of the situation, job, relationship or problem.

Pause for thought
Consider the four options. Which could apply to your present situation? How?

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3.2 Goals, restrictions and resources
Whatever your decision about the four options, you need a goal and a plan to get there. In the next section we are going to look at your goals and then examine the restrictions and resources that may affect how you reach them.

3.2.1 Goals
What is a goal? • Goals are what you want to get out of life. • You may use other words to describe your goals – results, outcomes, aims and ambitions. • Unlike dreams, hopes, fantasies and wishes, goals are specific and expect the outcome to arrive. • While short or long term, goals should be realistic but challenging. • Remember: your goals may change over time.

Activity 3.1
What are your goals?
Write them down here. You may not yet have fully identified your goals but put what you can here and add to it later.


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3.2.2 Restrictions and resources
We’re all affected by our own restrictions and resources. Sometimes the same thing is both a restriction and a resource. If you’re buying a house on a mortgage, it’s both a liability and an asset; a friend or relative might need support but might also be a source of support to you.

Activity 3.2
What are your restrictions and resources?
Think about your resources – the things, people and attitudes that could help you. Then think about your restrictions – the things you need to take into account or that may be problems. Write them down on the chart.

Money Financial resources


Equipment, tools, premises I have I haven’t got

People, family, contacts Who can help me? Who needs my help or support?

Health Good points Bad points

Beliefs, outlooks Positives Negatives

Pause for thought
Consider your answers. How will they affect the kind of opportunities open to you? Are there other things you need to consider? For example, do you need to work near your home? Could you move to a new area? Might your age be important?

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1 are the most important? Underline them. visit our website at www. You now need to consider each of your goals in terms of all the resources that could be helpful or cause restrictions.3 Balance helpful resources against restrictions Now look back to the restrictions and resources you listed. giving a balanced picture of the situation. It was produced by someone who wanted to apply for Planning and Job Seeking Workbook You’ve probably noted some factors that will help you in the direction you want to take and others that you need to find a way round. Example Goal – Promotion Resources Line manager’s support Personal ambition/determined Prepared to take responsibility Project management experience Restrictions Colleagues’ reactions Limited mobility Little experience of managing people No experience of managing budgets Now balance resources and restrictions for your own goal(s) Which of the goals you’ve listed in Activity 3. The next activity will help with this. What actions would help you to reduce their effects? You’ve now listed actions you can take towards your goals. Each restriction is set against a helping resource. 50 To find out more. Activity 3. but there’s more to do. Make the most of resources Look at the resources you underlined. What actions would help you to make the most of them? Minimise restrictions Now look at the restrictions you underlined.3 Look first at the example below.

ac. Resources Internal training courses Local college has course Line manager’s support Actions Resources Actions Resources Actions Resources Pause for thought You should now have a clear picture of what you really want and what ideas you want to develop. Actions Attend course on finance for non-managers Attend outside course in the evenings Find out about the budget process Family support Now do this for each of the actions you listed. You should also be clear about the main helping forces and problems you need to deal with. Look at the example.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 3. To find out continued Bring actions and resources together List the resources that can help you to carry out each step. ‘No experience of managing budgets’ was listed as a 51 . visit our website at www.

finance. You might need to gain experience or and find ‘Action Planning and Decision Making’ using the ‘A-Z’. you are going to amass a lot of information from which you will need to identify realistic options and create suitable goals. Action plans need to be SMART ( You could also look at Tactic 5 (Master the art of action thinking – how to attain your goals and action plan) on the Windmills Virtual Career Coach at: www. And of course if you change your mind about your end goal then you can go back to your original plan to make necessary adjustments. If you want to plan your career effectively. friends) When you will achieve your targets How you will know when you have achieved your goal Pause for thought You might want to complete action plans for several goals. To achieve what you 52 To find out more. achievable. This means taking a few different steps: • Setting out your goals (long. You may need to improve it or change it completely. Review At this stage it might be useful to read through the work you’ve done in this section.windmillsprogramme. You should consider five factors when drawing up your action plan: 1 2 3 4 5 What you need to do How you are going to take action Resources that could help you ( . you’re ready to start taking and perhaps discuss your plans either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3.3 Plan of action The next stage is to bring everything together into a detailed plan of action. but you’re setting out on a potentially exciting ‘Is it realistic?’ If it isn’t.learndirect-advice. after doing that. time based). 3.3.1 Back-up plan You should always try to have a back-up plan. try the learndirect activity at: www. you might have to reconsider it. If you don’t manage to meet your goals it may be that your first plan wasn’t good enough. You could also look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’. taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life. measurable. gather information or get access to a particular resource. it might be necessary to go through several stages. keep an eye on progress and adapt your plan if necessary. Set aside time to review your goals and see how you are progressing. realistic. If you monitor your progress by checking your plan from time to time you can identify what you have achieved. Put a note in your diary or ask someone to remind you. This process will involve making a number of decisions. visit our website at www. and then revise your targets if necessary. medium and short term) • Deciding which actions you need to take • Identifying your restrictions and resources • Working out a realistic timescale to achieve each step. To discover what kind of decision maker you are. You may have to cope with setbacks and frustrations. Further resources Look at the careers website at: Ask with all its potential for improvement and advancement. you’ll have to revise it. If. you still find that you’re unable to reach your goal. Once you’ve done this. So.

open. then fill in your own plan on the following page.g.Activity 3. visit our website at Tomorrow Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 53 .4 Showing a worked example of an action plan Look at the worked example below.who or what can help me? Target date for actions To become a journalist Postgraduate course in journalism Next week Apply early By the end of the month Within two months Gain relevant voluntary/paid experience Write freelance articles and submit Find out where classes are offered locally Cost? Motivation to complete? Write to local newspapers Take an evening class in shorthand or word-processing Check if special arrangements are possible for payment e. weekly Find someone else keen to do it To find out My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal Find out about courses Difficulty of funding Explore educational or career development loans Investigate letting flat for year of the course Afraid of rejection Friend will provide support and encouragement Actions required Constraints Resources.

visit our website at My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal .who or what can help me? Target date for actions Activity Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 54 Actions required Constraints Resources.4 Your action plan To find out more. 55 .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out visit our website at www.

04 .

5 Association of Graduate Recruiters ‘What do Graduates 2006 do?‘ (HECSU/AGCAS/AGR/UCAS) Analysis of years of national employer surveys suggests the desired skills of graduates fall into four broad areas: 1 Self-reliance skills 2 People skills 3 General employment skills 4 Specialist 4. Chief Executive.’’ Carl Gilleard. Confederation of British Industry.2 4.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Getting the job In this section 4. It is also important for students to become self aware and develop the confidence to market themselves effectively when the time comes to apply for 57 . it shows you how these specific skills can be developed: To find out more. students should engage in extra curricular activities and obtain work experience in order to develop skills that will make them better prepared for the world of work.1 overleaf is taken and adapted from the 2006 version of What do Graduates do? It shows very clearly what types of skill employers want. Together they make up what is referred to as ‘employability skills’.1 What do employers look for in graduates? ‘‘A degree alone is not enough. teamworking and problem solving.4 4. Table 4. Forward to Prospects Directory 2004/5 ‘What do Graduates 2006 do?‘ (HECSU/AGCAS/AGR/UCAS) ‘‘Twenty-first century graduates need to demonstrate to employers that they can ‘hit the ground running’.3 4.7 What do employers look for in graduates? 57 Matching vacancies 59 Application forms 62 The curriculum vitae (CV) 65 The covering letter 78 The interview 81 Other selection techniques 87 4. Director-General. visit our website at www. They particularly value skills such as communication.’’ Digby Jones. In addition to working hard to gain a good degree.1 4. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage. Equally importantly perhaps.

roles within work e. accounting. sport. IT Technical skills – e. assertive Oral communication – communicator. Involvement in community groups. languages. co-operative. resourceful Planning action – decision-maker. European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). travel. relationship-builder. organised. work and education OU study. Proactivity – resourceful. self-belief. enthusiastic Self-promotion – positive. drive. visit our website at www.g. methodical Commitment – dedicated. influencer Leadership – motivator. risk taker IT/computer literacy – office skills. voluntary work. logical.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Table . coordinator. web design skills. software packages Numeracy – accurate. diplomatic Foreign language – specific language skills General employment Problem-solving – practical. self-reliant Willingness to learn – inquisitive. first aid at work qualification. engineering. guide/scout leader. ambitious Networking – initiator. journalism. persistent. energetic. conscientious Specialist skills Specific occupational skills – specialist relevant knowledge.1. UCAS and AGR Roles within the home – budgeting. planner. caring. results skills orientated Flexibility – versatile. Roles within your working situation. motivated. presenter.g. willing. realistic Interpersonal skills – listener. coordinating others Self-reliance skills Self-awareness – purposeful. deliverer Caring responsibilities. NVQ qualification. able to prioritise People skills Team working – supportive. language skills. member of orchestra. Roles within the home – planning. keyboard skills. Skills that employers want and how they can be developed Type of skill “Buzz” words Examples of how the skills can be developed through interests. AGCAS. adviser. sales Source: HECSU. fundraising for charity. use of IT. competitive. multi-skilled Business acumen – work experience OU study. work responsibilities in a team. focused.g. trustworthy. e. 58 To find out more. visionary Customer orientation – friendly.

• Salary Usually a good guide to the level of qualifications and experience required.1 Matching the requirements Once you’ve analysed your advertisement.2. but may also mean that no training is provided. how much of a problem would this be for you? • Age Are there any obvious age implications? It’s important not to lose sight of the positive aspects of age and experience. before finding out more about the position.) To find out more. qualifications and personal you need to try and match yourself to the requirements of the job to judge whether or not you want to apply for it. ‘What would you like to know about us?’ Be ready to highlight your suitability for the post. it’s important to see how you can use it to develop your skills and experience. ‘multinational’ …? How does the organisation see itself and what image does it want to project? Do you feel comfortable with its choice of words? Will your personality fit the organisation? Are your values similar? • Brief job description Does the work genuinely interest you? Does it match your needs? What are the key tasks? What skills are needed? Can you produce evidence of your ability to deal successfully with each task? How will you demonstrate your potential for coping with tasks you haven’t handled before? Is there anything that seems unclear? • Qualifications Are they preferred or essential? For example. nobody will do it for you! 4. visit our website at www. What are you looking for. or even in the face of resistance. or other specified qualification? • Experience Is it preferred or essential – will you be ruled out? What experience can you offer from any aspect of your life that demonstrates close or transferable skills? • Qualities Note the language used to describe the ideal applicant. 4. low key. but it’s worth bearing in mind that candidates who apply for ‘graduate’ jobs are also expected to demonstrate at least some if not all of these skills. Now you want to make sure you have a ‘match’. even a brief newspaper advertisement can reveal a great deal of useful information. So. • Prospects What opportunities are there for advancement in this job? The employer may be looking for evidence of your willingness and ability to progress. For example. as the contact will form an impression of you from the very beginning. The advert should specify what the employer is looking for. and be honest about whether your personality and needs match what the employer wants. Find out what this will mean in practice. First of all you need to read between the lines. attention seeking? What does this tell you about the organisation? What is the vocabulary used to describe the organisation – ‘dynamic’.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook The requirements an employer sets out in a job advertisement are likely to be much more specific. do you need a driving licence. you need to analyse the information you already have. flamboyant. so you need to consider how you can show that you meet the requirements. Remember to use this evidence when you apply for jobs! If you don’t shout about Matching vacancies You’ve seen a vacancy advertised that you’d like to apply for. but be prepared when you do. They’re usually set out under headings such as experience. Look at your advertisement and analyse it under these headings: • Style and language What’s the general style of the advertisement – formal. • Location and geographical mobility How far would you travel each day? Would you consider moving house? If you need to travel 59 . If the opportunities seem limited. (It might help to refer to Section 1. but you have to be aware of the going rate for that occupation. You may have to motivate yourself with little support or encouragement. ‘committed self starter’ could imply that there’ll be little supervision. Analyse each noun and adjective for its implications. Many OU graduates have lots of evidence with which they can demonstrate these skills: • experience of the world of work and working environments both paid and unpaid • commitment to their own personal development demonstrated by undertaking OU study • time management and organisational skills required to successfully combine OU study and other responsibilities. As we show here. Rehearse your introduction and be prepared for the question. especially if there isn’t a specified salary? • Named contact Is a name given to contact for further information? It’s a good idea to follow up such offers.

> I have also organised and facilitated presentations to local schools and governors using a variety of media. From recent employment. > Marketing module completed as part of my degree studies (12 months) – identifying. assignments. > Responsible for assessing potential expenditure in terms of value for money and taking appropriate action to ensure this is achieved. current part-time study. Here the key experience requirements are listed. Keyboard skills > Self-taught packages in order to produce a dissertation for my degree.g. Treasurer of Residents’ Association: > Draw up budget bids or plans within agreed guidelines and procedures for submission to internal and external bodies.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Look at the following . > As a part-time student I have worked within a thirty-two week study calendar and managed a weekly workload of reading. > I am an avid reader and subscriber of the Warbler and make regular contributions to this national magazine. visit our website at www. Marketing knowledge > Temporary job (with full induction and training) over two summer holidays as a market research interviewer. and the second column shows how a candidate would provide evidence of having the necessary experience. > I am a regional fundraiser for BTCV and the PDSA.g. Presentation skills > I have used Power Point to present information on the decline of local bird populations to a community group and to councillors. Active member of RSPB > I have organised several meetings between the RSPB and the local branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England to look at the decline of the bluetit in Cheshire and preventive measures. tutorials and revision alongside a part-time job and voluntary > Worked in Windows based environment for numerous holiday jobs – secretarial > I have worked unsupervised as a treasurer for a local Residents Association for two years and have always met deadlines for reports. Interest in wildlife e. This is a useful way of approaching any job advert. My evidence 60 To find out more.g. anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. Ability to work on own e. as it helps you to focus on the important aspects as you complete your application form or prepare a CV. > I work alternate Sundays at the local animal hospital as a volunteer. Example Vacancy: Fundraiser for Scottish Wildlife Preservation Society Analysis of key requirements Experience Numeracy e.

visit our website at Whichever way you Go to the section ‘Personal and Career Development’ from the site map. To find out values. try to produce evidence of your suitability against each In the right-hand column.1 Begin by looking at an advert or job description for a position that interests you. you can also try the ‘Job Analysis Activity’ on the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www. note down in the left-hand column the key characteristics and requirements of your selected vacancy.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity You should also take a look at Section 4. ask yourself: • Does the work genuinely interest me? • Does it match my personality. interests.10 below. If you don’t have a specific one in mind you might look in a careers publication or website such as www.4. These kinds of activities are really helpful in preparing for the completion of application forms or for producing your 61 . Vacancy/job description: Analysis of key requirements My evidence If you are an OU student. needs? • What are the key job requirements? • What skills are required to perform them? • Can I produce evidence of these skills? In the box below. look at the occupational information on the Prospects website: www.

Often – but not always – you’re told that you may also enclose a CV. addresses and dates of all previous employers’). • Read through the whole form before you fill in any of the sections. • If there isn’t enough space for general interest information (e. • Usually. unless you’re told that you must not attach any other papers. • Remember that presentation can be as important as content.1 Before you start your application form • Find out as much as you can about the vacancy and the organisation. • Your aim is to convince the employer that you’re worth interviewing – you appear to be a suitable candidate for the job and. If you haven’t looked at employers’ application forms for some time.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. most large organisations now make their forms available online (which can save you time and postage). • Be sure to answer all the elements of each question (e. • Comply with instructions such as using black ink or block capitals.g. Some are designed for recruiting people for a particular function or training scheme (e.g.3. If you do. • When answering extended (multi-part) or difficult questions. • Don’t cram sections too full. don’t send a CV instead. 4. to clarify your points. if possible. We suggest you contact the employer for advice on how to approach this. You may find the Select Simulator useful for practising completing online forms. ‘What have been the significant factors in your life to date?’) prioritise and keep it within the space allowed. • The only information the selectors will have about you is what you’ve given them in your written application – emphasise the positive and leave it to them to spot the negative. and not only for senior jobs.2 . an NHS Trust). Most are intended for a wide variety of posts in the organisation (e. write ‘N/A’ or ‘Not applicable’ to show that you haven’t overlooked it. attach a separate sheet. think of: 62 To find out more. When completing online forms you may find that some of your experiences do not fit neatly into the categories provided. the kind of person the organisation wants to employ. visit our website at www. OU students can access this on the Careers Advisory Service website. what do you contribute and what do you get out of them?’). • If there isn’t enough space for factual information (e.2 Filling in your form • Complete all sections of the form. you may be surprised at the probing nature of some of the questions they ask. it shouldn’t just repeat what’s on your form.3. as that makes them difficult to read. graduate engineer). If you’re asked to submit an application form. • Make a photocopy of the blank form (or print it from the screen) and use it for your rough etc. as most organisations will have comprehensive information on their websites. is to get an interview. Look for ‘online applications’ in the ‘A–Z’. like a CV or a speculative letter. Keep the following points in mind when it comes to completing an application form: • The purpose of a completed application . because many large employers now optically scan applications to enter them into their recruitment databases. the space allowed for each question indicates its relative importance. 4. Layout can help – consider using bullet points. Ask the organisation for more details and. visit a career service or large library to look for other information.3.g. You’ll come to some sample questions below in Section 4. If a question doesn’t apply to you. ‘What are your spare time activities. You can also research online.3 Application forms Application forms come in all shapes and sizes.g. ‘Give names. the principles for completing application forms are very similar. underlined topic You must keep to the prescribed format. also. Being able to write succinctly is evidence of your written communication skills. This means that on an initial read through they may spend as little as two minutes looking at your form. Bear in mind that employers often receive a lot of forms. • Many larger employers ask you to complete an online application. so it is crucial that you sell yourself effectively. Whatever format they come in though. Convince them that they need to see you. In fact. Use it effectively to include or to emphasise information that you think is relevant and isn’t allowed for on the form.

go to the sections on ‘Personal and Career development’ and ‘Moving on’.3 Skills you have attained as an OU student As an Open University student. Some jobs may require subject-specific knowledge (e. and keep them well briefed so that they can write supportive references.3. Inaccuracy in one section can raise doubts about other areas of the form. If you are a student. one should be an academic referee.3. but mention any part-time or voluntary work you did during that period. If possible. and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied and pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop. Leave no unexplained gaps in your employment record. there are a number of resources in the Careers Advisory Service website at www. Get your referees’ agreement before giving their 63 . • Look over the presentation. The skills you’ve developed in one context may well be transferable to another and employers will look for evidence that you recognise them: You will find that by studying with the OU – whatever the subject area – you will have developed a range of both subject knowledge and transferable skills that many employers will value. Use the ‘any other information’ section to draw attention to activities and qualities not covered elsewhere on the form.g. Use positive language. Tailor your responses to the post you’re applying for. with a little editing. you can stress the personal qualities and skills that OU study Every employer values determination. These may have been expressed as learning outcomes. Be convincing. the name and address of the person you sent the form to. If you’ve been unemployed. ‘I worked as a volunteer classroom assistant for three years’ rather than ‘I love children’). If appropriate. You may be able to look back at the course descriptions To find out more. handling money. and the date you sent When you’ve completed the form • Check it thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors.2. visit our website at www. If you want to do this in a more structured way. You’ll rarely find the perfect application form that exactly suits your background and experience. Generalised waffle convinces no one. to be a teacher) while some put emphasis on transferable skills (which you dealt with in Section 1. for several applications.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • • • • • • • What you’re going to say (understanding the purpose of the question) Who you’re saying it to (someone who doesn’t know you but will make decisions about your future) How you’re going to say it (presenting an accurate picture of yourself) Why you’re saying it (showing that you have the qualities. working odd hours. • Make a note of the job you’ve applied for. Be positive and honest. Practise answering the typical questions in the next activity. say so. It is up to you to pick these out from your own experience so that you can present this on an application form. in your use of personal pronouns).g. give fuller details of your course than you would if it’s not particularly relevant. Give evidence and avoid bland generalities (e. or not more than once. 4. Usually. another someone you’ve worked for who can write about you as an employee. flexibility and time management skills. You can often use the same material.g.5 above) and some look for a mixture of both. interests and skills the employer is looking for) Make your points relevant. dealing with members of the public. ask someone else to look over your application before you send it. working under pressure. 4. not ‘we’). self-discipline. Always send it by first class post. Learning outcomes will give you some help in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU interesting and personal (say ‘I’. Look at Section 6 if you are or have been an offender. • Make a copy of your completed form so that you can re-read it before the interview. • Use an envelope of suitable size so that the form isn’t folded. Your regional centre can provide you with a confidential reference – name the Regional Director as the referee. give their full titles and status. If you’re applying for a job related to your degree subject. ideally get someone else to check rather than relying on a spell checker. It’ll also take some of the tedium out of tackling other forms. You’ll need to adapt your answers to the questions you Make the most of these skills as well as your academic success. Make sure you’ve been consistent in style (e. They can help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course.

64 To find out more.1 and consider answers based on the evidence you’ve already gathered. Remember to cover ‘planned. Look back at the answers you gave to Activity 1.’ ‘organised.’ ‘what you did’ and ‘results’. drafts and fine tuning. your ambitions and aspirations. Go for key points and give evidence from your record. There is 80mm space available on the form. This section will tell them more about you as an individual than any other part of the form. events or experiences that have influenced you. There is 180mm space available on the form to influence the selectors. There is 30mm space available on the form to show that you understand what the job involves and what you have to offer.2 Read the sample questions below. Explain why we should select you ahead of other candidates. Include such details as your achievements and responsibilities. Every word should justify its inclusion. You’ll need a lot of time.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity All are genuine questions from graduate application forms used by large companies. Question 1 On the first page of this application you stated a preference for a particular job or . Don’t forget that you can ask a careers adviser for advice on what to include in your the people. Question 3 Write a short autobiography. Tell us what you did and how you achieved results. visit our website at www. Question 2 Outline any activities you have planned and organised.

4. Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements. For instance. for tips and example CVs. but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual Alternatively. For more information on CVs. prefer CVs in a chronological format. as well as the work I want? There’s no right or wrong way to write a CV.2 What style of CV? The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation it’s addressed to.4 The curriculum vitae (CV) Like an application form. In addition. For example. a financial institution or a local authority might have an adverse effect. 4. so you have more control over the impression it will – 4. You want to make sure that you present yourself positively and accurately.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.4. Bear this in mind when you design your own For most jobs. (So you may in fact be doing just that.1 The importance of tailoring your CV However. It is important that you find out if there is a preferred format for the type of job that you are applying for by doing further research into the job and if necessary seeking advice from a careers adviser (or the professional body if there is one).ac. your CV doesn’t need to conform to a set format. Whichever format you choose. Here we will just provide some guidelines on good practice and offer examples of four possible formats: 1 2 3 4 A chronological CV A functional CV A targeted CV and An academic Instead. not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies you found in the Yellow Pages.4. look at what the expectations might be.prospects. To use the same approach for.7 below. it is useful to highlight this in a separate section as it draws attention to it. when it comes to preparing your CV. When researching jobs. it’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you. You can tailor the style.) And you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter. Most people tend to prefer one style over the others (though as you will see. it is more often the case much more effective if you adapt your CV to suit the particular organisation or job you’re applying for (easy enough to do if it’s word-processed). it should be flexible enough to allow modification to match the job you’re seeking. This is only likely to work if you always apply for the same function in several very similar organisations. The right one is the one that works for you in your situation and succeeds in getting you interviews. However. To find out more.3 Preparing your CV How you organise and present information about yourself and your activities will convey significant messages about your suitability as a potential employee. visit our website at www. some job areas have expectations that a particular kind of CV is 65 .uk/links/CVwriting We also show you sample CVs in Sections 4. So.4. my strengths and qualities? • What experiences shall I emphasise? • How can the style of my CV match the culture of the organisation(s) I’m sending it to. content and design to show off your strengths and present you in the most positive light. and what to leave out or minimise. When you have work experience that is directly relevant. Be prepared then to spend a considerable amount of time on creating and reworking an effective document. a CV is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you. The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight. you need to make a decision about the kind of CV to use as most employers will not specify. look at: www. some professions. applications to marketing organisations or to the publishing industry can be successful if the style and layout suggest a flair for lively prose or graphic go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website and choose the ‘Moving on’ section if you are a student at: www. 4. say.4. an academic CV is used mainly for applying for academic posts). such as the legal profession. you need to ask yourself a few key questions: • What’s the area of work I’m after? • Which employers or organisations am I approaching? • What messages do I want to send about myself.

if you’ve changed jobs frequently. looking for an opportunity to take on wider responsibilities within the industry. responsibilities and key achievements.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. The advantages of a chronological CV are: • It can be very easy to produce. In . showing the name of each Profile An experienced. it isn’t always easy to spot key achievements or skills which might get ‘buried’ under different job titles. As a result. it can suggest instability and will require explanation – particularly if you’ve changed profession or career direction. the period you were employed. • It has for many years been recognised as a standard approach to CVs. your job title(s).4 The chronological CV You are probably most familiar with a chronological CV. This lists jobs by date. beginning with the most recent.4. with a chronological CV. visit our website at • It allows prospective employers to see very quickly how an individual has progressed and increased responsibility. the disadvantages to a chronological CV are that any gaps in your employment stand out. However. The chronological CV Malcolm Lewis 16 London Road Portsmouth PO9 6AL Tel./fax 01903 562366 email mcrlewis@wizard. Employment Current position: 1996 – Ace Holdings Plc Portsmouth Main responsibilities: Key achievements: • Preparing financial reports • Supervising office of 25 staff • Planned and co-ordinated computerisation of management accounts system • Trained staff in use of new system • Strengthened and simplified reporting of financial information • Reduced staff costs by 11% in 1999/2000 • Researched a detailed marketing study leading to refocused annual marketing plan • Negotiated £2m loan for major construction project • Handled credit analyses and made credit recommendations Deputy Finance Manager 66 To find out more. highly motivated CIMA professional with in-depth knowledge of the financial services and strong team-working where you worked.

Chemistry. visit our website at www. English. Physics. staff appraisal course Additional skills IT skills: competent in the use of Microsoft Office and SAGE financial management software. History. by part-time study Courses: B784 The effective manager B785 Accounting for managers B786 Managing customer and client relations B751 Managing development and change B752 Managing resources for the market 1981–1986 Hampshire High School O-levels: Maths. French Training 1990–95 Passed all stages of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants examinations Various short professional courses In-house 67 . handled cash Education 2001–2005 The Open University 1995–2000 The Open University Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Professional Diploma in Management. Languages: conversational Spanish and French Interests Keen member of local amateur dramatics society and have been stage manager for the last four years Currently treasurer of my children’s primary school PTA Regular swimming to keep fit References available on request To find out more. interviewed Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Previous experience: 1988–96 Management Accountant Southern Finance Plc Portsmouth Organised and prepared accounts for District Manager Planned and managed the introduction of new financial information system Supervised office of nine staff 1986–8 Southern Finance Plc Southampton Accounts clerk Assisted with ledger accounts and budget preparation.

01788 529445 email: Sandra@hotmail. with a clear and concise vision of future objectives. The disadvantages are that it takes more thought to prepare a functional CV and you have to ensure that it is clear and relevant to the chosen job without looking as though you might be hiding something! The Functional CV Sandra Simpson 5 Malvern Road Cherry Hinton Cambridge CB1 4LX Tel. more accurate means of saving £200K annually. presented according to the function or responsibilities you’ve undertaken rather than according to individual jobs. a functional CV allows you to place more emphasis on relevant strengths and experience from earlier periods. visit our website at www. The system alerts operators when to change the process parameters without disturbing production flow. • Developed and instituted a statistical quality control programme to cover all critical control points in the manufacturing process. • You can group different achievements together to match the job that you are applying for. • Created computer applications for environmental microbiological trends for control of plant cleanliness. Achievements • Analysed the quality assurance system at Continental Kitchens Ltd. Cambridge 1999 to present Quality Assurance Coordinator (2000) Quality Assurance Auditor (1999) Responsible for – all quality control. Capable of achieving personal objectives. Keen to find a challenging position that offers long-term potential in quality assurance and/or new product development. This facilitated a faster. • Formulated new and improved existing food products. Contributed to the development of a new line of Polish foods for wholesale distribution. Career orientated. Experience CONTINENTAL KITCHENS LTD. • If your current or most recent experience isn’t related to the position you’re applying for.4. research and development and creation of new products.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. highly organised and energetic.5 The functional CV A functional CV focuses attention on your skills and Skill profile A graduate biologist with strong food industry experience in quality assurance. Goal orientated. sanitation and pest-control programmes – creation of statistical programmes to help with the transition of quality assurance responsibility to individual operators 68 To find out more. making recommendations for new procedures which led to an entirely new quality control system. Its advantages are: • It can highlight your skills rather than job changes. This kind of CV shows that you’re conscious of the demands of the prospective employer and of what you have to offer. resulting in significant improvement in overall sanitation. as demonstrated by successful completion of my degree by part-time study while employed full .

CB2 1PF Tel. I gained employment as a research technician and applied to study part time with The Open Full driving licence Referees Mrs Joan Whitaker Director of Quality Assurance Continental Kitchens Ltd 12–16 London Road Cambridge. Leicester Research Technician Responsible for 1993–1995 – – – – formulating new and improving existing product lines performing shelf-life studies on a range of products supervising in-plant testing of laboratory formulations analysing waste water to ensure it met all government standards Education The Open University 1994–2000 BSc (Hons). My other interests include cycling and 69 . I took a ‘year out’ to travel the world and consider my future. From 1995–99. particularly scuba diving. On return to Britain. I have been interested in watersports since school. I took time out of work to raise a family. Mathematics (D) 8 GCSEs Grove Comprehensive School Leicester 1986–1992 Additional information After ‘A’ levels. I served as a Regional representative on the OU Students Association for three years and contributed to student feedback on two courses in their first year of presentation. 01223 599886 Regional Director The Open University in the East of England 12 Hills Road Cambridge.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook – setting up a new product recall procedure to facilitate any possible product retrieval due to failures reported in post-manufacturing integrity testing – supervision of the sanitation crew of eight during needed microbiological clean-ups BOW WOW PET FOODS LTD. 01233 364721 To find out more. Upper Second Class Courses studied: S101 Science: A Foundation Course S203 Biology: form and function U205 Health and disease U206 Environment S324 Animal physiology S327 Living processes S328 Ecology S365 Evolution 2 ‘A’ levels: Biology (C). CB10 3QY Tel. visit our website at www.

• You can adapt it to suit the job you’re after without sacrificing quality. with the skills required and the evidence of them clearly laid out at the Courses chosen to obtain recognition by the British Psychological Society. like the functional CV. this one isn’t easy to prepare. London. The disadvantages are that. in Biology: Brain and . whilst working in a team.4. The Targeted CV Vigla Kozlowski ADDRESS: 45 Longhurst Career aim Building on my previous experience of working in a large organisation at a time of change to train and work as a professional personnel manager. This experience has shown me the importance of good interpersonal and communication skills. visit our website at www. dates and so on. Both my work as a nurse and in banking has demanded a high level of personal responsibility. The work involves planning. autonomy and judgement. A Participant: An Individual: An Enthusiast: Education 1987–1994 The Open University. It has to change to match each job. 70 To find out more. and in Principles of Social and Educational Research. with all the time. I have to be able to prioritise work within both strict financial and time constraints and ensure that others do too. No less important has been my ability to express myself clearly and effectively both face-to-face and on paper. Distinctions obtained in Social and Cognitive Psychology. I am a member of a small steering group set up within the bank as a result of the recent major changes in working practices. N10 8EP TELEPHONE: 020 8887 5131 EMAIL: Vkozlowski@wizard.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. The advantages are: • It focuses straight away on your strengths. BSc. have been essential to the success of my section. followed by the details. Skill profile A Coordinator: As a project manager currently working simultaneously on a range of demanding projects.6 The targeted CV A targeted CV is even more closely matched to the needs of a particular employer. Most candidates for managerial posts use this format. My main research topic involved interviewing a wide cross-section of both adults and children in small groups and on an individual basis. believing that this is the key to achieving worthwhile results. It combines elements from both the chronological and the functional CV. combined with organisational sensitivity and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. Sound judgement. and to resolving potentially disruptive differences of opinion. implementation and evaluation of new systems and their effect on staff at all levels. effort and skill that implies. I have been responsible for cultivating a spirit of teamwork and cooperation. in projects and reports. I thrive on the challenge of change. Hons. making sure that I always fulfil my function and deliver to deadlines. • It is more likely to catch the reader’s interest. I have become used to seeking and learning from criticism. devising questionnaires and analysing data. • You can lead the reader in the direction you want to go – your skills and achievements. 2. I am hardworking and have always put considerable energy and enthusiasm into all of my activities.

visit our website at www. Lloyds Bank. three staff. Recruitment Officer – Recruitment interviewing. This involves initial discussions with individuals and. Counter Clerk – Responsible for serving customers. frequently for larger loans. Referees Names available on request. • I keep fit by swimming and running regularly each week. As I had enjoyed the studying and wanted to further my academic studies in a related subject. Banking attracted me because it offered a structured training and a wide range of opportunities within each department. Lloyds Bank. during my training I realised that this career was not for me. Lloyds Bank. Personnel Assistant – Personnel administration. working with the personnel of companies and other institutions with a financial interest in the company’s future. handling cash. Activities and interests • I am teaching myself to play the saxophone and enjoy getting together with my friends for musical improvisation. However. Student Nurse Although I could have gone to university when I left school I had always wanted to be a nurse. working with adults on a one-toone basis and in small groups. I decided to apply for a job and combine this with part-time study with The Open University. Biology (D). Business Loans Section Responsible for assessing loan applications and making loan decisions. Finchley Road. Lloyds Bank. Dbase IV and Q&A databases and word-processing using Word 2000 and Word NT • Interviewing • Psychological test administration and interpretation • Car owner. pay and Section leader with responsibility for the work of six staff who report directly to Chemistry (D) Training 1992 1987 IPM Certificate in Personnel Practice Lloyds Bank short in-house course in Personnel Management. Work experience 1992 to date. • I spend one evening a week as a volunteer tutor with a literacy project. in charge of four staff. To find out 71 . North London Hospital. so I decided to train at the local hospital. London Three ‘A’ levels: English (C). Full. I would now like to broaden my experience into personnel in a large retail organisation. record keeping. 1989–1992 1987–1989 1986–1987 1983–1986 Additional skills • Sound working knowledge of Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. clean driving licence.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1979–1983 Parsifal Comprehensive.

co.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. it is expected that candidates (for academic jobs such as lecturer and postdoctoral research posts) will produce an academic CV. These CVs place more emphasis on the subject matter of the degree and/or research and on the knowledge and achievements gained. Identified phenotypic alterations in T-cell subpopulations following migration through an endothelialfibroblast bilayer. depending on what you are applying for. James Project synopsis: Adapted. microbiology.’ Modules studied included: cell biology. USA.7 The academic CV For academic jobs in universities. genetics. Supervisors: Professor R. Because of • If you are a postgraduate or research student who is applying for a job outside academia.mcarthur@yahoo.MSc in Immunology (distinction) 2001– 2002 Dissertation project: ‘Neutrophil spontaneous apoptosis is mediated through the acid sphingomyelinase dependent generation of ceramide.4. you should do this without using any subject-specific jargon so that it is understandable to the employer. 72 To find out more. Systematically investigated the role of soluble mediators and adhesive interactions in the survival of neutrophils following transendothelial migration. MK6 3DY Tel.BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (first class) 1998– 2001 Dissertation project: ‘Autoimmunity: A genetic perspective. immunology. Jordan and Dr. Remember to emphasise the transferable skills that you have developed in undertaking higher level study. • Remember to include examples of the skills that you have developed through your research.’ Modules studied included: tolerance and autoimmunity. oncology. visit our website at www. analysis and working to deadlines. D. you should consider a chronological. The Academic CV Hilary Michelle McArthur 18 Poole Avenue. You should also include three referees rather than two. haemopoietic cell differentiation and malignancies. such as communication.PhD in Medicine 2002–2005 Thesis Title: The regulation of leukocyte migration away from the subendothelial compartment. transplantation biology and cell adhesion. skills or targeted CV. Milton EDUCATION The Open University . and physiology. University of Salford . This was a broad-based degree in biochemistry with the second year spent studying at Oregon State . 07900 543 21 E-mail: h. In presenting your research. academic CVs are often longer than other types of University of Manchester . validated and implemented a “novel” assay to investigate leukocyte migration and survival. Ask someone who knows nothing about your research subject to read through what you’ve written and check it makes sense to the lay reader. They are likely to include information on some or all of the following: • The title of your PhD and the names of your supervisors • Teaching/administrative experience • Professional memberships (if relevant) • Fellowships and awards • Conferences attended/presentations given • a detailed abstract of research should be appended to the end of the CV • full details of publications.

July 2005 • Trained undergraduates in basic laboratory skills • Allocated tasks and ensured their completion. and McArthur. • Flow cytometry.. January 2006 ABSTRACTS..Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook RESEARCH EXPERIENCE AND TECHNICAL SKILLS • Development of static adhesion and migration assay. 2004. March 2005 Bennett. along with presentation and communication skills. Rapidly recruited TNF-stimulated endothelial cells – is this a novel route for neutrophil clearance from inflamed tissue? International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis... H.2004 • Responsible for communicating and demonstrating technical skills to A level science students at a local college. • Image-based analysis of leukocyte behaviour in static and flow adhesion and migration assays. Ceramide rich lipid rafts and acid sphingomyelinase activity are required for spontaneous neutrophil apoptosis. • Adaptation of a novel co-culture system: culture stromal cells on the apical and basal surface of Transwell inserts. A. Jones. PUBLICATIONS Bennett.. S. • Subcellular fractionation.M. Bennett A. • Developed technical writing skills for industry purposes. Student Mentor for the Open University’s Outreach Programme 2002 . Excel. American Journal of Medicine. COMPUTER SKILLS Extensive experience of Microsoft Word. • Isolation of leukocytes subsets and endothelial cells. POSTERS AND PRESENTATIONS Bennett. and McArthur. • Marked undergraduate work and provided individual guidance to undergraduate students.M. and a working knowledge of WinMDI and Image Pro... Manchester. Summer 1998 • Worked independently on an assigned project. J. July 2005. British Society of Immunology. H. as well as showing visiting work experience students laboratory protocols. Layerton.. J. To find out more. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. A. visit our website at www. and McArthur.M. H. Jones. A. Identification of a phenotypically and functionally distinct population of neutrophils in a model of reverse endothelial Laboratory Assistant. • Microscopy: phase contrast and fluorescence. H. Scientific Laboratories. Salford. Layerton S. RESEARCH AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE Tutor on an Open University Summer 73 . and McArthur. H. (Paper submitted to the UK Medical Biology Journal) Bennett. International PowerPoint and Prism.. J.M. and McArthur. A.M. Transmigration prolongs neutrophil survival through a beta-2integrin-dependent adhesion signal. Jones.

but you may find the following ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ Always give the full area code. Employment experience Your aim here is to stress your achievements at work. Other personal details There’s no need to include such details as date of birth.james1@open. so that you can be reached as easily as possible. content and layout. since invitations to interview are often sent at short notice and speedy delivery is in your interest. give more detail about particular 74 To find out Dr Steven Mayes . Include your mobile number if you have one. You can discuss them at the interview if appropriate. It’s acceptable practice these days to put your name in the centre in larger bold font instead of giving the document the title Curriculum vitae. number of children. Received award for best overall academic achievement at the end of my BSc (2001). Telephone It’s important to give a telephone number where you can be reached or where a message can be they’re unnecessary at this stage and may confuse Dr David James d.d. consider investing in an answering service or machine.8 What to include (and not to include) in your CV Your CV is uniquely yours in For more recent jobs. visit our website at www. At home. However. Address Be sure to give a full address with postcode. you don’t need to give initials or middle names. Include the nature and place of your employer’s business if it isn’t obvious from the name. give your number and say that it’s a work number. If you’re employed and prospective employers can contact you during office hours. when you have more opportunity to negotiate any difficulties. nationality. marital status. so that the caller will be All referees can be contacted via The Open University Davis Medical Building Milton Keynes MK7 6AA Or by phone on 01908 456 789 The above example of an academic cv has been published with the permission of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS). say during the last ten years.f. 4. gender. number and extension. Include an email address if you have one. experience education training interests. personal profile (optional) but don’t give the address or the name of your manager at this stage.mayes@open.g. These are irrelevant on a CV.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook ACHIEVEMENTS Received awards for best overall academic achievement and best dissertation project at the end of my MSc (2002). CVs usually contain: • • • • • • • • personal data employment.jordan2@open. activities additional skills career aims. It should be quite obvious what it where your aim is to get yourself invited for interview.r. REFEREES Professor Rebecca Jordan r. Personal data Name Give the name you want to be known by if you’re called for interview or appointed.

day-release. For a technical post or one that requires special knowledge. fulltime course. state this. Avoid specialised language unless you’re sure the reader will understand it. e. activities This section has various uses. some jobs do require subject-specific knowledge (e. Interests. • If your qualifications were awarded overseas.g. They can also help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each Whichever system you use. consider giving additional information to show that you have the relevant work experience. projects.g. • Divide your experience under the headings Related and Other. or training in relevant specialist skills. You might find the course descriptions and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied very useful: pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop.5 of this workbook). If you have served time in prison. please refer to Section 6 below for tips on dealing with this. There’s no need to include the full address of each school or college – condense the information to dates. mention the British equivalent so that the employer knows what level you’ve reached. Education How far back should you go? School or young college-leavers should be quite explicit about their education since age 11. names and towns. Don’t leave any unexplained gaps. should be followed by a statement of achievements. If you’ve worked your way up from the bottom and lack formal qualifications altogether. so that the reader is encouraged to read on.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook responsibilities. with appropriate detail. you could say something like ‘In the five years 1995-2000 I worked in various temporary positions in the catering industry’. By studying with the OU – whatever the subjects are – you will find that you will have developed a range of both subject knowledge and transferable skills that many employers will value. if appropriate) and the awarding institution. with figures such as staff. if you’ve had time out of paid work to bring up a family. preferably in quantitative terms. to be a teacher) while others place more emphasis on transferable skills (see Section 1. Some look for a mixture of both. that you’re a sociable person who gets on with others. • If you had a series of short-lived jobs and you want to abbreviate the Training Don’t give an exhaustive list of all the training courses and seminars you’ve attended. and play down other. • Start with the most relevant work experience. then the rest of the employment history in backward or forward chronological order. • If you have no higher-level educational qualifications you could list secondary school educational history in chronological order – that can be easier to digest than in reverse chronological order – but use the same order you used in ‘Experience’. For example. There are different opinions about whether you set your experience out in forward or reverse chronological order. It can show that you have a well-rounded life and don’t live for work alone. you could expand your work achievements and contract the education 75 . knowledge or training. budget etc. but also how you obtained it. make sure it’s clear and that the way you present starting and leaving dates is consistent. A onesentence description of the scope of your job.2. assignments and results achieved. So much depends on the nature and relevance of your previous employment to the job you’re applying for. then work backwards or forwards chronologically. even if it’s not the most recent. visit our website at www. But everyone agrees that the most relevant job should appear at the top of the list. Present your qualifications in the way that makes the most of them: • If the job requires a degree or diploma it’s best to start with that. Learning outcomes can assist you in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. less important jobs. It is up to you to identify them from your own experience so that you can present this on a CV. • Be specific about what you studied in your Open University courses. enabling the employer to see at once that you meet the requirement. that you keep yourself fit. Your hobbies To find out more. Include useful information about training and development – courses of a week or more. and highlight in a covering letter or skill section the personal qualities and skills that this kind of study requires. This allows you to highlight the experience the employer is likely to be most interested in. but it’s more appropriate for senior managers to include a brief résumé of schools attended and exams passed. Of course.. Some possible sequences are: • Put your present or most recent job at the head of the list. • If you’re offering professional qualifications it might be worth specifying not only the qualification (with the S/NVQ level. which are often listed as learning outcomes.

you’re a mature graduate. Don’t use clichés. Give their names. after that you can use it on its to adapt for other employers.g. Write the words out in full the first time you use them and put the abbreviation in brackets. Make sure the copies are sharp and clear. such as Arial 11 point. give an indication of your level of competence). An unusual hobby such as sky-diving or genealogical research can be worth mentioning. and proofread the final version carefully. you have an unconventional record.g.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook may have given you opportunities to tackle roles and develop skills that you haven’t had scope for at work – perhaps you’ve been a school governor. • Make sure that your CV arrives looking like a quality document. and in particular the skills it calls for. • Your CV should be produced to a high standard. and their status or relationship to you (e. • Two sides of A4 is usually the right length (unless it is a CV for an academic position which is usually longer as it includes listings of published work and/ or research).uk/careers . • Avoid long. additional skills such as foreign languages (if possible. course tutor). first aid training. 4. Word and Excel. personal profile Including career aims and a skill profile can be particularly effective if you’re seeking a career change. If you need to demonstrate an interest in design (e. word-processed and printed or copied on goodquality white or cream paper. and the notes that follow it suggest some inferences that can be drawn from them about the nature of the work of personnel management. • Put the most important information on the first page and as near the top as possible. underlining). we’ve chosen a description for human resource management.10 Analysing a job description In order to construct a CV that’s effectively related to the job you’re seeking. Keep a copy of your CV (and disk) in a safe place. 76 To find out more. It might be helpful to read it alongside CV Example 3. To illustrate this. and so on. visit our website at www. Use an ‘easy-to-read’ font. for some media jobs) more elaborate graphics and perhaps coloured paper might be appropriate. It is also important to outline your level of IT and keyboard skills.g. • If you send your CV by email. one your present or last employer. particularly if you want to offer a targeted CV. Some of the key words in the description have been emphasised. chronological order) and in your layout. Concentrate on the aspects that are most important for the employer to know. and don’t clutter it up with unnecessary punctuation. Space makes text easier to read and more attractive. • Don’t cram the page. Consider using an appendix for very detailed information such as a list of publications. Additional skills The diversity of individual careers sometimes makes extra sections desirable: you can make up your own subheadings.9 Presentation of your CV To produce an effective CV . run a computer club. (e. follow it up by sending a hard copy straight away. or you’re applying for a job for which the competition is particularly keen. You’ll need it again. complicated sentences. addresses and telephone numbers. • Seek other people’s views on your draft. say so in your CV or covering letter. • Be consistent in how you present the information. pay attention to its appearance as well as its content. Have headings in the same style (capital letters. including software you are familiar with e. jargon and abbreviations the reader may be unfamiliar with. line manager. It gives your CV an interesting feature and makes it memorable. If you don’t want your employer approached at this stage. One way to do this is from the job description. Use an A4 envelope with cardboard reinforcement. even though it has no obvious relevance to the job. Career aims.4. You might prefer to omit referees on the CV and put ‘Available on request’. Use bullet points to make reading quicker.g. Don’t fold it. bold.4. • The space you give to each section should reflect its importance. which is designed for this area of work. References You’ll usually need two referees. Include details you think a prospective employer really ought to know – driving licence. The employer may not bother to read on if there’s nothing of interest to begin with. • Make it easy to read and follow. you’ll need to analyse the job itself. done voluntary work that demonstrates organisational and management skills. Yours will be one of many that the employer has to read.

• Make sure that you’ve: analysed the requirements of the job listed your skills composed your examples of key achievements Then go ahead and construct or redesign your own CV. the subject of the next section. Some typical tasks may include. • Think about the general style of your CV in relation to the person who’s going to read it. it probably is. as appropriate. management/ staff communications. • Look again at the example CVs to see whether any of the three formats would be particularly appropriate to convey what you want. interviewing applicants and advising on the selection of those most suitable. working conditions. discussing. functional. but the style is standard for academic CVs in general. advising and negotiations imply the need for skills in dealing with people. industrial relations. appraisals. The examples (all fictitious by the way) illustrated each of the four main CV formats in turn – chronological. The examples of the CVs above illustrated some of the points you should consider when designing your own CV. interviewing. ask yourself whether it presents the information you want to give in the way you want it to be seen. • If you already have a CV. – Maintaining staff records. And bear in mind that covering letters. • Words such as It’s time to redesign it. developing and administering policies in relation to staff recruitment and training. staff promotion schemes and other matters. discussing career records of labour turnover and other necessary information and assisting with human resource planning procedures and programmes. career development.3 Take some time to reflect again on the CV guidelines and examples. – Analysing staffing requirements in consultation with department and other managers. visit our website at www. – Assisting in negotiations in the field of industrial relations and ensuring observance of regulations and agreements relative to personnel matters. general conditions of employment and other personnel matters. wordy. – Arranging for dissemination of vacancy details by internal and external means. (undertaking job analysis and evaluations as appropriate). personal welfare and other matters with individual members of staff. None was perfect. – Advising management on standards of remuneration. Activity 4. • Words such as analysing. would accompany these CVs. human resource planning and forecasting imply the need for skills in evaluating information and reaching appropriate conclusions.) You may well decide that a quite different layout and format are more appropriate for your individual circumstances.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example Human Resource Management Advising on. • If you think that your CV looks feeble. (Indeed. targeted and 77 . evaluations. • Words such as arranging and records imply the need for administrative skills. messy …. To find out more. especially the ability to communicate effectively with them. uninteresting. the academic CV showed that the applicant studied medicine which you can’t do with the OU. – Helping to undertake staff appraisals and.

1 Applying for a job in a vacancy list or answering an advertisement Mention the job title (including any reference number). If there’s a vacancy this will. or whether vacancies will arise in the near future. Two examples of covering letters are set out overleaf. not repeat what’s on the application form or CV. Ask someone else to read it – don’t rely on your computer’s spelling check. a speculative approach is not allowed in Northern Switchboard staff can be very helpful in supplying this information if it isn’t otherwise available. job title and organisation of the person you’re writing to. 4. and when you would be able to start. end ‘Yours faithfully’. your qualifications and what you have to offer. 4. visit our website at www. • Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. send a brief follow-up letter or telephone to make sure that it’s been received. appropriate qualification. • You can use your covering letter to give additional information such as reasons for an unusual change in career. So make clear who you are. you’ll know that to make a speculative approach you have to present your case in a letter. • When writing to a named individual. • Print your name clearly below your signature.5 The covering letter Your covering letter is your opportunity to market yourself. especially as it may be based on US spelling. such as a relevant . the name. if done well.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. If you haven’t received an acknowledgement within two or three weeks. Highlight your strongest selling points. and say where and when you saw the vacancy. telephone number and date at the top right-hand corner and. Stress how you think the organisation can benefit from employing you. A CV will usually require more of an introduction. steer clear of stilted expressions like ‘re your advertisement of 29th July. mention them in the letter. interests and activities. 78 To find out more. At the same time you must leave the impression that you’re someone it’s useful for the employer to know about. • Address your letter to an individual person by name and job title. • If there are any special circumstances not covered in the application form or CV. where you are. If you’ve worked through Section 2 in this book. It should enhance your application. Say why you want to work for that particular organisation. type or word-process your letter (though very occasionally an employer will ask for a handwritten letter). related experience. translate into being someone the employer ought to see.5. It will usually be read first. You’re trying to find out whether there are any vacancies. Always include a covering letter unless the employer specifically tells you not to. The second letter accompanies a CV in response to a newspaper advertisement. usually accompanied by your CV. so make sure that the reader will want to find out more about you. Keep a copy of your letter. address. and that you’ve expressed yourself clearly. • Although you should be business-like.2 Applying speculatively Remember. end ‘Yours sincerely’. on the lefthand side.5.5. If you do have to resort to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. • Keep it brief – usually not more than one side of A4. without duplicating what’s on the application form. then highlight the relevant points in the CV such as work experience. Convey clearly what kind of work you’re seeking. The first is a speculative approach asking for an advice interview from an executive the writer doesn’t know.3 Drafting your letter • If possible. • Use plain A4 paper of good quality. • Put your name. what you’re studying. or highlight aspects of your CV which you feel are particularly important. It introduces your application and draws attention to the main factors that make you suitable for the job. such as a disability and how you overcome potential difficulties.’ and ‘I beg to remain’. Add some other detail to reinforce your suitability. Application forms often allow you reasonable scope to sell yourself and may need only a brief covering letter.

visit our website at www. your advice and suggestions would also be helpful and influential in helping me research my options to develop my career. I should appreciate a personal meeting with you and will contact you in the next week to discuss this. Although I would like to work for your company. Yours sincerely Joginder Singh 01926 850973 To find out more. including experience of exporting electronic. Some of my key achievements have been: • Locating new lines of products and developing international sales for them. • Increasing sales by 26 per cent in one year when the pound was at its highest exchange rate. and computer based control equipment. With your knowledge of exporting.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example 1 Speculative letter Joginder Singh 123 Warwick Road Kenilworth Warwickshire CV8 1EJ Mr George Black Export Sales Director Blank Distribution Company 5 Blank Street Royal Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV35 8EE 10 February 2006 Dear Mr Black. Your success in selling computer components to Asian countries has been something few companies have achieved in the last few years. and I wish to congratulate 79 .ac. I should appreciate your advice concerning the development of my career. Having had over ten years’ experience in export sales. • Selecting and working with local distributors throughout the I am now seeking a career change that will build on this experience. I noted in yesterday’s Financial Times that your company received an export award from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Assistant Finance Director. I have brought about a sustained improvement in my office’s financial performance over the past five years. I look forward to hearing from you. I am confident that I could make a significant contribution to Fairplay Industries Ltd. I have particular interest in computer-based accounting procedures and extensive staff management experience. I am a qualified accountant with substantial professional experience.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Example 2 Response to an advertisement Margaret Minty 8 Milton Avenue Edinburgh EH10 3PQ 0131 668 1394 Mrs Shirley Barrett Personnel Manager Fairplay Industries Ltd 123 Evergreen Way Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire MK10 8VS 6 March 2006 Dear Mrs Barrett. I am free to relocate to another area and see this as a positive addition to my professional and personal development. Yours sincerely Margaret Minty 80 To find out more. I have recently taken voluntary redundancy as a consequence of a nationwide organisational restructuring programme. and discussed specific aspects with the Finance Director over the telephone yesterday. visit our website at I am enclosing my CV in response to your advertisement for the above post which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 1 March. My decision was based on a desire to change employers in order to broaden my professional experience as I am keen to develop my career in a managerially demanding environment. Although I currently live in Edinburgh. Working in a team alongside other senior management colleagues. Having read the detailed description of the post. Fairplay Industries .

while the interviewer sets the format. use the opportunity to add relevant information about yourself that you haven’t had an adequate opportunity to express. Here are some initial tips for interviews: • Interviewers want you to do yourself justice. • A candidate’s body language (for example. initial answers are critical. • Interviewers are more likely to be swayed by negative information or behaviour on the part of the candidate than positive. Interviews tend to exclude rather than to include. They’ll be asking themselves ‘Could we get on?’ ‘Would this person be supportive?’ • Balance the initiative-taking. not maintaining eye contact) in an interview can be more important in determining its outcome than experience or qualifications. The ideal interview should flow like a conversation. it can be useful to ask about future business plans. Neither should psychologically dominate the discussion. and aren’t easily swayed by factual information thereafter. Don’t be panicked into responding too quickly. although as the candidate you should do most of the talking – in effect determining the content. so the sequence of interviews assumes an importance of its own. This suggests that a good interview performance is likely to impress. • When asked whether you have any questions. If you’re given a choice. It’s up to you to help them out and make them feel comfortable.’ • Always try to be positive in what you say and never be critical of a previous employer. some important insights for candidates emerge: • Some interviewers make up their minds about candidates within the first four minutes of an interview. reaching greater depths as the rapport develops between the two parties. perhaps in an illogical way. • When faced with a panel of interviewers you should address the majority of your response to the interviewer who has asked you a question whilst ensuring that you still have some eye contact with the rest of the panel. • Interviewers’ judgements about a candidate are always made in relation to judgements about earlier • Guard against being too open.6 The interview Interviews remain the most common method of filling 81 . Remember that interviewers want to be liked and hope to be supported in their day-to-day work and career by your appointment. • Show acceptance of the interviewer as a person.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. From the vast amount of research into interviews as a selection method. • Interviewers too may be inexperienced or nervous. If the interview has already covered that. You can set a standard against which the others will be judged. visit our website at www. but they make very consistent judgements and assessments between candidates. First impressions count. They’re hoping that you’ll be an excellent candidate and that the interviewing time and effort will be well spent. • Interviewers may be poor at assessing the personality characteristics of individual candidates with any validity. Fill a thinking gap with comments such as ‘That’s an interesting go first. I need a moment or two to think about it. To find out more. • A few seconds silence in an interview can seem an eternity.

Why have you been invited for interview? What are your unique selling points? Questions are likely to focus on: Your achievements Your motives for applying Your likely contribution • Prepare by marshalling your material in advance. problems. How you sound will be crucial. • What are your weak spots and what do you feel uncomfortable talking about? • Why would you not employ yourself? Produce convincing counter-arguments. within a broader organisational framework May have standard questions. • Ask for comments from a partner. If you can. • Learn from observing others – take the role of interviewer with a partner. • Practise your answers in the weak areas. • Think about the interview and plan for it. Human resource/recruitment managers Well-trained and experienced. pick bits from CV Concerned about your professional competence and the rapport between you Managing director or company founder May digress into lengthy company history Concerned about cultural fit. Below we list the four main types of interviewers you may come across. achievements and personal ambition Considering how you’ll fit with the rest of the team May have to ‘sell’ you to more senior colleagues Serious but relaxed. network contacts. or interviewers who have rejected you. or use audio or video . Practice is essential.2 Before your interview • Research the job and employer thoroughly beforehand. Evaluate your performance and incorporate the learning into your next interview. Collect as many concrete examples of things you’ve done as you can.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. • Reflect on your experience. may try to ‘sell’ the job Head of a group or department A technical expert with wider managerial experience Will talk shop. How you project yourself through your social and communication skills will determine your success whenever you speak with potential employers. Read the section on ‘Tough questions’ in Section below and practise some answers out loud. Do it out loud. Consult some of the books listed at the end of this booklet. Practise some answers into a tape recorder and listen critically to yourself. Find out all you can about interviewing techniques and be ready to cope with them: • Read about the process. • Review your CV. Practise speaking on the phone to a friend and ask what impression you’re making. into a tape recorder. Don’t let your own stereotyping of the interviewer affect your interview technique.6.1 Interviewers There are as many kinds of interviewer as there are solutions. • Practise by role-play with a partner. Remember that when managers interview they’re playing a role to a set of social rules. for insight often leads to heightened anxiety. Their perspectives may differ according to their job function: You could read all the books ever written on how to do well at interview and still not be good at it. and may not be entirely their usual selves. judgement valued by others Likely to concentrate on personality and organisational ‘fit’ May have a fund of knowledge about company culture Line manager or decision-maker Trying to assess your style of working Concerned about your motivation. Try to foresee questions or situations and work out possible answers. 82 To find out more. may look for shared vision May be looking for someone who’ll question or act as an agent of change Will seek views from all those who’ve come into contact with you 4.6. visit our website at www. find out something about the people interviewing you. often astute and very sensitive Acting as internal screener. Even experience as an interviewer doesn’t make for a flawless performance.

. and judge when you’ve said enough.3 On the day .6. Smile! • Avoid negative statements. • Arrive in good time. 4. clichés. If in doubt ask ‘Would you like me to go on?’ • Show through your answers that you’ve done your research into the company. • Don’t forget to turn off your mobile phone. • Use your natural gestures – there’s no need to look frozen! • Avoid fidgeting. umbrellas. and keep your hands away from your mouth. 4. • Shake hands firmly and briefly. • Use plain language that doesn’t confuse or divert. 4. and if possible do a dummy run. • Remember the need for a poised. 4. If you’re very unsure about this. professional.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Plan travel and arrival times. allow yourself time to relax.5 Body language • Walk and sit with good posture.6.4 How you sound • Sound as if you have confidence in yourself. • Prepare some questions that you would like to ask. the interviewer will be working to a mental model consisting of three related profiles. • Decide what to wear. • Don’t smoke anywhere on the premises. • Don’t fold your arms. visit our website at www. Don’t drop your voice towards the end of sentences. Conservative dress is more likely to pay off than flamboyance. . Show that you know the interview ‘rules’ by wearing smart clothes. It’s your task to provide evidence in your answers that demonstrates these characteristics. confident first impression. Try the whole outfit some days before. • Remember to take a copy of your application with you. Watch the interviewer’s behaviour. so that if it doesn’t feel right you’ve got time to change your plans. and achievment profile.6 Answering questions Whatever the nature of the job. If there’s no suitable literature you could telephone and ask the person on the switchboard or the secretary of the person interviewing you. • Listen attentively to the questions. Some people need to practise this. look at company literature to get an idea of how people 83 . which will give you clues to whether you are answering the questions and timing your replies appropriately. or groups of characteristics – your Personal profile Intellectual ability Communication skills Listening skills Confidence Job motivation Energy and drive Endurance Development Financial motivation Professional profile Knowledge Reliability Integrity Commitment Achievement profile Effectiveness Efficiency Economy To find out more. A lucid style is a transparent window on the content. • Maintain good eye-contact with the person you’re speaking to. telephone. Dress appropriately for the • If delayed.6. • Don’t be overburdened with bags. • Speak clearly. polishing your shoes and so on. Avoid jargon. • Speak concisely. warmth.6. papers. • Convey the right amount of enthusiasm. ask for repetition or clarification. friendliness and sincerity.

g. This reinforces recollections of you. • Try to show that you understand why the interviewers have asked you the question. at the employer’s convenience. or monotonous or tentative? • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone.g. state assumptions you’re making.9 Tough questions Everyone has a different perception of what constitutes a tough question.8 Interviews by telephone Increasing numbers of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process. often with a technical content. • Standing up while talking can make you sound more confident. If you can show that you know what they’re getting at. as you would when talking to someone face to face. When you’ve answered. 4. and say where you’d need more information.6.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook You need to also be prepared to adapt your responses to the different kinds of question: • Specific questions invite factual replies. ‘What problems did you encounter in the early planning stage of the building extension?’ • Open questions used by skilled interviewers encourage expansive replies incorporating both facts and attitudes or feelings. ‘What if the policy changed to carrying more freight by rail?’ In reply be methodical. • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone. In general: • If you feel yourself under pressure. there may be other positions coming up. but some things are especially important: • Do you speak loudly enough? • Is your voice clear or do you have a tendency to mumble? • Do you sound confident and interested. e. • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview. marketing or telesales staff. Ask for the question to be A wide range of questions is covered in Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions by Martin Yate (see the end of this section for further details). take time and keep to the point. e. e. • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. write a letter asking for some constructive comment by telephone.g. The smile won’t be seen but it can be heard. Did you do yourself justice? Did you allow negative information or negative expressions of feelings to creep in? • Send the employer an informal thank-you note soon afterwards. The questions are 84 To find out more. Here are some tips to help you through them followed by some examples and how to approach them. visit our website at www. ‘Tell me about the three years you spent studying with The Open The advice that follows about personal interviews below applies just as much to telephone interviews. ‘Would this just be in the UK or the whole of Europe?’ designed to establish whether or not you have the required skills for the job. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response. you plan to fail.7 After the interview • Think about the questions and your answers. • In response to embarrassing – rather than simply tough – questions. • Some candidates dress in the clothes they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind.’ • Hypothetical questions test speed and quality of thought. e. This technique is used for recruiting sales. stop and leave it at that. 4. Pause for thought If you fail to plan.g. you’re half way to giving an appropriate answer. Even if you’re unsuccessful this time. 4. you’ll tend not to listen so acutely. keep your answer simple and short. • If you’re rejected. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained interviewers.6. Look through the next examples – you’re bound to come up against some of them in one form or . There’s some general advice about using the telephone effectively in Section 2. They do this in several ways: • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring.6.

and the ‘political’ gains of instigating change through appointing an outsider. Q A How much are you worth? Try to delay answering this until you know the responsibilities and scope of the job. Cover relevant aspects of your life.g. to counter any thoughts that you might simply be looking for a refuge. Remember that this question isn’t simply about your factual history so don’t give too much detail. Add a balanced. Try to restrict yourself to four or five as too long a list will confuse the interviewer. visit our website at www. what difficulties do you expect in adapting to our culture? Make it clear that you understand the importance of the concept of culture by mentioning the internal diversity of companies and organisations you’ve had contact with. Then express your motivation and drive. Concentrate on the many positive features of your greater maturity: experience of life and work. emotional stability. the fresh perspective of Q an outsider. freedom from childcare. Negotiations like this might seem strange to you if your only experience is of fixed salary scales.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Examples of tough questions and how to answer them Q A What are your strengths? You’ll have become aware of these through your self-analysis. for example: Early years (if appropriate) Education Work experience Significant events Keep your answer short (three to four minutes). professional and achievement – we discussed in ‘Answering questions’ above to produce a rounded picture. Draw on examples from the three profiles – particularly in view of age leglislation in 2006 but you never know…! The interviewer could be suggesting either that you’re too old to adapt or that you haven’t got a realistic appreciation of the demands of the new job. Either choose one that isn’t particularly significant. Having worked for one company for so long. Q A A Q A Q A To find out more. credibility with clients. time management) but have taken action to overcome it. Why should you be appointed rather than an internal candidate? This is an invitation to list your main 85 . coaching and mentoring skills. Use phrases like ‘learning a valuable lesson’ rather than admitting to making a mistake.g. Draw attention to the possibilities of bringing in skills or experience that the company would benefit from. wellreasoned argument for your choice of this new kind of work. Or explain how you had a weakness (e. Include any particular characteristics that you feel relate to the job. Describe how you’ve adapted to different subcultures you’ve encountered by doing different jobs in your career. It is your chance to provide an overview and at the same time to throw in leads that you hope the interviewer will take up. Mention your previous salary and any financial commitments that lead you to raise or lower your expectations. or pair one with something that can be turned from a weakness into a strength (e. Tell me about yourself. Q A What are your weaknesses? Don’t claim to be faultless! Most strengths taken to the extreme become weaknesses. and the typical salary ranges. domestic stability. conscientiousness) to end on a positive note. You could also provide evidence of being a quick learner. This question needs practice. Isn’t it a bit late in your working life to change career? It is perhaps unlikely that you would be asked

mentally sharp and so on. Do you not feel that you might be overqualified (or too experienced) for the position we are filling? A strong company needs highly competent people with appropriate experience to deal with current problems. filling in expense claim forms). Emphasise that you are adaptable and respond positively to circumstances and would not necessarily expect to use all of your skills in the first instance. Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q 86 To find out more. Statements about far-reaching ambitions should sound realistic. Be honest. either at work or at leisure. If possible. What were the circumstances of your leaving your last employer? Keep your reply short and don’t touch on any conflict or bitterness. your variations in style according to different people and different Uncertainties in the business environment will probably lead to growth opportunities for the company and you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Q How have you tried to stay up to date? (Age is commonly associated with obsolescence of skills or knowledge and ineffectiveness. A trite or bland answer will seriously undermine your application. What interests you least about this job? Choose a routine activity (filing. Relate your answer in the final stages to the job you’re applying . Why do you want to work for us? Your research will pay off here. There’s no research evidence to support this assumption. visit our website at www. Include examples of support and how you kept your manager informed. and your hope that some of these needs will be met. You might start by briefly describing how your style has developed as you’ve grown in experience and social expectations have changed. Plead ignorance about other potentially boring duties. Create a favourable impression based on the things you’ve done to help yourself. Concentrate on flexibility. Emphasise your desire to develop your skills by moving to a more demanding job. Make clear statements about your willingness to shoulder responsibility and say that you would consider career progression within the company at an appropriate time.) A A Quote samples of your own recent learning. relate this to the job you are applying for. finding an appropriate job takes time. Mention steps you’ve taken to keep up to date. If you had complete freedom of choice of jobs and employers. what would you choose? Talk about the kind of work you’re being interviewed for and why this company interests you. What sort of relationship did you have with your last manager? Concentrate on understanding your manager’s expectations and Why has it taken you so long to find a new job? Finding any sort of job is easy. How would you describe your management style? Have a well thought-out answer ready. It is also important to emphasise IT skills and keeping up with professional journals/research in the area. Include a reference to how important work is to you. but be careful that it isn’t a core function of the job. What are your ambitions? Concentrate on your desire to do the job well and to develop your skills and confidence.

and why? • Do/did you have any frustrations in your present/last job? • What did you learn from (e. You would normally find out about the way an organisation uses these by researching their recruitment literature or website. To find out more. aware that interviews have many shortcomings. Because assessment centres are more thorough. what do/did you spend most time on. education. this company…) today? Do you feel well equipped to meet those challenges? • None of your experience is at managerial level. If you are asked to attend an assessment centre. All the other candidates will be nervous too. visit our website at www. this job. group discussions. in any combination. How would you cope with the transition? • How long would you expect to stay here? • How would you describe yourself? • In your present/last job.g.7 Other selection techniques Larger employers. here are some general guidelines: • Don’t be intimidated. what do/did you like most/least? Why? What was your greatest success? What has been your biggest failure? • What do you see as the most difficult aspect of (e.4 Here are some more examples of interviewers’ questions to think through 87 . are increasing their use of additional tools. • Why should we appoint you? • Have you any questions? For academic jobs: • What publication are you most proud of and why? • What do you see as the main benefits of your research? • Tell me about your PhD research assuming that I have no background knowledge.7. the Health Service. but a technique (a mixture of tests. 4. exercises and interviews) for recruiting new employees. being a manager…)? • How do you react to criticism? • How do you feel about the progress you made in your present/last position? • In your present/last job. as well as interviews and psychometric tests. in-tray exercises and the • What would you find easy about teaching undergraduates and what would be challenging? Don’t forget that you can ask a careers adviser for help in preparing for interviews.g. One such tool is the use of assessment centres – these are not places. particularly at graduate level. beyond the interview’.ac.1 Assessment centres This approach has been defined as ‘the use of any selection device.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. It can include situational activities.g. 4. medium and long-term goals? • Why have you decided to change careers? • What are the main challenges facing (e. • Why did you decide to study with The Open University? • The classic three-part question: What kind of people do you like to work with? What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with? How have you worked successfully with this difficult type of person? • What are your short. they are fairer to you. your last job)? • What is the most difficult decision you have faced? • What kind of decisions are most difficult for you? • What area of your skills or professional development would you like to improve? • Describe your ideal job.

ac. make sure you take them with you.prospects. Unlike aptitude tests. • Assume that you’ll be closely observed the whole . ability or intelligence tests These aim to assess your capabilities in tests of reasoning: that is. In fact. for sales personnel.shldirect. The ability to listen and support others is also highly valued.2 Psychometric tests Psychometric tests are structured pencil-and-paper or computer exercises. or how you respond to different situations. • Take the pens and pencils you like to write with. • Assessment centres sometimes have the advantage that they give you longer to judge the organisation and the people within it. independence. Your results are usually compared with how others have done on the tests in the past. special seating) discuss it with the selector in advance. often in the form of multiplechoice questions. The tests should have been carefully researched and tried out to ensure that they’re fair to everyone who takes them. Further resources For further information and resources on assessment centres go to: www. They look at how you react or behave in different situations. • Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. You may face hours of hot sticky work in examination conditions. verbal. social confidence and persuasiveness would be considered important characteristics).com When it comes to completing the tests: • Read the instructions carefully and follow them precisely • Some ability tests have tight time limits and too many questions to do in the time allowed • Others. Tests are designed so that you have a few items to practise on first. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. • Try to focus on your own performance rather than that of others and don’t assume that she or he who shouts loudest will win. choose something that’s cool as well as smart to wear. Personality questionnaires These gather information about how and why you do things in your own particular way.g. visit our website at depending on the organisation and more usually by large blue chip companies: • as a selection exercise before an interview • to accompany an interview selection • as part of a number of selection exercises at an assessment centre. although certain characteristics will be more or less appropriate for the job (e. failure in one or two elements won’t automatically mean and look for ‘Assessment Centres’ in the ‘A. Study it carefully. have no time limits • Ask during the practice session if you don’t understand. You might be asked to prepare something in You will find practice tests at: www.Z’. but if you’re anxious about them.7. There are two main kinds of psychometric test: Aptitude. for example. numerical and perceptual skills). and your preferences and Decisions about senior appointments are never based on test results alone. both mentally and physically: • Your invitation may include a programme of events. a good test can offset weaknesses in interview performance – it never seems to work the other way • In summer. The selectors aren’t looking for a rigidly ‘typical’ personality. They’re designed to assess your reasoning abilities. getting in some practice will probably make you feel better. The tests are used in a variety of ways.g. • If you have a disability and need special arrangements (e. Get yourself ready. When the time comes: • Arrive in good time. 88 To find out more. induction loop. they can last several hours. If you wear glasses for reading. • Go to the loo before major exercises. such as personality and interest questionnaires. • Make sure that you know exactly what you’re required to do. the level and nature of your thinking skills (typically.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Decisions are made by drawing on all the evidence. or bring your own calculator. paying attention to any special instructions. they have no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ www. cognitive. • Take care at social events: rich food and drink dull the brain! • Try to ensure that you talk to as many of the company representatives and other candidates as possible – don’t just limit yourself to one or two who seem the most friendly. 4. A highlighter pen could be useful.

Never read from a prepared You’ll probably have only five minutes of presentation time. Candidates often fail through producing two to three times too much material. Don’t ignore the possibility of recombining parts of different options. sometimes during the assessment centre. Honesty is the best policy. You’re not going to be judged on your ability to dominate. Be cooperative.4 Presentations These are often used as part of an assessment exercise. How you say it is as important as what you 89 . come to a conclusion or recommendation. not an essay. Keep the presentation simple.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Personality tests are easy to fake. 4. The marker will be looking for original thought. • Remember to put your name on all the sheets of paper you use. outline a proposal or draft a letter. • Don’t spend so much time thinking and planning that you haven’t got time to write the report. most tests contain ‘lie scales’. • Be clear about the aims of the exercise: keep the group focused on the task.7. Make liberal use of subheadings and bullet points to make your answer easy to read. practise so that you’ve got the timing right. with their pros and cons.7. • Make an early contribution. but not necessarily the first. with the selectors acting as observers. or sometimes to the other candidates as well. Very often you’ll be set a task as a group or given a case study to look at. Remember the rubric: 4. • Make assumptions explicit. • Recommendation of an option. • Keep a careful eye on the time. If you have trouble with it. Concentrate your thinking and be succinct in your expression so that you have less to write. verbal expression. don’t over-run. A suitable structure for your answer is likely to be: • A redefinition of the problem (by drawing out the key issues) • Setting out the main options. but make good use of your allowance.5 Group discussions Three to eight candidates sit in a group and discuss one or more topics. Some selection procedures include a discussion about the test results with a psychologist. 4. • You won’t get any marks if the marker can’t read your writing. If asked to do so. applicants who fail selection tests often do so because they don’t answer the questions. Sometimes you’re told the topic before the day. remember that getting the best out of others is a skill in itself. • Don’t rework chunks of the brief. Like examination candidates. If you have a disability that you believe may affect your ability to do these tests. communication skills and persuasiveness. and faking then becomes very difficult to sustain. You may need to make your presentation just to the selectors.3 Written exercises Typically. If you’ve been asked to prepare in advance. • What’s usually wanted is a business report. not enough to do them justice. don’t use a ballpoint pen – it tends to make things worse. but you’re always given time to prepare. for another you’ll have to guess what sort of personality the company is looking for. it is advisable to talk to the employer about this beforehand to discuss whether there are any alternative arrangements that would be appropriate for your situation. There could be questions afterwards. with your reasons (is it practicable. They’re easy to set up and provide a useful sample of logical thinking. you’ll be given a lot of written data and asked to write a report. The observers will be making notes about the quality of your contribution (logic. but there are dangers in trying to do this. and if more information might be needed say what it is. see it as a task in which you have to convince or persuade the selectors. visit our website at relationship with other participants). Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em Tell ’em Tell ’em what you’ve told ’em Keep in mind some general advice about presentations: • Whatever the instructions. and how?) If you’re faced with a written exercise: • Follow the instructions. To find out more. For one thing. • Be supportive and pleasant to the other candidates. with reasoning to support your choice. Talk directly to them. Make it a lively delivery. • Don’t be tempted to produce complex visuals. and you may have access to audio-visual materials.7.

other than statistical correlation. Information may be collected from the standard application form. with appropriate levels of formality and informality in your responses. colleagues are ill. However. but often a special form is needed.7. medical tests cover sight. Signal in your comments that you’ve spotted these links. Treat the whole exercise like real life. The qualities most likely to be assessed are analysis. even if you’re not asked to do so. particularly in France. If you like to work like that.7.analysis of handwriting – is used a lot for managerial selection in continental Europe. and between intrays if there’s more than one. it’s Saturday afternoon). They’re usually set in an unrealistic scenario that prevents you from talking to other people in the organisation (e. • Read the instructions carefully and plan your time accordingly. Pause for thought Getting the job you want is always a challenge. take care over presentation as well as content.7 Graphology Graphology . Don’t just put your head down and plough through the lot. Intervene if there’s loss of direction. 4. A cleverly constructed in-tray will generate emotional responses that can cloud decision-making. • Remain balanced in your judgement. or 90 words per minute wordprocessing. If you have to reach a decision within thirty minutes. 4. judgement.10 Medical tests The job advertisement or person specification should state clearly whether a certain level of physical fitness is required. not on what went through your head. but they’re not as detailed or as accurate as information gathered from psychometric tests and exercises.7. and that can be a clue. • You can be judged only on what you’ve written down. So.8 Biodata analysis ‘Biodata’. A well constructed test in-tray will contain distracting trivia. Make a point of discussing your strategy and interpretation of the group discussion with the interviewer Most candidates find these tests . a contraction of ‘biographical data’. 4. 90 To find out more. The biographical data need not have any recognised link with performance. 4. use your diary and your secretary well. • If the first part of the exercise asks you to set priorities. follow this up by tackling the items according to those you set. or conflict between the other participants.6 In-tray exercises These simulations of the administrative aspects of a job can be very taxing. means that details of an individual’s history are correlated with the biographical details of others who have succeeded in the same occupation.9 Proficiency tests These tests are used to find out whether candidates have the skills they claim – 120 words per minute shorthand.7. Evidence offers little support for its use as a predictor of performance. just like a real one. abroad. • Don’t be discouraged. You may be allowed to use the floor if the desk isn’t big enough. visit our website at www. if you’re asked to submit a demonstration piece. 4. for example. You’re likely not to know that graphology is being used. Studies indicate that graphologists can produce generalised personality descriptions. • Give reasons for your decisions. make sure that it’s permitted. some employers ask candidates to submit a handwritten piece on a management topic. and ability to communicate in clear English. but is a controversial technique in the UK. organisation. colour perception and hearing. Best marks are obtained by candidates who produce the largest volume of appropriate written output. remind the group if necessary. • Keep a careful eye on the time. How to go about it: • It may be possible to take the in-tray apart and sort it into heaps. As well as general fitness. set timescales. Related tests of ‘potential for proficiency’ (trainability) assess characteristics such as hand–eye and may take time.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Mentally ‘stand back’ occasionally and evaluate what’s happening. You may be asked to respond quickly (in timed conditions) to a number of typical questions or issues that may crop up in a job and say what you would do and how you would prioritise tasks. you’ll be maximising your chance of success. Staffing issues are most likely to spring this trap. • Look for links within an in-tray. decisionmaking. By taking the trouble to reflect and to prepare. make reporting and follow-up clear.

open. Kogan To find out Kogan Page.prospects. Byron (2003) How to pass the Civil Service Qualifying Tests.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Further resources For giving presentations. Yate (2005) Great Answers to Tough Interview 91 . Kogan Page. Parkinson (2004) How to master Psychometric If you are an OU student look at the ‘Moving on’ section on the Prospects website at: visit our website at www. The OU careers website at: M. ask for the OU Toolkit on Presentations from your regional centre or look under Study Strategies for the link to Student Toolkits at:

05 .

visit our website at www. The issues of whether. strategies to help you in your job search and further resources that you may find helpful. when or how you should do so.6 5.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Equality and Diversity Issues In this section discrimination Pause for thought Keep in mind that disclosure of personal information during the recruitment process can be a concern for some people. To find out more. go to www. Each section includes a discussion of some of the issues you may encounter. the legal position. the same principles of career planning and job seeking apply to and you will often see this highlighted in job advertisements. In fact. on a covering letter. Many employers have well-developed equal opportunities policies to help them to recruit a diverse workforce. some organisations aim specifically to recruit a workforce that reflects the community they serve.4 before or during an interview will be considered later in Section 5. on your application form. This section will explore a range of issues related to equality of opportunity in relation to • age • criminal record • disability or additional requirements • gender/sex • race • sexuality and sexual orientation. In this section we highlight some of the additional challenges that may be faced by students and graduates.7 Age 94 Criminal record 95 Disability or additional requirements 96 Gender/sex 98 Race 100 Sexuality and sexual orientation 101 Religion or belief 102 Regardless of their background. For more information and links on job-seeking strategies when facing discrimination.5 5.2 5.3 5.1 5. 93 .ac. there is evidence that certain groups of people are at a disadvantage and may experience difficulty in achieving their career aims.prospects.

‘Yes. You may need to allow some time for appropriate arrangements to be made. Then contact the Careers Advisory Service in your region to get help with your marketing plan. hone your CV to highlight that ‘extra’ you can offer to enhance your application. 5.. you need to present your experience and skills positively and highlight your ‘added value’. If you haven’t had any recent work experience (paid or voluntary). having completed your degree. Employers are looking for more than a qualification. Braille or large So. as a mature graduate. we will be happy to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs.1. or contact your local OU Careers Advisory Service. This may feel unfair. if you need any information in an alternative format such as an audio recording. This is where you are able. please contact your regional centre who will arrange this.1 Your rights By October 2006. This should also help you to feel confident about what you can offer to the workplace. It’s not enough to think that because you have completed a part-time degree.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 5. which you might like to discuss with a careers adviser. especially when you have used all your spare time to get the degree in the first place. Remember.1 Note here any issues that could affect you at work. selection procedures in large organisations are being reviewed. and paid work. then you could consider exploring your local options. you have a degree and. Employers vary a great deal in their attitudes towards age and recruitment and with the increasing numbers of mature and overseas applicants offering a wide range of qualifications and experience. look at the Careers Advisory Service website for contacts for volunteering opportunities. For instance. to offer a range of transferable skills and experience to an employer. disability.. So. 94 To find out more.1 Age Are you concerned that. visit our website at www. Having a degree is not enough to secure a job. If you have additional requirements that may lead to difficulties accessing any of our services. that you are automatically going to be offered a job.’. 5. there will be legislation in force in the UK that will ensure that anti-age-discrimination will become as much an offence as discrimination against race. The Employers Forum on Age states that ‘being an employer of choice in an environment with an ageing population means ensuring that employment policies and practices are attractive to all age groups’.2 How to help yourself in the job market Take a look at Section 4 on applying for jobs. plan ahead and make use of the study breaks and any contacts you have to find out all you can about the area of work you are interested in. your age will count against you in the job market? 5. sexual orientation and religion. For . They are saying. juggling study and home responsibilities.

and archive work.2. • Fully research each employer. investment of time and 143 stamps and envelopes. you may be confused about its implications for working in the future. You can access the network at: www. • Demonstrate your flexibility and experience of studying and working in mixed-age environments. research. social work. and view life experience as an advantage e.g. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www.prospects. • Highlight your time teaching. For some areas To find out more. organisational and self-motivational Mature students – the way forward (AGCAS publication) is available at: www. Further resources For the latest information on age legislation 2006.realworldmagazine. you have just spent a number of years improving these through part-time study. • How. • Be confident if you are offered an interview as this means your CV/application form has obviously been AdvantAGE – A magazine published by ‘realworld’ to help ‘mature’ students to take control of their future. 5. including a section for mature students.g. • What impact a criminal record will have on your gaining and keeping (A level playing field. • Demonstrate your experience when making effective business decisions and give examples. Be prepared to produce more than one CV. • Identify the skills you developed in previous work.taen. some areas of work look for maturity. • Stress your ability to hit the ground running – you know all about working for a living. studies and general life experience e.prospects. psychotherapy.2 Criminal record If you have a criminal record.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Many OU graduates have changed careers in midlife. communication. Available for reference in your regional centre or at: www. good targeting and carefully written documentation. counselling. Nonetheless. occupational therapy.asp Age diversity at work – A practical guide for business. or need. work and earn for as long as they want. go to Employers Forum on Age at: www. Some of your concerns may include: • Whether you must declare any convictions. loyalty and confidence to manage change. visit our website at 95 . And you must be determined and active in your approach. adaptability. • Create your own network using contacts from previous jobs/friends/ teamwork.agepositive. Here are some tips from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) to help you maximise your potential for job seeking: • Produce a concise CV and match your experience to the job starting by using the company website (if there is one available). when and if to disclose a conviction to a prospective 5. it’s vital – whatever your aims – to research your chosen area thoroughly and market yourself effectively. • Use positive language in applications and interviews and never apologise for your some have started new careers in their 50s. Don’t be put off by negative reactions if at first you don’t succeed! One graduate wrote: My method worked because of planning. You do need to be clear about what you want and what you can A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair The Third Age Employment Network (TAEN) works for better opportunities for mature people to continue to learn.efa. Most employers will be impressed by your commitment and motivation! Indeed.1 Your rights Do note that there are legal requirements regarding disclosure of certain convictions. to do so. Published by Age Positive at: • Convey your reliability. AGCAS) Tell employers about your skills and what you have had to do to get an OU qualification.

Part II of the DDA is intended to prevent discrimination against disabled people at work and in recruitment. They define rights for disabled A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. Here is a range of strategies to help you: • Discuss your situation with a careers adviser at your regional centre. Discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment. • Be realistic about the employment area you wish to enter. Before you start studying for a specific career The Apex Trust – support. or applying for jobs. You count as disabled according to the Act if you have ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. but smaller companies with lesser funds may not have to do so. as defined by the Act. • Make use of other agencies that can help and advise you. and then to consider the next steps as outlined 96 To find out more. promotion. it can seem a challenging task to seek employment. in the past. supervising or being in sole charge of persons aged under eighteen’. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments both to the workplace and to the job description. These may include adjusting premises.2 How to help yourself in the job market If you have unspent convictions. and so must the finances of the employer. such as ‘regularly caring for.nacro. training.drc-gb. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. and what funding is available from other sources.2. particularly in relation to employment and access to goods. including It does not apply to employers who employ workers on board ships or Further resources Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) at: www. You can access them at: www. For some students. including a section for offenders.3. those who have recurring or progressive .apextrust. without the need for specific adjustments or support. Employers must show that they have looked into the costs of visit our website at www. This covers people who have had a disability. training and selection for redundancy or dismissal. and people with severe disfigurements. The key starting point is to explore career areas that are relevant to your interests and Planning and Job Seeking Workbook of work. Keep in mind that there are certain jobs for which convictions never become spent. 5.disclosurescotland. do check the legal situation carefully.1 Your rights The Disability Discrimination Acts (DDA) of 1995 and 2005 make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you whether you are applying for a job or are in employment. 5. information and advice for ex-offenders seeking work at: www. additional support can help to enable access to Scottish Criminal Record Office (Scotland) at: www. You can find out more from the Disability Rights Commission: Disability Rights Commission www. employers are required to seek disclosure of criminal records from the relevant criminal records office. All employers are covered except for the armed Large companies will probably be expected to adapt the workplace. • Market yourself as positively as possible (see Section 4). altering hours or buying equipment. The effectiveness of the adjustment in reducing the disadvantage must be taken into account. The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) publishes a number of advice leaflets. services and facilities.3 Disability or additional requirements Many students and graduates with disabilities have the same skills and abilities to offer as anyone else. You should always point this out to employers. However. You will be able to describe things in a positive light – your 97 . look for employers who make these kinds of positive statements even if they don’t use the disability symbol. • Referral where appropriate to specialist Jobcentre Plus programmes for disabled people including: Job Introduction Scheme (JIS) – To help you and an employer with employment costs for the first few weeks if you or your employer is not sure whether a job may be suitable. Here are some reasons why it might be a good a idea to not disclose your disability • You may believe that your disability has no effect on your ability to do the job. Here are some reasons why it might be a good idea to disclose your disability • Some employers are keen to employ people with disabilities and use the disability symbol – this shows they are positive about employing disabled staff. If you give false information and an employer finds out the truth later. the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 entitles you to take your case to a tribunal.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. Access to Work – a Jobcentre Plus programme (see below) can provide support for you in a job. 5. Many application forms ask about disability and health. The majority of disabled jobseekers who find work through Jobcentre Plus are assisted by a disability employment adviser (DEA).3. you will need to consider the method and timing. training and self-employment. • Don’t restrict your applications only to employers who are keen to recruit disabled people. Services the DEAs can offer include: • An employment assessment to identify what work or training suits you best. • A job matching and referral service. • Referral where appropriate to a work preparation programme. There are now over 400 member companies in the Employers’ Forum on Disability www. • You might feel that you will be discriminated against and rejected straight away. • Information on employers in your area who are Disability Symbol users. it may fund specialist equipment or transport costs.3.employers-forum.3 Resources for employment and training Jobcentre Plus Jobcentre Plus is a network of jobcentres provided by the government to offer information to all adults on or look up Jobcentre Plus in the Yellow Pages. For instance. When you apply for jobs and you are considering whether to disclose your disability: • Always focus on what you can do. Do you tell them on your application form? In a covering letter? Before or after an interview? There are no clear-cut answers to these • Don’t assume that an employer will view your disability in a negative Each is committed to creating and developing opportunities for people with disabilities. So. • You may think that an employer will automatically see you as a potential expense. If you do decide to disclose your disability. look at the website: www. Access to Work – Can help you make the most of your opportunities in work by helping you to tackle some of the practical obstacles you may meet at work if you have a disability. the DEA can provide advice to you and your employer and explore practical ways to help you keep your job. not what you can’t. Specialist DEAs can discuss your current employment situation with you to plan the best way into work. • Referral if needed to an occupational psychologist. To find your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. Many employers have equal opportunities policies. though you may find it helpful to talk it over with a careers adviser at your regional centre. many employers do not use the symbol but there may be practical evidence that they are positive about disability – such as offering information in alternative formats and alternative ways of contacting them. your coping strategies. visit our website at www. • • • • • To find out more. If you declare your disability and believe that you have been discriminated against during the application process. • Perhaps you prefer not to discuss your disability with a stranger. If you’re concerned about losing the job you’re already in for a reason associated with disability. you risk losing your job. You must make your own judgement.jobcentreplus.2 How to help yourself in the job market You may need to decide whether or not to tell an employer that you have a disability.

published by AGCAS and available online at: www.adp. There is also an interactive web-based service providing dedicated information. 5.prospects. Employers are not required to provide the same pay and benefits if they can prove that the difference in pay or benefits is genuinely due to a reason other than one related to sex. Look in the ‘A-Z’ under ‘Disability’ for further resources. and graduate case studies. • Details about work-based learning for adults. Disabled students’ allowances (DSAs) Disabled students’ allowances (DSAs) are grants available to disabled students in higher education to help with the extra costs of services and facilities they need for their studies because of a disability or specific learning difficulty. academics involved in work placements and prospective employers: A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. or • work that is proved to be of equal value. available for reference in each regional Further resources Association of Disabled Professionals at: www. The OU provides information about DSAs on the website at: www. It also prohibits discrimination in employment against married people. needing time off work for parenting 5. there is still a 15 per cent pay gap between male and female graduates by the age of 24 – even when they have the same qualifications in the same subject.4.) The Equal Pay Act 1970 (EPA) gives an individual a right to the same contractual pay and benefits as a person of the opposite sex in the same and in to request flexible The Open University Careers Advisory Service web pages have some useful links. where the man and the woman are doing • like work. and looking for flexible working arrangements. (You might also want to check whether a prospective employer has an equal opportunities There is a lot of discussion about the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from achieving ‘top jobs’.4 Gender/sex Does it make a difference if you are a man or a woman when applying for a job? Unfortunately.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook WORKSTEP – Individual programme of support through a variety of different job opportunities – leading to unsupported employment. 98 To find out more. The EPA applies to yes: despite the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).disabilitytoolkits. including a section on disability. If you live outside the UK you will need to check the legal position for your country of residence. advice and resources for students with The Hobson’s guide for Disabled Students – This is a free annual publication for disabled students.disabled-entrepreneurs. facilities and services and in the disposal or management of this can help you in presenting yourself in your application for work. It’s important that you are aware of the issues concerning sex and gender discrimination – at both recruitment or • work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study. education. includes employers’ case studies. and the provision of Diversity Works at: SKILL – The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – has a large range of relevant information sources: www.1 Your rights (The following information is from the EOC website. June 2003.skill. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of employment.) Other equality issues that you might encounter include harassment at visit our website at Disabled Entrepreneurs Network: www. • Information on local and national disability organisations of and for disabled people. and disabled children under the necessity for a work/life balance is highlighted by the legal right for mothers and fathers of children under 6. www. Times are changing: for instance. If you check on the legal situation. and in employment. and in ongoing communication with your we still find gender discrimination in the workplace. which came into force in the UK on 6 April 2003. Wales and Scotland.

There are no express provisions prohibiting discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in the other fields covered by the SDA.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Victimisation because someone has tried to exercise their rights under the SDA or Equal Pay Act is also prohibited. For instance. it is not To find out more. For instance. there is a good argument that the general definition of sex discrimination prohibits this. • Break free of male and female stereotypes. A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination.eoc.worklifebalancecentre.2 Direct sex discrimination Direct sex discrimination is where a woman (or man) is treated less favourably than a person of the opposite sex in comparable circumstances because of her (or his) sex. The EPA has been interpreted to cover indirect sex discrimination as well as direct discrimination. irrespective of 99 .ac. • Make public services relevant to the differing needs of men and women. an unnecessary requirement to be under 5’ 10” would discriminate against men. Employment-related claims are brought in an employment tribunal. Therefore. This is especially important if you are looking to enter a field of employment that is traditionally dominated by the opposite sex. • End sexual harassment at work. Indirect discrimination is where the pay difference is due to a condition or practice that applies to men and women but which adversely affects a considerably larger proportion of one sex than the other and it is not justifiable. There are special provisions about discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment.5 How to help yourself in the job market So. However. • Concentrate on your strengths. including children and prohibits direct and indirect sex discrimination. how can you help prevent discrimination against yourself – whether you are female or male – in the job market? Here are a few suggestions: • Plan your application effectively in order to minimise the possibility of unfair discrimination. The EOC campaigns to: • Close the pay gap between women and irrespective of sex.4 Discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment With certain exceptions. You can access this at: www. 5.3 Indirect sex discrimination Indirect sex discrimination is where a condition or practice is applied to both sexes but it adversely affects a considerably larger proportion of one sex than the other. 10 – Top Careers for Women – careers publication focusing on issues relating to graduate women in the labour market. • Secure comprehensive equality legislation in Europe. and this will help to counter any negative stereotypes that may exist. there are special provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment in employment. • Provide clear evidence of your ability to do the a requirement to work full-time might be unlawful discrimination against women.prospects. one type of direct sex discrimination is sexual harassment. 5. visit our website at www. Strict time limits to apply that condition or practice.6 Resources for employment and training Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is the leading agency working to eliminate sex discrimination in the UK. to apply a condition or practice. • Increase the number of women in public life. England. 5. 5. • Discuss your application with a careers adviser in your regional centre. • Make it easier for parents to balance work with family Work life balance centre – available at: www. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. another is treating a woman adversely because she is pregnant. including a section on gender.4.4. although there is not yet any legal authority on this point. Three months (less one day) from the act of the discrimination for employment tribunal cases. Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission at: www. The SDA applies to women and men of any age. Part I of the SDA describes the forms of discrimination to which the SDA applies.4. Scotland and Wales.

colour and nationality are protected by the law.5. March 2003 5. but people of every background. 5. 5.5. it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different racial group who.5. In general.5 Time limits Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for filing your case at an employment tribunal or court. But too many members of ethnic minority communities are being left behind. This is recognised by the UK government: The Race Relations Act identifies three main types of racial discrimination: • direct racial discrimination • indirect racial discrimination • victimisation. These cover grounds of race. visit our website at www. racial equality councils. in similar circumstances. to target employers. and national or ethnic origin. you have the right under the amended Act to take your complaint before an employment or to one of a number of other organisations such as trade unions. Racist abuse and harassment are also forms of direct discrimination. or work at an appropriate level to their qualifications. nationality (including citizenship). law centres. If you think you have been discriminated against on racial grounds. so don’t delay. Some ethnic minority groups have done well in the education system and in the labour market.5. 5.4 Victimisation Victimisation has a special legal meaning in the Race Relations Act. has been treated more favourably than you. 5.1 Your rights The Race Relations Act 1976 (which was amended in 2000) makes it illegal to treat a person less favourably than others on racial grounds. This happens when a person is treated less favourably because they have complained about racial discrimination or supported someone else who has. So. Government initiatives take time to implement however. you have three months to file an employment case and six months to file a case in the county court or sheriff court. most racial discrimination in Britain is against people from minority ethnic groups.3 Indirect racial discrimination Indirect racial discrimination occurs when a person from a particular racial group is less likely to be able to comply with a requirement or condition that applies to everyone but which cannot be justified.5. The report proposes a fresh approach to address the many barriers that can get in the way of success in jobs and careers. you can apply to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). the amended Act gives you the right to take your complaint before an employment tribunal or a county court (or sheriff court in Scotland). colour. Tony Blair.5. despite legislation.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. and you want to prove it. If you think this has happened to you. discrimination continues to exist for students from minority ethnic groups who do meet barriers to getting work. ‘white graduates were more likely than those from minority ethnic groups to be in full-time paid work and less likely to be unemployed six months following graduation’. In March 2003. If you are thinking of bringing a case of racial . And even those individuals who achieve academic success do not necessarily reap the rewards in the workplace that their qualifications merit. or when applying for work. citizens advice bureaux and other advice agencies.5 Race According to research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. and you need to plan your own job-seeking strategies to maximise your opportunities.2 Direct racial discrimination Direct racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. In practice. the UK government launched a new strategy to remove the barriers to employment success for job-seekers from minority ethnic backgrounds. and to challenge unfair discrimination? Here are some suggestions: 100 To find out more. in 2004. for help. If you think you have been discriminated against at work.6 How to help yourself in the job market So what can and should you do to market yourself. 5.

which apply to the Sex Discrimination Act (1997). when to. Race for Opportunity is a plus details of work experience and career-enhancement programmes www. Includes job-hunting 5. Their website is: www.bitc.6 Sexuality and sexual orientation Are you worried about possible discrimination in the workplace because of your sexuality? Whether to.6.5. Find out more about the unit at: www. The amendments. You will need to consider how comfortable you will be in an area of work where you are not open about your sexuality.2 Transsexuals In May 5. 5. Further resources KAL – Careers publication for students from minority ethnic groups (formerly Kaleidoscopic). application forms and covering letters.4). You can ask for a copy of the policy before applying for a job. • Discuss your plans and approach with a careers adviser in your regional and this will depend on your own experience and lifestyle.3 How to help yourself in the job market There are a number of measures that you can take to help yourself in the job market: • Many employers now have Equal Opportunities Policies that include lesbians and gay men.blackandasiangrad. National Mentoring Consortium Unit The National Mentoring Consortium Unit works with employers. You can log onto their website at: www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Make use of Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ to prepare your marketing tools. vacancies. universities and schools to support learners from minority ethnic TeacherWorld UK TeacherWorld UK provides information and support for teachers (and those intending to teach) from minority ethnic backgrounds. Scotland and Wales. run by BITC. This relates to England. available for reference in your regional centre or at www. students and If the EOP is incorporated into your contract you might be able to directly rely upon 5.1 Your rights The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in 5. formally made illegal a whole catalogue of discrimination against transsexual people in employment. the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 came into force in the To find out more. • Develop contacts and make the most of your networking skills.6. You can find more information at the Press for Change website (see Section 101 .nmc-online. • Check if the organisation is a member of Business in the Community (BITC) www.7 Resources for employment and training Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is the national organisation for monitoring racial Black and Asian Graduates –The UK’s official website for black and Asian graduates. For advice on finding positive employers take a look at: Contact them for information on legal issues. It holds an annual careers day for black and Asian students and graduates. especially public sector and large private employers. your CV.6. Target employers with a reputation for good equal opportunity policy and practice. visit our website at www. Windsor Fellowship The Windsor Fellowship is a charitable organisation that offers skills development programmes to undergraduates and graduates from minority ethnic groups. • Many employers have sub-groups for minority ethnic and how much to disclose to a potential employer and to work colleagues is of course a matter of personal choice. that is dedicated to ethnic minority • Understand the relevant legal situation.teacherworld. campaigns and services as well as vacancies in the commission Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) www.

The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) were introduced to protect against discrimination in employment and vocational training in England.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Consider joining a trade union where you will receive support and legal advice. age or disability. the support of a trade union can protect you where the legislation doesn’t. these employers are at the cutting edge of innovation in business and public service. gay men and bisexual people and launched Diversity Champions in 5. unless the employer can show that there is a legitimate business need. • If your employer recognises more than one days when they choose to interview. www. The most usual ways in which employers may discriminate might be around the way in which they recruit new staff. Scotland and Wales and similar regulations were also introduced in Northern Ireland. gay men. and Diversity Champions allows employers to focus on the new challenges and opportunities for addressing issues of diversity in the workplace. to discriminate directly or indirectly against IBM (UK and Ireland) says: 5. sexual Regard – the national organisation of disabled lesbians. If you encounter Press for Change Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission www. At IBM we employ the best people irrespective of religion. through legislation and social change Gay Business Association A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. including a section on sexuality and sexual orientation. gender. It is also unlawful to harass or bully someone because of their religion or belief. bisexuals and transgender 102 To find out more. A number of motions passed at TUC conferences have made it clear that all affiliated unions should adhere to equal opportunities for lesbians and gay men.prospects. staff development or training days clashing with days of worship or festivals and promotion. where they In December 2003. visit our website at • Find out about employers who belong to the Diversity Champions group set up by Stonewall in 2001. You should be aware that many organisations now do take proactive measures to promote flexible and integrated working through surveys and staff development and training to promote inclusion and raise awareness. which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the contact their headquarters to check which is the most progressive on lesbian and gay issues: some produce specific material and some have lesbian and gay groups. This is a forum in which employers work with Stonewall to encourage diversity in the workplace. on the grounds of religion or General Manager. www. Larry Hirst. Published by AGCAS and available online at www.4 Resources for employment and training Stonewall Stonewall works to achieve legal equality and social justice for lesbians.dircon. Usually. Under the new regulations it is . Working with Stonewall enables us to share and learn best practice from others and to ensure IBM is an inclusive and positive company in our dealings with employees and customers alike.7 Religion or belief I greatly value IBM’s participation in the Diversity Champions race.

uk/docs/RFO_Religion. it doesn’t necessarily mean that the employer doesn’t care about this. 5.lowpay. it is important (as is the case with all job applications and career decisions) to research jobs and organisations to ensure that they are right for you. • Read the information in the recruitment It is unlikely that you will find questions relating to religion or belief on an application form (other than for equal opportunity monitoring) or that you would come across it in an Managing the New Legislation on Religion and Belief www. keep up to date on the law and your • Speak to the equality and diversity officer.pdf To find out more. Alternatively.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook If this is an area that is of concern to you. Further resources The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 www. if this is a concern for you.bitc.1 Disclosure The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) do not impose a duty on individuals to tell an employer or prospective employer about their religion or if the organisation has one. • Look out for employee profiles on employer websites. As it is recent legislation. there is very little case law at present – greater understanding of how the legislation is interpreted and practised will come with time. Disclosure is a personal decision that will be influenced by a number of factors (you may want some reassurance before you apply or before you accept a job) and you may want to discuss in more detail with a careers adviser before you decide what to visit our website at www. someone from human resources may be able to 103 . Does it include information about equality and diversity? If not.7. unless it is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR). In the meantime. But how do you know this? • Look out for race equality schemes/equality and diversity policies.


Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook

The next steps
In this section 6.1 Open University Careers Advisory Service 105 6.2 Open University study materials 106 6.3 Other sources of help 107

When you’ve worked through this book there’s a lot to gain not only by reflecting and reconsidering things, but also by discussing them either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. You might want to arrange this through your regional centre.
As you clarify your objectives, you’ll be able to develop a plan of action. In order to achieve what you want, you may need to go through several smaller steps such as gaining particular experience or qualifications, gathering information or getting access to a particular resource. Look through the information and resources that we recommend. Remember that many of the resources listed are concerned primarily with the UK job market. Readers outside the UK should look at countries

6.1 OU Careers Advisory Service
The Open University Careers Advisory Service provides access to appropriate careers information, advice and guidance for prospective and current students and recent graduates. Ask your regional centre for a copy of the OU Careers Advisory Service Statement of Service, which outlines the range of services available, or you can view it on our website from the ‘About the OU Careers Advisory Service’ page. You may want to request an individual consultation with one of the OU’s careers advisers. This is usually conducted by telephone, and you can arrange this by contacting your regional centre. Some careers advisers may also be available at large regional events such as course choice meetings. Most one-week residential schools provide an opportunity to talk to a careers adviser.

6.1.1 Open University Careers Advisory Service website
Have a look at our website at: You can either work your way through the site or go straight to the sections that are of particular interest to you. (There are also links to other useful websites.) The site takes you through the various stages of planning your career, from analysing your potential to applying for jobs. The section ‘OU Study and your Career’ contains information on occupational areas linked to relevant OU courses and qualifications.

6.1.2 Career Advisory First Class Conference
All OU students have access to our online ‘Career Advisory Conference’ in FirstClass. We use this to post notices about events and any other careers information that is relevant to OU students. We also periodically run topic- or subject-based conferences where students can post questions and receive replies from a careers adviser – see: conferences

To find out more, visit our website at


Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook

6.1.3 Career Links
This is an OU networking scheme run by the Careers Advisory Service where OU students who want to enter a specific career can register as Career Seekers. They are then matched with a suitable Career Helper who is already working in that career and who can share their personal experiences. For more information and to register for Career Links visit

Applications and interviews: ‘Beyond nine to five’ (flexible working): Prospects website also includes the free online career planning tool ‘Prospects Planner’. This asks users to answer questions on a range of factors related to their career choice and a list of potential occupations is generated according to their responses. OU students may find it helpful to discuss their results with a careers adviser. You can access this at: Your regional centre may also be able to provide or suggest other sources of information.

6.1.4 Publications and information
There are also a number of useful publications and sources of careers information available to all students of The Open University. OU study and your career – Looking at the career benefits of OU study and how your choice of course may affect your career plans. You can ask your regional centre for a copy or download it from the careers website. Recognition leaflets – Information about external recognition of some OU qualifications, transferring credit, membership of UK professional bodies, funding and sources of support. See: You can also look at and/or download careers information written by members of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) on the Prospects website at: This includes information such as: Opportunities linked to your degree: Information about specific jobs: An overview of job sectors (for example, education, information technology, legal and social care): You will also find information on special interest topics, for example: Mature students:

6.2 Open University study materials
6.2.1 Y154 Open to change
The Openings programme of short introductory courses has been specially designed to give you a chance to ‘test the water’ before committing yourself to full undergraduate study. Y154 Open to change can help you to assess your skills and explore possibilities for further learning. The course is for people who are thinking about returning to education or training as well as those who are unemployed or hoping to get back into employment. The cost of the course is £85 (£99 from September 2006). Some financial assistance is available for students receiving state benefits. You will find more information about Open University courses on our website at


To find out more, visit our website at

3. You are advised to ring first. Some may be available for reference at your regional Look at the following website to find details of the nearest service to you: www.careerswales.guidancecouncil.egsa. look at these websites: England visit our website at Keep in mind that the extent of advice and guidance provided for adults varies and there may be charges for some of the but remember that you’re setting out on an exciting For details of adult advice and guidance services in the following countries.1 External guidance providers Other university careers services may be happy for OU students to use their information rooms. go to: Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland www. Further resources A list of further resources is given at the end of each section of this Finally You may have to cope with setbacks and Good luck and best wishes for your future! To find out more. To find out about services offered by the Open University library at Walton Scotland www. Look in larger libraries for other publications mentioned in this Other sources of help 107 . taking the first steps towards a new or resumed working life. with all its potential for improvement and Wales www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 6.

uk/careers .ac. visit our website at Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 108 To find out more.

uk/careers 109 visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more.

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open. visit our website at 111 .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 112 To find out more. visit our website at

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