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.


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

01 .

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

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’ll be asked to refer back to your lifeline later on. to help you think about the pattern of your life. Moved House HIGH POINT Secondary School Qualified (production engineer) Marriage Son Became management trainee (part time study.1 In this activity you’re going to draw a ‘lifeline’. You may find it useful to talk through any difficult emotions with someone you trust. 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. Another noted that all his positive job changes followed disappointments in his private life. such as education. and to discover aspects of yourself that you might want to develop or change. Activity 1. visit our website at www. consider it as a whole. 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. children. showing high and low points at different times of your life. Think about the feelings aroused by each experience and answer these questions.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. A third recognised someone else as consistently and unobtrusively acting as a mentor. retirement and so on. Example When you’ve drawn a lifeline that reflects your experiences. marriage. this activity revealed to one person that all her high points were associated with praise from others and her low points with geographical What am I like? 1. 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 This activity can help you to gather insights that can influence your future choices. Note down key events. noting any thoughts or ideas that occur to you: • What does the lifeline say about you and how you’ve lived your life? • Are there recognisable themes that have run through your life? • Is the pattern generally up or down? Is it steady or changeable? What sorts of incident were associated with the highs and lows? Are the highs generally associated with your own choices and the lows with the unexpected? Are there some experiences you cope with easily and others that really throw you? • Are there any lessons to be learnt? For instance. and to consider how your early history contributed to it. and he saw that each disappointment motivated him towards a change and offered opportunities.

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

1. things you do in your spare time. recent or a long time ago. visit our website at www.3 Looking back at your lifeline. passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student. passing your driving test on the fifth attempt may say a lot about your staying power and determination. For example.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. note the achievements you’re most proud of and what they say about . 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 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. Set them out in the table below. 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. They could be workrelated or to do with relationships. Activity 1. 10 To find out more.

Circle the ones that are particular strengths. listener or organiser).uk/careers 11 .1. If you are a parent.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. you develop skills of briefing and dealing with people as well as those of managing meetings. Activity 1. working group member. you need skills of learning. visit our website at www. You may be an employee (team leader. project manager). time management. as many skills are learnt outside paid work. You may be a parent (cook. By chairing meetings of a club. and so on. are you surprised at the number of things you do and take for granted every day? Look at the skills you’ve listed. Each role demands different skills. this is a particularly useful exercise if you have little work experience to draw on. My main roles 1 2 3 4 5 Pause for thought Looking at all your roles. Again. you have needed to develop skills of budgeting. If you enjoy DIY. delegating. gardener and household manager). communication and keeping to schedules. How do you feel about them? Which do you most enjoy using? How could you use them in work? To find out more. As a student. You may take part in voluntary work (counsellor. time management.4 Now complete the table below. 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.

ac. they need not be barriers to the future.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Activity 1. personal characteristics or interests. what would you now say are your main strengths and weaknesses? They can be . What have you learnt about yourself? Bringing some of your answers together. My main strengths 1 2 3 4 5 6 My main weaknesses 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 To find out more. visit our website at www. but your spare-time activities could help you to demonstrate skills and qualities.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. It’s easy to forget that leisure activities can give us as many skills and abilities as work. 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. Remember that strengths can be built on for the future and weaknesses can be reduced by your efforts. What are the possibilities in your interests? Swimming? DIY? Photography? Have you held positions of responsibility in any of them? What have you contributed to your household for instance? Can you see any interests or hobbies that might be helpful to future work plans? For example.

2 What work would suit me? Now that you’ve spent some time considering the skills and qualities you’ve developed through experience. or you may prefer something that can give you a better balance between work and home life.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. You have some concern about doing well and making progress. you would always put work first and aim high in your Activity 1. At the lower end of the scale. You may have found yourself in a post that takes over and leaves little time for family life. visit our website at www. you need to be clear about how important work is to you. the stronger your ambition.2. The next activity can help you to think about this. This is something that varies from person to person. and might be seen as ‘laid back’. for example. If you don’t have much experience of paid work. 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. but you don’t let work rule your life. have little concern about getting on in your 13 .ac. 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.1 How big a part of my life is work? Before considering what you want to do. 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. even workaholic. think about your approach to activities or projects. How does this feel? Is it right for you or would you like to change this aspect of your life? To find out more. or you might avoid positions that regularly eat into your leisure time. If you have a more central score You keep a balance between work and leisure. If you scored +20. You might be highly ambitious. you would put your social life before work. it’s time to think about work. 1.

delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’. note the range of tasks or activities you had to do. or how well you perform particular activities in comparison with other people. make a similar list of unpaid or voluntary experience for helping readers at school. You will have learnt a huge amount through work (whether paid. and you might want to come back to it unpaid or voluntary) by noticing how you feel about different tasks and respond to work situations. 2 For each job. Many will be ‘transferable skills’ that you can use in other situations.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.7 1 List the jobs you’ve had. 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. with dates. what factors seemed important in deciding to take it up? 3 For each job. You may also have learnt from others. fundraising for a charity or involvement in a conservation project. either through formal appraisal or from informal comments and reactions. 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.2. note how it came about. The activity may take some time. Activity 1. 4 Did you have to deal with any difficulties? 5 Which tasks or activities did you find most .2 What work experience have I had? Most people would agree that work experience is very important when considering future directions. and will be useful when preparing for interviews (see Section 4). If you have limited or no experience of paid employment. Did you volunteer or were you directed into it? If you had some choice. 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. The next activity helps you to explore your experience.

open. apply this to whatever activity has taken up a lot of your time. To find out more. 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. Work through each role in the list. leave it blank. put a tick beside it. Circle any that describe you particularly. completing an application form or attending an interview (which you will cover in more detail in Section 4). All the words describe positive qualities. 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. visit our website at www. If work hasn’t been a major part of your life.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. cross it 15 .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. Does it sound like you? If it comes to you easily. Activity 1. if it isn’t a usual role for you.8 Some work roles and areas of competence are listed below.2. If you’re not sure or if it’s only partly

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) Equable. 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. More Plan ahead and keep to it (t) Stickler for detail or accuracy (t) Easy mixer. Try to use the full range of ratings from 5 (much more so than most) to 1 (much less so than most).2. Again.4 What sort of person am I to work with? Your personality affects your style of operating in the workplace and the way you respond to Work through the following descriptions. circling your position on the scale. 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 . come in top (f) Like persuading. visit our website at www. deciding how you compare with other people. caring for others (s) Always like to win. think more generally about your life if your workplace experiences are limited.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. Activity 1. act independently (s) More practical than theoretical (t) Determined (f) negotiating (s) Tend to worry.

The better you know yourself. to do with your approach to work tasks (t). the more opportunities you create for finding a situation that will suit you. but you do need to take your own traits into account. A work situation that suits a very sociable person won’t suit someone who prefers to work alone. While one is reserved. If you think about your colleagues you’ll be aware how they differ from each other. some people are at ease giving a presentation while others find it very nerveracking.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 17 . There’s no right or wrong and to do with your drives and emotions (f).open.9 continued Now look over your ratings. visit our website at www. Pause for thought What have you learnt about your typical way of operating? What kind of work situation would be likely to suit you? To find out more. Where did you score the most highly? Or did you score evenly across the three categories? For instance. one is a stickler for detail while another is not too concerned about fine accuracy. another is very chatty and communicative. You can group them into those to do with relating to people and social situations (s).

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

words flowing easily 4 Drawing people out.11 This activity will help you to assess your skills in more detail. reliably perform better than average Good level. not usually adequate No significant level of skills Communication Rating 1 19 . Try to use the full range of ratings. outstanding performance High level. giving a presentation 6 Using the telephone effectively: few misunderstandings 7 Reading efficiently: readily taking in written information 8 Writing effectively. visit our website at just acceptable skills Very basic level.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. Consider how well you can carry out each one in comparison with other people. to encourage them to speak 5 Commanding an audience. ability to convey information without confusion 3 Fluent speech. 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. taking in what others say and checking your understanding of the information 2 Clear verbal Be as honest as you can both in admitting lack of skill and in acknowledging your competence. 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. often referred to as ‘employability’ or ‘transferable skills’. generally able to do it quite well Reasonable level. The activity is grouped into skills which are of particular importance to employers.

visit our website at www. encouraging. 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. taking account of this in dealing with them 2 Getting on with a variety of people and building up working relationships 3 Instructing. chairing a meeting 6 getting the best out of others 7 Counselling: helping with personal problems 8 Negotiating: mediating. motivating.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Dealing with people 1 Showing sensitivity to the feelings and needs of . teaching or coaching others 4 Delegating and managing others 5 Leading a work group. assessing or appraising 10 Persuading. dealing with conflict 9 uses and sources of loan finance 12 Operating costing system Rating Total score 20 To find out more.

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Thinking and analysis 1 Using critical path analysis 2 Using statistics 3 Logical thinking. hand-eye coordination 10 Understanding physical sciences 11 Understanding engineering 12 Maintaining or repairing complex equipment Rating Total score To find out estimating orders or probability 7 Flow-charting 8 Rational decision-making 9 Carrying out analysis and evaluation 10 Researching and gathering information 11 Carrying out mathematical operations 12 Carrying out stock or inventory control Rating Total score Technical/practical 1 Competence in using tools and technical equipment 2 Understanding data-processing equipment 3 Applying craft or technical ability 4 Aptitude for diagnosing mechanical or electrical faults 5 Constructing or assembling materials or equipment 6 Understanding current technical developments 7 Using laboratory equipment 8 Dealing with tangible. visit our website at 21 . practical problems 9 Using manual dexterity. working out implications 4 Applying critical ability in recognising potential weakness or problems 5 Making logical use of facts or information 6 Using mental 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. 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. intuitive or imaginative 6 Developing others’ products or ideas 7 Writing with imagination or creativity 8 Seeing new possibilities or openings 9 Appreciating new or unconventional aspects 10 Visualising: imagining how something will look 11 Working creatively with shapes. filing system or recording procedures Rating Total score 22 To find out more. events or courses 5 Being .ac. visit our website at www. systems.

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

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

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 Opportunity to use skills Most of us enjoy using and developing our skills and competence. Too little About right Too much Respect Most of us like to be thought well of and respected by others. chatting over coffee or working in a Too little About right Too much Goals People function best when there are demands to be met. for example) can be stressful. but it’s stimulating to have some change and variation in the work environment. repetitive.7 How well does my present (or last) job meet my needs? Activity 1. Too little About right Too much Clear boundaries A work situation where boundaries aren’t clear can cause uncertainty and conflict. visit our website at www. 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. For work satisfaction it’s important to feel that there’s some match between your contribution and the position you 25 . inadequate income causes many problems and dissatisfactions. targets to be achieved.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.13 To complete your examination of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. consider the following. but most of us get satisfaction from being with others. Too little About right Too much Social contact Everyone’s need for contact is different. complicated demands repeatedly made on us can be stressful. Money Too little About right Too much Opportunity for control Simple. being in a tightly defined job can feel restricting. Note any ideas that occur to you. closely controlled work is generally far from satisfying.2. but on the other hand having a high level of responsibility (being a managing director. We all have our own preferred level of demand. Too little Adequate Well paid Variety Individuals differ in the amount of variety they prefer. Circle the level that applies to your present or most recent job. To find out more. challenges to rise to. Equally. But having very high-level.

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

It’s not a question of your ability or qualifications.15 Look through these kinds of work and consider whether you would like to carry each one out. Try to imagine whether you’d like doing the others or not. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. You will have had experience of some of them. visit our website at www. Activity 1. Assume that you could do the activity if you wanted to. Interests are to do with the things you find most appealing or enjoyable. but only of your own 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. Tick Yes. you also need to consider your 27 .ac.

ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity .15 continued Yes 22 Instruct computer users on procedures 23 Coordinate work of audit staff 24 Brief sales staff 25 Design new technical equipment 26 Collect and collate information 27 Supervise warehouse staff 28 Report on legal matters affecting the organisation 29 Set up a staff-grievance procedure 30 Plan equipment-maintenance schedules 31 Review data-processing installations 32 Monitor productivity of operations 33 Analyse effectiveness of advertising 34 Organise scientific research 35 Design publicity leaflets 36 Monitor productivity of operations 37 Implement new administrative procedures 38 Investigate staff turnover problems 39 Monitor laboratory testing services 40 Write computer documentation 41 Brief colleagues on effects of taxation changes 42 Report on sales performance 43 Produce design specifications 44 Manage external relations 45 Supervise a building-maintenance programme 46 Take minutes of meetings 47 Prepare a staff handbook 48 Carry out an energy usage audit 49 Deal with computing problems Not sure No 28 To find out more. visit our website at

43. 22. 16. 24.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. 11. 29 . 39. 41. 36. 49 Questions 5. 19. 46 Questions 2. 18. 37. 47 Questions 3. 35. visit our website at www. 23. 14. 40. 34. 13. 31. 12. 26. 21. 48 Questions 4. 51 Questions 7. 44. 27. 52 Questions 8. 30. 54 To find out more. 29. 38.15 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. 53 Questions 9. 33. 50 Questions 6. 10. 25. 20. 45. 28. 32.

It might be that you work or have worked in your highest-scoring area and enjoyed it.g. recruitment manager C Technical support e. The list of interests we’ve considered in this activity reflects common graduate and managerial areas of work. craft and natural environment areas. playing a musical visit our website at www. transport planner.g. and motivations. Alternatively. This is an online career-planning tool that will help you explore your do take account of them in considering your future. but it will give you a starting point to explore areas of work that may interest you.g. production manager Write in your total score for each group. like similar programs. the pattern may suggest a move to a different area of work. doesn’t tell you what you should do. Simply click on Login/Register in the My Prospects account box on the home page and go from there. management accountant. database administrator E Accounting/finance e.g. architect H Information/communication e.15 continued What your scores mean Your scores relate to different kinds of work activity: Score A Administrative/legal/secretarial e. sales manager G Scientific/engineering/research and design e.g. even if in a different kind of organisation. librarian. 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. interpreter I Operational/production/distribution e. The result may be no surprise.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. health service manager B Personnel/training/education e. dancing. charity First. If so. laboratory technician D Data processing e. It doesn’t include artistic. interests. .g. tax inspector F Marketing/sales/purchasing e. If you have interests outside this ‘managerial scheme’. Access Prospects Planner via the Prospects website by logging on to: www.prospects. nor those that depend on performance skills such as acting. IT consultant. electronics engineer.16 You may also find it useful to work through Prospects Planner.g.g.g. Prospects Planner. quality assurance manager. Before carrying on. this is a reassuring confirmation and suggests that you should consider continuing in that or related work. you’ll need to register. 30 To find out more. Use Section 2 of this workbook to help you research the results you have got in the above activities. Activity 1. primary teacher. It will then match your profile with an occupational database to produce a list of job suggestions for you to consider. retail buyer.

ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Review Read through the results of your work and reflect on the notes you’ve made. visit our website at www. or you might prefer to move on to the possibilities that this knowledge could open up for you in Section 2. you may want to look at Section 6 ‘The next steps’.uk/careers 31 . Now complete the summary chart below. When you’ve done that. 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 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.

uk/careers . visit our website at travel.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. 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. etc. organisational structure. and the kind of environment you’d like What other aspects are important to me? Write down any other factors that are important to such as location.

Windmills consists of seven stages or ‘tactics’. You may find it useful to complete this section before you book an Whichever route you choose. It covers job roles at all levels of responsibility rather than those just at graduate level as covered by Prospects general and specialist skills analyses • Tactic 2: Finding your ideal job – includes a motivation assessment You can access the website at: 33 . 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 You need to register (free) to use it at: 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. people. good luck with the next step! Further resources Try these resources for developing self-awareness.learndirect-futures. The tactics you will find most relevant at this stage are: • Tactic 1: Focusing your skills – self-reliance. which OU students can do by contacting your regional centre. This is a virtual career coach which teaches individual career-management To find out more. however. You could take a look at the Windmills website. The content of Section 1 can provide a really useful starting point to an individual consultation with a careers adviser. You may prefer. visit our website at www. 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: Learndirect Futures is another career interestassessment website that generates job suggestions.

02 .

The local sawmill is likely to approach the task differently from a multinational advertising agency.1 A typical strategy A strategic approach pays dividends. • Get a general view before you start to draw up a shortlist. What information they do have can often be based on personal experience or rumour. • Do some research: find out how. 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. so be organised and systematic. We are assuming at this stage that you know what you want to do. It’s also important that you don’t spend valuable time applying for jobs where you have little chance of success.1.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43 2. you will be able to focus much more accurately on what you need to do to achieve your goal. • Build up a file of background information about companies. when.1 Planning your strategy Many job-seekers actually have very little knowledge of how the job market works and how people are in fact and be prepared to ask for comments on how you’ve done.2 2. (In fact.2 Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Exploring possibilities In this section 2. the only thing they might have in common is that they probably use an interview during the selection where and how often vacancies are advertised.4 2. the recruitment process will be quite different.) Otherwise.1 2. If you haven’t yet got a clear picture of the kind of work or job you want to pursue. 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. • Don’t forget that you need to review and evaluate your progress from time to time. So. By planning your job-search strategy. visit our website at www. rather than carefully organised and systematic. Always keep copies of your applications.3 2. A typical strategy means that you will: • Consider all the opportunities open to you: public. people’s job-seeking methods can be disorganised and inefficient. As a result. private and voluntary sectors. This means that you must be flexible enough to adapt your approach to the diversity of methods used by potential employers. 2. work through Section 1 ‘Knowing yourself’ before going any further. jobs and developments in sectors you’re interested in. • Look into and follow up all sources of information. To find out 35 . Another key fact you need to understand is that different sectors and employers have their own traditional methods for recruiting. or for jobs that don’t fit your needs or meet your expectations.

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

For more information on SMEs go to: www. Here are some ideas on the difference between working for SMEs versus blue-chip organisations: SMEs • • • • • • Fastest growing sector of UK economy Local Early responsibility No formal induction Less red tape and bureaucracy Lower starting salary Blue chip • • • • • • Easily identifiable opportunities National Small cog in big wheel Structured training programme Formal structures embedded Perks and higher starting salary To find out more. Although we know that OU students start from a different point as many are working while they study. the data shows the unemployment figure for OU students from the 2003/4 survey to be 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.tqi. a growing proportion of graduates find their first jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).5 per cent.2. 2. Niche graduate occupations This is an expanding area.2 New and expanding opportunities for graduates Structured graduate programmes still exist with large ‘blue chip’ companies but competition is fierce and fewer graduates now enter through these schemes. nursing. 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. retail management. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3 4 5 New graduate occupations These reflect changes in technology and organisational structures and priorities. marketing. This data is published annually and can be seen at In 2004 unemployment among all students was 6. Non-graduate occupations Increasing numbers of graduates don’t immediately enter the ‘graduate labour market’. At the beginning of 37 .ac. Many are in nongraduate jobs but using the skills that they have developed as a result of their environmental health). There are many instances of graduates in these occupations demonstrating their potential and developing their initial role to fit their skills. graphic design. In fact. Barclays) only 14 per cent of respondents had a place on a graduate training scheme with a blue chip and on the Teaching Quality website at www. The ability to access and use specialist information is an additional skill for these areas. 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.prospects. 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. there were 3. According to the Graduate Experience 2002 Report (DTI.8 million SMEs in the UK and it is predicted that they will create a further 2 million jobs by 2010.1 per cent six months after leaving.

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. 38 To find out more.6 for details. you need to play by a set of new rules. Learn how to use the telephone effectively – there’s some advice about this in Section 2. in that they are never even advertised! Often.4. Most of us need to review our careers now and again to take account of changes in ourselves and the opportunities open to us. Consider temporary or part-time work to enhance your marketability. None of us can predict what kind of jobs might be available in the next few years. qualities and experience. Be clear about what you’re offering to do. 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 • Don’t forget the increasingly important nontraditional graduate recruiters (small and mediumsized enterprises – SMEs. To succeed. Make sure they keep you in mind for suitable vacancies. • Don’t limit your marketing to letters of application.2. 2. but prefers specific skills. and customise them with a particular opportunity or employer in mind (see Section 4 ‘Getting the job’).ktponline. Today’s labour market is increasingly diverse.5. • Use employment agencies. it’s estimated that 7 out of 10 jobs are ‘hidden’. including those in organisations you’ve already worked for (if any). but don’t let them use you.10).3 Creative job search The career-review process isn’t something you do once and for all and then never do again. • Find contacts in the sorts of organisation and job you’d really like. What will your job search strategy look like? 2. how can you do a creative job search? Here are a few essential steps to get you started: • You need to ‘market’ yourself. knowledgeable people.4. • Think about doing voluntary work.2). SMEs. • Investigate the possibility of employment through a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’. or talk to them in person. they are classified as either ‘open’ or ‘hidden’.9 and 2.1 Applying for hidden jobs Hidden jobs are produced: • by organisational changes that make old jobs obsolete and create new . So. how long for.5. a partnership between employers and higher education institutions – look at in times of recession. [Adapted from the AGCAS booklet Job Seeking Strategies] Pause for thought Ask yourself what you can take forward from these ideas. 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. In fact. • Cultivate well-placed. and to foster contacts. • 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. and what benefits you hope to gain from the Finding vacancies When it comes to job vacancies. skill development and knowledge of the industry or job area. See Section 2. may not advertise so as not to be inundated with applications. visit our website at www. The best advice is to start as early as possible and be creative in your job search. which were discussed above in Section 2. in particular.4. You may want to ask to meet people. Consider what you can do for Try to contact the person who makes the decisions and might be interested in your talents. • Develop an excellent CV and application letter. This may give you an identifiable edge in the job market.2. • Use the internet to research into companies and job vacancies. • Find out about getting appropriate training or study with work experience.

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

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Take a long-term view It takes time to build up a mailing list. start planning early in your job search. If you are an OU student.5 Applying for advertised jobs Many jobs are of course advertised and here we look at where. The big Sunday papers advertise a variety of jobs. 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. 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. Use these meetings to get more information about the job market. whom you can convince of your qualities as a candidate.prospects. always follow the instructions . Many employers send very poor information. 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. 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. Make a note of advertising patterns in your local press.thepaperboy. • develop further contacts to expand your network. • Persevere Occasionally persistence will pay off and.4 Networking In the 2003/4 Destination of Leavers Survey. visit our website at or to concentrate on particular companies just because they appeal to Show initiative by telephoning or emailing if you need to know more. During holiday periods. Remember every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’! • • • • • The internet Newspaper. Each rejection may be one step nearer to the job you want. the day on which most papers are sold. you may be referred or recommended to another. Financial Times) advertise certain kinds of work on particular days of the week. You will find links to national and regional papers from www. August to mid-September and If you’re going to make speculative approaches. Guardian. Here you will find links to jobs notified to the OU Careers Service and access to other UK wide and local vacancies. Independent. but their relatively high advertising rates tend to restrict the salary range to the higher end. 21 per cent of OU students reported that they had got their job as a result of personal contacts and networking. The best place to consult newspapers and journals is your local library or online if you have access to the internet. advertising is reduced. If it says write. We will deal with networking in more detail in Section 2.4.6 Replying to advertised jobs If you reply to an advertisement. after an initial refusal. trade and professional journals Professional associations Recruitment agencies Executive search firms In all these cases. and familiarise yourself with the kinds of advertisement placed in each paper. ‘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. look for sources through www. and responses may be slow and few. At 2.4. Each employer you see is a new contact. Even if you have no luck with a particular employer. But experience supports the practical wisdom of doing so. At the or none at all. Daily Telegraph.5 below. there’s no point in sending a CV.7 Newspapers and journals You will find many job vacancies advertised in newspapers and specialist or trade journals. Make a note of the advertising patterns: you will find that most of the quality daily papers (The Times. it may seem a little strange to seek out hidden jobs. you may need to look at them every day. Make the most of it. For now. 2.4. Local and regional papers sometimes concentrate their job advertisements on Thursdays. You may have to do some detective work if the advertisement doesn’t give a telephone 2. Because advertising in national newspapers is you may be offered a meeting. about the job advertised or the selection methods they use. Making speculative contacts can pay off in several ways. 40 To find out more. go to www. telephone or email for an application form.4. as recruiters seldom place their advertisements more than once. especially in particular companies • get an introduction to a key decision-maker in a company. 2.

ac.9 Recruitment agencies Recruitment agencies tend to deal with lowerlevel salaried and in most major libraries. not to help you sort out your career plans. the British Psychological Society and the Training and Development Agency for Schools.cbdresearch. for example. have a regional education or training officer and sometimes specialist careers adviser whom you can contact.4.4. visit our website at 41 . usually a percentage of your first year’s salary. though. They often act for small to medium-sized employers that have no personnel or recruitment departments of their own. 2. Many specialise in particular kinds of work or industry. about what the agency is offering you. Remember that it’s there to fill its clients’ posts. Addresses and other details are in the Directory of British Associations at www. Services are free to you – the employing company is charged a fee.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2. Some produce yearbooks and lists of members. and in some areas of employment (such as medical sales) they are almost the standard source of recruits.8 Professional associations Many professional associations and institutions. To find out more. Be clear.

badenochandclark. If you decide to use a search firm. The average search firm has only three or four consultants. They seldom divulge information about their clients. You can find this at: www. they’re worth considering if you have skills that are in short supply – accountancy is a particular example.4. They receive enormous numbers of CVs and often don’t bother to acknowledge them.11 The internet Most jobs are now advertised on the internet through national websites directly associated with particular careers. edited by Patricia Leighton. they can be a useful source of information about how you were received by the client. or are marketable enough to fit something that might turn up in the future. • Contingency firms are paid only when the company hires someone they have if the website’s main interest is simply to capture personal details and sell on a CV. • Websites sometimes go online while still under development. Further resources Look at the following website developed by Strathclyde University Careers Service which directs job seekers to vetted job websites. Many sites change rapidly and there are no guarantees about the accuracy of the information displayed. visit our website at www. You can also receive the Prospects Graduate Digital magazine. You can access this at: Sometimes contingency firms will distribute your CV widely in the hope of generating new business. Some employers let more than one contingency firm work on a particular job. • It’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees – not everyone has a brilliant web designer. Try to make sure you use vetted or recommended websites only to post your CV. You can search for agencies by geographical location and by type of work from their website at: www. Although some firms deal only with positions above £50. Most consultants limit interviews and initially are likely to carry out a telephone screening with you. specialist IT skills. 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. 2. so if you apply to a large firm operating in many locations you need to send your CV to all of • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is the national association for the recruitment and staffing industry. While they are important in the market place. They may interview you and construct a pen picture to go with your 42 To find out more. As noted above. published annually by Kogan Page.000. There are also opportunities to ‘post’ your CV on the web. You can find addresses of search firms in The Daily Telegraph’s Recruitment Handbook. Remember that: • Websites may not always deliver what they Executive search firms There are more than 200 executive search firms in the 2.rec. search firms may deal with a limited type of vacancy. They get most of their fee whether the employer hires their candidates or not.strath. They tend to be used for jobs that are at a high level or require scarce specialist skills for Bear in mind that not all sites offer confidentiality.html You can also register free on My Prospects. Always try to cross-check information. They are of two main kinds: • Fee/assignment firms are given sole charge of a particular search. If they send you to an interview they’ll want to know how things went. they prefer to receive a CV to judge whether you fit what they have on their books at that moment. and your personal details may become public property. send a CV and covering Consultants often don’t share information with one index.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook To find out about recruitment agencies: • Making the Most of Your Recruitment Consultancy A guide obtainable from Badenoch and Clark recruitment consultancy at: www. You could find yourself treated like a trading . the online news and CV-matching service that brings tailored information about jobs and career events to your email address and lets employers search your electronic CV. or when commercial confidentiality is essential. their role is limited by the high fees they charge to employers (typically 30–35 per cent of annual salary). Most graduate recruiters now recruit online as well as using other methods. As a result. and always include details of your former salary and the range you’re looking for.

It’s often difficult getting through to someone during the day. what is appropriate for the area of work and what might be effective. Busy managers are usually in early and late. To take some of the stress out of the situation. Pause for thought Perhaps you feel uncomfortable about networking in this fashion. or to refer you to someone else who can. they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. Be persistent. tutors or people you’ve met through leisure interests. so that you don’t get confused over important details. Put contacts at ease about this to avoid embarrassment. but they can become your publicity agents and your information sources. what you’re doing is making the most of them as sources of advice.1 Building up a network Draw up a list of everyone who might be able to help you – friends. By telephone Your first approach is likely to be by telephone. relatives. A number of methods are possible but you need to decide what is right for you. stability or decline its working climate and culture its business strategy the background of key managers.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 2.5. fellow students. Getting the approach right is important. Most people will be only too glad to help. So. even after years of practice. voluntary work or casual part-time jobs. conversation and so on. especially those in the function that interests you.5.2 Using the telephone effectively You may be making a speculative call. 2. so try outside normal office hours if you can. Some will be able to give you names of their Activity 2. In fact. Make a note in your career file of your list of contacts. the impression you make • get you how do you build your network? Your primary contacts are people who know you directly. any business contacts you have. information and ideas. Unease usually arises from the misconception that using contacts means asking people for jobs. you may be able to discover: • • • • • a company’s competitive position whether it’s in a state of growth. keep a record of each letter. As you work towards developing and extending your network. 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. Your network of contacts can include friends. visit our website at www. They may not have the job openings you want. Some people are natural and relaxed on the telephone. Through building up a network of contacts.5 Building a network of contacts Personal contacts can be a fantastic source of help in your job search. or telephoning to follow up a contact you’ve been given or to make an appointment for an interview. former colleagues. all potential sources of information or advice. or they may lead to other secondary sources. family. smiles and so on. These secondary contacts can act as a bridge between you and the decision makers in the companies you’re interested in. Even if these people can’t help you themselves. plan the format and content of your call: To find out more. You don’t get the usual clues from nods. 43 .1 Approaching your contacts You need to decide how you will approach your contacts. Think what they can do for you: • keep you informed • comment on your strategy and approach. telephone call. own business contacts. are stilted and anxious. Be very succinct. so it’s difficult to judge what impression you’re making. tutors.

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

Includes non graduate jobs on this site Search facility with links to regional. you may find the following websites helpful for exploring opportunities to work with charities and voluntary organisations: Charity Job • 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 If you are a student.thepaperboy. Further resources For further information and resources go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www.crsearch.vso. 2. etc. To find out Here’s a selection of other sites that you might like to look at: Vacancies in higher education and related organisations www. grammar and Job Centre vacancies are online at lists member organisations for EU countries including the UK and Charity People CR Search and Selection www.citizensadvice. hobbies.jobcentreplus.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Note in your career file what preparation you want to make at this point. From here you can link to the various volunteer bureaus for your areas of the UK www. Your letter must list accomplishments that correspond to these national and international newspapers www. Go to www. and prune ruthlessly. etc. 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. Be critical over matters of style. outline how you tackled it and state what results you got. For example. Local centres seek to place people into suitable voluntary work – meals on describe a relevant problem.employeevolunteering. In addition.) 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 The European Volunteer Centre www. 45 .5 Drawing up your letter When it comes to drawing up a letter.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. Employee Volunteering Community Service Volunteers www.) Dates Salary Copies of references • The first paragraph is Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) www. Use it to mention an achievement related to the job you’re seeking and strike a chord of need in the reader. You will also find links to professional bodies and related sites from the ‘Broad Career Areas’ within the above Local Government Jobs at www. A speculative letter will need many drafts in order to polish it.5. 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. visit our website at Citizens Advice allows you to search by occupation and Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ offers advice to help you with the practical side of drawing up a letter to accompany a along with links to information about New Deal initiatives. Do-it-: search this database for a wide range of volunteering opportunities in the UK. • Get someone else to check your spelling.

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?

To find out more, visit our website at


Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook

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

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.


To find out more, visit our website at

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook

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

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?

To find out more, visit our website at


visit our website at www.3 Look first at the example below. You now need to consider each of your goals in terms of all the resources that could be helpful or cause . giving a balanced picture of the situation.1 are the most important? Underline them. 50 To find out more. You’ve probably noted some factors that will help you in the direction you want to take and others that you need to find a way round. Make the most of resources Look at the resources you underlined. 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. but there’s more to do.2. Each restriction is set against a helping resource.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3.3 Balance helpful resources against restrictions Now look back to the restrictions and resources you listed. Activity 3. What actions would help you to make the most of them? Minimise restrictions Now look at the restrictions you It was produced by someone who wanted to apply for promotion. What actions would help you to reduce their effects? You’ve now listed actions you can take towards your goals. The next activity will help with

To find out 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. 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.3 continued Bring actions and resources together List the resources that can help you to carry out each ‘No experience of managing budgets’ was listed as a problem.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 51 . Look at the example. You should also be clear about the main helping forces and problems you need to deal with. visit our website at www.

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

Activity 3.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 Tomorrow Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 53 . 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. then fill in your own plan on the following page. visit our website at weekly Find someone else keen to do it To find out more.4 Showing a worked example of an action plan Look at the worked example below.

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

uk/careers 55 . visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out

04 .

1 4.3 4. They particularly value skills such as communication. Director-General. Table 57 .4 4. In addition to working hard to gain a good degree. Equally importantly perhaps.2’’ Carl Gilleard.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. Chief Executive. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage. 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’. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. It is also important for students to become self aware and develop the confidence to market themselves effectively when the time comes to apply for jobs. Together they make up what is referred to as ‘employability skills’.’’ Digby Jones.6 4.1 What do employers look for in graduates? ‘‘A degree alone is not enough.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. Association of Graduate Recruiters ‘What do Graduates 2006 do?‘ (HECSU/AGCAS/AGR/UCAS) Analysis of years of national employer surveys suggests the desired skills of graduates fall into four broad areas: 1 Self-reliance skills 2 People skills 3 General employment skills 4 Specialist skills.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Getting the job In this section 4. teamworking and problem solving. Confederation of British Industry. 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. it shows you how these specific skills can be developed: To find out more. visit our website at www.

fundraising for charity. caring. trustworthy. coordinating others Self-reliance skills Self-awareness – purposeful. motivated. enthusiastic Self-promotion – positive. work and education OU study. Roles within your working situation. self-belief. able to prioritise People skills Team working – supportive. member of orchestra. methodical Commitment – dedicated. guide/scout leader. use of IT. NVQ qualification. quick-thinker. journalism. 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. work experience OU study.g. conscientious Specialist skills Specific occupational skills – specialist relevant knowledge. sport. travel. planner. self-reliant Willingness to learn – inquisitive. risk taker IT/computer literacy – office skills. work responsibilities in a team.1. web design skills. Involvement in community groups.g.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Table 4. languages. relationship-builder. AGCAS. voluntary work. first aid at work qualification. Roles within the home – planning. visit our website at www. e. realistic Interpersonal skills – listener. roles within work e. persistent. accounting. engineering. 58 To find out more. focused. language IT Technical skills – . European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). results skills orientated Flexibility – versatile. keyboard skills. energetic. presenter. logical. deliverer Caring responsibilities. multi-skilled Business acumen – entrepreneurial. willing. diplomatic Foreign language – specific language skills General employment Problem-solving – practical. assertive Oral communication – communicator. ambitious Networking – initiator. drive. visionary Customer orientation – friendly. UCAS and AGR Roles within the home – budgeting. Proactivity – resourceful. co-operative. software packages Numeracy – accurate. influencer Leadership – motivator. resourceful Planning action – decision-maker. organised. adviser.g. sales Source: HECSU. competitive.

and be honest about whether your personality and needs match what the employer wants. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook The requirements an employer sets out in a job advertisement are likely to be much more specific. • Salary Usually a good guide to the level of qualifications and experience 59 .ac. you need to analyse the information you already have. Find out what this will mean in practice. Now you want to make sure you have a ‘match’.open. First of all you need to read between the lines. • Prospects What opportunities are there for advancement in this job? The employer may be looking for evidence of your willingness and ability to progress. it’s important to see how you can use it to develop your skills and experience. If the opportunities seem limited. 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. • Location and geographical mobility How far would you travel each day? Would you consider moving house? If you need to travel around. 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. ‘committed self starter’ could imply that there’ll be little supervision. nobody will do it for you! 4.) To find out more. you need to try and match yourself to the requirements of the job to judge whether or not you want to apply for it. For example. Remember to use this evidence when you apply for jobs! If you don’t shout about it. The advert should specify what the employer is looking for. Analyse each noun and adjective for its implications. As we show here. (It might help to refer to Section 1. do you need a driving licence. but may also mean that no training is provided. as the contact will form an impression of you from the very beginning. You may have to motivate yourself with little support or encouragement. but it’s worth bearing in mind that candidates who apply for ‘graduate’ jobs are also expected to demonstrate at least some if not all of these skills. visit our website at www. 4. Rehearse your introduction and be prepared for the question. flamboyant.1 Matching the requirements Once you’ve analysed your advertisement. 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. Look at your advertisement and analyse it under these headings: • Style and language What’s the general style of the advertisement – formal. low key. qualifications and personal qualities.2. before finding out more about the position.2 Matching vacancies You’ve seen a vacancy advertised that you’d like to apply for. even a brief newspaper advertisement can reveal a great deal of useful information. They’re usually set out under headings such as experience. attention seeking? What does this tell you about the organisation? What is the vocabulary used to describe the organisation – ‘dynamic’. So. so you need to consider how you can show that you meet the requirements. or even in the face of resistance. ‘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. but you have to be aware of the going rate for that occupation. but be prepared when you do. ‘What would you like to know about us?’ Be ready to highlight your suitability for the post. What are you looking for.

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

These kinds of activities are really helpful in preparing for the completion of application forms or for producing your note down in the left-hand column the key characteristics and requirements of your selected vacancy. try to produce evidence of your suitability against each point. Go to the section ‘Personal and Career Development’ from the site Whichever way you To find out more.prospects. interests. look at the occupational information on the Prospects website: www. If you don’t have a specific one in mind you might look in a careers publication or website such as www. you can also try the ‘Job Analysis Activity’ on the OU Careers Advisory Service website at www. 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. In the right-hand 61 .jobs. values.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4.4. visit our website at below. Alternatively. ask yourself: • Does the work genuinely interest me? • Does it match my personality. You should also take a look at Section 4.1 Begin by looking at an advert or job description for a position that interests Vacancy/job description: Analysis of key requirements My evidence If you are an OU student.

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

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

All are genuine questions from graduate application forms used by large companies. Question 2 Outline any activities you have planned and organised. Explain why we should select you ahead of other candidates. Don’t forget that you can ask a careers adviser for advice on what to include in your application. This section will tell them more about you as an individual than any other part of the form. There is 80mm space available on the form. Every word should justify its inclusion. You’ll need a lot of time. visit our website at www. Remember to cover ‘planned.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. Question 3 Write a short autobiography. Go for key points and give evidence from your record. the people. Look back at the answers you gave to Activity 1. Question 1 On the first page of this application you stated a preference for a particular job or function.’ ‘what you did’ and ‘results’.1 and consider answers based on the evidence you’ve already gathered. your ambitions and aspirations. There is 30mm space available on the form to show that you understand what the job involves and what you have to offer. There is 180mm space available on the form to influence the selectors. 64 To find out more.2 Read the sample questions below. Include such details as your achievements and responsibilities.’ ‘ . Tell us what you did and how you achieved results. events or experiences that have influenced drafts and fine tuning.

ac. Bear this in mind when you design your own CV. so you have more control over the impression it will create. 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 design. For most jobs. as well as the work I want? There’s no right or wrong way to write a CV. When researching jobs. The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight. You want to make sure that you present yourself positively and accurately. Instead. a financial institution or a local authority might have an adverse effect. but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual 65 . a CV is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you. The right one is the one that works for you in your situation and succeeds in getting you interviews. it should be flexible enough to allow modification to match the job you’re seeking. To find out Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements. 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. some job areas have expectations that a particular kind of CV is submitted. Whichever format you choose. you need to make a decision about the kind of CV to use as most employers will not specify. 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.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. For more information on CVs. (So you may in fact be doing just that. for tips and example CVs.1 The importance of tailoring your CV However. such as the legal profession.2 What style of CV? The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation it’s addressed to. Here we will just provide some guidelines on good practice and offer examples of four possible formats: 1 2 3 4 A chronological CV A functional CV A targeted CV and An academic CV. This is only likely to work if you always apply for the same function in several very similar organisations. For instance. your CV doesn’t need to conform to a set format. look at what the expectations might be. say.4 – below.) And you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter. 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). However.4. Most people tend to prefer one style over the others (though as you will see. when it comes to preparing your CV. look at: www. You can tailor the style.4. To use the same approach for. an academic CV is used mainly for applying for academic posts). 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).prospects. 4. For example. So. not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies you found in the Yellow Pages. 4.4. it’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you.4. prefer CVs in a chronological format. Alternatively.4.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook We also show you sample CVs in Sections 4. Be prepared then to spend a considerable amount of time on creating and reworking an effective document. 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. go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website and choose the ‘Moving on’ section if you are a student at: www. it is useful to highlight this in a separate section as it draws attention to it. visit our website at www.4 The curriculum vitae (CV) Like an application form. In

com Profile An experienced. highly motivated CIMA professional with in-depth knowledge of the financial services and strong team-working skills. with a chronological CV. • It allows prospective employers to see very quickly how an individual has progressed and increased responsibility. 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook it can suggest instability and will require explanation – particularly if you’ve changed profession or career direction. the period you were employed. As a result./fax 01903 562366 email mcrlewis@wizard. This lists jobs by date. where you worked. looking for an opportunity to take on wider responsibilities within the industry. In addition.4. visit our website at www. beginning with the most . • It has for many years been recognised as a standard approach to CVs. responsibilities and key showing the name of each employer. The chronological CV Malcolm Lewis 16 London Road Portsmouth PO9 6AL Tel. if you’ve changed jobs frequently. it isn’t always easy to spot key achievements or skills which might get ‘buried’ under different job titles. the disadvantages to a chronological CV are that any gaps in your employment stand out. your job title(s).4 The chronological CV You are probably most familiar with a chronological CV. The advantages of a chronological CV are: • It can be very easy to produce. However.

French Training 1990–95 Passed all stages of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants examinations Various short professional courses In-house 67 . 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. 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. English. visit our website at Chemistry.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Previous experience: 1988–96 Management Accountant Southern Finance Plc Portsmouth Organised and prepared accounts for District Manager Planned and managed the introduction of new financial information system Supervised office of nine staff 1986–8 Southern Finance Plc Southampton Accounts clerk Assisted with ledger accounts and budget preparation. Physics. interviewed clients. History. staff appraisal course Additional skills IT skills: competent in the use of Microsoft Office and SAGE financial management software. handled cash Education 2001–2005 The Open University 1995–2000 The Open University Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Professional Diploma in Management.

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

CB10 3QY Tel. I took time out of work to raise a family. 01223 599886 Regional Director The Open University in the East of England 12 Hills Road Cambridge. I gained employment as a research technician and applied to study part time with The Open University. I have been interested in watersports since school. CB2 1PF On return to Britain. 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).ac. Full driving licence Referees Mrs Joan Whitaker Director of Quality Assurance Continental Kitchens Ltd 12–16 London Road Cambridge. 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 69 . 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). 01233 364721 To find out more.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. I took a ‘year out’ to travel the world and consider my future. My other interests include cycling and mountaineering. visit our website at www. From 1995–99. Mathematics (D) 8 GCSEs Grove Comprehensive School Leicester 1986–1992 Additional information After ‘A’ levels. particularly scuba diving.

A Participant: An Individual: An Enthusiast: Education 1987–1994 The Open University. this one isn’t easy to prepare.1 Courses chosen to obtain recognition by the British Psychological Society. 2. whilst working in a 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. N10 8EP TELEPHONE: 020 8887 5131 EMAIL: Vkozlowski@wizard. The disadvantages are that. • You can lead the reader in the direction you want to go – your skills and achievements. autonomy and judgement. and in Principles of Social and Educational Research. I have become used to seeking and learning from criticism. London. Skill profile A Coordinator: As a project manager currently working simultaneously on a range of demanding projects. Both my work as a nurse and in banking has demanded a high level of personal combined with organisational sensitivity and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. It combines elements from both the chronological and the functional CV.4. The advantages are: • It focuses straight away on your strengths.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. believing that this is the key to achieving worthwhile results. making sure that I always fulfil my function and deliver to deadlines. followed by the details. BSc.6 The targeted CV A targeted CV is even more closely matched to the needs of a particular employer. in Biology: Brain and Behaviour. with the skills required and the evidence of them clearly laid out at the beginning. with all the time. I have been responsible for cultivating a spirit of teamwork and cooperation. Most candidates for managerial posts use this format. The work involves planning. like the functional CV. I have to be able to prioritise work within both strict financial and time constraints and ensure that others do too. Hons. Distinctions obtained in Social and Cognitive Psychology. I am hardworking and have always put considerable energy and enthusiasm into all of my activities. • It is more likely to catch the reader’s interest. I thrive on the challenge of change. It has to change to match each job. • You can adapt it to suit the job you’re after without sacrificing quality. The Targeted CV Vigla Kozlowski ADDRESS: 45 Longhurst Avenue. effort and skill that implies. devising questionnaires and analysing and to resolving potentially disruptive differences of opinion. 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. have been essential to the success of my section. in projects and reports. No less important has been my ability to express myself clearly and effectively both face-to-face and on paper. implementation and evaluation of new systems and their effect on staff at all levels. This experience has shown me the importance of good interpersonal and communication skills. My main research topic involved interviewing a wide cross-section of both adults and children in small groups and on an individual basis. Sound judgement. 70 To find out more. dates and so on. visit our website at .

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

it is expected that candidates (for academic jobs such as lecturer and postdoctoral research posts) will produce an academic CV. microbiology. visit our website at www. You should also include three referees rather than . 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. EDUCATION The Open University . This was a broad-based degree in biochemistry with the second year spent studying at Oregon State University. Because of this. In presenting your research. These CVs place more emphasis on the subject matter of the degree and/or research and on the knowledge and achievements gained.’ Modules studied included: tolerance and autoimmunity. The Academic CV Hilary Michelle McArthur 18 Poole MK6 3DY Tel. Remember to emphasise the transferable skills that you have developed in undertaking higher level study. you should consider a chronological. validated and implemented a “novel” assay to investigate leukocyte migration and survival. Supervisors: Professor R. University of Salford . skills or targeted CV. James Project synopsis: Adapted. you should do this without using any subject-specific jargon so that it is understandable to the employer. depending on what you are applying for.MSc in Immunology (distinction) 2001– 2002 Dissertation project: ‘Neutrophil spontaneous apoptosis is mediated through the acid sphingomyelinase dependent generation of ceramide. D. University of Manchester . Identified phenotypic alterations in T-cell subpopulations following migration through an endothelialfibroblast bilayer. 72 To find out more.BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry (first class) 1998– 2001 Dissertation project: ‘Autoimmunity: A genetic perspective. 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. Systematically investigated the role of soluble mediators and adhesive interactions in the survival of neutrophils following transendothelial migration. analysis and working to deadlines. immunology. such as communication. • Remember to include examples of the skills that you have developed through your research.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. academic CVs are often longer than other types of CV.PhD in Medicine 2002–2005 Thesis Title: The regulation of leukocyte migration away from the subendothelial compartment. 07900 543 21 E-mail: h. Jordan and Dr.mcarthur@yahoo. • If you are a postgraduate or research student who is applying for a job outside academia.4. genetics. transplantation biology and cell adhesion. haemopoietic cell differentiation and malignancies.7 The academic CV For academic jobs in universities. and’ Modules studied included: cell biology. Milton Keynes.

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

Personal data Name Give the name you want to be known by if you’re called for interview or appointed. Received award for best overall academic achievement at the end of my BSc (2001).d. activities additional skills career aims. nationality. Always give the full area code. Include your mobile number if you have one.g. REFEREES Professor Rebecca Jordan r. You can discuss them at the interview if 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). gender. These are irrelevant on a number of children.mayes@open. Include the nature and place of your employer’s business if it isn’t obvious from the name. but don’t give the address or the name of your manager at this stage. so that the caller will be discreet.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). It should be quite obvious what it is.r. 4. visit our website at www. experience education training For more recent jobs.8 What to include (and not to include) in your CV Your CV is uniquely yours in style.james1@open. Employment experience Your aim here is to stress your achievements at Dr Steven Mayes s. but you may find the following ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ give your number and say that it’s a work number. Other personal details There’s no need to include such details as date of birth. where your aim is to get yourself invited for interview. marital status. since invitations to interview are often sent at short notice and speedy delivery is in your interest. personal profile (optional) references. consider investing in an answering service or give more detail about particular 74 To find out more. Telephone It’s important to give a telephone number where you can be reached or where a message can be left. when you have more opportunity to negotiate any difficulties. 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.f. say during the last ten years. However. Address Be sure to give a full address with Dr David James d. number and extension. Include an email address if you have one.4. so that you can be reached as easily as possible. they’re unnecessary at this stage and may confuse matters. CVs usually contain: • • • • • • • • personal data employment. content and layout. If you’re employed and prospective employers can contact you during office .ac. At home. you don’t need to give initials or middle names.

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

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

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

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

Your success in selling computer components to Asian countries has been something few companies have achieved in the last few and I wish to congratulate you. I am now seeking a career change that will build on this experience. Although I would like to work for your company. I should appreciate your advice concerning the development of my career.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. and computer based control equipment. I should appreciate a personal meeting with you and will contact you in the next week to discuss this. I noted in yesterday’s Financial Times that your company received an export award from the Department of Trade and Industry. visit our website at www. Having had over ten years’ experience in export 79 . • Selecting and working with local distributors throughout the world. • Increasing sales by 26 per cent in one year when the pound was at its highest exchange rate. your advice and suggestions would also be helpful and influential in helping me research my options to develop my career. including experience of exporting electronic. Yours sincerely Joginder Singh 01926 850973 To find out more. With your knowledge of Some of my key achievements have been: • Locating new lines of products and developing international sales for them.

visit our website at www. Working in a team alongside other senior management colleagues. I look forward to hearing from you. I have brought about a sustained improvement in my office’s financial performance over the past five and discussed specific aspects with the Finance Director over the telephone yesterday. I have particular interest in computer-based accounting procedures and extensive staff management 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. Fairplay Industries Ltd. Although I currently live in Edinburgh. I am a qualified accountant with substantial professional experience. I am free to relocate to another area and see this as a positive addition to my professional and personal development. Having read the detailed description of the post. Assistant Finance Director. Yours sincerely Margaret Minty 80 To find out more. My decision was based on a desire to change employers in order to broaden my professional experience as I am keen to develop my career in a managerially demanding environment. I am enclosing my CV in response to your advertisement for the above post which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 1 March. I am confident that I could make a significant contribution to Fairplay Industries . I have recently taken voluntary redundancy as a consequence of a nationwide organisational restructuring programme.

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

• Reflect on your experience. find out something about the people interviewing .6. 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. How you sound will be crucial. into a tape recorder. for insight often leads to heightened anxiety. How you project yourself through your social and communication skills will determine your success whenever you speak with potential employers. Don’t let your own stereotyping of the interviewer affect your interview technique.2 Before your interview • Research the job and employer thoroughly beforehand. Practice is essential. • Learn from observing others – take the role of interviewer with a partner. • Practise your answers in the weak areas. achievements and personal ambition Considering how you’ll fit with the rest of the team May have to ‘sell’ you to more senior colleagues Serious but relaxed.6. 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. Read the section on ‘Tough questions’ in Section 4. may try to ‘sell’ the job Head of a group or department A technical expert with wider managerial experience Will talk shop. Do it out loud. • Think about the interview and plan for it. Evaluate your performance and incorporate the learning into your next interview. • Review your CV. Try to foresee questions or situations and work out possible answers. Below we list the four main types of interviewers you may come across. Remember that when managers interview they’re playing a role to a set of social rules. 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. Consult some of the books listed at the end of this booklet. Collect as many concrete examples of things you’ve done as you can. Human resource/recruitment managers Well-trained and experienced. visit our website at www. or use audio or video recordings. • What are your weak spots and what do you feel uncomfortable talking about? • Why would you not employ yourself? Produce convincing counter-arguments. Practise speaking on the phone to a friend and ask what impression you’re making.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4.1 Interviewers There are as many kinds of interviewer as there are people. within a broader organisational framework May have standard questions. or interviewers who have rejected you. often astute and very sensitive Acting as internal screener. and may not be entirely their usual selves. solutions. network contacts.6. 82 To find out more. 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. 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. • Ask for comments from a partner. • Practise by role-play with a partner. Find out all you can about interviewing techniques and be ready to cope with them: • Read about the process.9 below and practise some answers out problems. Even experience as an interviewer doesn’t make for a flawless performance. Practise some answers into a tape recorder and listen critically to If you can.

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

In general: • If you feel yourself under pressure.’ • Hypothetical questions test speed and quality of thought.g. e. Here are some tips to help you through them followed by some examples and how to approach them. • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview. 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. • Try to show that you understand why the interviewers have asked you the ‘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. often with a technical content. • In response to embarrassing – rather than simply tough – questions. There’s some general advice about using the telephone effectively in Section 2. state assumptions you’re making. marketing or telesales staff. 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). If you can show that you know what they’re getting at. e. ‘What if the policy changed to carrying more freight by rail?’ In reply be methodical. • If you’re rejected. • Standing up while talking can make you sound more confident. • Some candidates dress in the clothes they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind. This technique is used for recruiting sales. ‘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.8 Interviews by telephone Increasing numbers of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process.9 Tough questions Everyone has a different perception of what constitutes a tough question. Look through the next examples – you’re bound to come up against some of them in one form or another. take time and keep to the point. e.g. stop and leave it at that. ‘Tell me about the three years you spent studying with The Open University.g.7 After the interview • Think about the questions and your answers. at the employer’s convenience. They do this in several ways: • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring. there may be other positions coming up. you plan to fail. e. as you would when talking to someone face to face. Ask for the question to be repeated.g. This reinforces recollections of you. Pause for thought If you fail to plan.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. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response. 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. • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone. 4.6. Even if you’re unsuccessful this time. you’ll tend not to listen so acutely. visit our website at www. 4. and say where you’d need more information. • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. write a letter asking for some constructive comment by telephone. keep your answer simple and short. When you’ve answered. The smile won’t be seen but it can be heard. The questions are 84 To find out more.6. or monotonous or tentative? • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone. The advice that follows about personal interviews below applies just as much to telephone interviews. you’re half way to giving an appropriate answer. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained .

professional and achievement – we discussed in ‘Answering questions’ above to produce a rounded picture. for example: Early years (if appropriate) Education Work experience Significant events Keep your answer short (three to four minutes). domestic stability. Mention your previous salary and any financial commitments that lead you to raise or lower your expectations. the fresh perspective of Q an outsider. or pair one with something that can be turned from a weakness into a strength (e. Draw attention to the possibilities of bringing in skills or experience that the company would benefit from. This question needs practice. 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. Concentrate on the many positive features of your greater maturity: experience of life and work. Try to restrict yourself to four or five as too long a list will confuse the interviewer. credibility with clients. Or explain how you had a weakness ( to counter any thoughts that you might simply be looking for a refuge. Draw on examples from the three profiles – personal. Describe how you’ve adapted to different subcultures you’ve encountered by doing different jobs in your career. Why should you be appointed rather than an internal candidate? This is an invitation to list your main strengths. Q A How much are you worth? Try to delay answering this until you know the responsibilities and scope of the job. conscientiousness) to end on a positive note. Negotiations like this might seem strange to you if your only experience is of fixed salary scales. Q A A Q A Q A To find out more. 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. coaching and mentoring skills.g. and the ‘political’ gains of instigating change through appointing an outsider. time management) but have taken action to overcome it. wellreasoned argument for your choice of this new kind of work. Q A What are your weaknesses? Don’t claim to be faultless! Most strengths taken to the extreme become weaknesses. Then express your motivation and drive. and the typical salary ranges.g. Cover relevant aspects of your life. Tell me about 85 . emotional stability. Add a balanced. Isn’t it a bit late in your working life to change career? It is perhaps unlikely that you would be asked this. Either choose one that isn’t particularly significant. Use phrases like ‘learning a valuable lesson’ rather than admitting to making a mistake. visit our website at www. Include any particular characteristics that you feel relate to the job. Having worked for one company for so long. Remember that this question isn’t simply about your factual history so don’t give too much detail. 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.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 freedom from childcare. You could also provide evidence of being a quick learner.

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

7. beyond the interview’.ac.g. 4. 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. but a technique (a mixture of tests.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 4. as well as interviews and psychometric tests. in any combination. in-tray exercises and the like. this company…) today? Do you feel well equipped to meet those challenges? • None of your experience is at managerial level. aware that interviews have many shortcomings. medium and long-term goals? • Why have you decided to change careers? • What are the main challenges facing (e.g. exercises and interviews) for recruiting new 87 .4 Here are some more examples of interviewers’ questions to think through yourself. You would normally find out about the way an organisation uses these by researching their recruitment literature or website. 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. are increasing their use of additional tools. they are fairer to you. and why? • Do/did you have any frustrations in your present/last job? • What did you learn from (e.1 Assessment centres This approach has been defined as ‘the use of any selection device. 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. visit our website at www. the Health Service.7 Other selection techniques Larger employers.g. 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. particularly at graduate level. this job. education. 4. what do/did you spend most time on. It can include situational activities. here are some general guidelines: • Don’t be intimidated. To find out more. • 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. group discussions. One such tool is the use of assessment centres – these are not places. • 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. If you are asked to attend an assessment centre. Because assessment centres are more thorough. All the other candidates will be nervous • 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.

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

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

Make a point of discussing your strategy and interpretation of the group discussion with the interviewer later. A cleverly constructed in-tray will generate emotional responses that can cloud decision-making. Staffing issues are most likely to spring this trap.7.6 In-tray exercises These simulations of the administrative aspects of a job can be very taxing.7. Treat the whole exercise like real life. just like a real one. • Give reasons for your decisions. 90 To find out more. A well constructed test in-tray will contain distracting trivia.7. • You can be judged only on what you’ve written down. Information may be collected from the standard application form. How to go about it: • It may be possible to take the in-tray apart and sort it into heaps. • Keep a careful eye on the time. with appropriate levels of formality and informality in your responses. organisation. 4. Don’t just put your head down and plough through the lot. a contraction of ‘biographical data’. for example. remind the group if necessary. other than statistical correlation. even if you’re not asked to do so. and ability to communicate in clear English.g. take care over presentation as well as content. use your diary and your secretary well. • Don’t be discouraged. means that details of an individual’s history are correlated with the biographical details of others who have succeeded in the same occupation. make reporting and follow-up clear. make sure that it’s permitted. . or conflict between the other participants. and may take time. However.7 Graphology Graphology . judgement. it’s Saturday afternoon). set timescales. follow this up by tackling the items according to those you set. • If the first part of the exercise asks you to set priorities. some employers ask candidates to submit a handwritten piece on a management topic. As well as general fitness. • Look for links within an in-tray. visit our website at www. 4. and between intrays if there’s more than you’ll be maximising your chance of success. You may be allowed to use the floor if the desk isn’t big The biographical data need not have any recognised link with performance. particularly in France. Most candidates find these tests tough.7.9 Proficiency tests These tests are used to find out whether candidates have the skills they claim – 120 words per minute shorthand. colleagues are ill. 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. 4. Intervene if there’s loss of direction. If you have to reach a decision within thirty minutes.7. or 90 words per minute wordprocessing. 4. Evidence offers little support for its use as a predictor of performance. not on what went through your head. 4. Best marks are obtained by candidates who produce the largest volume of appropriate written output. but they’re not as detailed or as accurate as information gathered from psychometric tests and exercises. but is a controversial technique in the UK. • Remain balanced in your judgement.analysis of handwriting – is used a lot for managerial selection in continental Europe. The qualities most likely to be assessed are analysis. if you’re asked to submit a demonstration piece. and that can be a clue. Related tests of ‘potential for proficiency’ (trainability) assess characteristics such as hand–eye coordination. decisionmaking.8 Biodata analysis ‘Biodata’. So.10 Medical tests The job advertisement or person specification should state clearly whether a certain level of physical fitness is required. • Read the instructions carefully and plan your time accordingly.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Mentally ‘stand back’ occasionally and evaluate what’s happening. You’re likely not to know that graphology is being used. medical tests cover sight. Studies indicate that graphologists can produce generalised personality descriptions. If you like to work like that. They’re usually set in an unrealistic scenario that prevents you from talking to other people in the organisation (e. Signal in your comments that you’ve spotted these links. colour perception and hearing. By taking the trouble to reflect and to prepare. but often a special form is needed. Pause for thought Getting the job you want is always a challenge.

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

05 .

1 93 . the same principles of career planning and job seeking apply to everyone.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Equality and Diversity Issues In this section 5. before or during an interview will be considered later in Section 5. there is evidence that certain groups of people are at a disadvantage and may experience difficulty in achieving their career aims. To find out more. go to www. 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.2 The issues of whether.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.5 discrimination Pause for thought Keep in mind that disclosure of personal information during the recruitment process can be a concern for some people. strategies to help you in your job search and further resources that you may find helpful. and you will often see this highlighted in job visit our website at www. In this section we highlight some of the additional challenges that may be faced by students and on your application form. the legal position. For more information and links on job-seeking strategies when facing discrimination.6 5. In fact.4 5.3 5. some organisations aim specifically to recruit a workforce that reflects the community they serve. Each section includes a discussion of some of the issues you may encounter. Many employers have well-developed equal opportunities policies to help them to recruit a diverse workforce. However. on a covering letter. when or how you should do so.prospects.

1 Your rights By October 2006. ‘Yes. please contact your regional centre who will arrange this. as a mature graduate. This is where you are able. This may feel unfair.1. that you are automatically going to be offered a job. disability. juggling study and home responsibilities. 5.1 Age Are you concerned that. 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’.ac. They are saying. 5. Then contact the Careers Advisory Service in your region to get help with your marketing plan. you need to present your experience and skills positively and highlight your ‘added value’. which you might like to discuss with a careers gender. if you need any information in an alternative format such as an audio recording. visit our website at www. hone your CV to highlight that ‘extra’ you can offer to enhance your application. For example. having completed your degree. So. 94 To find out more. You may need to allow some time for appropriate arrangements to be made. especially when you have used all your spare time to get the degree in the first place. look at the Careers Advisory Service website for contacts for volunteering opportunities.. Having a degree is not enough to secure a job. Braille or large print. you have a degree and.’. there will be legislation in force in the UK that will ensure that anti-age-discrimination will become as much an offence as discrimination against race..1 Note here any issues that could affect you at work. 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. For instance. 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. we will be happy to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs.2 How to help yourself in the job market Take a look at Section 4 on applying for . Employers are looking for more than a qualification. sexual orientation and religion. If you haven’t had any recent work experience (paid or voluntary). your age will count against you in the job market? 5. to offer a range of transferable skills and experience to an employer.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 5. Remember. or contact your local OU Careers Advisory Service. It’s not enough to think that because you have completed a part-time degree. selection procedures in large organisations are being reviewed. So. This should also help you to feel confident about what you can offer to the workplace. If you have additional requirements that may lead to difficulties accessing any of our services.1. then you could consider exploring your local options. and paid work.

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

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

If you live outside the UK you will need to check the legal position for your country of residence. It’s important that you are aware of the issues concerning sex and gender discrimination – at both recruitment stage. academics involved in work placements and prospective employers: www. and graduate case studies.skill. facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises.1 Your rights (The following information is from the EOC Further resources Association of Disabled Professionals at: www.4.disabilitytoolkits. yes: despite the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).ac. and looking for flexible working arrangements. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of Diversity Works at: needing time off work for parenting duties. If you check on the legal situation. published by AGCAS and available online at: SKILL – The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – has a large range of relevant information sources: www. There is also an interactive web-based service providing dedicated information. and in employment. • Details about work-based learning for adults. Look in the ‘A-Z’ under ‘Disability’ for further resources. which came into force in the UK on 6 April we still find gender discrimination in the workplace. and the provision of goods. to request flexible working.) 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 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 The Hobson’s guide for Disabled Students – This is a free annual publication for disabled visit our website at www.diversityworks. The EPA applies to England. 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 including a section on disability. where the man and the woman are doing • like work. Times are changing: for instance. The OU provides information about DSAs on the website at: www. the necessity for a work/life balance is highlighted by the legal right for mothers and fathers of children under 6. or • work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study. Disabled Entrepreneurs Network: www.4 Gender/sex Does it make a difference if you are a man or a woman when applying for a job? Unfortunately. 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. There is a lot of discussion about the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from achieving ‘top jobs’.ac.prospects. available for reference in each regional . advice and resources for students with disabilities. or • work that is proved to be of equal value. (You might also want to check whether a prospective employer has an equal opportunities policy. 5. and in fact.) Other equality issues that you might encounter include harassment at work. and disabled children under 18. this can help you in presenting yourself in your application for work. June 5. It also prohibits discrimination in employment against married people. includes employers’ case studies. and in ongoing communication with your Planning and Job Seeking Workbook WORKSTEP – Individual programme of support through a variety of different job opportunities – leading to unsupported A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. • Information on local and national disability organisations of and for disabled people. 98 To find out The Open University Careers Advisory Service web pages have some useful links. Wales and Scotland. education.

• Break free of male and female stereotypes. 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. Employment-related claims are brought in an employment tribunal. although there is not yet any legal authority on this point. • Discuss your application with a careers adviser in your regional centre. it is not This is especially important if you are looking to enter a field of employment that is traditionally dominated by the opposite sex. • Secure comprehensive equality legislation in Europe. including children and prohibits direct and indirect sex 99 . 10 – Top Careers for Women – careers publication focusing on issues relating to graduate women in the labour market. there is a good argument that the general definition of sex discrimination prohibits this.4 Discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment With certain exceptions. • Provide clear evidence of your ability to do the job.4.4. visit our website at 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. one type of direct sex discrimination is sexual harassment. • Make public services relevant to the differing needs of men and women. Scotland and No. an unnecessary requirement to be under 5’ 10” would discriminate against men. to apply that condition or practice.5 How to help yourself in the job market A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair 5.4.4.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. and this will help to counter any negative stereotypes that may exist. Part I of the SDA describes the forms of discrimination to which the SDA applies. Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission at: irrespective of sex. irrespective of sex. there are special provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment in employment.eoc. The EOC campaigns to: • Close the pay gap between women and men. However.4. For instance.worklifebalancecentre. Strict time limits apply. including a section on gender. Three months (less one day) from the act of the discrimination for employment tribunal cases. 5. Therefore. • End sexual harassment at work. There are no express provisions prohibiting discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment in the other fields covered by the SDA.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. You can access this at: www. England. • Increase the number of women in public life. a requirement to work full-time might be unlawful discrimination against women. • Make it easier for parents to balance work with family To find out more. 5. 5.2 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.prospects. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www.numberten. to apply a condition or practice. For Work life balance centre – available at: www.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. There are special provisions about discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment. The SDA applies to women and men of any age. • Concentrate on your strengths. another is treating a woman adversely because she is pregnant. The EPA has been interpreted to cover indirect sex discrimination as well as direct discrimination.

In general. has been treated more favourably than you.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. the UK government launched a new strategy to remove the barriers to employment success for job-seekers from minority ethnic backgrounds. citizens advice bureaux and other advice agencies. despite legislation. This is recognised by the UK government: The Race Relations Act identifies three main types of racial discrimination: • direct racial discrimination • indirect racial discrimination • Time limits Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for filing your case at an employment tribunal or court. the amended Act gives you the right to take your complaint before an employment tribunal or a county court (or sheriff court in Scotland). most racial discrimination in Britain is against people from minority ethnic groups. in 2004. you can apply to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). 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.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.6 How to help yourself in the job market So what can and should you do to market yourself.5. colour.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.5.5. The report proposes a fresh approach to address the many barriers that can get in the way of success in jobs and careers. This happens when a person is treated less favourably because they have complained about racial discrimination or supported someone else who has. in similar circumstances. so don’t Tony Blair. And even those individuals who achieve academic success do not necessarily reap the rewards in the workplace that their qualifications merit. So. 5. Some ethnic minority groups have done well in the education system and in the labour market. If you are thinking of bringing a case of racial discrimination. 5. March 2003 5. to target employers. 5. and you want to prove it. and to challenge unfair discrimination? Here are some suggestions: 100 To find out more. nationality (including citizenship). or work at an appropriate level to their qualifications. 5. discrimination continues to exist for students from minority ethnic groups who do meet barriers to getting . racial equality councils. In March 2003. or when applying for work. or to one of a number of other organisations such as trade unions. and you need to plan your own job-seeking strategies to maximise your opportunities. In practice. and national or ethnic origin. visit our website at www. ‘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’.5.5 Race According to research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. you have the right under the amended Act to take your complaint before an employment tribunal. 5. These cover grounds of race.2 Direct racial discrimination Direct racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances. colour and nationality are protected by the law. but people of every background. But too many members of ethnic minority communities are being left behind. for help. If you think you have been discriminated against at work.4 Victimisation Victimisation has a special legal meaning in the Race Relations Act. If you think this has happened to you. it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different racial group who. race. law centres. If you think you have been discriminated against on racial grounds. Racist abuse and harassment are also forms of direct discrimination.

campaigns and services as well as vacancies in the commission Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) www. • Develop contacts and make the most of your networking skills.6. • Many employers have sub-groups for minority ethnic groups.2 Transsexuals In May 1999.6.windsor-fellowship. run by BITC.teacherworld. • Discuss your plans and approach with a careers adviser in your regional Scotland and Wales.bitc. • Check if the organisation is a member of Business in the Community (BITC) www.prospects. The 5. Race for Opportunity is a You will need to consider how comfortable you will be in an area of work where you are not open about your sexuality. application forms and covering Black and Asian Graduates –The UK’s official website for black and Asian graduates.blackandasiangrad. You can log onto their website at: 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. available for reference in your regional centre or at 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 equality.5. Further resources KAL – Careers publication for students from minority ethnic groups (formerly Kaleidoscopic).1 Your rights The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment. especially public sector and large private employers. It holds an annual careers day for black and Asian students and graduates. which apply to the Sex Discrimination Act (1997). You can ask for a copy of the policy before applying for a job. 5. You can find more information at the Press for Change website (see Section 5. Their website is: www. Target employers with a reputation for good equal opportunity policy and 5.6 Sexuality and sexual orientation Are you worried about possible discrimination in the workplace because of your sexuality? Whether the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 came into force in the UK. National Mentoring Consortium Unit The National Mentoring Consortium Unit works with employers.4). formally made illegal a whole catalogue of discrimination against transsexual people in To find out more.nmc-online. This relates to England. plus details of work experience and career-enhancement programmes www. universities and schools to support learners from minority ethnic groups.kalmagazine. Includes job-hunting • Understand the relevant legal situation. and this will depend on your own experience and lifestyle. when to. Find out more about the unit at: www. Contact them for information on legal issues.6. visit our website at www.6. vacancies. Windsor Fellowship The Windsor Fellowship is a charitable organisation that offers skills development programmes to undergraduates and graduates from minority ethnic groups. For advice on finding positive employers take a look at: www.cre. TeacherWorld UK TeacherWorld UK provides information and support for teachers (and those intending to teach) from minority ethnic 101 . and how much to disclose to a potential employer and to work colleagues is of course a matter of personal Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Make use of Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ to prepare your marketing tools. If the EOP is incorporated into your contract you might be able to directly rely upon it. your CV. that is dedicated to ethnic minority issues. students and recruiters.

uk/careers .uk/links/Discrimination 5.4 Resources for employment and training Stonewall Stonewall works to achieve legal equality and social justice for lesbians. bisexuals and transgender people. these employers are at the cutting edge of innovation in business and public staff development or training days clashing with days of worship or festivals and promotion. At IBM we employ the best people irrespective of The most usual ways in which employers may discriminate might be around the way in which they recruit new staff. gay men. unless the employer can show that there is a legitimate business need. General Manager. days when they choose to interview. age or disability. to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone.7 Religion or belief I greatly value IBM’s participation in the Diversity Champions Scheme. 102 To find out Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission www. This is a forum in which employers work with Stonewall to encourage diversity in the workplace. through legislation and social change www. Published by AGCAS and available online at www.eoc. 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 Regard – the national organisation of disabled lesbians. and Diversity Champions allows employers to focus on the new challenges and opportunities for addressing issues of diversity in the workplace. the support of a trade union can protect you where the legislation doesn’t.prospects. which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the UK. Larry Hirst. 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 The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) were introduced to protect against discrimination in employment and vocational training in Scotland and Wales and similar regulations were also introduced in Northern Ireland. 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. sexual orientation. where they advertise. IBM (UK and Ireland) says: race. Press for Change Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational Gay Business Association www. • If your employer recognises more than one union. If you encounter discrimination. visit our website at www. gay men and bisexual people and launched Diversity Champions in A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair In December www. gender. • Find out about employers who belong to the Diversity Champions group set up by Stonewall in 2001.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Consider joining a trade union where you will receive support and legal advice. 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. Usually.6. on the grounds of religion or belief. www. including a section on sexuality and sexual orientation. Under the new regulations it is unlawful. It is also unlawful to harass or bully someone because of their religion or belief.

pdf To find out • Read the information in the recruitment pack. it doesn’t necessarily mean that the employer doesn’t care about this.lowpay. if this is a concern for you. Does it include information about equality and diversity? If • Look out for employee profiles on employer websites. 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. if the organisation has one. someone from human resources may be able to help. Further resources The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 Managing the New Legislation on Religion and Belief 103 .ac.bitc. visit our website at www. As it is recent legislation. • Speak to the equality and diversity officer. But how do you know this? • Look out for race equality schemes/equality and diversity policies.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook If this is an area that is of concern to you.1 Disclosure The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) do not impose a duty on individuals to tell an employer or prospective employer about their religion or belief. It is unlikely that you will find questions relating to religion or belief on an application form (other than for equal opportunity monitoring) or that you would come across it in an interview.7. 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 do. keep up to date on the law and your rights. Alternatively. unless it is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR). In the meantime.


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

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

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 108 To find out more. visit our website at .

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out 109 . visit our website at

visit our website at .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 110 To find out

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful