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.


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

01 .

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

Another noted that all his positive job changes followed disappointments in his private life. marriage. 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. visit our website at www. project engineering) NOW Hospital (appendix removed) Left School (apprenticeship) Promotion (problems due to lack of experience Father died Moved sideways (into sales and marketing) Company hit hard time (redundancy) LOW POINT The lifeline exercise can result in a lot of emotions coming to the surface as you review your experiences. showing high and low points at different times of your life. Note down key events. You’ll be asked to refer back to your lifeline later on.1 What am I like? 1. to help you think about the pattern of your life. retirement and so on.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook this activity revealed to one person that all her high points were associated with praise from others and her low points with geographical moves. and to consider how your early history contributed to it. A third recognised someone else as consistently and unobtrusively acting as a mentor. Moved House HIGH POINT Secondary School Qualified (production engineer) Marriage Son Became management trainee (part time study. and he saw that each disappointment motivated him towards a change and offered opportunities. Diploma) Daughter Bought flat (Improvement Grant) Bought house – garden-mortgage! Changes in company policy (new job. children. such as . You may find it useful to talk through any difficult emotions with someone you trust.1. consider it as a whole. Activity 1. This activity can help you to gather insights that can influence your future choices. Example When you’ve drawn a lifeline that reflects your Put them in the form of a diagram like the one here. 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. Think about the feelings aroused by each experience and answer these questions. and to discover aspects of yourself that you might want to develop or change.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.1 In this activity you’re going to draw a ‘lifeline’.

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

It can be a particularly useful approach if you haven’t had much formal experience like paid work – it’s easy to assume that skills gained outside work somehow don’t count. note the achievements you’re most proud of and what they say about you. Activity 1. recent or a long time 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. passing your driving test on the fifth attempt may say a lot about your staying power and determination.3 Looking back at your lifeline.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. 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 .ac. For example. visit our website at www.1. things you do in your spare time. Set them out in the table below. 10 To find out more. passing all your exams first time may say that you’re an excellent student.

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

visit our website at www. they need not be barriers to the future.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. but your spare-time activities could help you to demonstrate skills and qualities. abilities. What have you learnt about yourself? Bringing some of your answers together. personal characteristics or what would you now say are your main strengths and weaknesses? They can be skills.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.1. Activity . My main strengths 1 2 3 4 5 6 My main weaknesses 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 To find out 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. 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.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. Remember that strengths can be built on for the future and weaknesses can be reduced by your efforts.

have little concern about getting on in your career. you would always put work first and aim high in your achievements. it’s time to think about 13 .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 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. you need to be clear about how important work is to you. If you don’t have much experience of paid work. or you may prefer something that can give you a better balance between work and home life. and might be seen as ‘laid back’. This is something that varies from person to person. How does this feel? Is it right for you or would you like to change this aspect of your life? To find out more. If you scored +20. for example. or you might avoid positions that regularly eat into your leisure time. visit our website at www. You may have found yourself in a post that takes over and leaves little time for family life. If you have a more central score You keep a balance between work and leisure. The next activity can help you to think about this. the stronger your ambition. you would put your social life before work. At the lower end of the scale.1 How big a part of my life is work? Before considering what you want to do. You have some concern about doing well and making progress. think about your approach to activities or projects. 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. You might be highly ambitious.2 What work would suit me? Now that you’ve spent some time considering the skills and qualities you’ve developed through experience. Activity 1.2. even for example if you scored –20.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. 1. but you don’t let work rule your life.

2.7 1 List the jobs you’ve had. note how it came about. enjoyable or rewarding? Why? 6 What were your particular achievements? 7 How did you get on with the other people? 8 What was your style of working? 9 Were you known for particular things? 10 What were you most proud of? 11 What were the things you disliked or found frustrating? Pause for thought Look back at what you’ve written. If you have limited or no experience of paid employment. helping readers at school. unpaid or voluntary) by noticing how you feel about different tasks and respond to work The activity may take some time. or how well you perform particular activities in comparison with other people. 2 For each job. You will have learnt a huge amount through work (whether paid. what factors seemed important in deciding to take it up? 3 For each job. Did you volunteer or were you directed into it? If you had some choice.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.2 What work experience have I had? Most people would agree that work experience is very important when considering future directions. make a similar list of unpaid or voluntary experience for example. and will be useful when preparing for interviews (see Section 4). but it’s easy to take yourself for granted and not recognise the wide range and high level of skills and abilities you have. Activity 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. 4 Did you have to deal with any difficulties? 5 Which tasks or activities did you find most appealing. fundraising for a charity or involvement in a conservation project. with . delivering ‘Meals on Wheels’. Many will be ‘transferable skills’ that you can use in other situations. note the range of tasks or activities you had to do. either through formal appraisal or from informal comments and reactions. and you might want to come back to it later. You may also have learnt from others. The next activity helps you to explore your experience. visit our website at www.

leave it blank.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1.2. All the words describe positive qualities.8 Some work roles and areas of competence are listed below.3 What roles do I play at work or elsewhere? This activity should help you to become aware of the skills and experience you’ve developed through the typical roles you play at work. visit our website at 15 . Activity 1. Work through each role in the list. 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 put a tick beside it. apply this to whatever activity has taken up a lot of your time. completing an application form or attending an interview (which you will cover in more detail in Section 4). Does it sound like you? If it comes to you easily. To find out more. Circle any that describe you particularly. cross it out. If work hasn’t been a major part of your life. if it isn’t a usual role for you. 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. If you’re not sure or if it’s only partly true.

Again. deciding how you compare with other people.9 Work through the following descriptions. act independently (s) More practical than theoretical (t) Determined (f) Sympathetic. 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. socially confident (s) Pessimistic (f) Energetic (f) Solitary (s) Like lots of change and variety (t) Very much affected by events or people (f) Go my own way.2. visit our website at www.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 situations. get anxious (f) Like deadlines and timetables (t) Usually take a leading role (s) Good with complex ideas or data (t) Demonstrative.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 1. negotiating (s) Tend to worry. Try to use the full range of ratings from 5 (much more so than most) to 1 (much less so than most). circling your position on the come in top (f) Like persuading. More Plan ahead and keep to it (t) Stickler for detail or accuracy (t) Easy mixer. think more generally about your life if your workplace experiences are limited. Activity . caring for others (s) Always like to win.

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

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

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

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

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. practical problems 9 Using manual dexterity.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Thinking and analysis 1 Using critical path analysis 2 Using statistics 3 Logical visit our website at 21 . working out implications 4 Applying critical ability in recognising potential weakness or problems 5 Making logical use of facts or information 6 Using mental arithmetic. hand-eye coordination 10 Understanding physical sciences 11 Understanding engineering 12 Maintaining or repairing complex equipment Rating Total score To find out more.

visit our website at www. systems.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. colours. 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 . sounds and patterns 12 Innovating and improving procedures in your own field Rating Total score Administrative/organisational 1 Managing your time 2 Planning systematically 3 Operating procedures precisely 4 Making things run like clockwork 5 Handling in-trays efficiently 6 Meeting deadlines 7 Producing clear operational structures 8 Developing resources to achieve objectives 9 Organising working time 10 Monitoring procedures and progress 11 Making detailed plans of action 12 Having a well-organised work space. events or courses 5 Being filing system or recording procedures Rating Total score 22 To find out more.

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

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

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

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

open. but only of your own preferences.15 Look through these kinds of work and consider whether you would like to carry each one out. 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. you also need to consider your interests. It’s not a question of your ability or qualifications. You will have had experience of some of them. visit our website at www. Activity 1. Interests are to do with the things you find most appealing or enjoyable. Not sure or No according to how you feel about each activity. Tick Yes.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 1.2. Assume that you could do the activity if you wanted to. Try to imagine whether you’d like doing the others or 27 . visit our website at www.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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity .

27. 30. 47 Questions 3. 11. 40. 14. 20. 42. 45. 38. 48 Questions 4. 21. 54 To find out more. 33. 53 Questions 9. 35. 29. 36.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 1. 29 . visit our website at www. 16. 19. 46 Questions 2. 13. 32. 17. 51 Questions 7. 52 Questions 8. 10. 15. 39. 43. 12. 26. 37. 31. 34. 28.15 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. 49 Questions 5. 44. 50 Questions 6. 18. 23. 25.

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

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’. Now complete the summary chart 31 .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Review Read through the results of your work and reflect on the notes you’ve You should by now have a much clearer picture about: • • • • Your aptitudes Your skills and interests Your achievements and experience Your values At this stage you might like to discuss things either informally with a trusted friend or formally with a careers adviser. 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. When you’ve done that.

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

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

02 . If you haven’t yet got a clear picture of the kind of work or job you want to pursue. • Do some research: find out how. • Build up a file of background information about companies. By planning your job-search strategy.4 2. 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. 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 We are assuming at this stage that you know what you want to do. rather than carefully organised and systematic. so be organised and systematic. This means that you must be flexible enough to adapt your approach to the diversity of methods used by potential employers. or for jobs that don’t fit your needs or meet your expectations. To find out more. and be prepared to ask for comments on how you’ve done.1 2. It’s also important that you don’t spend valuable time applying for jobs where you have little chance of success. The local sawmill is likely to approach the task differently from a multinational advertising agency. Another key fact you need to understand is that different sectors and employers have their own traditional methods for recruiting.1. where and how often vacancies are advertised. (In fact. • Don’t forget that you need to review and evaluate your progress from time to time.1 A typical strategy A strategic approach pays dividends. Always keep copies of your applications.2 Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Exploring possibilities In this section 2. • Look into and follow up all sources of information. As a result.3 2. visit our website at www. What information they do have can often be based on personal experience or rumour. • Get a general view before you start to draw up a shortlist. jobs and developments in sectors you’re interested in. So. the recruitment process will be quite different. A typical strategy means that you will: • Consider all the opportunities open to you: public. work through Section 1 ‘Knowing yourself’ before going any further. the only thing they might have in common is that they probably use an interview during the selection procedure. people’s job-seeking methods can be disorganised and inefficient.5 Planning your strategy 35 Graduate-level jobs 36 Creative job search 38 Finding vacancies 38 Building a network of contacts 43 2. when. you will be able to focus much more accurately on what you need to do to achieve your goal. private and voluntary sectors.1 Planning your strategy Many job-seekers actually have very little knowledge of how the job market works and how people are in fact 35 .) Otherwise.2 2.

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

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. 2. and on the Teaching Quality website at per cent six months after leaving. a growing proportion of graduates find their first jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). There are many instances of graduates in these occupations demonstrating their potential and developing their initial role to fit their skills. retail Niche graduate occupations This is an expanding area. For more information on SMEs go to: www.prospects. nursing. environmental health). According to the Graduate Experience 2002 Report ( 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.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 3 4 5 New graduate occupations These reflect changes in technology and organisational structures and priorities.5 per cent. In fact. marketing. there were 3. the data shows the unemployment figure for OU students from the 2003/4 survey to be 2. Although we know that OU students start from a different point as many are working while they Barclays) only 14 per cent of respondents had a place on a graduate training scheme with a blue chip employer. The ability to access and use specialist information is an additional skill for these areas.2.tqi. 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 In 2004 unemployment among all students was This data is published annually and can be seen at www.8 million SMEs in the UK and it is predicted that they will create a further 2 million jobs by 2010. Many are in nongraduate jobs but using the skills that they have developed as a result of their studies. graphic design. 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. visit our website at 37 .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. Non-graduate occupations Increasing numbers of graduates don’t immediately enter the ‘graduate labour market’. At the beginning of 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.

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

This approach gives you the initiative. sectors. Familiarise yourself with its problems and needs. Does the profession you’re interested in produce one? Use www. • Always follow up If you hear nothing within two weeks of writing. nor appropriate in some areas of employment. Ask questions about the employer’s needs. If a fulltime appointment isn’t practical. • Give a specific reason for contact Have a peg to hang your letter on. Research the advertising space and so on. while decisions are being made about internal versus external recruitment campaigns.kompass. It isn’t enough just to wait for jobs to be advertised in the media. selection dates. explaining what you offer and what you can do. Consider what’s right for you and your ‘target’ area. 2. there may be a possibility of employing you for a particular shortterm project.2 Making speculative approaches Please note that making speculative approaches to companies is not permitted in Northern Ireland. Be prepared to negotiate. a very nervous jobhunter. follow up by telephone. Economic. 2. Each approach must be tailor made and will take time to prepare. ac. even open jobs are hidden during the early stages. Demonstrate that they can’t afford not to employ you. for to see if there are any. Thompson Directory. • 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). • Look at company websites and find out more about them. Remember. telephone call or email must reach the right person. You’re not asking for a job or hoping there might be a vacancy. showing how your abilities can contribute to the success of the enterprise. relocating? Use all your information sources and network contacts (which we will discuss in more detail below) to select a portfolio of companies. Convince employers that you have exactly the skills they need to solve their business problems. and how you would improve. Your letter. show where you can fit in. Be flexible. Be prepared to fit in with the employer’s availability. Marketing yourself means keeping ahead of the competition. You must prepare a thoroughly argued case to prove that the cost of employing you is more than outweighed by the benefits. To find out more. You’re not sending out a mail drop or a circular letter. for 39 . To get started try: • General trade directories e. job titles and addresses are correct. visit our website at www. • Consult the main directories in your local reference library. develop or help it become more effective. and concentrate on those. Check with the organisation to make sure that names. The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book. jobs and areas most appeal to you.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. Which organisations have the sort of position that attracts you? Who is recruiting. teaching. This approach isn’t comfortable for some people for example. technological and organisational change always affect employment patterns. Offer dates and times. The effective job-seeker must tap the hidden market by making speculative approaches to prospective employers.prospects. And be sure you can deliver the goods! • When you meet Be businesslike and professional in making your proposals. You want a meeting: say so clearly when you write.g. • 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. Speculative approaches can even create new jobs. com) • Specialist trade directories for different occupational areas.4. Prove that they need your abilities and would benefit from your expertise. Get any agreements – proposals or contracts – in writing as soon as you can. Treat the employer as a client. You’re making a business proposition. KOMPASS (www. Turnover. Yellow Pages. You decide which organisations. perhaps to arrange a meeting through a secretary. promotion and retirement continually create new job opportunities.4. Prepare for the meeting as you would for a job interview.

5 below. whom you can convince of your qualities as a candidate. The big Sunday papers advertise a variety of jobs. If you’re going to make speculative approaches.thepaperboy.4 Networking In the 2003/4 Destination of Leavers Survey. advertising is reduced. At first. the day on which most papers are sold. 21 per cent of OU students reported that they had got their job as a result of personal contacts and networking. At the start. The best place to consult newspapers and journals is your local library or online if you have access to the 2. Many employers send very poor information. Even if you have no luck with a particular employer. Each rejection may be one step nearer to the job you want.4. smaller employers often rely on local advertisements in the regional press because it’s less expensive and brings in a more manageable number of replies.4. We will deal with networking in more detail in Section 2. Use these meetings to get more information about the job market. Because advertising in national newspapers is costly. or none at all.prospects. after an initial refusal. 2. 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. You will find links to national and regional papers from www. Financial Times) advertise certain kinds of work on particular days of the week.6 Replying to advertised jobs If you reply to an advertisement. look for sources through it may seem a little strange to seek out hidden jobs. Local and regional papers sometimes concentrate their job advertisements on Thursdays. 40 To find out more. August to mid-September and December.4. you may be referred or recommended to . careers and to the section entitled ‘Moving on’ and look at the ‘Advertised Jobs’ and ‘Virtual Employer Fair’ pages. visit our website at www. But experience supports the practical wisdom of doing so. you may need to look at them every day. start planning early in your job search.5 Applying for advertised jobs Many jobs are of course advertised and here we look at where. and familiarise yourself with the kinds of advertisement placed in each paper. 2. Each employer you see is a new contact. Show initiative by telephoning or emailing if you need to know more.7 Newspapers and journals You will find many job vacancies advertised in newspapers and specialist or trade journals. Independent. Remember every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’! • • • • • The internet Newspaper. You may have to do some detective work if the advertisement doesn’t give a telephone number. especially in particular companies • get an introduction to a key decision-maker in a company. Make a note of advertising patterns in your local press. For now. ‘Networking’ is the systematic use of personal contacts to: • gather information about an industry or company • discover hidden jobs. trade and professional journals Professional associations Recruitment agencies Executive search firms In all these cases.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Take a long-term view It takes time to build up a mailing list. about the job advertised or the selection methods they If you are an OU student. If it says write. there’s no point in sending a CV. but their relatively high advertising rates tend to restrict the salary range to the higher end. Here you will find links to jobs notified to the OU Careers Service and access to other UK wide and local vacancies. Daily Telegraph. Making speculative contacts can pay off in several ways. Make the most of it. 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.4. During holiday periods. • develop further contacts to expand your network. as recruiters seldom place their advertisements more than or to concentrate on particular companies just because they appeal to 2. you may be offered a always follow the instructions and responses may be slow and few. • Persevere Occasionally persistence will pay off and. 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. go to www. telephone or email for an application form. Make a note of the advertising patterns: you will find that most of the quality daily papers (The Times.

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

Sometimes contingency firms will distribute your CV widely in the hope of generating new business.10 Executive search firms There are more than 200 executive search firms in the UK. You can search for agencies by geographical location and by type of work from their website at: www. and always include details of your former salary and the range you’re looking for. You can find addresses of search firms in The Daily Telegraph’s Recruitment Handbook. search firms may deal with a limited type of vacancy. • Websites sometimes go online while still under development. Try to make sure you use vetted or recommended websites only to post your . send a CV and covering letter.000. so if you apply to a large firm operating in many locations you need to send your CV to all of them. Many sites change rapidly and there are no guarantees about the accuracy of the information displayed. they’re worth considering if you have skills that are in short supply – accountancy is a particular They get most of their fee whether the employer hires their candidates or not. their role is limited by the high fees they charge to employers (typically 30–35 per cent of annual salary). Remember that: • Websites may not always deliver what they promise. entering it into the database of an organisation (usually recruitment organisations) that will either try to find a suitable match for you or allow an employer to search the information and perhaps select you for interview. You can find this at: They may interview you and construct a pen picture to go with your CV. As a They receive enormous numbers of CVs and often don’t bother to acknowledge them. similarly. • Contingency firms are paid only when the company hires someone they have The average search firm has only three or four 42 To find out more. Most graduate recruiters now recruit online as well as using other Most consultants limit interviews and initially are likely to carry out a telephone screening with you. You could find yourself treated like a trading commodity. They seldom divulge information about their • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is the national association for the recruitment and staffing industry. if the website’s main interest is simply to capture personal details and sell on a CV. Further resources Look at the following website developed by Strathclyde University Careers Service which directs job seekers to vetted job websites. If you decide to use a search There are also opportunities to ‘post’ your CV on the web.11 The internet Most jobs are now advertised on the internet through national websites directly associated with particular careers.strath. • It’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees – not everyone has a brilliant web designer. edited by Patricia Leighton.rec. and your personal details may become public property. they can be a useful source of information about how you were received by the Consultants often don’t share information with one another.prospects. Some employers let more than one contingency firm work on a particular job. You can access this at: www.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. or when commercial confidentiality is essential.html You can also register free on My Prospects. If they send you to an interview they’ll want to know how things went. They are of two main kinds: • Fee/assignment firms are given sole charge of a particular search. As noted above. 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. 2. You can also receive the Prospects Graduate Digital magazine. or are marketable enough to fit something that might turn up in the future. specialist IT skills.4. Bear in mind that not all sites offer confidentiality. published annually by Kogan Page. They tend to be used for jobs that are at a high level or require scarce specialist skills for example. they prefer to receive a CV to judge whether you fit what they have on their books at that moment. While they are important in the market place. Although some firms deal only with positions above £50. Always try to cross-check information. visit our website at www. 2.

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

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

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

03 .

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Money Financial resources


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

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

Health Good points Bad points

Beliefs, outlooks Positives Negatives

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

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The next activity will help with are the most important? Underline them.2. What actions would help you to make the most of them? Minimise restrictions Now look at the restrictions you underlined. Activity 3. It was produced by someone who wanted to apply for promotion.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook .3 Balance helpful resources against restrictions Now look back to the restrictions and resources you listed. What actions would help you to reduce their effects? You’ve now listed actions you can take towards your goals. giving a balanced picture of the situation.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 restrictions. Make the most of resources Look at the resources you underlined. but there’s more to do. visit our website at www. 50 To find out Each restriction is set against a helping resource. 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. 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.

ac.3 continued Bring actions and resources together List the resources that can help you to carry out each step. 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 ‘No experience of managing budgets’ was listed as a problem. Actions Attend course on finance for non-managers Attend outside course in the evenings Find out about the budget process Family support Now do this for each of the actions you listed. You should also be clear about the main helping forces and problems you need to deal with. To find out 51 . visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 3. Look at the example.

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

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 My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal Find out about courses Difficulty of funding Explore educational or career development loans Investigate letting flat for year of the course Afraid of rejection Friend will provide support and encouragement Actions required Constraints Resources. visit our website at www.4 Showing a worked example of an action plan Look at the worked example below. then fill in your own plan on the following page. weekly Find someone else keen to do it To find out Tomorrow Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 53 . My long-term goal Short and medium term goals to achieving long-term goal . visit our website at www.4 Your action plan To find out or what can help me? Target date for actions Activity 3.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 54 Actions required Constraints Resources.

ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out more. visit our website at 55 .open.

04 .

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. Chief Executive. Table 4.6 4. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage.’’ Digby Jones. Director-General.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Getting the job In this section 4.3 4.2 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. Confederation of British Industry. Together they make up what is referred to as ‘employability skills’.1 What do employers look for in graduates? ‘‘A degree alone is not enough.5 4. In addition to working hard to gain a good 4. teamworking and problem solving. Equally importantly 57 . visit our website at www. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. 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’. They particularly value skills such as communication.’’ Carl Gilleard. it shows you how these specific skills can be developed: To find out more. 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 students should engage in extra curricular activities and obtain work experience in order to develop skills that will make them better prepared for the world of work.1 overleaf is taken and adapted from the 2006 version of What do Graduates do? It shows very clearly what types of skill employers want.1 4.

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

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

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

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

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

If appropriate. Tailor your responses to the post you’re applying You can often use the same material. ideally get someone else to check rather than relying on a spell checker. The skills you’ve developed in one context may well be transferable to another and employers will look for evidence that you recognise them: Be positive and honest.2. You’ll need to adapt your answers to the questions you find. If possible. It is up to you to pick these out from your own experience so that you can present this on an application form. Every employer values determination. one should be an academic referee. but mention any part-time or voluntary work you did during that period. 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.g. Learning outcomes will give you some help in mapping out the skills and achievements that you gained during OU study. working odd hours. If you’ve been unemployed. say so. Make sure you’ve been consistent in style (e. or not more than once. visit our website at www. flexibility and time management skills. dealing with members of the public. Make the most of these skills as well as your academic success. the name and address of the person you sent the form to. interests and skills the employer is looking for) Make your points relevant. ‘I worked as a volunteer classroom assistant for three years’ rather than ‘I love children’). Get your referees’ agreement before giving their names. you can stress the personal qualities and skills that OU study and keep them well briefed so that they can write supportive references. give fuller details of your course than you would if it’s not particularly relevant. It’ll also take some of the tedium out of tackling other forms.3.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. to be a teacher) while some put emphasis on transferable skills (which you dealt with in Section 1.3 Skills you have attained as an OU student As an Open University student. • Make a note of the job you’ve applied for.5 above) and some look for a mixture of both.3. You’ll rarely find the perfect application form that exactly suits your background and 63 . • Look over the presentation. Leave no unexplained gaps in your employment Look at Section 6 if you are or have been an offender.g. Practise answering the typical questions in the next activity. Always send it by first class post. You may be able to look back at the course descriptions To find out more. in your use of personal pronouns). If you’re applying for a job related to your degree subject. These may have been expressed as learning outcomes. not ‘we’). another someone you’ve worked for who can write about you as an employee. there are a number of resources in the Careers Advisory Service website at www. Generalised waffle convinces no one. Some jobs may require subject-specific knowledge (e.g. give their full titles and status. • Use an envelope of suitable size so that the form isn’t folded. 4. If you are a student. They can help you identify the subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills you have acquired during each course. Give evidence and avoid bland generalities (e. for several applications. Use positive language. ask someone else to look over your application before you send it. working under pressure. Usually. Your regional centre can provide you with a confidential reference – name the Regional Director as the referee. interesting and personal (say ‘I’. • Make a copy of your completed form so that you can re-read it before the interview. and the date you sent it.4 When you’ve completed the form • Check it thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. Use the ‘any other information’ section to draw attention to activities and qualities not covered elsewhere on the with a little editing. Inaccuracy in one section can raise doubts about other areas of the form. go to the sections on ‘Personal and Career development’ and ‘Moving on’. 4. handling money.g. and Course Guides for the courses that you have studied and pick out the kinds of skills that the course aimed to develop. Be convincing. If you want to do this in a more structured way. self-discipline.

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

2 What style of CV? The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation it’s addressed to. To find out more. When researching We also show you sample CVs in Sections 4. look at what the expectations might be. your CV doesn’t need to conform to a set format. To use the same approach for. it should be flexible enough to allow modification to match the job you’re seeking. and what to leave out or minimise. some professions. look at: a financial institution or a local authority might have an adverse effect. go to the OU Careers Advisory Service website and choose the ‘Moving on’ section if you are a student at: www.4. 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. it is useful to highlight this in a separate section as it draws attention to for tips and example CVs. For most jobs.4 The curriculum vitae (CV) Like an application The importance of tailoring your CV However. Bear this in mind when you design your own CV.) And you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter. Alternatively. such as the legal profession. (So you may in fact be doing just that. Instead. Most people tend to prefer one style over the others (though as you will see. visit our website at www.4 – 4. 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). When you have work experience that is directly relevant. 4. my strengths and qualities? • What experiences shall I emphasise? • How can the style of my CV match the culture of the organisation(s) I’m sending it to. 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 65 . but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual company. an academic CV is used mainly for applying for academic posts). You can tailor the style. For more information on CVs. In addition. For example.4. 4. content and design to show off your strengths and present you in the most positive light. prefer CVs in a chronological format. not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies you found in the Yellow Pages. so you have more control over the impression it will create.4.7 below.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook You want to make sure that you present yourself positively and 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. 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. 4. say. The right one is the one that works for you in your situation and succeeds in getting you interviews. Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements. Be prepared then to spend a considerable amount of time on creating and reworking an effective document. you need to make a decision about the kind of CV to use as most employers will not specify. Whichever format you choose. 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). some job areas have expectations that a particular kind of CV is submitted.4. as well as the work I want? There’s no right or wrong way to write a CV. For instance. So.4. it’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you. a CV is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you. The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight.prospects. when it comes to preparing your CV.

However. showing the name of each employer.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. beginning with the most recent. it can suggest instability and will require explanation – particularly if you’ve changed profession or career direction. visit our website at www. responsibilities and key achievements./fax 01903 562366 email mcrlewis@wizard. the period you were employed. In addition. looking for an opportunity to take on wider responsibilities within the . This lists jobs by date. The advantages of a chronological CV are: • It can be very easy to produce.4.4 The chronological CV You are probably most familiar with a chronological CV. As a result. the disadvantages to a chronological CV are that any gaps in your employment stand Profile An experienced. with a chronological CV. The chronological CV Malcolm Lewis 16 London Road Portsmouth PO9 6AL Tel. where you worked. your job title(s). 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. it isn’t always easy to spot key achievements or skills which might get ‘buried’ under different job • It has for many years been recognised as a standard approach to CVs. if you’ve changed jobs frequently. • It allows prospective employers to see very quickly how an individual has progressed and increased responsibility. highly motivated CIMA professional with in-depth knowledge of the financial services and strong team-working skills.

French Training 1990–95 Passed all stages of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants examinations Various short professional courses In-house interviewing. 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 67 . Chemistry. visit our website at www. 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. 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. English. interviewed clients.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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

However. experience education training interests. but you may find the following ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ helpful. number and extension. but don’t give the address or the name of your manager at this stage. Address Be sure to give a full address with postcode.jordan2@open. These are irrelevant on a CV. REFEREES Professor Rebecca Jordan r. Include your mobile number if you have one. gender. 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. Include an email address if you have one. they’re unnecessary at this stage and may confuse matters. It should be quite obvious what it Dr David James consider investing in an answering service or 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). when you have more opportunity to negotiate any difficulties.8 What to include (and not to include) in your CV Your CV is uniquely yours in style.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). You can discuss them at the interview if appropriate.g. For more recent jobs. give more detail about particular 74 To find out more. visit our website at www. since invitations to interview are often sent at short notice and speedy delivery is in your interest. Other personal details There’s no need to include such details as date of birth. so that you can be reached as easily as say during the last ten Dr Steven Mayes s. Employment experience Your aim here is to stress your achievements at work.d. activities additional skills career Telephone It’s important to give a telephone number where you can be reached or where a message can be left. 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). If you’re employed and prospective employers can contact you during office hours. Always give the full area code. 4. you don’t need to give initials or middle At . CVs usually contain: • • • • • • • • personal data employment.r. nationality.mayes@open. marital status. give your number and say that it’s a work so that the caller will be discreet.f. where your aim is to get yourself invited for interview. Include the nature and place of your employer’s business if it isn’t obvious from the name. content and layout. personal profile (optional) references.4. number of children.james1@open.

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

Use an A4 envelope with cardboard reinforcement. we’ve chosen a description for human resource management. • Put the most important information on the first page and as near the top as possible. (e. run a computer club. visit our website at www. Space makes text easier to read and more attractive. If you don’t want your employer approached at this stage. References You’ll usually need two referees.g. you’ll need to analyse the job itself. Consider using an appendix for very detailed information such as a list of Presentation of your CV To produce an effective CV . follow it up by sending a hard copy straight away. and so on. Word and Excel. or you’re applying for a job for which the competition is particularly keen. and the notes that follow it suggest some inferences that can be drawn from them about the nature of the work of personnel management.g. including software you are familiar with e. line manager. Some of the key words in the description have been emphasised. You’ll need it again. course tutor). word-processed and printed or copied on goodquality white or cream paper. addresses and telephone numbers. • Avoid long. and in particular the skills it calls for.g. which is designed for this area of work.4. you’re a mature graduate. It is also important to outline your level of IT and keyboard skills. Concentrate on the aspects that are most important for the employer to know. Career aims. Keep a copy of your CV (and disk) in a safe place. Give their names. Use bullet points to make reading quicker. The employer may not bother to read on if there’s nothing of interest to begin with. and don’t clutter it up with unnecessary punctuation. Make sure the copies are sharp and clear. Write the words out in full the first time you use them and put the abbreviation in brackets.10 Analysing a job description In order to construct a CV that’s effectively related to the job you’re seeking. underlining). • 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). to adapt for other employers. 4.4. An unusual hobby such as sky-diving or genealogical research can be worth mentioning. first aid training. give an indication of your level of competence). You might prefer to omit referees on the CV and put ‘Available on request’. additional skills such as foreign languages (if possible. If you need to demonstrate an interest in design (e. after that you can use it on its own. pay attention to its appearance as well as its content. you have an unconventional record. 76 To find out more. Don’t fold it. say so in your CV or covering letter. personal profile Including career aims and a skill profile can be particularly effective if you’re seeking a career change. Don’t use clichés. To illustrate this. One way to do this is from the job description. jargon and abbreviations the reader may be unfamiliar with. and their status or relationship to you (e. • If you send your CV by email. Yours will be one of many that the employer has to read.g. Have headings in the same style (capital letters. chronological order) and in your layout. Include details you think a prospective employer really ought to know – driving licence. • Be consistent in how you present the 4. • Your CV should be produced to a high standard. one your present or last employer. such as Arial 11 . Additional skills The diversity of individual careers sometimes makes extra sections desirable: you can make up your own subheadings. It might be helpful to read it alongside CV Example 3. done voluntary work that demonstrates organisational and management skills. It gives your CV an interesting feature and makes it memorable. and proofread the final version carefully. • Make it easy to read and follow. Use an ‘easy-to-read’ font. for some media jobs) more elaborate graphics and perhaps coloured paper might be appropriate.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. particularly if you want to offer a targeted CV. even though it has no obvious relevance to the job. • Don’t cram the page. • Seek other people’s views on your draft. • The space you give to each section should reflect its importance. bold. complicated sentences. • Make sure that your CV arrives looking like a quality document.

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

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

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

I have recently taken voluntary redundancy as a consequence of a nationwide organisational restructuring programme. Yours sincerely Margaret Minty 80 To find out more. Although I currently live in Edinburgh.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. Working in a team alongside other senior management . 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 a qualified accountant with substantial professional experience. I look forward to hearing from you. I am free to relocate to another area and see this as a positive addition to my professional and personal visit our website at www. I have brought about a sustained improvement in my office’s financial performance over the past five years. and discussed specific aspects with the Finance Director over the telephone yesterday. Having read the detailed description of the post. Fairplay Industries Ltd. Assistant Finance Director. 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 I am confident that I could make a significant contribution to Fairplay Industries Ltd. I have particular interest in computer-based accounting procedures and extensive staff management experience.

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

Practise speaking on the phone to a friend and ask what impression you’re making. network contacts. 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. • What are your weak spots and what do you feel uncomfortable talking about? • Why would you not employ yourself? Produce convincing counter-arguments. Practice is essential. How you project yourself through your social and communication skills will determine your success whenever you speak with potential employers. Below we list the four main types of interviewers you may come across. find out something about the people interviewing you. 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. Find out all you can about interviewing techniques and be ready to cope with them: • Read about the process. 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. • Practise your answers in the weak areas. Do it out loud. solutions. • Practise by role-play with a partner. Read the section on ‘Tough questions’ in Section 4. If you can. How you sound will be crucial.6. Try to foresee questions or situations and work out possible answers. • Learn from observing others – take the role of interviewer with a partner. 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. into a tape recorder. 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. • Ask for comments from a partner. • Think about the interview and plan for it. for insight often leads to heightened anxiety.6. may try to ‘sell’ the job Head of a group or department A technical expert with wider managerial experience Will talk shop. • Reflect on your . Collect as many concrete examples of things you’ve done as you can. Remember that when managers interview they’re playing a role to a set of social rules. • Review your CV.9 below and practise some answers out loud.1 Interviewers There are as many kinds of interviewer as there are problems. Human resource/recruitment managers Well-trained and experienced. and may not be entirely their usual selves. Consult some of the books listed at the end of this booklet. visit our website at www. or use audio or video recordings.2 Before your interview • Research the job and employer thoroughly beforehand. Even experience as an interviewer doesn’t make for a flawless performance. Evaluate your performance and incorporate the learning into your next interview. or interviewers who have rejected you. often astute and very sensitive Acting as internal Practise some answers into a tape recorder and listen critically to yourself. Don’t let your own stereotyping of the interviewer affect your interview technique. within a broader organisational framework May have standard questions.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 4. 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. 82 To find out more.6.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Don’t be discouraged. some employers ask candidates to submit a handwritten piece on a management topic. make reporting and follow-up clear. 90 To find out more. but is a controversial technique in the UK. 4.9 Proficiency tests These tests are used to find out whether candidates have the skills they claim – 120 words per minute shorthand. • Keep a careful eye on the time. remind the group if necessary. and ability to communicate in clear You may be allowed to use the floor if the desk isn’t big enough. How to go about it: • It may be possible to take the in-tray apart and sort it into heaps.7. abroad. use your diary and your secretary well. and that can be a clue. or conflict between the other participants. 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.10 Medical tests The job advertisement or person specification should state clearly whether a certain level of physical fitness is required. colleagues are ill. 4. just like a real one. Intervene if there’s loss of direction. medical tests cover sight. However. organisation. means that details of an individual’s history are correlated with the biographical details of others who have succeeded in the same occupation.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Mentally ‘stand back’ occasionally and evaluate what’s happening. So. it’s Saturday afternoon).open. and between intrays if there’s more than one. Signal in your comments that you’ve spotted these links. You’re likely not to know that graphology is being used. follow this up by tackling the items according to those you set. • If the first part of the exercise asks you to set priorities. you’ll be maximising your chance of success. If you have to reach a decision within thirty minutes. set timescales. 4. Studies indicate that graphologists can produce generalised personality descriptions. other than statistical correlation. take care over presentation as well as content.7 Graphology Graphology . 4. or 90 words per minute wordprocessing. Pause for thought Getting the job you want is always a challenge.6 In-tray exercises These simulations of the administrative aspects of a job can be very taxing. even if you’re not asked to do so. a contraction of ‘biographical data’.analysis of handwriting – is used a lot for managerial selection in continental Europe. make sure that it’s permitted. The qualities most likely to be assessed are analysis. • You can be judged only on what you’ve written down. colour perception and hearing.7.g. if you’re asked to submit a demonstration piece. but often a special form is needed. particularly in France. not on what went through your head. The biographical data need not have any recognised link with performance. By taking the trouble to reflect and to prepare. As well as general fitness. Make a point of discussing your strategy and interpretation of the group discussion with the interviewer later.7. A well constructed test in-tray will contain distracting . decisionmaking. • Read the instructions carefully and plan your time accordingly. Don’t just put your head down and plough through the lot. Related tests of ‘potential for proficiency’ (trainability) assess characteristics such as hand–eye coordination. judgement. A cleverly constructed in-tray will generate emotional responses that can cloud decision-making. visit our website at www. 4. If you like to work like that. Best marks are obtained by candidates who produce the largest volume of appropriate written output. Staffing issues are most likely to spring this trap.7. • Remain balanced in your judgement. Evidence offers little support for its use as a predictor of performance. • Look for links within an in-tray. but they’re not as detailed or as accurate as information gathered from psychometric tests and exercises. Information may be collected from the standard application form. They’re usually set in an unrealistic scenario that prevents you from talking to other people in the organisation (e. Most candidates find these tests tough. and may take time. Treat the whole exercise like real life.7.8 Biodata analysis ‘Biodata’. • Give reasons for your decisions. with appropriate levels of formality and informality in your responses. for example.

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

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Many employers have well-developed equal opportunities policies to help them to recruit a diverse workforce. However. In fact. there is evidence that certain groups of people are at a disadvantage and may experience difficulty in achieving their career aims. and you will often see this highlighted in job on a covering letter. go to www. visit our website at www.4 5. strategies to help you in your job search and further resources that you may find discrimination Pause for thought Keep in mind that disclosure of personal information during the recruitment process can be a concern for some For more information and links on job-seeking strategies when facing discrimination.3 5. when or how you should do so.6 5. the legal position.1 5.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Equality and Diversity Issues In this section 5.2 5. on your application form. some organisations aim specifically to recruit a workforce that reflects the community they serve.prospects. 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. before or during an interview will be considered later in Section 93 . Each section includes a discussion of some of the issues you may the same principles of career planning and job seeking apply to everyone. The issues of whether.5 5. In this section we highlight some of the additional challenges that may be faced by students and graduates.7 Age 94 Criminal record 95 Disability or additional requirements 96 Gender/sex 98 Race 100 Sexuality and sexual orientation 101 Religion or belief 102 Regardless of their background. To find out more.

please contact your regional centre who will arrange this. your age will count against you in the job market? 5. They are saying. 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 Your rights By October 2006. Braille or large print. 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. to offer a range of transferable skills and experience to an employer. hone your CV to highlight that ‘extra’ you can offer to enhance your application. 5. juggling study and home responsibilities. we will be happy to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs. Then contact the Careers Advisory Service in your region to get help with your marketing plan. having completed your degree. as a mature graduate. Having a degree is not enough to secure a job. you have a degree and. If you haven’t had any recent work experience (paid or voluntary). 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’. gender.1. then you could consider exploring your local .open. 94 To find out more. if you need any information in an alternative format such as an audio recording. selection procedures in large organisations are being reviewed. or contact your local OU Careers Advisory Service. So.. that you are automatically going to be offered a job. This is where you are able. especially when you have used all your spare time to get the degree in the first place. So.1 Age Are you concerned that.. sexual orientation and religion. 5. which you might like to discuss with a careers adviser.2 How to help yourself in the job market Take a look at Section 4 on applying for jobs.1 Note here any issues that could affect you at work. For example. 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. 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. For ‘Yes. You may need to allow some time for appropriate arrangements to be made. visit our website at www. This may feel unfair.’.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Activity 5. Employers are looking for more than a qualification. you need to present your experience and skills positively and highlight your ‘added value’. disability. and paid work. Remember. It’s not enough to think that because you have completed a part-time degree. look at the Careers Advisory Service website for contacts for volunteering opportunities. The Third Age Employment Network (TAEN) works for better opportunities for mature people to continue to learn. to do so. Available for reference in your regional centre or at: www. starting by using the company website (if there is one available). research. occupational therapy. you may be confused about its implications for working in the future. organisational and self-motivational skills.agepositive.realworldmagazine.1 Your rights Do note that there are legal requirements regarding disclosure of certain convictions. some areas of work look for maturity. • Highlight your time management. loyalty and confidence to manage AdvantAGE – A magazine published by ‘realworld’ to help ‘mature’ students to take control of their future. • Fully research each Further resources For the latest information on age legislation 2006. • Create your own network using contacts from previous jobs/friends/family.g. counselling. good targeting and carefully written 95 . teamwork. Some of your concerns may include: • Whether you must declare any convictions. • Convey your reliability. social work. communication. and view life experience as an advantage Age diversity at work – A practical guide for business. • Demonstrate your flexibility and experience of studying and working in mixed-age environments. and archive work.prospects. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. Most employers will be impressed by your commitment and motivation! Indeed. • Be confident if you are offered an interview as this means your CV/application form has obviously been successful. Mature students – the way forward (AGCAS publication) is available at: www. • Identify the skills you developed in previous work. it’s vital – whatever your aims – to research your chosen area thoroughly and market yourself effectively. (A level playing field.prospects. including a section for mature students. • What impact a criminal record will have on your gaining and keeping some have started new careers in their 50s.taen. investment of time and 143 stamps and studies and general life experience e.2. • Stress your ability to hit the ground running – you know all about working for a living. Published by Age Positive at: you have just spent a number of years improving these through part-time 5. when and if to disclose a conviction to a prospective employer. go to Employers Forum on Age at: www. work and earn for as long as they or need.2 Criminal record If you have a criminal record. 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 • How. adaptability. AGCAS) Tell employers about your skills and what you have had to do to get an OU qualification. You can access the network at: www. And you must be determined and active in your approach. • Use positive language in applications and interviews and never apologise for your age. • Demonstrate your experience when making effective business decisions and give examples.efa. Don’t be put off by negative reactions if at first you don’t succeed! One graduate wrote: My method worked because of A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. teaching. visit our website at www. Be prepared to produce more than one CV.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Many OU graduates have changed careers in midlife. You do need to be clear about what you want and what you can offer. For some areas To find out 5.

uk/careers . Employers must show that they have looked into the costs of adaptations.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. including supervising or being in sole charge of persons aged under eighteen’. The effectiveness of the adjustment in reducing the disadvantage must be taken into account. or applying for jobs. 5. and people with severe disfigurements. This covers people who have had a disability. The key starting point is to explore career areas that are relevant to your interests and skills. in the information and advice for ex-offenders seeking work at: www. training and selection for redundancy or 96 To find out more.3 Disability or additional requirements Many students and graduates with disabilities have the same skills and abilities to offer as anyone else. particularly in relation to employment and access to goods. and so must the finances of the employer. employers are required to seek disclosure of criminal records from the relevant criminal records office.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook of work. Before you start studying for a specific career area. It does not apply to employers who employ workers on board ships or Further resources Criminal Records Bureau (England and Wales) at: www. Discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment. They define rights for disabled The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) publishes a number of advice leaflets. Keep in mind that there are certain jobs for which convictions never become A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. training. • Be realistic about the employment area you wish to enter. All employers are covered except for the armed forces. including a section for offenders.3. For some You can access them at: 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’. 5. without the need for specific adjustments or those who have recurring or progressive conditions. such as ‘regularly caring for.crb.apextrust. altering hours or buying The Apex Trust – support. but smaller companies with lesser funds may not have to do so. • Make use of other agencies that can help and advise you. • Market yourself as positively as possible (see Section 4).2 How to help yourself in the job market If you have unspent convictions. Published by AGCAS and available online at: www. You can find out more from the Disability Rights Commission: Disability Rights Commission www. Part II of the DDA is intended to prevent discrimination against disabled people at work and in recruitment. do check the legal situation carefully. services and facilities. promotion. it can seem a challenging task to seek employment. 5.prospects. Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments both to the workplace and to the job description. Large companies will probably be expected to adapt the Scottish Criminal Record Office (Scotland) at: www. and what funding is available from other sources.drc-gb. Here is a range of strategies to help you: • Discuss your situation with a careers adviser at your regional centre.nacro. as defined by the Act.2. visit our website at www. and then to consider the next steps as outlined below. additional support can help to enable access to work. These may include adjusting premises.

it may fund specialist equipment or transport costs. 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. • Referral if needed to an occupational psychologist. • Referral where appropriate to a work preparation programme. So.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. 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. When you apply for jobs and you are considering whether to disclose your disability: • Always focus on what you can do. • Don’t assume that an employer will view your disability in a negative way. If you declare your disability and believe that you have been discriminated against during the application process. To find your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. Many application forms ask about disability and health. Many employers have equal opportunities policies. • Don’t restrict your applications only to employers who are keen to recruit disabled people. • Information on employers in your area who are Disability Symbol users. the DEA can provide advice to you and your employer and explore practical ways to help you keep your job. though you may find it helpful to talk it over with a careers adviser at your regional centre. visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook 5. look at the website: Each is committed to creating and developing opportunities for people with disabilities. 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. • • • • • To find out more. you will need to consider the method and timing. Access to Work – a Jobcentre Plus programme (see below) can provide support for you in a job. The majority of disabled jobseekers who find work through Jobcentre Plus are assisted by a disability employment adviser (DEA). 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 You must make your own judgement. • 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.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. your coping strategies. Specialist DEAs can discuss your current employment situation with you to plan the best way into or look up Jobcentre Plus in the Yellow Pages. For instance. You will be able to describe things in a positive light – your strengths. If you’re concerned about losing the job you’re already in for a reason associated with disability. not what you can’t. • Perhaps you prefer not to discuss your disability with a stranger. 5. However. If you do decide to disclose your disability. Services the DEAs can offer include: • An employment assessment to identify what work or training suits you best. training and self-employment. 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. 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.jobcentreplus.employers-forum. you risk losing your • You may think that an employer will automatically see you as a potential expense. the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 entitles you to take your case to a There are now over 400 member companies in the Employers’ Forum on Disability www. You should always point this out to employers. If you give false information and an employer finds out the truth 97 .

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 The EPA applies to England.4 Gender/sex Does it make a difference if you are a man or a woman when applying for a job? Unfortunately. and the provision of goods.prospects. or • work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study. 5. facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises. published by AGCAS and available online at: www.) 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 employment. June 2003.adp. www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook WORKSTEP – Individual programme of support through a variety of different job opportunities – leading to unsupported employment. and in fact. the necessity for a work/life balance is highlighted by the legal right for mothers and fathers of children under It also prohibits discrimination in employment against married people. • Details about work-based learning for academics involved in work placements and prospective employers: www. needing time off work for parenting duties. yes: despite the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC). to request flexible working. we still find gender discrimination in the Wales and Scotland. this can help you in presenting yourself in your application for SKILL – The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities – has a large range of relevant information sources: www. (You might also want to check whether a prospective employer has an equal opportunities policy. including a section on disability.1 Your rights (The following information is from the EOC website.) Other equality issues that you might encounter include harassment at The Open University Careers Advisory Service web pages have some useful links. There is also an interactive web-based service providing dedicated information. Disabled students’ allowances (DSAs) Disabled students’ allowances (DSAs) are grants available to disabled students in higher education to help with the extra costs of services and facilities they need for their studies because of a disability or specific learning difficulty. and disabled children under 18. There is a lot of discussion about the ‘glass ceiling’ that prevents women from achieving ‘top jobs’.uk/disability Further resources Association of Disabled Professionals at: . which came into force in the UK on 6 April 2003. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of • Information on local and national disability organisations of and for disabled Diversity Works at: www. advice and resources for students with disabilities. and in ongoing communication with your employer. 98 To find out more. Times are changing: for where the man and the woman are doing • like work. and graduate case studies. Employers are not required to provide the same pay and benefits if they can prove that the difference in pay or benefits is genuinely due to a reason other than one related to sex.disabled-entrepreneurs. available for reference in each regional centre. or • work that is proved to be of equal value. education. visit our website at and looking for flexible working A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. includes employers’ case studies. If you live outside the UK you will need to check the legal position for your country of residence. Look in the ‘A-Z’ under ‘Disability’ for further Disabled Entrepreneurs Network: www. It’s important that you are aware of the issues concerning sex and gender discrimination – at both recruitment stage. and in The Hobson’s guide for Disabled Students – This is a free annual publication for disabled students. If you check on the legal situation. The OU provides information about DSAs on the website at: www.

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

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

You can ask for a copy of the policy before applying for a job. and this will depend on your own experience and 5.kalmagazine. Their website is: www.nmc-online. National Mentoring Consortium Unit The National Mentoring Consortium Unit works with employers.3 How to help yourself in the job market There are a number of measures that you can take to help yourself in the job market: • Many employers now have Equal Opportunities Policies that include lesbians and gay men.6. when to. You can log onto their website at: www.6. Target employers with a reputation for good equal opportunity policy and practice. For advice on finding positive employers take a look at: 5. the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 came into force in the UK.6.7 Resources for employment and training Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is the national organisation for monitoring racial equality. and how much to disclose to a potential employer and to work colleagues is of course a matter of personal choice. vacancies. campaigns and services as well as vacancies in the commission Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) To find out It holds an annual careers day for black and Asian students and graduates. • Develop contacts and make the most of your networking skills.cre.windsor-fellowship.5. If the EOP is incorporated into your contract you might be able to directly rely upon it. visit our website at www. The Scotland and Wales. universities and schools to support learners from minority ethnic groups.1 Your rights The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment.4). available for reference in your regional centre or at www. especially public sector and large private employers. TeacherWorld UK TeacherWorld UK provides information and support for teachers (and those intending to teach) from minority ethnic backgrounds. Find out more about the unit at: www. Contact them for information on legal issues. students and recruiters. run by BITC. application forms and covering letters. • Discuss your plans and approach with a careers adviser in your regional centre. Race for Opportunity is a programme. formally made illegal a whole catalogue of discrimination against transsexual people in employment. This relates to England. that is dedicated to ethnic minority issues. which apply to the Sex Discrimination Act (1997).uk/careers 101 .ac.2 Transsexuals In May Black and Asian Graduates –The UK’s official website for black and Asian graduates.6 Sexuality and sexual orientation Are you worried about possible discrimination in the workplace because of your sexuality? Whether 5. You can find more information at the Press for Change website (see Section 5. You will need to consider how comfortable you will be in an area of work where you are not open about your sexuality. • Many employers have sub-groups for minority ethnic groups. your CV. 5. Includes job-hunting techniques.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Make use of Section 4 ‘Getting the job’ to prepare your marketing tools. Windsor Fellowship The Windsor Fellowship is a charitable organisation that offers skills development programmes to undergraduates and graduates from minority ethnic • Understand the relevant legal situation. • Check if the organisation is a member of Business in the Community (BITC) www. plus details of work experience and career-enhancement programmes Further resources KAL – Careers publication for students from minority ethnic groups (formerly Kaleidoscopic).

visit our website at www. unless the employer can show that there is a legitimate business need. Under the new regulations it is unlawful. these employers are at the cutting edge of innovation in business and public service. on the grounds of religion or belief. age or disability. IBM (UK and Ireland) says: In December 2003.eoc. gender. It is also unlawful to harass or bully someone because of their religion or belief.gba. and Diversity Champions allows employers to focus on the new challenges and opportunities for addressing issues of diversity in the Gay Business Association www. including a section on sexuality and sexual orientation. General Manager.4 Resources for employment and training Stonewall Stonewall works to achieve legal equality and social justice for lesbians. A number of motions passed at TUC conferences have made it clear that all affiliated unions should adhere to equal opportunities for lesbians and gay men.prospects. to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone. 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.dircon. Scotland and Wales and similar regulations were also introduced in Northern Regard – the national organisation of disabled lesbians.stonewall. through legislation and social change www. 102 To find out more. www. gay men. . Published by AGCAS and available online at 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 Usually. • If your employer recognises more than one union. 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. If you encounter discrimination. the support of a trade union can protect you where the legislation doesn’t. gay men and bisexual people and launched Diversity Champions in 2001.6. This is a forum in which employers work with Stonewall to encourage diversity in the workplace. where they advertise.7 Religion or belief I greatly value IBM’s participation in the Diversity Champions Scheme. Press for Change Press for Change is a political lobbying and educational organisation. At IBM we employ the best people irrespective of religion. which campaigns to achieve equal civil rights and liberties for all transgender people in the days when they choose to Further resources Equal Opportunities Commission www. bisexuals and transgender The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 (Religion or Belief) were introduced to protect against discrimination in employment and vocational training in England.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook • Consider joining a trade union where you will receive support and legal advice. sexual orientation. Larry A level playing field – A job-hunting guide for students and graduates on how to challenge unfair discrimination. staff development or training days clashing with days of worship or festivals and The most usual ways in which employers may discriminate might be around the way in which they recruit new staff. • Find out about employers who belong to the Diversity Champions group set up by Stonewall in 2001.

pdf To find out Managing the New Legislation on Religion and Belief 5. it doesn’t necessarily mean that the employer doesn’t care about this. 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. Further resources The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 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 if the organisation has one.7.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook If this is an area that is of concern to you. keep up to date on the law and your rights. Alternatively. • Speak to the equality and diversity officer. Does it include information about equality and diversity? If 103 . there is very little case law at present – greater understanding of how the legislation is interpreted and practised will come with time. someone from human resources may be able to help. • Look out for employee profiles on employer websites. But how do you know this? • Look out for race equality schemes/equality and diversity policies. As it is recent legislation.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. In the meantime. • Read the information in the recruitment pack.lowpay. if this is a concern for you. 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. unless it is a genuine occupational requirement (GOR).gov. visit our website at www.


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

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

Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 108 To find out more. visit our website at 109 .Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out visit our website at www.

uk/careers .ac.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 110 To find out more. visit our website at

visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes To find out 111 . visit our website at www.Career Planning and Job Seeking Workbook Notes 112 To find out more.

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