Members Matter - Redundancy Support

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Members Matter Redundancy Support

The Members Matter area is designed to help those who are applying for work, facing or have recently been made redundant.It will give you skills in creating a CV and cover letter, help you complete application forms and support you through the job finding process .

If at any point you have a question please do not hesitate in contacting us at 

Letters & Applications

Learn how to create a cover letters for targeted and speculative Jobs and get tips on how to complete an application form

Completing an application form

Overview of Completing an Application Form

They may seem pointless, but application forms are definitely worth your time and attention if you want to get it right. No clue where to start? Don't worry, here’s how to fill in a stellar application and land that job.

Research the company

Before even putting pen to paper, carefully research the organisation, the industry and the role to determine:

·         The skills they are seeking

·         What skills you have which are relevant to the job

·         What attracts you to the role

Don’t know where to start your research? Instructions to candidates, information about vacant positions and application procedures are usually in the ‘About us’ or ‘Careers’ section of company websites.

Education and qualifications

Most application forms ask you to list your qualifications and education, but sometimes they won’t give you a great deal of space to write them in. If there is limited space you may be able to:

·         Summarise key results or module titles

·         Add a separate sheet

·         Insert details into the additional information box 

For non-UK qualifications, you may need to state their UK equivalent. This is usually done by providing details of how many UCAS points they equate to. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has information on the comparability of international qualifications.

Employment history

List your jobs in reverse chronological order. Include the following:

·         Your job title

·         The name of the organisation

·         The name of the town (plus the country if it is overseas)

If the application form is to be used in conjunction with a Criminal Records Bureau check (DBS), you need to list the month as well as the year.

There may also be a box to describe the responsibilities and achievements of previous roles that relate to the skills required for the advertised job. You can aggregate or prioritise some experiences if space is limited. 

Interests and achievements

It’s time for the difficult part, the hobbies. Pay close attention to what skills the job ad is looking for, and try to relate your hobbies and activities to them if you can.

Describing your hobbies in a way that shows you are a sociable person also helps too, as it shows you can work well with others. And it's easy to do, “I am a member of a book club, rather than “I am a book worm”, for instance.

Personal statement

Provided with some white space, it can be tempting to go on - and on - but stick to the space provided or the word count given.

Don’t write a highly detailed chronological version of your career to date, (remember, you can elaborate in the interview), just pick out examples of skills or achievements that are relevant to the job. Less is more with personal statements, so stick to delivering the main, relevant messages.

Although don’t make claims you can’t prove. If you make an assertion, always back it up with evidence, such as “customer satisfaction ratings increased by 15% under my management.”

If the application ends up looking a bit too long and you just can’t edit it anymore, use subheads to flag things up and to make it easier to read.


At least one of your two referees should be work-related, including your current line manager, and if you’re a recent graduate one should be an academic at university - most people use their personal tutor. Remember:

·         Always seek their permission

·         Provide their full name and title, postal address, email address and phone number

·         Share your career aspirations and achievements with your referees

·         Keep them informed about the jobs you are going for 


·         Print the form and check your work before sending it out. Keep a copy.

·         Carefully check your spelling and grammar, poor English is a common reason for applications being rejected.

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

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

·         Avoid jargon.

·         Use active verbs.

·         Do not repeat yourself.

·         Re- read over the job advert to ensure the information you include on the form is relevant.

·         Ask a critical friend to read through it

Sources: 23/06/2020

Last modified: Tuesday, 23rd June, 2:29 PM
Writing a Cover Letter

Cover Letters

well-written cover letter is essential for the majority of job applications to accompany your CV. A cover letter gives you the chance to successfully sell your skills, knowledge and abilities to prospective employers.

To ensure that you portray yourself in the best light, we’ve compiled our expert knowledge to create a guide on how to write the perfect cover letter. We’ve also included an example cover letter template to help you on your way to creating a successful cover letter. 

What is a cover letter?

Your cover letter  is a ‘personal introduction’ providing information as to why you would be suited to the vacancy. A cover letter is a document that is sent along side your CV it should help to complement your CV, and provide additional details on your qualifications and previous experience.

As your cover letter is one of the first things an employer or recruiter sees when looking at your job application, ensure that it highlights your skills and experience in relation to the job role.

A successful cover letter can make all the difference between acquiring an interview or sitting idly by the phone, waiting for that ever-elusive call.

Cover Letter Format

A cover letter is a professional document to accompany your CV, therefore it should be presented in business letter style format.

Ensure that it is in a readable font that matches your CV, so that employers can quickly scan for essential information. Use fonts such as Calibri, Arial, Verdana or Times New Roman – in size 10 or 12. Never include images or word art in your cover letter.

How long should a cover letter be?

No employer wants to be met by a wall of text when scouring applications; it’s best to keep your cover letter to one page, though 3-5 (short) paragraphs would be ideal. A recent employer survey found the following:

• 19% of employers preferred a full page
• 46% preferred half a page
• 11% had no preference
• 24% preferred shorter

As you can see from the above numbers, there’s a clear preference towards short cover letters. So make it snappy!

What to include in a cover letter

Header: Cover letters should always start with contact information, both yours and the employers. This contact information includes:
• First & Last Name
• Street Address
• City
• Postcode
• Phone Number
• Email Address

Salutation: Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms & Last Name

Introduction: In the first paragraph, make the reader aware of why you’re writing this letter. This means in essence – let them know who you are, include the job you’re applying for, and make mention of your objective.

2nd Paragraph: Touch on why you’d like to work for the company, and let them know of any knowledge or passion you have for this sector.

3rd Paragraph: Highlight your relevant skills and experience (as listed on your CV). Summarise any other strengths or qualifications you might have.

Closing: This paragraph should round up your cover letter, begin by reiterating your key skills and how they match the job role, then move on to thanking the employer for their time to read and mention that you look forward to hearing back from them.

Why is a cover letter necessary?

A cover letter allows you to give the employer a snapshot of why you’re the best candidate for the role. The goal is to show them how and why you fit their criteria, without their ever having to refer to your CV

Remember, the screening process can be extremely rigorous, so a cover letter is an opportunity to grab their attention from the very beginning. Recruiters and employers will often bin CVs that aren’t accompanied by a letter, so make sure you go the extra mile, and produce a cover letter to end all cover letters.

Can I use the same letter for my applications?

The resounding answer to this question is NO! Under no circumstance should you copy-paste your cover letter across applications. Don’t use generic lines like, ‘My name is ___, and I am applying for the position as ____’. All this serves to do is bore the person looking over your application, and you’ll most likely be passed over for a more original and exciting candidate. So show them that you’ve put in the time and effort – they’ll appreciate it.

Last modified: Tuesday, 22nd June 2020, 2:36 PM
A speculative cover letter

career advice article header speculative cover letters what you need to know

A speculative cover letter

A speculative cover letter is sent alongside your CV when you apply to a company that isn’t currently advertising for staff.

Rather than being written with a particular position in mind, they’re usually more tailored to the company – selling your skills, experience and potential should any potential vacancies arise.

What should a speculative cover letter include? 

OK, so the specifics of what to include will vary depending on the job you’re applying for. Not to mention where you currently are in your career.

However, the format will be fairly similar to a standard cover letter:

  • Start with your personal information (e.g. name, address and contact details – never include a national insurance number or bank details).
  • Include a manager’s name (if you have it)
  • Dear Sir/Madam (if you don’t have a name)
  • A first main paragraph outlining what kind of role you’re looking for, and why you want to work for the company
  • A second paragraph explaining a bit more about your own skills and background
  • A closing paragraph to sum up why you’d be a great fit for the company, and how they could benefit from hiring you
  • A thank you for their time, and a professional sign-off (e.g. ‘Yours faithfully’)


Why should I send one?

Companies may not always advertise their available roles, for a variety of different reasons.

It could be that they’ve only just come up, or that they have to wait for internal applicants before putting the job out there. They might just not have any current vacancies on offer.

However, by sending a speculative application, you can demonstrate that you’re proactive and ahead of the game when it comes to your career. And even if they don’t have any roles at the moment, you’ll ensure you’re front-of-mind if a suitable positon does come up.

Because the company might need you – even if they don’t know it yet.


How does it differ from my CV?

Cover letters are important for all applications, but they take on even more importance for speculative ones.

CVs tend to be rigid, professional and impersonal. In contrast, your cover letter allows you to create a rapport with the reader and showcase how right you are for the company in a much more engaging way.

And, without a specific job to apply for, you need to work even harder to stand out. A well-written cover letter will talk about your skills, previous projects and selling points, and help keep you keep front of mind if any suitable jobs do come up.


How long should it be? 

Just over half a page of A4 – and no longer.

It should outline why you’re a great potential hire, and what makes you a great fit for the company. It should not be War and Peace.


Should I include some research about the company?


Let’s face it, recruiters are as prone to flattery as anyone else. By explaining why you want to work for their company, without even knowing if there are any roles available, you instantly demonstrate that you buy in to their product or company culture.

A few well-researched facts could be all it takes to back your interest up, not to mention show your dedication to the business before you’ve even joined.


How do I send a speculative application?

Firstly, try and find the appropriate person to address it to (e.g. the hiring manager, or a member of the HR team).

If you can find their email address, great. You can send it to general addresses, but it’s likely to get lost in the sea of other emails – so make sure it has a killer subject line.

Alternatively you can post the application, if you have the company’s address.


What do I do next?

Now you wait.

Usually the company will get in touch, to let you know whether they have any available positions, and if your application has been successful. However, this could take a little time to come through.

Alternatively, contacting the recruiter a few weeks after you send it is a great way to find out if they received your speculative cover letter and CV, as well as getting constructive feedback.

Remember: speculative cover letters won’t always work. But you won’t know until you try.

After all, what have you got to lose?

Information sourced 

Last modified: Tuesday, 28 November 2017, 2:45 PM
Job Searching

In this section we will give you an Introduction to job searching and how to create a Universal Job Match Account.

Planning your Job Search

Planning your Job Search 

The first important step to searching for jobs is to get into the right mind-set and plan a job searching strategy.Tell yourself that whilst you can have a lucky break, you are more likely to get results by being patient, determined and focused.Making plansIn the same way that you write a list before going to the supermarket, you should note down some of the key things you want to get out of your job search before you embark upon it.If you want your job search to be successful you should treat it as a project. The key elements of successful projects are:

  • Setting goals - The end goal of your job search will be to get a job, but your goal should be more detailed than that. Detail the job, the company, the location, the salary, the working hours or anything else that might be important to you.
  • Determining deliverables - You'll only get one job at the end of your search, but along the way there are certain measures you can make to check things are going to plan. Number of applications made, number of responses, number of interviews attended, meetings with recruitment agencies and networking events attended, are just a few things you can track.
  • Setting schedules - It's impossible to know exactly how long your job search is going to take, but you certainly don't want it to last forever. Set a few milestones, such as having your CV completed within one week, having contacted ten recruitment agents within two weeks and having been to five job interviews within a month.
  • Gathering resources - You're not going to need many resources to conduct a job search, but you will need some. Regular access to the internet to check responses to applications is one.
  • Acting quickly - If you see a vacancy you want, don't sit twiddling your thumbs, get your application over to them. Obviously don't skip the important step of tailoring and your CV.
  • Adjusting often - If your job search isn't going to plan, don't just keep knocking on the same old doors. Be prepared to switch strategies and try different avenues towards employment.

Those who set out by just wanting a new job are unlikely to be successful. Get the answers to these four questions clear in your mind:

  • Why do I want a job?
  • What type of company do I want to work for?
  • Where will the jobs I want be advertised?
  • Do I have the skills I need to do the job I want?

Explore the avenues

As well as uploading your CV and conducting and online job search, be prepared to widen the net to attract the widest audience possible.Attending career fares is an efficient investment of time and effort during your job search because you can directly approach a great number of employers in one day, handing out your CV to company representatives .If the companies you're targeting aren't at the Fairs, don't worry, get in touch with them directly to make a prospective application. Find out the name of the hiring manager and get in touch with them directly, explaining why you think you're worth a chance at their company.Keep networking with ex-tutors, colleagues, relatives and anyone who is in a position to help. Being told of an opportunity, or being referred is an accepted strategy but you need to be clear about what you need.Whilst the internet can help you discover the vast majority of jobs that are currently available, job openings are still advertised in trade magazines.

Patience with persistence

It's easy to get discouraged if you don't get interviews right away but it's important to remain positive The hiring process can be long and drawn out so even if you don't hear back within a few weeks of making an application, it doesn't necessarily mean your application has been rejected.Keep track of all your applications, all your contacts and all your communications so you know at the drop of a hat exactly where you are with each.Often in life, opportunities, like buses, all come along at the same time. You may find that two or even three openings will come your way after a period of getting no responses at all. 

Information Sourced

Last modified: Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 4:11 PM
Job Search Tips

Job Search Tips

Knowing how to get a job is not always easy if you have limited experience in the job market, but there are some things everyone can do to increase their chances.

  • Get networking. Many people find jobs from people they know rather than traditional means such as job adverts. Talk to family, friends and other people you know to find out where work might be on offer (see also 'Job searching with social media').

  • Attract employers. Rather than hunting down jobs, consider getting potential employers to come to you. Post your CV online and you could save yourself a lot of time and effort job hunting.

  • Target companies. Look at the organisations which might make a good employer and hone in on them. This may mean you only look at the big employers in your area or it might mean that you look into one sector only but on a nationwide basis.

  • Remain positive. We all get a few knock backs when looking for work. Don't take it personally if you are rejected or don't even get a response because it is probably not because of anything you have done wrong.

  • Find hidden vacancies. Many jobs can be landed before they are advertised if you can get in quickly. Look into internal recruitment and seek out word-of-mouth advice as good ways of getting your foot in the door early.

Knowing how to find a job is a skill in itself. Once you have been successful in landing a job, you will find that the process becomes easier if you ever find yourself looking for employment again.

Information Sourced

Last modified: Tuesday, 22nd June 2020, 4:12 PM

Universal Job Match Account - Find A Job

Universal Jobmatch 

What is a Find A Job account?

Created by the UK Government your Find a Job account will: - Help you find full or part-time jobs in England, Scotland and Wales. Use the ‘Find a job’ service to search and apply for jobs.

This service has replaced Universal Jobmatch.

When you register with Find A Job, you will be able to:

  • Create a ‘Profile’. This will help match you to job opportunities and help if you use the ‘CV Builder’ to create a CV

  • Build or upload up to five CVs which you can use to apply for jobs within Find A Job

  • Create a searchable (“public”) CV that can allow employers to match your skill-set against their jobs and invite you to apply. This process does not reveal your identity or personal details to the employer

  • Create and save job searches. You can request daily or weekly email updates to alert you to new jobs that match your saved job searches

  • Create and save up to five cover letters which you can use when applying for jobs within Find A Job

  • Keep a record of your job search and application activity in one place. If you are claiming Jobseekers Allowance, this will make it easier to discuss your job search activity with your adviser

To create a Find a Job account click here

Last modified: Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 2:58 PM

Staying Motivated When Job Searching

Staying Motivated when job searching

Take a look at this short video to help you stay motivated when job searching.


Job Searching With Social Media

Job Searching with Social Media 

Despite being called 'social-media', raising your profile online and making sure you network properly is essential for finding work and improving your career prospects.

You can use social media professionally to make lasting connections with other people in your industry or field, find new opportunities – and you can even make a name for yourself as a 'bit of a guru' or voice of authority.

1. Keep your profiles updated

Just like having an up to date CV, your online profiles all need to be brought into line and up to date. It's no good if they all say different things and look uncoordinated - it'll just make you look a bit random and disorganised.

A profile picture will help to let people put a face to a name and also help people remember you.

Don't forget, potential employers like to check out candidates online so make sure your picture sends out the right signals about you. There's no excuse for having an online profile that puts off employers – or even possible new contacts.

2. Show your skills

Make sure you highlight your skills and achievements – just like a CV, in fact. If you're using social media as your career media, you need to make sure what you have online is relevant and engaging. No clichés, old stories and padding.

3. Blog your way in

If you feel you want to say something more, you can always post some fresh content in the form of a blog from a personal website. This needs to be relevant to what you do and what your reader might be interested in.

Once again, a good blog may act as an advert to employers that you know what you're talking about – you may even get asked in for a position that isn't even advertised.

If you make contact with employers or other people you'd like to stay in touch with, you can always direct them to your website and your other social media accounts. This looks professional and business-like.

Naturally having your own website, like say designers, architects or famous people, allows you to showcase your work. If your work is showcased on your website, then make sure you provide links to it on all your social media profiles to speed things up.

Social media offers an easy way to meet new people and build relationships with them, so don't be surprised if others want to ask for your advice and opinions too. It's a two-way thing.

4. Build connections

LinkedIn is one of the most obvious social media channels where you can create a profile and post up to date information along with links to your other social media profiles and websites or blogs. Link your blogs to your LinkedIn profile and you can begin to attract like-minded readers – and generate interest from those all important potential employers.

If there’s an area of industry you like to get involved with, seek out the profile of people that work there and try to connect with them via active groups that are relevant to your field. You can also select to get a daily digest by email for each of the groups so you don’t miss anything.

5. Get Twittering

Twitter is a great way of connecting with people and you can easily instigate conversations with other users. You can start by following all the companies that you would like to work for and then engage with them. Asking about opportunities is one way, but you can always keep an eye out for any Tweets about any jobs coming up and respond to them.

Do a keyword search to see if anyone is looking to hire as businesses often advertise their job offers on Twitter. With Facebook and Google+ try joining groups and communities to network with others and, as with Twitter, stay on the lookout for any offers.


 Information Sourced 

Last modified: Wednesday, 23rd June 2020, 4:13 PM
Interview Skills

In this section we will explore how to prepare for your interview, the different types of interviews you might go through and look at what questions you might be asked.

Types of interview

Types of interview

The most common types of interview are:

  • Competency-based - focussing on the skills and personal qualities you need, you’ll have to relate your skills and experience to the job 

  • Technical - usually for technical jobs in areas like IT or engineering, you’ll have to display your technical knowledge of a certain process or skill

  • Face-to-face - in person 

  • Panel interview - where one person usually leads the interview and other panel members take it in turns to ask you different questions

  • Telephone or online - this could be the first stage of the interview or the only stage, and you should prepare in the same way as for a face-to-face interview.

  • Informal chat - in some job areas like the creative industries you’ll have an informal, work-focussed discussion about your experience and career aims, usually somewhere like a restaurant or a café. 

  • Group discussion - in a group with other candidates, you’ll have to show you can get along with people, put your ideas forward and be respectful of others


Information Sourced 

Last modified: Wednesday, 23rd June 2020, 4:15 PM

Interview Tips

21 Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

March 4, 2020


You have your job interview scheduled—congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare, and we’ve got you covered. Below, we provide an overview of how to succeed in an interview along with a detailed discussion surrounding each point. 

Tips for before the interview

In the days before your job interview, set aside time to do the following:

1. Start by researching the company and your interviewers. Understanding key information about the company you’re interviewing with can help you go into your interview with confidence. Using the company’s website, social media posts and recent press releases will provide a solid understanding of the company’s goals and how your background makes you a great fit. Review our Complete Guide to Researching a Company.

2. Practice your answers to common interview questions. Prepare your answer to the common question: “Tell me about yourself, and why are you interested in this role with our company?” The idea is to quickly communicate who you are and what value you will bring to the company and the role—it’s your personal elevator pitch. Review our guide to answering Top Interview Questions.

Tip: You should come prepared to discuss your salary expectations. If you’re unsure what salary is appropriate to ask for, visit Indeed's Salary Calculator for a free, personalized pay range based on your location, industry and experience. 

3. Reread the job description. You may want to print it out and begin underlining specific skills the employer is looking for. Think about examples from your past and current work that align with these requirements.

4. Use the STAR method in answering questions. Prepare to be asked about times in the past when you used a specific skill and use the STAR method to tell stories with a clear Situation, Task, Action and Result.

5. Recruit a friend to practice answering questions. Actually practicing your answers out loud is an incredibly effective way to prepare. Say them to yourself or ask a friend to help run through questions and answers. You’ll find you gain confidence as you get used to saying the words.

6. Prepare a list of references. Your interviewers might require you to submit a list of references before or after your interview. Having a reference list prepared ahead of time can help you quickly complete this step to move forward in the hiring process.

7. Be prepared with examples of your work. During the interview, you will likely be asked about specific work you’ve completed in relation to the position. After reviewing the job description, think of work you’ve done in past jobs, clubs or volunteer positions that show you have experience and success doing the work they require.

8. Prepare smart questions for your interviewers. Interviews are a two-way street. Employers expect you to ask questions: they want to know that you’re thinking seriously about what it would be like to work there. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking your interviewers:

  • Can you explain some of the day-to-day responsibilities this job entails?
  • How would you describe the characteristics of someone who would succeed in this role?
  • If I were in this position, how would my performance be measured? How often?
  • What departments does this teamwork with regularly? 
  • How do these departments typically collaborate? 
  • What does that process look like?
  • What are the challenges you’re currently facing in your role?
Source: -
Last Modified: - Wednesday, 23rd June 2020
Common Interview Questions

Common Interview Questions 

Consider the most likely questions that you are going to be asked before you even get to the interview. This way you are ready and won’t get stuck for something to say. The most frequent questions can all be prepared for. There are ten most frequently asked interview questions that you can expect to face.


Common Questions 

  1. What can you tell me about yourself?

  2. Can you list your strengths?

  3. What weaknesses do you have?

  4. Why should I consider hiring you?

  5. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

  6. Why do you want to work here?

  7. What is your salary expectation?

  8. What motivates you?

  9. What makes a good team player?

  10. Is there anything that you would like to ask me?

It is fair to say that you might not be asked every one of these questions at an interview. You may even be asked other, more bizarre ones, like 'if you were an animal, which would you be?' 

Such questions are designed to see how good you are at thinking on your feet so you cannot truly prepare for them. Just relax and say something sensible.

So how do you answer the common questions?

What can you tell me about yourself? - Talk about yourself in summary and avoid rambling. Your detailed work history can be found on your CV, after all, so focus on elements that you want to highlight rather than going through everything. It is okay to discuss your personality and what ambitions you have. Ideally, you will give the interviewer a positive insight into how you would fit in as an employee.


Can you list your strengths? -  An exhaustive list of adjectives, such as ‘capable’, ‘hardworking’ or ‘diligent’ won’t really portray you well because anyone can make such claims about themselves. Instead, think about three things that you do well and give concrete examples. 

If you are a strong organiser, for example, then talk about a project that you co-ordinated or a new procedure that you formulated. If you are good with numbers, then talk about your skills with spreadsheets or financial matters. 

What weaknesses do you have? – Never say you have no weaknesses. Everyone who does this comes across like they have simply not prepared for the interview. Likewise, avoid giving a back handed compliment, such as ‘I work hard too’ Remember that being able to identify a weakness is a strength. Focus on an area of work that needs to be improved. You might have been trained in something that you would like to take to the next level, for example. Point out that this is a weakness but something you have identified and are focusing on resolving. Interviewers want to understand that you have the ability to be honest about yourself and to see self-employment. 

Why should I consider hiring you? -  If you are highly qualified for the job you are applying for, then you should point this out, but don't forget that other people being interviewed may match or exceed your suitability. In such cases, focus on what else you can bring to the job, perhaps with your soft skill set, like being able to integrate well with existing members of the team, for instance.

Don't give up on an interview if you´re not fully qualified for the job. Appeal to the interviewer's desire to hire someone with drive. If you are not the finished article, then point out how keen you are to learn and be mentored. Accentuate the positive aspects of what you can do now and how quickly you will be able to progress with what you don't know if hired.

Where do you see yourself five years from now? -  This is your chance to talk about your wider ambitions and goals. It is okay to say you'd like to progress on from the position on offer in most cases. Bosses want to hire people with determination so don't be shy about sounding ambitious or hungry for success. Ideally, try to contextualise your ambitions within the organisation that you are applying to join because this tends to go down better.

Why do you want to work here? -  This is your chance to show that you have researched the company you are applying to work with. Avoid saying anything negative about your current employer which makes it seem you are simply after any job at all.

Typical things you might say are that the company operates in your chosen sector, that it provides a clearly structured career path and that the organisation has a good reputation. Don't simply trot these ideas out, though. Do your research!

What is your salary expectation? -  This is one of the most troublesome questions for many interviewees. For some people, however, it causes no bother at all. It will depend on your personality as to how you feel talking about salary expectations. That said, there are some tips to help you deal with the question.

Firstly, it is okay to talk about pay in terms of ranges and not to be specific about a particular number. It is also okay to include other benefits, like healthcare, pensions and time off within the context of salary. Make sure you have looked at other, similar jobs being advertised in other organisations so that you have an idea of the pay rate in the market.

What motivates you? -  Motivation is personal, so there is no wrong answer that you can give. It might be down to your desire to succeed and build a career, but it might also be because you want to provide for your family – both perfectly good answers if you choose to give them. In some professions, caring or vocational motivations might be worth mentioning, too.

What makes a good team player? -  Many people say in their CV that they are good at working cooperatively or are team players, but few say what this actually means. Think about examples from your past that demonstrate your ability to build bridges, form networks or simply get on with people. This needn't be from your professional life. You could cite any examples from clubs or organisations to which you belong.

Answering this question well is especially important for people who want to be team leaders or to manage a department.

Is there anything that you would like to ask me? -  Always have at least one question prepared in advance. This is your chance to drill down into an area of the business that might not have been covered in the interview. Alternatively, you may simply like to ask for feedback on how you have done in the interview. 

A good tip is to pick up on something that has been mentioned in passing by the interviewer about the job. Ask him or her to expand on this. Not only does it make you appear interested, but it shows that you have been listening attentively to what has been said. It should leave the interviewer with a good final impression of you.

These ten questions are certainly not the only ones that can be posed, but they are the most common ones. Remember that  at an interview if you feel they are too personal or you are not comfortable with them. Getting yourself prepared for common questions is necessary prep work before attending an interview. 

Don’t make the answer come across as rehearsed; rather, just remember the gist of your answer and then let the sentences flow freely during the interview, which gives the interviewer a much better impression of you. Good luck!


Information Sourced 

Last modified: Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 4:18 PM
How to prepare for an interview

How to prepare for an interview

Fail to plan, plan to fail 

You are certain to be asked specific questions about your potential employer, so make sure you have done your homework on the company. Nothing is more disappointing than when a candidate oozes enthusiasm and then doesn’t even know basic details about the company

  • Use online searches to source information (Always ensure the are genuine and reliable

  • Industry resources – Get background information and knowledge of the industry, so you can impress at the interview

Preparing Yourself 

This is the bit that most people forget to give enough time to, so don’t get caught out. Just like when you go into an exam, feel confident that you can field any questions they throw at you and feel good about yourself this will shine through

  • Have a mock interview with a friend using the common questions 

  • Be sure you know the date, time and venue of the interview

  • If you look good, you will feel good so, remember preparing the night before will avoid any stress

  • If you are asked to bring certificates or references get them ready well in advance to avoid having to chase on the morning of the big day

Be Methodical 

Sit down with your CV and make notes, just as if you were preparing for an exam. Study your work record and what you have achieved. How do you see yourself? What have you done? What ambitions do you have? Make notes and prepare, rehearse sound bites about yourself. Do this out loud eve if it feels weird.  

Try to relate specific areas of your CV back to the job description.  It will make it clear to the interviewer why they should hire you.  

Remember: One of the most common questions is “Tell me about yourself” prepare a balanced answer to the question, not a life history. Keep it business like and don’t stray into personal feelings or family relationships. Avoid anything to do with politics or religion. Interviewers use this question to learn about your personal qualities not your achievements; they already have those from your CV. 

Keep Calm

Everyone has nerves, but by approaching those in the right way and taking note of some key things you can make sure you are not a bag of nerves on the big day. 

You should already know your CV like the back of your hand but there is no harm in giving it one last read so you can immediately answer any questions about your past employment and education. There is no way you can prepare for every question they through at you, but if you have thought about possible responses then you are less likely to be tongue tied during the interview. 

Getting good night’s sleep before the interview is important, so you feel free. Prepare everything, then take a bath or shower before heading off to sleep. 

Do a trial run of the journey so you know how long it takes; where there is available parking (Make sure you have change) 

If you are made to wait in reception before you are taken into the interview room, use this time to have a few deep breaths and think about some small talk you can have with the interviewer. Most people do not realise that the interview effectively starts here. Commenting on the nice décor in the office or the recent whether helps break the ice and put you at ease.  

Acting the Part 

Even if you are not feeling confident make sure you act confident. Always try to use appropriate body language, such as making a positive handshake, looking at your interviewer in the eye and sitting up straight in your chair. 

Body Language 

It begins even before you say your first work. They will be sizing you up as you walk across the room to shake hands. Be conscious of how you look and what you are doing and try not to overlook the verbal and nonverbal signals you are sending out in the rush to parade your carefully prepared answers before them. 

Do not slouch in your chair, whether reception or in the interview. This screams I don’t care and should be reserved for lazy Sundays on the sofa. Walk and sit straight. 

Always make eye contact with the person speaking to you. Avoid glancing nervously around the room; this is a classic sign of something to hide. Don’t fidget, play around with your hair or pen or even bite your nails. Don’t jiggle knees; tap your leg or anything else. It drives people crazy. Always be aware of how you are sitting, moving and the general impression you are giving out. Smile – it will make you all feel better. 

Pace yourself, speak clearly. There’s a trick here. You will be revved up as you on in, so you will naturally speak more quickly than normal, if you concentrate on pronouncing your words individual you will actually be speaking at a normal pace.  

Don’t worry, relax and be you. The job interview is as much for you to see if you like the company as it is for them to see if they like you. 

Information Sourced 

Last modified: Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 4:17 PM
Competency Based Interviews

Competency Based Interviews

Competency based interviews use questions  often used to evaluate a candidate's competence, particularly when it is hard to select on the basis of technical merit: Increasingly, companies are using competency based interviews as part of the selection process for experienced recruitment, as it can give valuable insights into an individual's preferred style of working and help predict behaviours in future situations.

Last modified: Thursday, 25 June 2020, 12:58 PM
Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

There are few interview questions that strike fear into the heart of an interviewee as much as the dreaded “why did you leave your last job”? Whether you were fired because of incompetence or had a boss that made Cruella de Vil look like a sweetheart, the only job that matters now is putting your prospective employer’s mind at ease.

Why do employers ask this question?

Primarily employers are trying to find out more about you and what you might be like if they hire you. They want to know whether you’re one of those difficult employees whom are hard to manage, or whether you’re a flake that can’t stick to a job for more than two minutes. They need to know whether your demise was due to your bad attitude or whether you’re reasons for leaving are more positive, such as for personal development or a new challenge. Whatever your reasons; preparing an answer that shows you in the best light is going to be essential.

So, what if you were made redundant?

Redundancy is one of the easier reasons to deal with in an interview. Firstly it’s important to remember that your position was made redundant, not you. You weren’t made redundant for personal reasons. Redundancy was purely a business decision and one that is being made more frequently due to the ongoing economic crisis.

Secondly, discussing your redundancy and showing how you’ve dealt with it is a great opportunity to show that you have a positive outlook and a solution focused approach. If you can show to an employer that you’ve seen redundancy as an opportunity to move on, develop and grow as an employee, you’ll be well on your way to landing your next job.

What if you were fired?

First and foremost you’re going to need to be honest. Most prospective employers will want to hear from your previous boss and lying about your situation won’t do you any favours. Rather than hiding your head in the sand, talk to your previous boss to agree what they will say when approached for a reference. This will help you to plan your answer and overcome any sticking points.

The key to coming out on top is going to involve explaining what you’ve learnt from the experience and to showcase how you’ve dealt with it in a positive manner. Whatever you do, avoid bad mouthing your previous employer as that is a certain road to nowhere. Remain positive and explain how and why the position wasn’t a good fit for you. Give some concrete examples and show how you are working on those shortcomings. If you’re lucky you may even impress the potential employer with your self-awareness and commitment to professional development.

Why are you thinking of leaving your current job?

If you’re employed and are considering leaving your current employer the important thing is that you explain why in a positive way. Essentially an employer wants to know that:

  • You’re not a serial job hopper (loyalty is important to employers)
  • You’re not the type to badmouth your previous employer
  • You have a clear career vision

If you’re leaving your current job because you hate your boss, remain positive and show why your previous job wasn’t a good fit. Keep your answer short and sweet and if you feel yourself waffling, stop! The longer you talk, the more chance you have of digging a hole that you can’t get out of.

If on the other hand you’ll be leaving your previous employer on good terms for purely positive reasons, show what they are and leave it at that. If the employer wants you to elaborate any further they’ll ask.

To ensure you finish your answer on a high, tell them why you want to work for them. An employer wants to know why you are interested in their role, why you think you’ll be a good fit and more importantly why they should you hire you over someone else. Give them concrete examples of why you think you’ll be the best candidate for the job and back those reasons up with some evidence from previous roles.

Last modified: Wednesday, 29 November 2017, 4:17 PM
What Questions Should I Ask My Interviewer?

What questions should I ask my interviewer?

Most interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions after they’ve finished grilling you, so be prepared to make the most of it. Try to concentrate on issues that are important to you and combine an interest in the company with an interest in the job.

With a wide variety of interview styles and structures, there’s every possibility that everything you want or need to know about the job will have been covered over the course of the interview. There is always more information available though and if you don’t have at least five questions to ask the interviewer, you’ll come across as passive rather than curious and interested.

Questions you could ask about the role

Regarding role specific questions to ask, look through the job description to see if there are any areas that you would like more information about. Here are some good examples of the questions you could ask about the role:

  • Why has the position become available?
  • What are the main objectives and responsibilities of the position?
  • How does the company expect these objectives to be met?
  • What are the measures used to judge how successful I am in the role?
  • What obstacles are commonly encountered in reaching these objectives?
  • What is the desired time frame for reaching the objectives?
  • What can I expect from you in terms of development and support?
  • What aspirations do you have for me at the company?
  • Where will the job fit into the team structure?

Questions to ask about the company's culture

Good Interview  should have given you an insight into what it’s like to work for a company, but it’s good to get answers straight from the horse’s mouth in case you’ve misinterpreted anything. These questions are a good place to start:

  • What’s the best thing about working at your company?
  • What is the main thing the organisation expects from its employees?
  • How do you build good relationships within teams?
  • What is the turnover of staff like throughout the company?
  • Are there any plans for expansion?
  • How would you describe the company culture and management style?

To show your interest and knowledge of the industry the company operates in, it’s also a good idea to have a question ready regarding a current event or issue in the market. For example, "How do you think the recent merger between your two main competitors will affect the future of the industry?"

How well your interviewer reacts and answers your questions gives you a great insight into the company. The interview isn’t just for them to see if you’re the right fit for the organisation - if you’re confident about your skills and ability to do the job, you should also be making sure they’re the right fit for you.

Generally, it’s not a good idea to ask about pay or benefits, as this can make you seem more interested in what the organisation can do for you, rather than what you can do for them.


information sourced 

Last modified: Wednesday, 29 November 2017, 4:18 PM
Making A Good Impression

What Should I Do After The Interview?

What should i do after the interview 

It is very frustrating when you have been to an interview, especially if it is a job you really want. But then you hear nothing. 

You need to know the process, so at the end of the interview ask the question. What are the next steps, and when can you expect to hear from you”? You might find out they have another 6 people to see, or are going on holiday and won’t make their decision until they return. If you have this information this will stop you worrying. 

Be proactive and follow up on any interviews, as a strategic part of your job search. It shows enthusiasm and desire for the position but don't make it seem as though you are desperate. 

It is always a good idea to write a thank you e-mail to each person who interviewed you, also if you promised to provide additional information then make sure you do. 

 Even if you feel confident that you will get the job offer, continue looking at other opportunities. It’s never wise to place too much importance on one job or interview.


Tell yourself there will be other opportunities.  

Good Luck 

information sourced 

Last modified: Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 4:19 PM
Preparing an Interview Presentation

How do I prepare an interview presentation?

It’s not unusual when recruiting for senior roles, or where presentations are going to be part of the job, to ask candidates to make a presentation as part of their interview. This is an excellent opportunity to show your potential employers what you can do, away from the formal interview questions and answers procedure. 

Preparing your presentation

The most important thing is to know who you’re going to be speaking to. This will inevitably influence what you say and how you pitch your presentation. Find out how many people will be on the panel, their status, their expertise, any knowledge levels you can safely assume, and whether they know each other. 

This information is vital in helping you pull together the right amount of material, pitching it at the right level, and ensuring you have enough supporting materials to hand. Once you’ve established these details, you can get to work on the all-important structure. 

Getting the right structure

You should always have one clear message that runs through your presentation, and limit yourself to three sections: introduction, development of your argument, and summary. Any more than that and your presentation will lose focus. 

Develop a powerful introduction and close, as these are the times when your audience will be most attentive. Ensure that your ideas are clear and come in a logical sequence, using sentences that are short and to the point. When calculating how much time to devote to each section, allow 10-15% for your opening, the same for your conclusion, and the rest for the main content. 

A clear delivery

Keep your opening punchy and have a memorable ending that will leave your audience on an upbeat note. Speak slowly and with purpose; avoid rambling or making digressions. Make regular eye contact with members of your audience, rather than allowing your gaze to drift vaguely round the room or over their heads. 

Try to learn your presentation by heart. It will save you having to fumble around with prompt cards or PowerPoint slides and will give an excellent impression of your confidence and professionalism. However you choose to present, practice your presentation beforehand, testing it on friends or family if you have the chance. 

Visual aids

Most of us have experienced ‘death by PowerPoint’ at some time - that sinking feeling that comes from seeing ‘slide 1 of 60’ up there on the screen, or staring at densely-packed slides as the presenter reads the text out word-for-word. 

Have mercy on your audience and improve your chances at the same time. Maximum content should be a headline and perhaps three or four bullets per slide with graphs and diagrams where appropriate. It should be there to help emphasise what you’re saying, not to take the focus away. 

Don’t start the slides before you have first addressed your audience. They don’t want to be distracted by what’s on the screen while you introduce yourself and what you’re going to say. As you progress through your presentation, give your audience time to digest what’s on each slide before you begin talking again. 

Flashy animations may show your technical expertise, but can cause major problems in distracting your audience and confusing you when it comes to pressing the button in the right places. 

Avoid glancing down at the screen for prompts – if you’ve learnt your presentation properly, you won’t need them – and talk to your audience, not your laptop. Always make sure any projection equipment is working properly and try to get set up and ready to go before you are asked to begin. 

Taking questions

Dealing with questions gives you the opportunity to further demonstrate your knowledge of your subject. Let your audience know in advance that you will be willing to take questions at the end so they don’t disrupt the flow of you presentation. 

Take your time to answer, be ready to defend yourself and don’t argue with a questioner. If you do come up against a conflict of opinions, don’t try to win the battle - search for a good compromise position. Inviting other questions or views from the other members of the audience may help you diffuse a potentially prickly situation. 

Answer the question you have been asked, not the one you fancy answering. Repeat each question as you receive it and give yourself a moment to consider what is actually being asked. If it is a loaded question that’s inviting you to say something you’d rather not, diffuse it by reinterpreting it in a less pointed way, or ask your questioners to expand on what they mean.

Finally, enjoy it. It’s a great chance to shine!

information sourced

Last modified: Wednesday, 25 June 2020, 4:20 PM
Internal Job Applications

Internal Job Applications

Being interviewed for a role with your existing organisation can seem like a breeze.  You know the people. You understand the organisation, and you have a successful track record that should speak for itself – right?

This can lead to a false sense of security, a lack of proper preparation and underperformance on the day.

You need to prepare for an internal interview just as thoroughly as you would for an external one and you need to sell yourself just as hard. 

Never forget that the panel will have to justify their decision to hire based on hard  documented evidence collected in the interview itself. Past successes and good references are helpful but they don’t replace a strong performance on the day.

To succeed at the internal interview you should:

Research the job and the panel

Arrange to speak informally with the hiring manager to find out more about the job requirements (even if this is your current boss). Talk to as many potential colleagues as possible.. Contact the previous postholder to ask about the real challenges and upsides of the job. And take soundings from others doing similar roles in similar organisations. Most people are happy to share views and you will come across as  well organised and motivated.

This will enable you to flesh out the vacancy information so you can tailor your interview more closely to the job.

Find out more about the individuals who will be on your panel. Consider their professional background and current agenda to understand more about who would be their ideal candidate.

Prepare your evidence

Decide on the key areas of experience, competencies and personal qualities most likely to be of interest to the panel.  For each, you need to prepare detailed examples of where you have demonstrated these.  Be prepared to talk about your achievements, any challenges overcome and specific successes. You may find it helpful to review previous performance appraisals. Colleagues can often remind you of where you have added value.

Differentiate yourself

Think about what you have to offer that may not be shared by other candidates. Imagine you were on the panel – why would you hire you ? You may have previous professional experience which would be of particular relevance to the role for example.

It is important to remind the panel of roles you have held in other organisations and to draw their attention to achievements outside work . Panels don’t tend to read the CVs of internal candidates in as much detail as external ones and can miss vital evidence..

If you are competing with external candidates, don’t forget to point out that you already understand the department/organisation well and can draw on existing networks. This will mean you can adapt to the new role faster.

Know your reputation

Even though your interviewers will try their utmost to be objective and to base their decision purely on the interview, they are bound to have expectations of you before you even enter the room – either because they have worked with you or heard about you from others. You may be known to have a particular approach to work or believed to be strong or weak in different areas. It is important to be aware of your reputation within the organisation (earned or unearned) so that you can play to your strengths and challenge any preconceptions, and knowing your true strengths and weaknesses shows self awareness.

Show you want it

Internal candidates often forget to explain why they want the job and can be seen to lack enthusiasm. If you are applying for a promotion, or are reapplying for a post in your department’s new structure, you may think it is obvious why you have applied, but no-one wants to hire someone who has applied only because they think they should. Think through what attracts you to this role and how it will help your career development and be prepared to articulate this in the interview. Just before you go in, remind yourself why you really want the job and that enthusiasm and focus will come across in the interview.

Sell Yourself

You may feel uncomfortable about ‘blowing your own trumpet’ in front of colleagues.  But failure to do so could cost you the job. So don’t be shy about saying exactly why you think you are suited to the job and providing evidence of your achievements. Use the close of the interview, when the panel asks you if you have any further questions or comments, to sum this up and to restate how interested you are in the post.



information sourced 

Last modified: Wednesday, 29 November 2017, 4:21 PM
Creating Your CV

To get started on your CV download one of the templates below, alternatively you can use the CV builder. This will take you to a popular job searching website, once you have created an account you are able to create your CV. 

Phrases to avoid in your CV

How to avoid common phrases on your CV


The presentation and structure of your CV is essential. So many people follow run of the mill phrases and key words. Due to the over use of these, recruiters have become resistant to certain phrases, this means your CV doesn’t stand out and may affect your odds of getting to the interview stage. 

Team player

  • This is meaningless; you need to give a real life example. Have you worked within a team to achieve a specific goal? What was the role you played?

Project Management Skills 

  • This is an elaborate way of saying you are organised. Potential employers want to know what you have done in your current/previous role to demonstrate your qualities. 

Results/Target Orientated

  • Employers are running a business and want you to provide examples on how you can help resolve their problems. 

  • Have you helped save money in your current role, if so how much? Did you achieve your targets in the face of a difficult situation? 

People Management Skills

  • Does this mean your current/previous role involved managing people? Or do you mean you got on really well with your work colleagues? Management implies you had a position of responsibility over others and could confuse potential employers if you didn’t hold a management role. 

Responsible for……… 

  • We are all responsible for something, but that doesn’t mean we are responsible. Did you train staff or introduce a new initiative? Did you rescue a failing project and turn it around?  Give examples of past experience, this will help put you in a stronger position.  

So bin the gibberish and clichés and make it personal 

Although I don’t have must experience in...

Prospective employers aren’t instantly attracted to candidates that consistently apologise. Not only does it show a lack of confidence in your capability to do the job at hand, it also highlights your short comings instead of focusing on what skills you actually do have.  If it’s a skill or qualification that is essential for the job you are applying for, apologising isn’t going to influence the employer to consider you, and if it’s not 100% necessary, why mention it? Either way you are unlikely to ever come out in a positive light after your admission. In fact, if you doubt yourself the employers will probably doubt you too. 

Always think about what you can offer the role, NOT what you can’t

Emphasis your skills and experience you have that make you a good fit, and draw attention to those instead. Be positive confident and sure of your abilities and prospective employers will too. Let’s face is, multitasking is important in almost every role. 

I’m great at multi-tasking

Let’s face is, multi-tasking is important for almost every role. Unfortunately, this has led to a phrase which has been so over used in CV’s, that it’s probably lost all importance to employers. This is not saying that the ability to multi-task isn’t a valuable quality. However simply including that you are good at it provides little value to prospective employers. You actually need to back it up. 

Think of relevant examples of when you have put your multi-tasking skills to the test, and how they have been employed to benefit business. It is all about how you say it, not just about what you say. 

Talk about any tasks you have done that demonstrates your multitasking skills and use them to quantify your claims

I am a team player who also works well alone 

Chances are you will be good in a group and working individually. Most people are. However, the real problem with this phrase isn’t the fact that it’s notoriously overused. It’s that it really doesn’t say a lot. To an employer, saying you are a team player, who also works well alone, just looks like a slightly lazy way of trying to cover all bases, because you feel that maybe, one of them might be necessary for the role.  

To avoid Prospective employers skimming over this point make it mean more. Exhibit a time where you have provided accomplishment working in a team or how you have completed tasks self-sufficiently. It will sound much better than the generic wording, not to mention represent your skills more accurately. 

I’m a perfectionist

Whether you use this phrase on its own, or combine it with its even more irritating prefix ‘my biggest weakness is’ this point simply has no place on your CV. Even if you genially are a perfectionist this over exaggerated character defining phrase often translates as ‘I am really meticulous over minor details’. 

In reality nothing is perfect – especially in the workplace. If an employer reads about your obsessions with perfection in your CV, they may be left wondering how you would really react when things don’t go to plan. Either that or you are trying to pretend you have now real weakness, other than your pursuit of importance, which regrettably is something Prospective employers can spot a mile off. 

Be honest, if you give Prospective employers  enough of your skills, achievements and experience they will be able to make an informed decision on what you are really like and never ever bring up weaknesses on your CV. Save it for the interview.  

I am a people person

Although this attribute, is incredibly important to have for a number of jobs, it’s a bad idea to include it on your CV. 

As with most clichéd phrases, it doesn’t have much meaning

Doesn’t everyone have the ability to speak to other people?

Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your people skills, but display them in a way that effectually describes your communication skills, customer service experiences, and affability, all at the same time. Proven instances and examples of successful interaction and good relationships with colleagues or customers will always work in your favour. 







Information sourced

Last modified: Wednesday, 29 November 2017, 4:22 PM
Make your CV more effective

Your CV needs to make the reader believe you are a worthwhile product

Companies generally all have the same objective:

  • Profit 

  • Developing their business

  • Creating new products/services

They need to find candidates who will help them achieve these objectives. 

Regardless of experience the rules are the same.

Show what you have done, or have the potential to bring to the table. Achievements come in all shapes and sizes and are different for every job. Some you will be able to show like percentage increases in sales of money saved by stream lining, others you will need to work harder to show what influence you had on a project

Try to pick a specific example per job you have held, explain briefly how it improved the business. 

Remember: Your CV is designed to get the interview NOT the job

Do not include too much detail. Provide just enough information to entice the Prospective employers to invite you in for an interview. This then allows you to explain in exact detail the tasks, achievements and responsibilities you have undertaken and the skills you have learned.

Remember: Do not take up space with insignificant detail. Discard any content that is not selling you in the right way. 

Using abbreviations on your CV is a No No. Don’t do it. Even more so if you are changing industry completely. No matter what the job is do not under any circumstances use abbreviations. 

The first person that evaluates your CV is someone in HR, they may not be an expert in your field so using abbreviations won’t get you to the interview stage. 

Technology has made everyone’s life easier when it comes to recruitment, from uploading your CV, to online databases or even video CV that gives a visual overview of what you can offer their company. If a CV is uploaded using technology and abbreviations are used then there is a good chance some of your skills might be missed. 


Remember: Do NOT use abbreviations 

Information sourced

Last modified: Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 4:23 PM
Making your CV standout

How to make your CV standout  

You need to decide what your unique selling point and use it. 

What makes you different from anyone else and why should Prospective employers consider you for a job above everyone else? 

Prospective employers may receive hundreds of applications for each vacancy. So it is imperative you make your CV stand out and get shortlisted. Think about how other people see you. The way you see yourself maybe different to how everyone else sees you. It might be a skill you excel at but you consider being routine, this could be highly regarded and desired by others. 


Potential employers don’t buy skills they buy solutions 

  • How can you make the company money?

  • How can you save the company money? 

  • How can you resolve the problems they have?

  • By thinking more about your skills and abilities you might realise you are especially talented at solving complex problems. 

So your unique selling point is 

‘A Project Manager who excels at identifying and solving problems’ 

Calculate how much money you have generated or saved your current/previous employer and then add this to your unique selling point.

‘A Project Manager who excels at identifying and solving problems, saving my current employers more than £……. While completing projects in excess of 1 million over the last ……. Years. 

Prospective employers can see they will get a return on their investment if they hire you. Think about what the needs are of the Prospective employers and how you can provide solutions. 

Don’t list unique selling points. Sell them by demonstrating experience. 

Anyone can have strong organisational skills, but not everyone can give examples of instances where they have implemented these attributes. 

Information sources 

Last modified: Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 2:14 PM
Mistakes to avoid in your CV

Mistakes to avoid on your CV

  • Not targeting your CV to the kind of job you are looking for

  • Leaving out keywords that a scanner can pick up

  • Failing to list your achievements in a way the reader will find meaningful 

  • Spelling mistakes

  • Forgetting to leave out information that could be used to discriminate against you there

  • Sending it in the wrong format 

All these slight errors add up quickly giving the first impression that you are sloppy, meaning your CV gets tossed in the bin.

Tip 1. Don’t rely exclusively on spell check when proof reading. Word processing will not fix all your mistakes on your CV. Word will sometimes pick up something grammatical you auto correct it and bam you have written a sentence on your CV that doesn’t make sense.

Tip 2. Generic CV’s are everywhere, try to tailor your CV to match the requirements listed in the job advertisements you are applying for.

Tip 3. Send it in the correct formal; follow the instructions given when sending your CV electronically. If none are given then follow these basic steps:

  • If sending directly to an employer via their e-mail, make sure the text in the document allows you to scan (Word or something similar) is the best for this

  • PDF’s and other image files will not allow your CV to be scanned for keywords which means you lose out on a potential job offer

  • This is equally important when uploading your CV to job sites

  • If an address is given and you are asked to post out your CV then print out your CV and send out in an A4 envelope. It might be worth considering using quality paper and matching envelopes 

  • Ensure you pay the correct amount when posting (You don’t want the potential employer having to pay the outstanding postage)

Information sources 

Last modified: Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 4:23 PM
Common grammar mistakes to avoid on your CV

Common grammar mistakes to avoid on your CV

First impressions count

In nearly every instance, your CV is the first think an employer will see when you apply for a new job and unlike at an interview you can’t simply reply on your charm, wit and good looks to win over your audience. You only have words and your computer and your fancy typeface to get by. 

Unfortunately, no matter how suited to a certain role you may be, your words can sometimes be your downfall.

There is no doubt that the main purpose of your CV is to detail your experience, job history, and suitability for a position. However, as with body language, some of what you actually end up saying to the reader may be unintentional.

Essentially, it’s not just what you say that counts, but also the way you say it.

Not only should your CV be informative, it should also be professional, compelling and well-written. Even if the person reading it isn’t quite as pedantic about their punctuation, a missed apostrophe or simple spelling mistake can often spell the end of your chances. Although this is by no means a comprehensive list, we’ve gathered some of the repeat offenders below, to help you take control of those all-too-often glaring grammatical errors.


Take note!!!


Firstly, let’s not get bogged down by the details. We could, of course, use this article to explain the proper use of possessive pro-nouns and help you correct your contractions but, quite frankly, not even we would want to read that. 

To put it simply:

Your – Relating to/owned by you (‘your blog’, ‘your job’, ‘your delightful suburban semi-detached abode’).

You’re – You are

Possible CV Example: 

Thank you for your consideration.

I am aware that you’re currently looking to fill the position of Sales Associate.   


Its – Not it is

It’s – It is

When reading back over your (see what we did there?) CV, always check any uses of apostrophes, especially when it comes to the its/it’s rule. The simplest barometer is to read the sentence out loud, replacing both uses with ‘it is’ as you read.

If it makes no sense whatsoever, leave the apostrophes well alone.

Possible CV Example:

When the company reviewed its social media strategy, the changes I instigated had a positive impact.

I enjoy correcting people’s spelling mistakes. It’s something that gives me a great sense of superiority.


The there/their/they’re paradox is probably the most common grammatical issue to go against a candidate’s CV. Basically, as there are three possible options, there are two other ways of getting it wrong (motivational speech on standby). If you’re not sure of this rule, learn it. It will come up daily.

There – Used when referring to a place or object (whether physical or abstract)

Their – When something belongs to them

They’re – They are

Possible CV Example:

Whilst working there, I learned a lot.

Unfortunately, their decision to downsize meant that I lost my job.

They’re really going to regret that decision. Trust me.


Affect – To influence something

Effect – The result of something

The majority of the time, affect is used as a verb, and effect as a noun. We feel the need to note the word majority (just in case you missed the italics). It’s worth noting that effect can sometimes be used as a verb.

However, as opposed to the pesky ‘i before e, except after c’ rule (don’t even get us started), most of the time this one sticks.

Possible CV Example:

Taking a Project Management course had a major effect on my productivity levels.

Taking a PRINCE2® course is positively affecting my time management skills and knowledge of key project management practices.  

Other grammatical errors to avoid: loose/lose, im/I’m, i.e./e.g., LOLZ


  • Don’t rush it. A day spent on your CV is better than six months of waiting for a reply.

  • DO NOT rely on spellcheck. It will not pick up any of the mistakes highlighted above.

  • Make sure you’re reading your CV through, and not reciting it. If you keep saying it out loud without thinking, you might not spot the mistake.

  • ALWAYS get someone to proofread your CV when you’ve finished. Something which makes sense to you may not make sense to the person reading it.

  • If in doubt, avoid abbreviations in general. Not only will you cut down on mistakes, you’ll also make what you’ve written more formal.

Information sources

Last modified: Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 2:15 PM
Key Skills that all CV's need

Key Skills that all CV's need

A CV needs to demonstrate all of your skills. Ideally you will be able to link your key skills to work place experience but if this is not possible then try to think of ways in which you have used them outside of employment situations. 

Most Key Skills fall into one of three categories:

Transferable skills - These are skills which have bee acquired in one setting, but can be used in many different sorts of business

We all have transferable skills even if we don’t recognise them as such. Sometimes your current employer won’t make it obvious that the skills you have acquired with them are transferable because they don’t necessarily want you to realise how employable you are else where

  • Reading and writing related skills means you are able to digest written information and present it in written form as well

  • Computer Skills – If you have aptitude with computers and common office programs then consider this to be a transferable skill. If you have recognised qualification this is even better

  • Management experience – If you have managed people before then you could transfer this experience to benefit another type of employer

  • Commercial Skills – People who can negotiate and handle figures like turn over and gross profit often possess the sort of business acumen which is sought after in many organisations

  • Deadline Success – Being able to work to deadlines is something that doesn’t happen in all jobs, but if you are used to it then this is a desired skill in many companies

So what are your transferable skills? Once of the biggest challenges when it comes to a career change is giving your CV the punch it needs to make an impact in a new industry. You may think that little of what you have done before will count, but you would be wrong. We all pick up and develop a wide range of skills that can be applied in many different roles.  Transferable skills are something that can be taken with you and applied in any new job. There are core skills that all employers value. 

  • People skills – Your ability to communicate, motivate, coach and train people

  • Technical skills – Knowledge of popular computer programs, or more practical skills like an ability to construct or repair things

  • Data Skills – Good record keeping, detailed statistical analysis or research skills 

Job Related Skills – These skills are specific to a certain line of employment or trade and may require you to have received training to perform. These are more specific than transferable skills; job related ones can get you work with another employer who needs them. 






Although there are nearly as many job related skills as there are jobs try not to let this restrict you. If you do feel trapped by your job related skills and have trouble breaking out into a new area of work, then look at some news ones, by enrolling onto training courses. 

Adaptive Skills – These sorts of aptitudes are sometimes less obvious and harder to quantify because they rely on personality traits rather than learning

Ideal skills for CV personal statements or even cover letter, adaptive skills can also be listen in your work experience if you prefer. Think about the sort of personality you have when discussing your adaptive skills. Some of the key ones to look at include: 

Team Working – Not everyone is a team player, but team working is an important adaptive skill that many employers are looking for

Loyalty – Been in your job for a long time and seen it through thick and thin? This is an adaptive skill to mention on your CV

Positivity – If you are the sort of person who sees the glass half full and not half empty, then this shows your positivity. Employers tend to favour positive people so mention this as an adaptive skill

Creativity – Some jobs cry out for creative people if you paint, play music or even good at telling jokes then this may show off your creative skills

Adaptability – Being flexible is something we all need in the workplace, from time to time, some are better at it than others so don’t discount your adaptability as a skill

Tenacity – Taking ownership of problems and seeing them through is a key skill in many organisations. If you can demonstrate this from your past career then include it on your CV


Although adaptive skills may seem like the least important ones to mention because they are not specific to the job you are applying for, they can often mark you out from other candidates. Don’t overlook the importance of your blend of adaptive skills which are unique to you.

Be proud of your skills.

Last modified: Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 2:15 PM

Starting Your CV

Starting your CV

Your CV is your selling brochure. Allowing you to pinpoint your unique selling points, these make you stand out from the crowd. 

Your CV should cover key elements:

Personal Details

Ensure you include your full name, address (make sure it is in full and no abbreviations like rd for Road or Av for Avenue) an e-mail address and mobile number (Home phone is good too).

Your personal Statement

This is a mini-advert for you and should summarise your:      

  • skills and qualities

  • work background and achievements

  • career aims

It should only be a few lines and needs to grab the reader’s attention. Try not to use terms like ‘reliable, ‘hard working’, ‘team player’ or  ‘good communicator’. These are viewed a lot by employers, and they don’t help to build up an individual picture of you.

If the job involves working with people, try to show your people skills by uses phrases like: ‘negotiating’, ‘effectively dealing with demanding customers’, ‘handling conflict’ or ‘showing empathy’. These help the reader build up a picture of your skills, knowledge and experience. Keep it short - you can go into more detail later.

When describing your career aims, think about the employer you’re sending the CV to. Make your careers aims sound just like the kind of opportunities they currently have.

Employment history and work experience

You’ll usually put your employment history first if you’ve been working for a few years. If you don’t have much work experience, focus on your your education and training.

Start with the job you’re doing now, or the last job you had, and work backwards. You need to include your employer’s name, the dates you worked for them, your job title and your main tasks. On the jobs that are relevant to the role you’re applying for, give examples of the skills you used and what you achieved.

Use bullet pointed lists and positive language. Use ‘action’ words to describe what you did in your job like: ‘achieved’, ‘designed’, ‘established’, ‘supervised’, ‘co-ordinated’, ‘created’ or ‘transformed’.

Relate your skills and experience to the job description, person specification or what you think the employer is looking for. Also include any relevant temporary work and volunteering experience.

Try not to have any gaps in your work history. If you had time out travelling, job seeking, volunteering or caring for a relative, include them with details of what you learned and the skills you gained.

Education and training

Start with your most recent qualifications and work back to the ones you got at school.  Use bullet points or a table and include:

  • the university, college or school you went to

  • the dates the qualifications were awarded and any grades

  • any work-related courses, if they're relevant

Hobbies and Interests

Include hobbies, interests and achievements that are relevant to the job. If you're involved in any clubs or societies, this can show that you enjoy meeting new people. Interests like sports and physical recreation activities can also show employers that you are fit and healthy.

Don’t just put activities that you would do alone like reading, bird-watching or playing video games, unless they relate directly to the job that you are applying for. They may leave employers wondering how sociable you are. Make your activities specific and varied.

Additional information

You can include this section if you need to add anything else that's relevant.

You may need to explain a gap in your employment history, like travelling or family reasons. You could also include other relevant skills here, such as if you have a driving licence or can speak any foreign languages.


At least one referee should be work-related. Or, if you haven't worked for a while, you could use another responsible person who has known you for some time. 

You can list your referees on your CV or just put 'references available on request'. If you decide to include their details you should explain the relationship of each referee to you – for example 'Claire Turner, line manager'.


What else? 

Your CV shouldn’t be any longer than 2 pages. Why! The person who is looking at it only has 2 hands, so any more than 2 and some information might be missed.

Resist jazzing up your CV with images or colour.

Stick to Times New Roman or Arial font type to make it easier to read

Check it, check it again and then get someone else to check it. Don’t put your faith in the spell checker; these are set to American as default.  Make sure your CV is error free; the first thing a Prospective employer does to weed out potential candidates is check it for errors, even if the role doesn’t require a high level of literacy. Spelling errors scream lack of care which is an undesirable quality. 


Remember this is to get an interview not the job

You are writing your CV for the reader, not yourself. Make it short, to the point and interesting. 


Stand out from the crowd; make sure your CV demonstrates your unique blend of skills and experience. Make sure you include examples of commercial success problem resolution or management achievements 

  1. Keep it simple – Your choice of font and layout are key to making sure a would be employer carries on reading your CV. Simple formats work best

  2. Don’t be generic – Work out who or what industry sector your CV is destined for and tailor it to highlight the right aspects of your experience for them

  3. Check and check again – Avoid errors at all costs. This means spelling mistakes, dates which conflict with one another and incorrect e-mail address/phone numbers

  4. Update before firing off an old CV will look unprofessional, make sure that yours is regularly updated to meet the requirements of any job advertised 


Do not assume your CV is finished. Every job is different and remembers tailoring your CV accordingly is vital to standing out. Edit it in line with the job description whenever you make an application, you will be able to ensure it matches the specification every time. 

Information Sources

Last modified: Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 2:16 PM


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Help understanding the benefits system

It is important to ensure you register with the Jobcentre as unemployed as soon as possible. Not only will this allow you to claim certain benefits (if eligible) but also it ensures your national insurance contributions are paid for you.

Universal Credit is a new benefit to support you if you’re working and on a low income or you’re out of work. This section explains how Universal Credit is different from existing benefits, how much you’ll be paid and how to apply for it.

Universal Credit is a benefit payment for people in or out of work.

It replaces some of the benefits and tax credits you might be getting now:

  • Housing Benefit.

  • Child Tax Credit.

  • Income Support.

  • Working Tax Credit.

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

The DWP calls these legacy benefits.


Universal Credit - Full service overview

In this section you can find a step by step guide to there Universal Credit Full service. It is broken down into short bite sized sections by topic title.

Before you begin

Creating an account

How to make a claim

Proving your identity

Your journal

Your home page and statement

Working with your work coach

Reclaiming Universal Credit using your account

Resetting your password

Forgot your username?

How to claim an advance on your universal credit

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