This page provides help and advice for anyone at Giles Academy applying for a job, whether it be for a part time role during your studies or full time employment after you leave the sixth form.
National Careers Service
The National Careers Service is an excellent starting point for all sorts of help and advice with finding a job, as well as some inspiration. Click on the logo below to find out more.
Filling in applications
Check the closing date and be sure to get the application form in on time! Photocopy or print out the form to practice on, reading the form carefully and checking that you understand what is being asked. If not, get help! If the application is online, make a note of any usernames/passwords that you may need later and make sure you have a ‘sensible’ email address for employers to contact you. Fill out the practice form and get someone to check your spelling.
In the education section you should put the names and addresses of all the schools/college you have attended from the age of 11 (list in reverse order, starting with the most recent). In the qualifications section you should include the name of the course, level and grade achieved, e.g. English Language, GCSE B. Details of previous employment can mean any type of job even a temporary summer job or work experience. Voluntary work can also be added here unless there is a separate section on the form.
In the reason for applying section, be positive. Point out the qualities you have which will be of use in the job. Read the job description carefully for ideas of how your skills match. Be sure to ask permission from the people you are using as referees.
Complete the ‘real’ form – if you are doing this by hand make sure you write clearly using a pen with black ink. Then make a copy or print it out. If you are lucky enough to get an interview then you will need to look at this to remind yourself of what you have said. An employer may well ask you about something you have written. If you are posting your application form use an A4 envelope that is addressed clearly and use a (large letter) first class stamp. Send a covering letter or CV with the form if requested.
If you are applying online it is a good idea to telephone to check that your application has been received.
Writing a covering letter
A covering letter is an important letter that accompanies your CV and application form (if used). It should be brief and to the point. Before starting your letter, check the job advert for a contact name. If you find one, use it to start your letter e.g. “Dear Mr Cook” and if you can’t find a contact name start your letter using “Dear Sir or Madam.” Make sure your letter is well laid out with no spelling mistakes. Read it through afterwards to check for spelling. Perhaps ask someone else to read it through as well.
Content of the letter
Start with a brief paragraph stating the job you are applying for and where you have seen it advertised e.g. “I came across your advertisement for a Retail Assistant in the local newspaper and would like to apply for this position.” Follow this with a paragraph that tells the employer a bit about your relevant experience and why you want the job. This is your chance to really sell yourself and get the employer interested, so make sure you highlight your strengths and key skills. End the letter by stating your CV is enclosed/attached and that you hope the employer considers your application. The last line should say that you look forward to hearing from them.
If you have used a contact name at the beginning close your letter with “Yours sincerely”. If you have addressed your letter to Dear Sir or Madam, then close your letter with “Yours faithfully”.
- Don’t just repeat your whole CV
- Don’t start every sentence with “I”
- Give evidence for everything you say you’re good at or can do
There are some examples of good covering letters available in the downloads section at the bottom of this webpage.
A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is an up to date summary of your qualifications, achievements, work experience and skills. Employers will use it to help them decide if you have the right qualities for the job. Although there is no one correct way of presenting this information, there are several guidelines that you should follow.
- must be clear and easy to read (use a size 12 font)
- should be brief, one A4 sheet if possible
- must be factually correct
- should be word processed on good quality white paper
- if possible, it should not be folded but sent in an A4 envelope
Rather than having one CV and using it for every job application, you should tailor your CV for each application. This will allow you to highlight your most relevant skills, experience and interests for that job and maximise your chances of securing an interview.
Click HERE for a more detailed guide from the Student Room and HERE for an interactive annotated bad CV and good CV from the University of Kent! Click HERE for an amusing (but very helpful) summary of good CV writing from O2 Think Big.
At the bottom of this webpage there are some examples of CVs available for download, and also an excellent PDF guide taking you through the process of writing your CV in much more detail. The infographic below from Trotman also has some great tips and ideas.
Surviving an interview
An interview is a meeting to exchange information and have a two-way discussion. Its purpose is to let the employer find out if you are suitable for the job. It also gives you an opportunity to see if the job is right for you.
An interview can take several forms. It may be with employers or a recruitment agency, with one or more people, either one at a time or all together (a panel interview), in person or over the telephone, a technical interview to see whether you have the skills for the job (this often involves a literacy/numeracy test) or with a group of other applicants where you will be assessed against them.
Before you go
Interviews can be stressful, but you can reduce the stress by considering some of the questions below beforehand:
- Where is the interview?
- When is the interview?
- How much time do I need to get ready and get there?
- Have I Googled the company and been on their website?
- What am I going to wear that’s smart?
- How am I getting there?
- Do I need any money (for parking, transport etc)?
- Have I charged my mobile?
- Who do I need to call if I’m running late/can’t find the place?
- Have I looked at my application form/CV to remember what I’ve written?
- Have I thought about what I will be asked?
- What questions will I ask them at the end of the interview?
- Do I need to take anything with me? (CV, portfolio etc)
These are becoming more common and are often used as a ‘vetting’ process so BE PREPARED! Before you make the call make sure you have all your details to hand. This should include the job advert, your application letter and CV. Have a pen and paper ready, use a telephone in a quiet area and speak clearly!
Face to face interviews
It’s important to prepare thoroughly before starting out for an interview. Find out as much as possible about the company by looking at their website. Read your CV and application letter carefully, and write down the most important points you want to make during the interview. Prepare answers to likely questions – here are some examples:
- Using only three words, describe yourself.
- What did you like/dislike about your previous job/work experience?
- How do you react under pressure?
- What interests you most about this job?
- Tell me about an achievement that you are proud of.
- What do you feel you can bring to this job?
- What are your long term ambitions?
- Can you tell me about an occasion when you have worked successfully in a team?
- Why do you want this job?
- What qualities do you think this job requires?
- What do you know about this organisation?
- Have you done a similar role before?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
- How do you handle criticism?
In the downloads section at the bottom of the page, there are some further questions you could be asked and also some suggested answers – wellworth a read!
Useful tips for the interview
When it comes to the interview itself, here are some useful tips:
- Be early but no more than 10 minutes – check out the route you will take the day before.
- As soon as you arrive give your name to the receptionist.
- Wear smart clothes, even if it is for a job which would not require you to dress smartly. This does not mean a new outfit, but make sure what you wear is clean and tidy. Remember ‘first impressions’ count.
- During the interview, keep your answers positive and relevant to the job.
- If you do not understand a question say so and ask for an explanation.
- Be aware of your ‘body language’. Don’t slouch or fidget. Try not to fold your arms or cover your mouth when you speak. Turn your mobile off and do not chew gum.
- Look at the person when you answer and don’t forget to smile!
Towards the end of the interview you may be asked if you have any questions you’d like to ask. Here are a few suggestions:
- What time would I start each morning?
- Who would I report to?
- What induction and further training is offered?
- How will my performance be monitored?
- How does my role fit within the department?
- What opportunities are there to progress within the company?
Starting your own business
If you have a good idea for a business and like the idea of working for yourself, self-employment is an option to consider. To succeed you will need to be highly motivated, hard-working, organised, and not afraid to take risks. That said, if you can make it work, you can enjoy the satisfaction of being your own boss!
To find out more about starting a business when you are young, the Princes’ Trust Enterprise Programme supports unemployed young people aged 18-30 to work out if their business ideas are viable and whether self-employment is right for them. Shell LiveWIRE is the UK’s biggest online community for young entrepeneurs (aged 16-30) who are starting or running their own business.
Click on the logo below to visit Success at School’s employers page, where they showcase internship and graduate opportunities from major national employers.
Click on the logo below to go to one of Britain’s leading websites for finding a job as a student.
Click on the link below to access the best website there is for information on other opportunities and pathways instead of university.