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Job hunting

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Arch, 7 Jan 2008.

  1. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    Well, the time has come to actually get a job. I've got an application to get in by Friday, for which I need my CV (I have this pretty much sorted) and a covering letter explaining why I'd be ideal for the job. Any advice or tips on either would be welcome. This particular job (which is representative of the sort of thing I'm looking for) is an admin assistant, part time. It is in an archaeological context, although the nature of the job means that the context is probably secondary to the job itself, if you see what I mean.

    I haven't had to apply for a job for years, so I'm a bit rusty on how to 'sell myself' (Down, Patrick, down!)

    More specifically, my queries are:

    How long should the letter be? I'm assuming that the CV should be more general, and the letter more specific to the job. I'm guessing the trick is to read the job spec, then say why you fit it perfectly?

    And what sort of things to mention? I have the necessary Office and database skills, I think, and some admin experience, and I'm a fast learner and all that, but I also think that I have values like reliability, punctuality, good health (IE, not off sick all the time) - should I mention these, or does that seem like scraping the barrel? Also, I'd like to make it clear that this wouldn't just be a stop gap while I finish the PhD, I have no great ambitions for beyond that point, so I'm not looking to do this for a year and then sod off. Should I make that clear too at this stage? (I know some people might think I was 'over-qualified' for the job, but I WANT something less stressful, that's the point....)

    Anyway, any advice gratefully recieved. I feel a bit stupid, at 38, to be in such a state over job hunting, but I've just not had to do it much in my life....
  2. i try to limit my CV to two pages and the covering letter to one.

    the letter should be job specific... but it might help to have a couple of CVs, with the skills in different order/wording that might suit different fields.

    there might be a specific website for your field... i'm looking in the charity sector and there is a good site for that. if so, then there will also be agencies dealing in that sector... so send them your details.

    bear in mind i'm unemployed and having little luck, so you might want to ignore what i've said.

    try the guardian site for jobs... they have a lot.
  3. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    They both need to be specific to the job Arch. Any employer will see straight through a standard letter or CV, more work for you I'm afraid.

    Yes, you do need to sell the product that is Arch. To do this you need to strike a fine balance between overcoming the natural tendency to talk yourself down (NEVER use ANY negative language) and coming across as too cock-sure of yourself. Focus on your strong points and try and demonstrate some of the skills they are looking for during the interview. When they ask if there are any questions you must have some. Take this opportunity to turn the interview on its head and find out why you should want to work for them.
  4. Smeggers

    Smeggers New Member

    Do everything in bullet points - its all us employers can read.

    We also have an attention span of no more than 10 word sentences and 6 bullet points!

    As regards interviews, its just if your 'face fits' Im afraid - we just dress it up with balance score cards and stuff but it means nothing!
  5. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Staff Member

    i'd keep the cv to one page. don't put loads of irrelevant detail that could be used against you. they aren't interested e.g. that you had a paper round as your first job or that you support manchester city (which would go against you if man city has just beaten the team supported by the person responsible for filing applications into the bin).

    photos are, i'm told, a no-no.

    fill your facebook profile up with details that make you look like a dedicated, level headed person, not the type who pisses their wages up the wall on a friday and then ends up with photos of them mooning a policeman.

    keep it short and sweet arch, and just be yourself at the interview.
  6. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Using a national newspaper job site as a source of leads may not be the best strategy due to the large numbers of people applying for each post. You may want to be more pro-active and seek out your own opportunities where there may be no competition.

    In short, get off your arse and get out there, don't expect to be able to sit back and let the jobs come to you. (Sorry if this sounds harsh)
  7. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member


    Don't mention this. Everyone interviewing likes to think that the job is high pressure, high stress and can only be done by someone with a raft of esoteric skills. Remember, you want the job because you're interested in it.
  8. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    Cheers. Yeah, Dom, I can tweak the CV to be more specific, although actually, most of my skills are quite general ones anyway, so it won't vary much from job to job.... And yeah, I'm already trying to think of questions to ask....

    With regard to 'other info' on a CV- I wasn't intending to tell them in detail about every animal I've knitted or anything, but how much should I include? I'd sort of assumed you want to make it look like you are a rounded human being with interests beyond watching telly. I was thinking of a single short paragraph mentioning cycling, the allotment and riding.

    What's the thinking on education details? Ditch the bit about O levels? (it is a single sentence summary) I suppose they aren't of much relevance now...
  9. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK

    Ok. Not less stressful, just more... part-time....
  10. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    For my CV for my mock-interviews( was very real, just didnt get a job at the end) the CV was one page. We got given a lay-out for it, i had the form for the job to fill in, then a one sided bit of paper with why i would be good for the job, and why i would be suitable.
    We had a lesson on interviews aswell, about the only bit i can remember is to ask a question when they ask if you have any questions, look in their eyes, but if you dont like eye contact because it makes you feel nervouse then to look at their nose. And when they say where do you want to be in 5 years time to say to be doing their job, or ask what a typical day is at the company.
    A good hand shake aswell.
  11. best advice.... ignore everything i said
  12. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    They are relevant to employers who took them! Only omit them if they are pretty dreadful.

    (Arch will muse on whether the grade 2 in Latin which besmirched her straight flush of 12 grade 1s means pretty dreadful or not :evil:)
  13. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK

    Hmmm. I dunno, but I suspect I may have reached the stage where employers are often younger than me, and not sure what O levels are....:biggrin:

    And I think you'll find, O' levels were A, B, C etc. CSE's were 1,2,3... (I've got two of them, French and Computer Studies - the computer studies is so old and based on BBC Micro programming as to be useless....)
  14. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    You need to state all your educational achievements from O' levels onwards.

    Do not include anything about hobbies or any other fluff or irrelevant information. Keep it focussed on the job and don't put down anything that could be used against you or seen in a bad light, e.g. cycling (oh great another effin' cyclist!), allotments (oh great another effin turnip muncher!!).
  15. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    How encouraging to think that we must all think of ourselves in terms of what might be held against us....:evil:

    But I get your point.