Part 1 How to prepare for a Job Search
Looking for a job or new career is a time consuming process.
Expect to spend at least 10 hours a week on working towards
getting a job. You need to spend time planning and doing
research, completing application forms, tailoring your CV,
following up applications and attending selection events.
You need to be wholly committed to your Career Development,
because nobody else will do it for you. It is your
responsibility to manage your career and develop to your
full potential. It takes a lot of effort and energy to
research different career options but it is important for
you to choose the right one for you, as you will be in your
career for years to come. Properly researching your Career
Goals is a major, but extremely worthwhile investment you
can make for yourself.
3. Access to Resources
You can find a vast amount of information about Career
Planning using the Internet. There are many websites devoted
to trade associations and career advice. Organizations
provide web surfers with information about what they do,
cases studies of recent work they have done and job
Membership of a library may be extremely beneficial, as well
as the resources they provide, there is also the added
benefit of having somewhere to work on your career without
normal day-to-day interruptions. There are many Career Help
books on psychometric tests and interviewing techniques etc.
that may come in useful. Libraries often have access to
trade magazines and newspapers, which will help you in your
You will, no doubt, need some support during your career
planning, both financial and emotional. A Career Search can
be a very stressful process, due to the fact that it is
strange and unfamiliar. Also, during selection procedures
you have to reveal a lot of sensitive information about
yourself to relative strangers and open yourself up to
rejection. There is also the added pressure of having to
wait to see if you are invited to come for an interview or
rejected. Due to the volume of applications a job opening
usually has, it is becoming more common that the
organisation does not contact you to tell you that you have
Going to organizations for selection events may be a costly
process, especially if you have to travel a long distance.
Sometimes the organization will pay your travelling
expenses. Help with travelling costs may also be offered by
your local job centre, contact them for details.
There are many difficult decisions to make when looking for
a career. The main question people typically ask us is:
What Career would suit me and enable me to
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with all the
answers. This is a serious decision and the only person who
can answer this question is you. A number of different
factors predict ‘success’ in a job. Everyone has his or her
own definition of success. For some it is becoming very
wealthy, powerful and being the ‘boss’, for others it is
having a job they enjoy, find interesting and can do well.
When looking at Career Choices it may be useful to look at
the things you want to get out of your work life.
Examples of motivators include:
- Helping others
- Being involved in good causes
- Social Interaction
- Power, control and influence
- Intellectual Challenge
You have to decide whether you will get what you want out of
your career. It may be useful to remember that within a
particular industry, all organisations are different and the
benefits offered by a job in one organisation may not be
what you get out of another.
Interests have a big influence over what type of career you
would be interested in. For example, if your least favourite
subject at school was art and you have no artistic ability
whatsoever, you would be advised to stay away from being an
artist or graphic designer. The same goes for people who
disliked studying maths, they may not enjoy being a maths
teacher or accountant.
When making your Career Choice, try to answer these
1. What subjects did you enjoy at school?
2. What do you enjoy doing now?
3. What skills do you have?
4. If you had the guarantee of being successful, what would
you be doing in 10 years time?
These questions will enable you to think about the areas you
would be interested in finding more information out about.
If you have completed the Careers Interest Report, use your
interests and the report to narrow down the type of field
you would be interested in to start of your Career Research.
The actual ability to do a job is an important factor. If
you find that you are unable to sing a note, despite having
lessons for years, it may not be practical for you to pursue
a career as a singer. The same goes for intellectual
ability, if you found that you struggled at physics and
nothing made sense to you, it may be logical to stay away
from jobs that required any use of physics.
Different types of ability have been shown to be
gender-specific due to biological and evolutionary factors.
Males tend to be better at spatial awareness and numerical
reasoning, whereas females tend to be better at
communicating and verbal reasoning. There are many
exceptions to this, of course, but this is the reason why
you find more men in scientific careers and more women in
counselling and caring professions, although the gender
ratios are rapidly changing. You should not stay away from
careers that have been traditionally male or female, you
should try to find a job to suit your personal interests and
RESEARCHING YOUR CAREER CHOICES
The Internet is an invaluable tool for Career Researchers.
The easiest way of finding information about a particular
career is typing the job name into a search engine and
seeing what information you can get.
Type in ‘Accountant’ into a search engine, the results you
would expect to find are:
1. Accountancy Companies
- Useful for giving you more information about the type of
companies that are offering accountancy services.
- There are often links to job vacancy pages and details of the
type of knowledge, skills and abilities they are looking for
2. Websites offering Accountancy Job listings/recruitment
- Can give you an idea of accountant’s role, salaries,
qualifications necessary for the role and personal abilities
3. The Website for the Institute of Chartered Accountants
- This gives up to date and clear information on how to become a
chartered accountant and other information for Accountants.
This type of information will help you in your Career
Decision-Making and help you get information about different
industries and jobs.
Trade Magazines and Newspapers
Trade magazines and journals can be useful sources of
information about new developments in a profession. It may
be useful for future selection activities to be familiar
with the type of jargon used in the profession’s trade
magazines. Also, there are often job advertisements in the
back of trade magazines, giving you an idea of the
qualifications and experience employers in the industry are
Local newspapers routinely run stories about businesses in
the area. It may be useful to keep an eye out for stories
that interest you about companies. National Newspapers often
run stories about organisations. For example if a particular
company in the sector you are researching is announcing
record profits, you may feel that is good news for people
who want to work in that sector.
An additional note, employers do like applicants who have a
good grasp of world affairs, in particular issues that have
an effect on their business, so it would not harm your
chances to brush up on your general knowledge.
Once you have narrowed down a list of professions you are
interested in, it may be useful to find out more detailed
and specific information about the different aspects of the
job and the types of organisations that employ people within
Career Interviews are informal interviews the job hunter has
with a person who already holds the job they would like to
find out more information about. The main goal of a Career
interview is to collect information about the job from the
person you are interviewing; you are not there to enquire
about job vacancies.
There are many benefits of Career Interviews:
You are able to get first hand knowledge
about a job from the person who is doing the job
You are able to ask questions which will
be of use to you.
You will find out about the organisation
the person is employed in.
You will expand your contacts in the area
You will get some experience of speaking
to people in the field about your current aspirations,
useful practise before going for job interviews etc.
Decide if you
would be able to do the job, and whether you would want to.
Asking for a Career Interview
Your first step would be to do some
systematic research into some companies that employ
people in the job you wish to explore. Ask around your
friends and family to see if anyone is doing the job you
wish to know more about.
Contact the organisation(s) and ask for
the name and job title of a person who is doing the job.
You could write the person a letter or
email them, but calling them is a better approach and
you will probably get a better result on the telephone.
This is because it is a more personal method of
Whilst on the phone, maintain a friendly
and polite tone and listen to what the person is saying
to you. Remember, you are asking them to do you a
of the call would be:
Explain who you are and why you are
calling (you are interested in researching the person’s
Clarify how you got the person’s
Tell the person what type of work you
would like to research.
Explain that you would only require 20-30
minutes of their time, to go for a quick coffee.
If the person is too busy, ask if you can
arrange a time to speak to them on the telephone.
If they say no to this, ask if they have
the name and contact details of someone who might be
able to help you.
If they agree to meet you, thank the
person for speaking to you and confirm the time and
location of the meeting.
If they are unable to see you, express
regret, but thank them for speaking to you.
It would be a
good idea to practise this with a friend before you call an
organisation, as you should sound confident and clear.
Before the Career Interview
Research the job, company and industry,
so you do not have to ask pointless questions, which you
could find out from different sources.
Some examples of questions you could ask
On a typical day at work, what do you do?
How did you get your job?
What personal qualities or abilities are
important to being successful in this job?
What special knowledge, skills or
experience did you have or need for this job?
What do you like least/most about your
What is the starting salary for this type
What part of this job do you find most
satisfying? Most challenging?
What special advice would you give to a
person entering this field?
Which professional journals and
organizations could help me learn more about this
Be prepared to
provide some information about yourself. The person who you
are interviewing may want to ask you some questions too.
During the Career Interview
Make sure you look professional for the
interview, wear a suit or smart clothes.
You requested the interview, so keep to
the point so as not to waste the person's time.
Allow the person to make any additional
points they feel may be useful.
Make notes during your meeting, not only
will it make you look keen and interested; it will help
you remember the answers to questions you have asked.
Always send a thank you letter promptly
(within 1 day of the interview).
Job Shadowing, Work Experience and Voluntary Work
Job Shadowing is much the same as the Career interview, you
spend more time with the person in the job and you may get
to observe and help with their day to day work. Job
shadowing can last anywhere from ½ a day to a week,
depending on arrangements with the person being observed.
Follow the advice given for conducting the Career Interview,
make sure you ask lots of questions and take notes.
Becoming qualified for a job is not the problem people face,
as accessibility of learning has never been better. The
major issue that people face is getting suitable experience
as many companies ask for 1-2 years experience in the role.
This, of course, is a vicious circle! People often ask us
how you can get experience when there are not many
entry-level jobs on offer.
You could get some work experience, which usually consists
of spending a longer period of time in the organisation. You
may not get to observe the person in their job as much, but
you will gain a better understanding of the organisation and
different roles in it, and may be doing a job. You should
not expect to get paid doing work experience and when you
approach organisations try to make this a selling point.
Voluntary work often consists of regular work you do that is
unpaid. Employers look favourably on any type of experience
in the industry and working for nothing, shows that you are
determined and that you want to get ahead in your career.
The main thing to keep in mind in all these situations is,
this is an excellent networking opportunity and it would be
highly beneficial for you to impress the people you are
observing in the organisation enough so they feel that are
able to give you a reference in the future.
If you are unable to secure work experience or voluntary
work in your chosen industry, it is time to think laterally.
Think about jobs that are related to the one you ultimately
want or jobs that enable you to use the same skills as your
target job. For example, if you are researching a career in
law, aiming to become a solicitor, try contacting voluntary
organisations that offer free legal advice or organisations
that do work in courts, such as looking after witnesses etc.
Any similar role will look good on your CV.
For entry onto some jobs, you may find that there is a
minimum education requirement. This information can be
discovered through contact with people who are already in
the industry, or through finding out more information from
job adverts/trade associations/careers guidance.
There are three main ways to gain qualifications in the UK:
College or University Full Time
This is a
quite expensive option, as you may have to pay for your
course, which depends on your circumstances, and you may not
be able to fit in work around your course.
College or University Part Time.
This will enable you to go to college on evenings, on a part
time basis, you will be able to keep working, but you may
loose all your spare time!
3. Do an
Online or Distance learning course in your own time.
This is an
option for people who feel confident in their ability to
work alone, you will usually have a tutor who you will be
able to contact if you run into any problems. You need to be
very motivated to do this, as you have to keep on top of the
workload and make sure that completing your course remains a
Many universities are offering sandwich courses; the typical
format would be that you go to university to do a 3-year
degree, but after your second year you spend a year in
industry gaining experience. This will extend your degree by
a year, but you will graduate with a years worth of
experience in your chosen field.
There is an abundance of financial help available for
funding courses your training provider will have further
details on this. It may also be useful to contact your local
council about training grants offered to employers to train
ASSESSING YOUR ABILITIES
Before you write your CV and start applying for jobs, it
would be highly beneficial to think about your marketing
strategy. In other words, what are your key selling points
and what would make an organisation want to employ you. You
need to be able to pinpoint your major strengths and skills,
so if you are asked questions about them you are able to
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
To help you it may be useful to make lists about:
1. What you
Knowledge about the Industry
b. Knowledge about the Job
c. Specialist Knowledge about the subject
2. What you
are able to do
3. What you
have experience doing
Experience in the area.
b. Experience of work in general.
friends and relatives about your best qualities and ask them
how they would describe you. This will enable you to find
out how people perceive you and make you more aware of how
you present yourself. This is a very valuable learning
experience and may give you the motivation to change less
appealing perceptions before you start going to selection
Many organisations use competencies in their personnel
selection. Competencies are defined as ‘a motive, skill,
aspect of one’s self-image or social role, or a body of
knowledge’ (McClelland, 1973)
Typical competencies organisations look for are
Interpersonal Communication Skills
Involving interacting, listening and conversing with other
people in order to develop and maintain relationships with
them. It may involve giving advice to others, bargaining,
negotiation, influencing and encouraging people at work.
This may also involve verbal and non-verbal communication,
writing and presentation skills.
Team Working involves working with others to complete an
activity, task or project, or solve a problem using
communication/interpersonal and organisational skills.
Participation in a team often involves using influencing and
persuasion skills, as well as bargaining and negotiation
skills, whilst ensuring cooperation rather than competition
with fellow team members.
Planning and Organisation
Planning and organisation involves preparation to make sure
that all available eventualities are considered, searching
for and communicating relevant information to others, and
the evaluation of all available evidence. It may also
involve coordinating people and other resources in a
methodical, logical, and systematic manner with a close
attention to detail.
Problem Solving involves identifying that a problem exists
and accurately defining what the nature of the problem is,
gathering and evaluating problem relevant information,
generating and evaluating possible problem solutions,
implementing solutions and monitoring the effectiveness of
your actions by setting objectives and milestones.
Adaptability and Resilience
This involves being able to deal with ambiguous or
conflicting information, handling conflict and maintaining
levels of performance in high-pressure situations. It also
involves being able to cope with the demands of change or
the unexpected, using personal flexibility, assertiveness,
confidence, enthusiasm, responsiveness, objectivity, drive,
It may be useful to keep these definitions of competencies
in mind so that if you are asked a question on an
application form or in an interview, you are able to recall
what makes up a particular competency.
Key Selling Points
Thinking about your Key Selling Point is an important part
of your preparation for your job search. This is the one
thing that makes you stand out and makes you special. You
have to answer the question.
CAREER MARKETING TOOLS
As you have already gathered lots of information about
yourself, the type of work you would be interested in doing,
and the organisations you would like to work in, you will
find it very easy to write an effective CV and Covering
Letter. The difference between a good and poor application
is the amount of time spent on the application, including
researching the position and organisation. Applications fail
because the person reading the CV thinks that the candidate
lacks the qualifications and experience required for the
The Covering Letter and CV, or application form, are your
crucial marketing documents. They are the only items an
employer has to base their decision on whether to invite you
to a selection event or not. Remember, the employer is
looking for what you can do for them, rather than what they
can do for you.
Preparing a generic CV and Covering Letter before you start
your job hunt is a good idea, as all you will have to do is
adapt it to fit the organisation you are applying to. It
would be a good idea to invest in some good quality
stationary, including envelopes that do not require you to
fold your CV, so it arrives in good condition.
Sending a CV by email is a tricky thing, as employers are
anxious about receiving computer viruses by email, and some
may be reluctant to open your attachment. A way round this
is to remove all formatting and put your Covering Letter and
CV into the main body of your email. You should email this
to a few of your friends and ask them to send it back to you
to check that it does not get corrupted.
This is the letter that will invite the person opening your
letter to read your CV. It introduces you and sets the tone
of your application.
as you would write a formal letter; make sure your
spelling, punctuation and grammar are immaculate
Make sure you address the letter to a
person. You can find out the name of the person who
deals with recruitment by calling the organisation.
You can keep the general layout the same
for all organisations, but it is imperative to tailor
each Covering Letter to reflect the things the
organisation is looking for.
Flatter the company/employee and show the
reader that you have done your company research, mention
any news articles that you have seen about the company.
A very important piece of advice would be
to say what you can do for the organisation, not what
the organisation can do for you.
example do not say:
‘I am looking for a position that will enable me to
practise what I have learnt on my course and help me
achieve experience in this field.’
You can make the same statement more useful to an
employer by phrasing it like this:
‘As I have recently completed my course, my up to
date knowledge, fresh views and new ideas may be
highly advantageous to your company.’
The Basic outline should be:
Your CV should give a complete chronicle
of what you have been doing in your Career in the past;
in particular, what have you been doing over the past 10
It is up to you how you present the
information, you should aim to make your qualifications
and experience look outstanding.
should only be 2 pages in length, unless you have had a
lengthy Career, where you should only include
information that is relevant to the job you are applying
Tailor it for each application; each job
application requires different things.
There are many different CV types and
ways to format them. You have to decide the best way to
Get as many people as you can to proof
read it and check it for spelling and grammatical
Using the wrong CV Layout Type for your
Writing a CV with inappropriate or
Writing a CV with key information missing
Failing to make the most of your own
unique history and producing a CV which looks just like
Padding your CV with useless information
because you struggle to find interesting
Using only a single CV for different job
applications, rather than tailoring it for each
different job application
Not keeping your CV up to date
Having too many CV's and losing track of
Failing to make the most of non work
Not adequately describing your own
Writing inappropriate or badly produced
Part 2: Job Search Techniques
Before you start you have to put a lot of planning and
organisation work in. You should plan your job-hunting as
you would a normal project, or marketing campaign, there are
some guidelines below:
1. Define your project
- What are your aims?
- What do you want to achieve?
2. Define your working times/days off
- How much time have you got available
to work on this project?
- Don’t forget to include days off to
get out of the house to entertain yourself.
3. Organise your time between applying for
advertised jobs and looking elsewhere.
4. List the people/organisations/industries you want to
5. Research the target people/organisations/industries.
6. Plan how you are going to market yourself.
7. Schedule your tasks
8. Set deadlines and targets
- The numbers of jobs applied for per
- The numbers of Organisations
researched per day/week/month
There are many
physical tools that are needed to carry out your Job Search.
Having access to a telephone and answering machine/service
is essential in your Career Search. This will enable
potential employers to contact you, and if you are not
available, they will be able to leave a message for you to
return their call.
It is very important to keep a note of all the people you
speak to in your job search, including the names of people
who interview you. This is very essential as you need to be
able to chase up applications you have submitted and know
who you have send your details to.
With so much going on it is essential that you keep a diary.
This will enable you to track how much time you have spent
on an application and plan your days. You also will be able
to schedule your selection events and plan your preparation
You should keep records of all paperwork that an
organisation has sent to you and photocopies of everything
you have sent to an organisation. Keep all paperwork from
the same organisation together in one place, so the
information is easily accessible if you are called in for
The key questions you need to answer when you are
researching companies that you are going to be applying to
1. Will this organisation suit me?
2. Will I suit this organisation?
There are other things you need to find out about a company,
which will aide you in your choice are:
1. The history of the company.
2. Products and Services they offer.
3. Their main competitors.
A company’s financial information can be obtained from
Please click here for a pro forma detailing the information
you need to find out about an organization before applying.
You may photocopy this and use it to keep a record of all
the organizations you have applied to.
The more research you do into your target organization, the
better prepared you are for the application process and for
any selection events. It also shows that you take your
career choice seriously and want to work for the
You usually have to complete Application
Forms in your own handwriting. Do all your rough work on
a separate piece of paper, or photocopy the application
and do a ‘trial’ application first.
Most of the information they ask for will
be on your CV, but expect questions that ask you to
describe a time you displayed a particular competency.
Display a high level of literacy by using
a thesaurus and dictionary to check words and spellings.
Check your application form, make certain
that you have included all the information they asked
Make sure you photocopy your completed application form
before you send it to ensure you know what your answers to
the questions they asked were.
Person Specification and Job Description
The Person Specification and Job Description are very
valuable resources. You can often get these from the
organisation you are applying to. The Person Specification
describes what the organisation is looking for in terms of
the qualifications, skills and experience that is required
to do the job. The Job Description is, naturally, what the
successful candidate is expected to do once they have
These two documents greatly enhance your ability to tailor
your CV and Covering Letter to make sure it markets you in
light the organisation’s requirements.
There is some debate over whether to include references in
your application; of course if the employer asks for them,
you should provide them. It is up to you to decide. The
recommendation is to put them on a separate piece of paper
and refer to them in your Covering letter.
Employers should not check referees, particularly referees
in your current employment without your permission.
With recent legislation from the USA, employers are becoming
more and more reluctant to provide references of their
former employees for fear that someone will sue them. The
general trend is to confirm the former employee’s job title
and the dates that they worked for the organisation.
There are a few places that people can find jobs:
Newspapers have job advertisement sections on a weekly
basis. Libraries often have daily newspapers in them and
increasingly newspapers are also advertising vacancies on
The adverts usually ask you to directly send in your CV and
Covering Letter to an address or to call/write/email to
receive an application form and job description.
You may find that different industries
are advertised on regular days of the week in certain
Your local newspaper will have details
about jobs in your area.
You may be able to access job
advertisement information on the Newspaper’s Websites,
forgoing the price of the newspaper
have to pay for a newspaper, unless you have access to a
You may have to trawl through lots of
irrelevant job adverts to find the ones that are
applicable to you.
Trade Magazine Advertisements
Most Trade Magazines have job advertisements included in
them; it may be useful to have a look through them. Trade
Associations usually have a website with a dedicated area
for job vacancies.
The advertisements will be specific to
your field; you will not have to spot a relevant advert
in masses of irrelevant information.
You may be able to access job
advertisement information on the Trade Magazine’s
website, although a subscription charge may be required.
Online Job Posting Databases
There is an abundance of websites, which offer the
opportunity to complete an online CV and search and apply
for jobs in the database. Typically potential employers are
able to search the database and contact you directly.
The service is usually free; the
employers have to pay to advertise.
You could just sit and wait for a
potential employer to contact you, but this is not
have completed your CV, it is usually very quick and
easy to apply for jobs.
You are often given the opportunity to
sign up for ‘job alerts’ of jobs that are of relevance
to you this can be by email, or even by SMS text message
to your mobile.
You may have the opportunity of making
different targeted CVs and sending your selected CV in
response to a job advert.
There will be many other people with
similar qualifications to you, so you have to have a
remarkable online CV to get noticed.
Recruitment companies tend to use these
services, which makes it difficult for you to do some
proper company research before applying.
A quick and easy way of applying for an
online job may mean that lots of people apply for the
same job. This could suggest that the organisation you
apply to may not always send you a response to your
certain security issues with having your CV online,
including who will have access to information about you.
Online Job Posting Databases have many methods of
rectifying this, but you have to make sure that you only
give your details to a reputable company and one you
trust, please read the terms and conditions of service
on the individual websites.
Today most organisations have their own websites and often
list any job vacancies they have on their website. These are
beneficial for companies, as they do not have to spend a lot
of money advertising positions, but it tends to be big
companies who do this in conjunction with another method for
Occasionally, you may come across a company website that is
not advertising a job as such, but give a description of the
roles that people in the organisation do and what they are
looking for in an employee and ask for people to send in
their CV to be kept on file until another vacancy is
You can apply directly to organisations
that you are interested in.
You can explore the company website while
you are deciding to apply and find out if the
organization is one you would be comfortable working in.
You do not have to apply through a third
party; you know that the information you send is going
directly to the organization itself.
Out and About
Many job opportunities can be seen when you are walking
around your neighbourhood, or the town/city where you live.
You often find jobs advertised in local shops and
supermarkets, this is particularly true about jobs in
If looking at a job in the window of a
shop, you can see where you are likely to work before
you apply to work.
You can stumble across great job
opportunities when you least expect it; you have to keep
your eyes open.
You may be able to go into the place
where the job is being advertised and speak directly to
the person who is responsible for hiring. You could
leave them with a good impression by asking relevant
questions before applying.
Recruitment agencies exist to put people into jobs and they
tend to be paid when they place people in jobs.
You should call the agency for an appointment and take your
CV, National Insurance Number and names of 2 referees.
Occasionally you will be asked to sit computer/word
processing tests and/or basic psychometric tests, please
refer to the psychometric test section for more information.
The recruitment company will ask you about things such as
where you want to work, what you are able to do and your
ideal salary requirements. If and when a suitable job comes
up, you may be sent to the company for an interview or
straight into work.
Before you go to work you need to find out from the agency:
What you should wear, whether you need to
take any specific clothing or equipment.
you need to arrive, where to go and who to report to.
Anything you need to know for health and
The rate of pay.
The agency does most of the work finding
you the job.
If you impress the organisation they may
decide to keep you on for a longer-term project and buy
You may gain valuable experience of an
industry by being a temp in different organisations.
It is easier to find a job whilst in
employment, even if it is only temporary.
Some people prefer the challenge of
adapting to many different environments and would like
to work for organisations on a project basis.
You may have to keep reminding the agency
that you are still available for work.
If you keep turning down work or not
impressing the organisation the agency may refuse to
refer you for further work.
the organisation may treat you differently as you are a
‘temp’ and will be only there for a short period of
You may be on a different pay scale to
people in the organisation as a percentage of your
salary may be given to the agency.
You will not be able to do much research
into companies, as you may not know which organisations
you are applying to!
There have been scores of books written on networking and
the best way to do it. Basically, networking is a term to
describe the way we interact with people and build
relationships with them. In job-hunting terms, it is about
asking the people you know, your friends and family for help
in your job search. They many have information that could be
useful to your job search.
Many job opportunities are not advertised and employers find
new employees by asking for recommendations of people to
contact. There are many different networking opportunities
available, such as conferences, seminars, business clubs,
and discussion groups. Remember, networking is a reciprocal
process, you have to be prepared to help other people, not
just to get help.
People have many different contacts and
using your existing network may prove useful.
You have countless opportunities to get
to know people from the industry you are interested in,
which could be excellent for learning about the industry
and making valuable contacts.
Some people are reluctant to talk to
people they do not know.
People may feel uncomfortable about
giving information out to people they barely know, you
have to take time to build relationships with people
to be careful to respect the wishes of the person giving
you the information as to whether or not they want you
to use their name in the contact they have given you.
If you have been given permission to use
the name, the person you networked with may get
informally asked what they think about you, so make sure
you are certain that they will give you a good
Making speculative approaches is a very good way of getting
a job. Many employers may be considering taking on an
employee, but have not got round to formalizing the process
they want to take, or they may even create a post for the
This method works very well if you have a recommendation
from someone they know and trust, so you are able to say “
Mr. Smith recommended that I contact you…”
You have to be prepared for rejection as not all companies
can afford to take on a new employee, so you should ask them
to keep your details on file for a suitable job position in
There are three ways of making a speculative approach, but
the most important thing to do before considering any of
these approaches is to DO YOUR RESEARCH and focus on what
you can do for them, not what they can do for you!
Contact the organisation and ask for the
name and job title of a person who is doing the job.
Go to the employer’s premises in very
smart clothing, as if you were going to an interview.
Take with you a copy of your CV and
Covering Letter in a large envelope addressed to the
person that makes hiring decisions.
Ask to speak to the person responsible
for making hiring decisions.
Make sure you are very polite and
friendly, as secretaries and receptionists tend to keep
people from wasting the time of people in the
If the person you want to speak to is
Thank them for agreeing to see you.
Give your CV to the person.
Explain who you are, what you want
and what interested you in the organization (in less
than 5 minutes, practice what you are going to say
before you arrive so you come across as confident
Answer any questions they have.
Thank the person profusely for their
time and leave.
Call the person a few days later to
ask about their impression of your CV.
If the person you want to speak to is
Ask to speak to someone else in his
or her department – try not to be pushy, as this may
come across as aggressive.
If you are unable to see anyone:
Thank the receptionist for his or her
time and ask if you could leave your CV and Covering
letter for the person you wanted to speak to.
Call the person a few days later to
check that they have received your CV and ask about
their impression of it.
This shows the employer you are serious
about working for the organization and that you are
confident, determined and self-reliant.
You give the person in charge of hiring a
face to put to the endless CVs they receive, it is
harder to say ‘No’ to someone they have met than a CV.
Gives the employer a chance to ask you
further questions and get to know more things about you.
Even if you do not get to speak to the
person you were after, the receptionist may be compelled
to describe you to the employer.
Gives you more knowledge about the
organization, which will help you decide if you would
like to work there.
It takes a lot of courage and self-belief
to walk into a company and do this.
If you make a poor first-impression, it
is quite difficult to mend relationships so you have to
be extremely careful about being polite and professional
at all times.
If the company is a long way from where
you live, the costs of getting there may be
extortionate, so the best thing to do would be to call
Contact the organisation and ask for the
name and phone number of the person who makes hiring
The structure of the call would be:
Explain who you are, what you want
and what interested you in the organization (in less
than 5 minutes, practice what you are going to say
before you phone so you come across confident and
Ask the person if you could send your
CV to them and how they would like you to do it,
e.g. by post or e-mail.
Make it obvious you have done your
research into the organisation.
Answer any questions they have.
Thank the person for speaking to you.
Send your CV to the person by post or
Call the person a few days later to ask
them for their impression of your CV.
The employer will know that you are
serious about the organization and the job.
It will ensure that the person is
expecting your email/letter and it will get their
Gives you a better impression of the
organization, which will help you decide if you would
like to work there.
Can also be a nerve-wracking experience,
requiring confidence and self-belief.
If the person you are calling is having a
bad day and does not want to be disturbed, they may come
across as annoyed and uninterested, or cut you off. You
can’t let this upset you or put you off other
speculative approaches, you can learn more from
situations, which did not go well for the next time.
Contact the organisation and ask for the
name and address/email address of the person who makes
Send the person your CV and Covering
letter, making reference to your company research.
If you are emailing your CV, some
organizations do not like to receive attachments due to
computer viruses, it may be better to remove all
formatting and put the CV and Covering Letter content
into the main body of the email. Then send a nicely
formatted CV in the post.
Wait until they have had the CV for a few
days and call them to ask them if they have received
your CV and what they thought about it.
This is the less intimidating route and
will suit more introverted people better, your CV still
gets delivered to the person who needs to see it.
It may be
extremely difficult to contact someone who is very busy
and this way they have something quite tangible that
they have to do something with (even if it does mean put
it in the bin).
Job Centres/ Careers Centres/
University Careers Offices
These places sometimes have Jobs advertised that may not be
elsewhere. You do not have to be unemployed to go into a Job
Centre. Job/Careers Centres often have company brochures and
application forms ready for you to take away and complete,
bypassing the need to contact organisations directly.
Take your CV with you, as there is usually someone available
to have a look at it and give you some advice about any
vacancies that have arisen. Also there may be Careers
Counsellors on hand to speak to you about your job goals.
You may find jobs that are not advertised
elsewhere and you can get advice on how to tackle your
You could ask for help from people who
work in the job centre with aspects of applying for
Create a Job for yourself
Creating a job for yourself basically consists of doing some
in-depth research into the target organisation, finding a
niche in the organisation that you could fill and the
sending a proposal for the job to the person who is in
charge of the hiring process.
Just think of yourself as a specialist consultant, offering
them your knowledge and skills to solve a problem that they
You could end up with exactly the job you
wanted, but could not see advertised.
Your employers will be very grateful that
they found you, especially if you solve their problem.
There is a thin line between looking like
you want to solve their problem and telling someone how
to run their business, which may not go down well!
The organisation may not have realised
they had a problem. They may decide to use your problem
and solve it themselves, using your methods, thus not
If you are
unable to solve the problem you highlighted to get your
job, it will look very bad on you.
Today, with the right idea, you do not have to be an
employee. It has never been so inexpensive to start your own
business, the start up costs now can consist of; a computer,
modem, Internet Service Provider and a Web hosting Account.
This has resulted in a proliferation of new businesses
worldwide offering every imaginable product and service.
If you want to go down this route, there are many places you
can turn to for help. High-street banks have business
advisers and can help you with the financial side of
starting your business. Organisations such as chambers of
commerce or business clubs offer advice to people
considering starting up in business. The Inland Revenue
arranges workshops covering aspects of business. Your local
council may be able to give you information about grants
that are available for starting a business, hiring employees
etc. Make sure you get advice from everyone who is offering
help and research and plan for all eventualities.
You will have total control of the work
you do, when you do it and how you do it. You will not
have to answer to anyone (other than your customers).
You could potentially be making a lot
more money and feel more satisfied with what you are
doing than you were in employment.
Starting a new business and becoming
self-employed is a life-changing event and it is a big
risk not having a monthly paycheck coming in. If you are
not doing the work, you are not getting paid!
You are wholly responsible for the
success of the company.
There are frightening statistics about
how many new businesses fail in the early years, be sure
to research and plan what you will be doing very
3: Being Assessed for a Job
There are many different ways of selecting people for a job.
This section will describe the most common methods and give
advice on how to deal with them. The important thing to
IF YOU HAVE BEEN INVITED FOR A SELECTION EVENT, THE EMPLOYER
THINKS YOU ARE CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB BASED ON THE
INFORMATION YOU PROVIDED TO THEM. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO NOW IS
TO CONVINCE THEM THAT THEY HAVE MADE THE CORRECT CHOICE.
Without doubt the selection process is one of the most
stressful things you will experience, not least because a
major life change is likely to depend on the outcome. How
can you maximise your chances of success when faced with
Before you can begin your preparation you must have an
understanding of why employers use selection events. Long
before you arrive for a selection event the employer will
have decided what exactly they want performance at interview
to predict, usually job performance. Then they will have
carried out a thorough analysis of the job in question to
identify the key tasks involved in it and identified the
personal attributes candidates will need in order to perform
them. The final stage in the process is to assess those
attributes in the candidates.
Before arriving for the selection event you will already
have done a number of things designed to minimise the amount
of work you will have to do (you should really have done
them before even applying for the job). Firstly, you will
have carried out thorough research into the organisation,
this is essential and most interviewers at some time during
the interview will ask ‘What do you know about us?’ and
often it is one of the first things they ask. Don't fall
over yourself in an attempt to demonstrate your knowledge,
use it sparingly and only when appropriate to demonstrate
that you know enough about the organisation, its structure,
its history and where it is going to be able to make a well
informed decision about whether or not you want to work
Always make sure that you are aware of what is happening in
the world at large. It is a good idea to read a quality
newspaper every day in the weeks leading up to the interview
because interviewers often wish to know how well informed
you are on a wide range of issues
also have kept a copy of your application as well as
information about the job itself and you will have gone
through this in your own mind listing the ways that your
experience and qualifications relate to the characteristics
listed in the person specification.
Make sure you arrive at the interview in plenty of time
(something which always needs a good deal of planning) and
even if the organisation is liberal in its dress code always
dress smartly - this will demonstrate that you have made an
effort and are taking the interview seriously.
Present yourself to the people you meet at the organisation
in a friendly and relaxed manner which may well serve to
relax them as well, interviewers can also be affected by
Types of Selection Events
There are many types of Selection Events, these are the most
widely used and they will be discussed in detail in this
The Traditional Interview
Within the selection process the interview is given great
weight by both candidates and employers alike and will often
form a central part of the procedure. In good selection
practice each of the tools used are validated by looking at
how job related they are i.e. how well they predict
subsequent job performance. The job relatedness of the
traditional selection interview, which typically followed no
particular pattern and involved each party subjectively
tailoring their responses to those of the other, is
generally regarded as low. This was because different
interviewers often rated the same information differently
and features that were irrelevant to the personal attributes
required for the job such as age, race, appearance, sex,
experience of interviews and the job market situation
introduced bias into how interviewers evaluated information.
Some researchers have found that application forms were used
to form hypotheses, which the interviewer would then use the
interview to confirm. It was also commonly known that in
some cases interviewers made up their minds about an
applicant only four minutes into an interview.
Given all of these problems, plus the fact that there are
numerous other methods of assessing personal characteristics
in candidates one might wonder why use an interview at all?
Fortunately, in recent years the concept of the Structured
Interview has been developed. In a structured interview,
questions are developed through job analysis, every
candidate is asked each of the questions (or a standardised
version of each), and responses are rated using an
objective, behaviourally based scoring system.
It is not surprising that by removing the subjectivity from
the interview, standardising the procedure and introducing a
direct link between the interview content and job success we
find that structured interviews have high degree of job
relatedness. Some structured interviews are so objective
that they are almost work sample tests (a test to see how
you behave at work) because they involve simply asking
candidates how they would behave in certain situations,
which is conceptually very close to having them actually
perform the task. The drawback with structured interviews is
that they remove from the interview situation those
interpersonal aspects, which are often valued by
interviewers and interviewees alike. Most organisations
nowadays use structured interviews and one finds that the
interview may be used by organisations to engage in good
public relations, to answer candidates’ questions, to
provide an opportunity to add to or clarify missing
information about the candidate or to negotiate terms of
It is not uncommon for candidates to view the interview as
the selection procedure but remember that many more
applicants are likely to have been rejected at the
application stage. You should congratulate yourself because
the very fact that you have been invited to interview means
that the organisation regards you as potentially suitable
employee and will want to look for evidence to support this.
When the interview starts the interviewers will be aware
that their organisation is on show and will be trying to
give you a good impression of them but don't let this lull
you into a false sense of security - they will be observing
you very carefully so always be polite, sit up straight in
your chair and maintain good eye contact particularly when
listening to or responding to questions. You should also be
aware of the interviewers’ non verbal behaviour and do not
be afraid to ask if you feel that they have misunderstood a
point, interviewers want a true picture of you and will
generally appreciate you clarifying something when it is
An employer is primarily concerned with whether you can do
the job or can be trained to, whether you are motivated
enough to stay with the job and the organisation, and
whether you will you fit into the existing workforce. Their
questions will be designed to elicit this information from
you. Sometimes they will use the application form as a
framework for the interview (which is why you should be
familiar with what you have written) or sometimes they will
use a structure of their own. Always think carefully before
answering questions - if you have done your preparation well
then you may well have little difficulty in making your
responses but you should still show that you are giving
careful thought to what you are being asked.
Interviewers are likely to be interested in situations where
you took the initiative, worked as part of a team, used
communication skills, had to influence others, motivated
yourself or others, marshalled your resources effectively to
achieve results, designed and executed some form of plan,
adapted to change, made a decision or solved a problem.
Before you go into the interview you should have at least
two examples of where you did each of these things in your
life, as always back up what you say with evidence - ‘When I
was working on a project last year with some colleagues I
learned the importance of communicating quickly and
effectively and really developed my skills in doing so’ is
much better than - ‘I have good communication skills’.
A common technique interviewers use is to ask you to explain
why you took certain decisions in your life. The rationale
behind this is that your life decisions are in fact a post
mortem view of your development. The critical incidents the
interviewers will be concerned with are those which you have
told them about in your application and they will want to
know why you made decisions in the way you did so make sure
you do know and can clearly express the reasons why. Common
questions can include:
Why did you choose this University?
Why did you choose this degree subject?
Why do you want this career?
Why do you want to work for us?
will look for inconsistencies in your choices - for instance
why you want to do a job different to the one for which you
are best qualified, or why you failed to achieve certain
things and had to re-adjust as a consequence e.g. changing a
course subject half way through a semester. When you answer
these questions don't just give your reasons but also the
consequences of the decisions you took and what you gained
as a result. For instance ‘Yes, the University I chose was a
long way from home but I decided that I wanted to be
completely independent and over the last four years I do
believe that I have matured and developed my life skills as
a result. I am happy that I made the right decision’. If you
have made a poor decision then don't try to hide the fact
but emphasise what you learned from it - this can often do
you more credit than reeling off a list of good decisions.
Before you enter the selection process you should decide on
some clear goals and render them explicit. If you set
yourself objectives you will be able to gauge your own
success or failure and you will be able to identify a focal
point for the organisation of your resources. The fact that
you have objectives will demonstrate to a potential employer
that you know where you are going; you have a coherent plan
to get there and are motivated to succeed. Do not be afraid
to admit to having applied to other organisations that may
be in competition with the one interviewing you - it
displays motivation, a clear plan, commitment to a course of
action and most of all honesty. Be prepared to discuss your
objectives in short, medium and long-range terms. Short term
goals (6 months or less) may include; getting the job and
completing the training or orientation period; a medium term
goal (up to two years) might be to put your training into
practice, learn how the organisation works, consolidate you
knowledge and continue your development; a long term goal
(up to five years and often more) might include promotion or
When you are asked an open question (one that does not
require a simple yes or no answer) remember that because you
are the main source of information the interviewer has you
should make your answer reasonably detailed. If you do not
provide the interviewer with the information they require
then they will continue to question you until you do. You
can avoid this problem by first giving a general response
and then justifying or elaborating on it as necessary. Do
not be afraid to volunteer as much information as you think
necessary to answer the question because if you consistently
provide too little information then the interviewer may
think that you are either unsure of the answer or unsure of
yourself. A good practice technique is to role-play an
interview with a friend (or better still not a friend!), if
the thought of doing this makes you feel uncomfortable think
of how uncomfortable you will feel in an interview when you
are struggling to explain why you want the job.
Try to plan for every eventuality - the interview is not the
place to find out that you don't know what you have to offer
the organisation or that you don't really know what you want
to do with your life.
Other common questions include:
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
You must at all costs avoid not having an answer to this one
or having an answer that is inconsistent with the
organisation’s own goals. The answer may well be I haven't a
clue but you should demonstrate that you have some ideas
about the issues that are involved and have considered them
carefully. This is to do with your personal objectives but
you should discuss your answer in terms of the
organisation’s own goals e.g. ‘With the training I would
receive I would hope to be a successful Management
Accountant looking for my first managerial position’ and a
useful way in might be ‘In order to place where I see myself
in five years time into context I would first briefly like
to describe my short and medium term objectives’. This shows
that you want to develop personally and professionally, that
you want to tie your goals and your success to those of the
organisation and that you see the job as means of doing
that. Under no circumstances should you give the impression
that you view the job as being just a short-term fix until
you find something better.
What are your strengths?
You should prepare these beforehand, give no more than three
and always back them up with evidence and relate them to how
they can satisfy the organisation’s needs. e.g. ‘I enjoy
working as part of a team, that was why I took up hockey at
University. I did have to work very hard to bring myself up
to standards of the other players but once I did we worked
really well together. The experience of being the most
junior member of the team stood me in good stead in my final
year when I took on some responsibility for coaching new
team members because I could remember how I felt when I
What are your weaknesses?
Never try to underplay your answer to this question. Many
organisations are now stressing the role of the individual
in their own development and they want to see that you can
realistically appraise your own development needs. Often
what you do about your weaknesses is more important than
what they actually are. Do not give standard answers such as
‘Sometimes I work too much at the expense of my social life’
which is an old chestnut that interviewers are tired of
hearing. Instead tell the truth, but stress why you think it
is a weakness, what steps you have taken to overcome it and
what you are learning in the process e.g. ‘When I am working
in a group I sometimes try to do everything myself which
gives the impression that I don't trust the other team
members which isn't true - it is just because I want to
help. When I was working on a joint project last year I
worked hard on developing my communication skills so that I
didn't try to help unless it was needed and everything ran
much more smoothly’. An interviewer may sometimes remain
silent so don't talk yourself out of a job, and give no more
than two or at the most three weaknesses.
At the conclusion of the interview you will almost certainly
be asked if you have any questions. You should have some but
it is a good idea to have asked questions as the interview
has gone along firstly because the interview is meant to be
an interaction but also because it shows you are interested
and are paying attention, although you must avoid making the
interviewer feel that you are interviewing them. Do keep a
few salient questions until the end, make them relevant and
link them to your research e.g. don't say ‘would I get a
chance to work in Europe?’ instead say ‘I read that you are
expanding into Northern Europe, I've always been interested
in working in Europe later in my career, what would be the
chances of me having an opportunity to do so?’. One question
you should always ask is ‘What will happen next?’.
Assessment centres typically involve the participants
completing a range of exercises, which simulate the
activities carried out in the target job. Various
combinations of these exercises and sometimes other
assessment methods like psychometric testing and interviews
are used to assess particular competencies in individuals.
The theory behind this is that if one wishes to predict
future job performance then the best way of doing this is to
get the individual to carry out a set of tasks which
accurately reflect those required in the job and are as
similar to them as possible.
You may probably come across Interviewing, Psychometric
Tests and Work Sample Tests as part of an Assessment Centre.
There are other things that are frequently used in
Assessment Centres, such as:
Group exercises aim to replicate the types of group activity
that the jobholder performs as well as the circumstances
under which they must carry it out. The exercises can be
written or practical and because there is an increasing
emphasis being placed on teams in organisations we find that
group exercises are being used more and more in assessment
centres. The size of the group has be small enough to allow
each participant a chance to contribute and also to allow
close observation of each. Usually six to eight is the usual
number per team. Frequently one will find a group exercise
being carried out early in the assessment centre because it
is a good way to break down inhibitions and help candidates
to get to know each other.
Group exercises are often used to assess the following
· Negotiation and co-operation
· Interpersonal skills
The discussion topic can be open, or as is more commonly the
case, a work related topic determined by the exercise
designer. These can include leaderless group discussions or
exercises where decisions must be made under pressure, often
without sufficient time or information.
These often take the form of business management games and
can be used to assess tolerance to pressure, ambiguity or
There are two types of group discussion:
Assigned role exercises
In the assigned role group discussion each candidate has an
assigned role and a unique brief before they enter the
discussion. The format allows for the exercise to be
designed so that every individual is obliged to display the
competencies required. This reduces the risk of individual
members of the group making little or no contribution. These
are commonly used in the Ministry of Defence Officer
Selection Boards where one individual has to take command of
a group for the purpose of completing a problem solving
Unassigned role exercises
In the non-assigned role group discussion there are no
assigned roles, each participant receives the same brief and
the purpose of the group is to reach a consensus. There
tends to be less competition in groups of this type, not
because the potential for conflict does not exist, it most
certainly does, but because the format of the exercise makes
the need for teamwork clear to the participants. This also
tends to emphasise to participants that some activity is
required on their part but there is still the risk of
individual members being ‘left behind’ and not having a
chance to display the competencies that are being measured.
Exercises of this type are designed to simulate the sorts of
written work that the jobholder is required to do and tend
to be visibly job relevant. This format is typically used to
measure competencies such as written communication, problem
solving, judgment and creativity.
In-trays consist of a representative sample of
documentation, which a jobholder has to deal with. Typically
this will involve the participant taking on the role of a
manager and completing the in-tray alone over a period of
one or two hours. During this time they may have to handle a
variety of strategic and tactical issues concerning finance,
business strategy, human resources etc.
Angry Customer Exercises
This type of exercise is used to assess interpersonal and
communication skills, as the candidate has to deal with an
irate employee or customer. In the US Office of Strategic
Studies one of the exercises involved the candidate having
to explain under the cross-examination of a lawyer why they
had been caught searching through secret files in a
government office late at night.
This can include trying to sell a product or idea to a
sceptical audience or giving a lecture on some subject of
the candidate’s choice. These may be used to assess
persuasiveness, self-confidence or communication skills.
Analytical/problem solving exercises
Analytical/problem solving exercises involve the
participants carrying out a piece of work, which is
analytical in nature, usually focusing on an issue, which is
One-on-one exercises involve the inclusion of an individual
whose task it is to play a particular role and act out some
scenario while the behaviour of the participant (who plays
the job holder) is observed by the assessor. The role could
be that of a customer, competitor, subordinate, superior,
supplier any other person or agency that the jobholder comes
into contact with. Because this is a very flexible method it
is one that is frequently included in assessment centres.
General Approach to Assessment
If you are working in a group, check that
all members of the group have the same information.
Make sure that someone is keeping an eye
on the time and giving the group reminders of the amount
of time they have left.
Try not to get trapped by the flip chart,
that is, if you volunteer to write on the flip
chart/board, make sure you also make a contribution.
involve the quieter members of the group and listen to
what they have to say.
Smile, maintain eye contact and encourage
people to talk to you.
Present a confident image of yourselves
to the other people in the group.
Show that you are enthusiastic and
motivated about the exercise.
Acknowledge other people’s ideas; don’t
adopt them as your own.
If the exercise is very complicated –
plan how you are going to accomplish the goal.
Allow other people to speak, don’t
interrupt or shout over them.
Make sure that you get ample
opportunities to speak – be assertive, but don’t take it
Acknowledge other people’s ideas.
Don’t be afraid to disagree with other
Don’t be afraid to state your own opinion
and defend it.
others – ask them to clarify anything you don’t
Don’t be afraid to take control if you
all are getting nowhere.
Look for the wider picture – don’t get
completely bogged down by the detail.
It is very important to contribute to the
group discussion/exercise as if you do not, the
assessors do not have anything to mark.
Try to use the names of people in the
Use the exercises as an opportunity to
demonstrate your abilities and to learn new ones.
Stick to the time allocated for each
Listen to instructions carefully and if
in doubt ask.
Expect to get better as the day goes on,
as you get to know the other participants and feel more
You should not work like you are in
competition with the other participants, you will be
looked on more favourably if you work well with others
and are friendly and polite.
If you feel you have done poorly in one
exercise, do not get your self down; make sure you do
better in the next! Poor performance on one exercise
will not automatically fail you.
Be yourself, relax and enjoy the process
as much as you can.
If you are given an opportunity to ask
the assessors questions about the organisation, make
sure you ask a relevant question or two, this will help
you get noticed.
Feedback is usually provided after the Selection Event. If
it is not explicitly offered, you should ask for it. You
will find that your feedback from one selection event is
extremely useful for your future development and future
What Happens Next?
After you have left the selection event, it may be very
useful to think about what exercises you did and what you
felt you did well or not so well on. It may be useful to jot
some notes about your impression of the selection process
and the organisation and what you have learnt about
yourself. Selection events are very valuable learning
experiences and it is important to learn from your mistakes
and the things you feel that you have not done well.
You should have found out what the next stage is, it may be
a second interview, assessment centre or a job offer. You
will usually have to wait until you receive a phone call or
a letter to find out what has happened with your
If you have been unsuccessful, then you should put it all
down to experience and learn from it. It is understandable
to feel a bit down, but the most useful thing you could do
is to call or write to the company to ask for feedback on
your performance. This will help you in your future
selection activities and will give you points to improve
your performance. If you are offered telephone feedback,
make sure you take notes, so you remember what they have
You also have to remember that you got to the selection
event stage for this company, so it will only be a matter of
time before you get asked to another one.
If you have been successful in this round, you may have to
face another round of selection activities, in which case
you should feel a sense of achievement that you have got
Being Offered a Job
Deciding which job to take
Congratulations, you have received a job offer. The decision
about whether to take the job or not is up to you. If you
have received a number of job offers, you are very lucky,
and you will have the luxury of picking the job that is most
suitable for you. By the time you have been offered a job,
you should have a very good grasp about the organisation and
what the job entails.
To make a decision about accepting a job offer, you have to
look very carefully at many different things concerning the
Where you will be working
The distance you have to travel to get to
Whether you have to relocate
2. Terms of Employment
What are the terms of your employment,
the amount of notice you have to give, confidentiality
clauses, etc. and whether you are comfortable with
The job that you have been offered, what
you will actually be doing on a day-to-day basis.
have to report to and people who report to you.
The amount of freedom and independence or
support you have in carrying out your duties.
The amount of money you will earn from
the job, whether there are opportunities for overtime,
bonuses, performance related pay and whether you are
content with this.
5. Length of contract
Many organisations take on employees on a
temporary contract for a trial period, before offering
them a permanent contract. This is to enable employers
to ensure that you can do the job they hired you for in
a competent manner.
Employees are also often employed for the
duration of a contract, so after the project has been
completed, so has the job.
employers offer special incentives for employees, such
as the use of a company car, employee award scheme,
private health insurance, company pension, sports club
Please be aware of the fact that benefits
are often subject to tax and national insurance.
7. Training opportunities.
8. Working practises.
Practises such as flexi-time, where you
are free to choose your own working hours, subject to
having to be in the office during certain ‘core’
Whether people put in a lot of extra
hours as there is a culture of working late and people
who leave at home time are not as committed to the job.
Part 4: Starting a New
Starting a new job can be a very daunting experience. Make
sure that you are in contact with the person who offered the
job. A few days before you are going to start, make sure you
Where you are going and how to get there.
Any parking arrangements there are.
Who you should report to when you arrive.
What you are going to be doing on your
What you are supposed to wear.
If you need to bring anything.
On the first day of your new job, it is understandable to
feel a bit anxious and nervous. You are the new person and
all your colleagues know each other and everything is
unfamiliar and new. You have to remember that it is very
likely that most people were once the ‘new person’ too, so
they know what you are going through.
Starting a new job is the beginning of a very steep learning
curve, even if you did exactly the same job in your previous
organisation, there will be differences between that and
your new organisation. The major difference will be the
change in your customers. These could include:
1. External Clients – people who buy the service or product
from the organisation.
2. External Suppliers – people who provide you with services
which are essential to your completing your work.
3. Internal Customers – your line manager, your
subordinates, the people you are in a team with.
Usually, on the first day of the job, you are given an
induction, whether formal or informal. This normally
includes any health and safety procedures, where to find the
things you use to do your job, introductions to your
colleagues, any procedures etc.
Important things to remember are:
Be on your best behaviour, but be
yourself, first impressions count and it is less effort
to make a good first impression than make a poor first
impression and then try to change people’s minds.
and friendly to everyone you meet in the organisation.
If you don’t know how to do something, or
where to find something, do not hesitate to ask
questions, people will understand and try to help you.
If you make a mistake, do not panic, you
should expect to make mistakes when you are new at a
Ask for help if you need it, people will
be willing to help you when you are new.
People will be curious about you, expect
colleagues to ask you personal questions about your
life, where you are from, where you used to work etc.
Be careful when talking about people in
the organisation, you do not know what loyalties or
friendships there are.
Try to make a contribution and show how
capable you are and prove that the organisation has made
the right decision in hiring you.
Be prepared to listen and learn from the
people in the organisation, they will have their own way
of doing things.
Start as you mean to go on; if you put in
12 hour days and have lunch at your desk when you start
work, any variation to this will make it look like you
are slacking off.
Developing Relationships with Co-workers
When you are new to an organisation, it is difficult to see
what is going on, where allegiances are and whether your
colleagues have good or bad reputations in the organisation.
Immediately befriending the first person that talks to you
may alienate other colleagues. You should take time to speak
to everyone to make sure that you do not automatically get
labelled as being a part of a particular clique.
Try to be aware of Organisational
politics, there are people that can help you in your
career and people that can hinder you.
Stay clear of listening to gossip; use
your own judgement when it comes to forming opinions on
Do not gossip about people you work with,
as your words may eventually find their way to the
person you gossiped about, and inevitably what you said
would have been exaggerated.
have replaced someone, you may feel that your colleagues are
comparing you with the person you just replaced. This is
especially difficult if the person was popular or left under
difficult conditions. There is no point worrying about this
as you are a different person and when people see your
unique strengths they will realise that they are unable to
compare you with their previous colleague.
Developing a Working Relationship with your Boss.
Your boss is a very important person in your career
development. His or her opinion of you can have a great
influence over your progress within the organisation. Their
opinion on you and the quality of your work will be
prominent in their discussions of you with his or her own
Keep him/her informed as to your progress
and what you are doing whether small or large.
Ask their advice on topics that you do
Ask for regular feedback to enable you to
improve your performance.
Continuing Career Development
After you have undergone the whole stressful process of
looking for a career or job you want, researching the job,
applying for the job, undergoing selection events and
starting a new job it is extremely important that you don’t
sit back and relax. You worked so hard to get here, a
continued effort in your Career Development can take you
Keep up to date with what is happening in
your industry or field
Attend Networking events share
information and meet new contacts.
Keep on top of your training.
Volunteer to take on extra
record of your achievements and publicise them.
Think about where you want your Career to
go and plan how to get there.
Don’t sit and wait for things to happen
to you, be proactive and go out and get it!