UCL Careers
  • Welcome

    The UCL Careers team use this Blog to share their ‘news and views’ about careers with you. You will find snippets about a whole range of career related issues, news from recruiters and links to interesting articles in the media.

    If you are a researcher, we a specific blog for you.

    We hope you enjoy reading the Blog and will be inspired to tell us your views.

    If you want to suggest things that students and graduates might find helpful, please let us know – we want to hear from you.

    Karen Barnard – Director, UCL Careers

    UCL Careers is part of The Careers Group, University of London

    Accurate at the time of publication
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    Five Common Mistakes in Job Applications – and How To Avoid Them

    By Weronika Z Benning, on 22 September 2016

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    We’ve all been there. You sit for days and days, snuggled under your duvet, shooting off job applications. Out of fifty apps, you get seven responses – all rejections.

    This is the reality of life after uni – or, for the proactive among us, final year. In a world where twenty people apply for every skilled job, half of them good enough for the role, what can make you stand out? And what are you doing wrong?

    Here’s five common mistakes you could be making.

    You don’t know what you’re applying for

    This is the most common reason for rejection from a job. “Graduates and those seeking to further their careers often pay 99% of their attention to the big things on their CVs – their academic performance, employment history, achievements and so forth,” says employment expert Lillian Bususu. “But those things mean little when a company receives a CV addressed to the HR manager of their rival.”

    For every single application, you must change your approach. Do your research; Google is there for a reason. Customise your CV, covering letter and the skills you advertise. 36% of employers reject copy/paste applications, and 14% turn you down for a lack of research. Don’t give them the excuse.

    So repeat with me: “I would love to work at [insert company name here] because…”

    Your CV isn’t up to scratch

    How hard is it to write a decent CV? Very – or so anecdote suggests. HR and recruitment officials are always complaining about CV quality. So how can you put yours in the ‘good’ camp? Firstly, typos. It’s possible that you’re making the language mistakes this Guardian article seeks to eliminate. Check over your resume and amend where necessary.

    Secondly, your formatting – is it professional? There are no real rules for CVs, which makes it harder in many ways. You want a recruiter to look at your document and go: “That looks like a serious, organised person.” Emojis and star-shaped bullet points are not your friends. Here’s an example of a grad CV format from the National Careers Service – or look at these from the Guardian. It’s best to design your own – originality, etc – but nobody will sue you for getting ideas from a template. Submit PDFs rather than Word docs where possible, to preserve your beautiful layout. And for the love of Miley, don’t go over two pages. Lastly, don’t sell yourself short. It’s easy to get caught up on what to include and what not to. But if you put everything in and order it well, nobody’s going to fault you.

    You don’t have the experience

    Your first job will always be the hardest to get. Universities may be stressful and work-heavy and possibly even impressive on a CV, but they are not work. They don’t prepare you for the rigmarole of the commute, the necessity of attendance and often rigid hours of an actual workplace. In fact, the only guarantee that a graduate can hold up in a real job is if she has had one before.

    “But I’m only just out of university!” you cry. “I can’t have had a job!” True – but other applicants will have internships, part-time roles and volunteer experience to their name. They’ll have worked gap years and done summer placements. The more of this you have – whatever the industry or role – the more likely you are to be looked on favourably by an employer.

    So, if you haven’t already, get out there. If your interviewer asks, “What are you doing at the moment?”, you need to be able to respond. Volunteer, build a website or tutor some local schoolkids. Sign up for a short course or online tutorials while you’re job-searching. There’s work out there for everyone.

    You’re not using all your resources

    Ever heard of hidden skills? If not, you might be overlooking your most employable attributes.

    Hidden skills are abilities you have but don’t recognise. Are you always the one to organise outings and trips for your group of friends? That is people-management experience right there. This handy website can help you convert other activities into excellent CV and interview babble.

    Additionally, you know those rejections you get? You can reply, you know. Follow up on rejections.

    Generally, employers are open to giving feedback. This valuable tool, which so few jobseekers use, is a good way to identify the failures in your applications and improve future chances.

    Finally, remember that you are a multifaceted person. You have lots of skills and could work in many different industries or positions. Spread your search – if one approach isn’t working, try applying for other roles. Want a job in marketing? Try applying for social media and content writing positions. They’re great experience that can strengthen a marketing CV in the future.

    You’re not tied to your first grad job; switching industries and roles is commonplace. Concentrate on getting your foot on the ladder for now. The dream job can come later.

    You’re too… young…

    This is a hard one to accept. Millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – are not well-liked in the working world. We are unemployable and undesirable. Though we boast the technological hard skills required for many jobs, we lack soft people and business skills.

    So you must work against your stereotype. If you look at the words ‘soft skills’ and frown, fix this issue. Don’t be yet another Gen Y recruit with no idea what the term ‘icebreaker’ means. It’s tough out there for our generation, but it’s not impossible.

    Finally, it’s a numbers game. Apply to five jobs? Expect to hear nothing. Apply to five hundred? That’s more like it. Stay motivated and remember: you’re not alone. And if it all goes to pot, you can always write your CV on a sign and go for a walk.

    Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment firm which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.

    Guest blog post by Susanna Quirke of Inspiring Interns. Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment firm which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.

     

    Getting the job you deserve through resume tailoring

    By Weronika Z Benning, on 19 May 2016

    Guest blog post by Volen Vulkov of EnhanCV

    What’s Resume Tailoring?

    It’s been about 2 years since I founded Enhancv, an online resume platform. And as a given, I’ve seen and critiqued countless resumes. One of the biggest misconception when it comes to resumes is that “one size fits all.” You sit down for half an hour, craft a resume, send it off to 30 different companies and then play the waiting game. For a week. Then two. Maybe even four, before you realize that you’re not getting a response. Why, you may ask in anguish. Well, that’s because your resume isn’t meant for ANY of the jobs you applied for. The resume describes your experiences, but it doesn’t say what exactly you’re offering THEM – which is, after all, what the whole recruitment thing is all about.

    Why should I tailor my resume?

    Two main reasons – First of, ATS is the gatekeeper to the recruiter’s inbox. Companies tend to receive over 1,000 resumes per open position. Imagine having one HR, 3 open positions, and 3,000 resumes to scrutinize. That’s pretty much nigh-impossible – and that’s where the ATS comes on. The ATS, which stands for Applicant Tracking System, is used to set up certain criterias, such as years of experience, location, etc. Then, it scans your resume to see whether you pass the bill. Say, whether you’re in a nearby location, or if you have the needed years of experience. The most-used criteria are as follows: location, education, experience, skills, and GPA. So, your resume can be the most amazing thing the recruiters ever seen, but unless the ATS agrees, no one gets to see it.

    Even if you get somehow get past the ATS without optimizing the resume, there’s still the recruiter to impress. See, in most cases, recruiters don’t want someone who’s looking for some random job that pays the bills. They want someone who cares about where they’re going to work, someone who’s actually passionate about their field. It’s really easy to differentiate a tailored resume from a general purpose one. One opens doors, the other slams them in your face.

    So how do I tailor my resume?

    Glad you asked! The first step is to find 2-3 companies you’d enjoy working at. Not just the celebrity companies everyone keeps talking about – the fact that they’re all over the news doesn’t necessarily make them perfect for YOU.

    Then, you need to learn as much as possible about the companies (For this, you can use Glassdoor.com, or the company websites). What’s their culture, for example? Are they a laid-back startup, or a conservative multinational corporation? Each has separate values & beliefs, and each is looking for a different type of person. For the first case, a personal, customized resume can do wonders. For the second, it won’t get a second glance. Instead, you’d need a standard, black and white resume with a rigid structure. Or, you could figure out who’s the HR. What kind of a person are they, what do they value, and how, exactly, you could impress them (you can either Google them, or check out their LinkedIn profile).

    Once you already know the ins and outs of the company, it’s time to take a look at the job offer. No, not the usual 5 second glance and a prompt email. You have to actually READ it.

    First of all, you need to ask yourself whether you’re qualified for the job. If it requires 10 years of marketing experience and you have 2, it’s obvious you shouldn’t even bother with it. On the other hand, if they’re asking for 5 and you have 3, you should still go for it. The years are estimates, and not concrete. You can be better at a job with a year of experience VS someone who has 5, if you’re passionate and determined enough.

    Then, you need to figure out what relevant experience do you have (this, specifically, applies to most university students). This doesn’t strictly mean field experience. Any kind of experience that’ll be useful for the specific job will do. Let’s say, you’ve worked 16 / hours a day in a restaurant to pay your tuition. That means you’re hardworking, and willing to do what it takes. What kind of an employer wouldn’t want someone like that?

    Once you’ve got all that figured out, it’s time to start working on the resume. Do mention the following:

    • Relevant information. Are you familiar with software & tools the company employs? If not, you probably should read up on them. Ever worked in a similar field? If the jobs in marketing and you’ve done it as an extracurricular, it’s something that should be mentioned.
    • The same keywords as in the job description. Most companies rely on applicant tracking systems to filter through the candidates. So, if they’re looking for a) a marketer b) with 5 years of experience, and c) located near London, you need to mention all three, otherwise, the resume gets to go on the bottom of the pile.
    • Traits that would be relevant for the job. Say, you want to work in a startup. Resilience and determination is the way to go here. 16 hour workdays with low pay and high risk aren’t for everyone, after all. Do make sure not to use buzzwords without backing them up, however. That’s probably one thing recruiters hate the most – a resume littered with “power words.” Communication skills! Team player! Etc. None of those mean anything unless you back them up with experience.

    Once your done with the resume, go through it again. Ideally, what you want to see is a picture-perfect example of a person working in the company.

    If you’ve got all that covered, then it’s time to wrap it all up and send it in!

     

    5 Things You Can’t Put on a CV

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 13 November 2015

    This post originally appeared on campus.about.me.

    To judge a college student by his or her CV would be like judging a YouTube video from its freeze frame. You just can’t get the whole picture.

    A résumé is critical for students during an internship or job search. All of the basics, like education, skills, and experience, are important. However, at all costs, avoid being solely defined by the words typed between the margins of a resume.

    What about all the other great ‘stuff’ that makes you who you are? Here are five very defining things you can’t put on a CV.

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    1. Your Picture

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    Jordan Jenkins, Ball State University

    Let people see you as more than a bunch of letters. Put a face to your name and make it fun. People like to see you being you, not you in an uncomfortable suit and tie.

    2. What Matters Most to You

    Do you have your own Etsy store? What about a SoundCloud with awesome music recommendations? Maybe you’re simply looking for your next gig, like George Washington University student Zach Kahn. Use your page to point people to something that matters, even if that’s just having them send you an email.

    Corinne Kelly, Bentley University
    Corinne Kelly, Bentley University

    3. Your Love Of Weird, And Not So Weird Stuff

    A bio doesn’t have to be cut and dry. Whether you’re into Beyoncé, college sports, Steampunk, or fly fishing, share your interests and people will want to connect with you. Check out Corinne Kelly’s bio for a little inspiration.

    4. Celebrate, Don’t Hate On Your Social Media

    Let’s face it, social media is a part of the job search. Embrace it and show off your social media accounts that make you proud. Take awesome photos? Link up your Instagram. Always up to date on the latest scandals and trends? Add your Twitter!

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    Pablo Vera, Polytechnic University of Valencia

    5. Who You REALLY Are

    Résumés typically have a pretty set template, while some people can get creative, some are left in the dust. We don’t all look good on paper. Use your about.me page to show off what your résumé doesn’t. Be true to yourself.

    Zoë BjörnsonZoë Björnson is the Editorial + Social Media Coordinator with about.me. She is a graduate of Tulane University.

    Believe in Yourself! Martial arts and the attitude of success with job applications

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 15 October 2015

    I know what you’re thinking. What do martial arts have to do with job applications?

    This is not about extra curricular activities (well I do mention that later). It’s about what you can learn from martial arts and how you can use this information to approach job applications in a healthier way!

    Practising the philosophies of martial arts may help you overcome that initial dread of filling in the application form.

    Both ‘practices’ have a lot in common. Both seek to project a positive self-image of confidence and strength.

    Application Form/FlickrApplication-Glasses-Pen – Creative Commons/Flazingo Photos/Flickr.com

    The Martial Arts Way

    If you’ve trained in a martial arts class, you’ll know that negative thinking leads nowhere. The only way is up and forward when faced with physical and mental challenges.

    Believe in yourselfnever give up – is not only the principle; it is the essence of martial arts practice and the only way to progress to higher levels of achievement.

    Go to any traditional martial arts class and you’ll see it’s also very performative. The practitioner performs specific set movements or ‘forms’ through positive and focused mental effort.

    Martial arts teach you to become comfortable with your physicality and accept what you can’t control. The dread of getting hit in sparring for example, becomes insignificant when it actually happens. There is a complete acceptance of consequence whilst simultaneously strategising one’s next move. This attitude of accepting reality for what it is and moving forward despite the consequences is a useful trait to practice and cultivate, and may well help you push past the initial disappointment of not getting through to an interview.

    The amount of energy and focus you invest in your application is proportionate to how much you desire that particular role. So, why not fully accept that you have chosen to write this application and win or lose you’re going to put your best foot forward, because in the end, you will not be in control of the outcome. Turn that dread into confidence and the quicker you can complete the application!

    The application and the importance of attitude

    A viewer of martial arts thinks, “Wow”, “Amazing”, “That skill!” Aren’t these the reactions you’d wish to evoke in an employer?

    To induce this effect applications should reflect candidates who believe in themselves and appear confident. “You’re number one” my instructor always says. “Not two, not three—number one!”

    You have to be number one when conveying information about yourself in applications. A lot of students fear coming across as arrogant rather than confident but this only happens if you write in a way that expresses you’re better than someone else.

    “The successful warrior is an average [woman or] man with laser-like focus,” says Bruce Lee. You think only of yourself and your progress. Time thinking about the strength of the competition—the other applicants, is wasted energy you could be using to win!

    Students often worry about what they lack compared to other candidates, rather than focusing on what they already have and could cultivate further. Eg. join the Economics and Finance Society if you want to demonstrate your drive and passion for finance-related roles. Learn a language, self-taught or through the university, if your dream employer has preferences for bilingual or multilingual staff.  Your aim is to project an image of their ideal candidate: an individual they invest and believe in to do a good job. The operative word here is ‘do’ – it is recommended that 70% of your application form answers reflect action words. The employer will measure your ability to contribute positively to their organisation by learning about how you performed in your past experiences. Show them how by what you did (think achievements) and don’t talk vaguely of roles you performed.

    What do all world champion martial artists have in common? Discipline! Build confidence in areas you need improving for a particular role, turn perceived weaknesses into strengths and work hard to attain new levels of success, which you can then reflect in your application form. This is the martial arts way. Believe in yourself!

    “Choose the positive. You have choice – you are master of your attitude – choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”

    – Bruce Lee

    But what does it mean to Believe in Yourself?

    You engender a positive spirit and meet challenges with courage whether you’re faced with a invitation for interview or a rejection – you persevere like martial artists: when they get knocked down they stand back up and keep going, changing movements, learning new techniques. Martial artists don’t do the same thing expecting the same result. Adapting to the situation is therefore key. In a similar vein, having a flexible approach to writing your application and whatever its outcome will build and maintain self-belief—in being able to keep going, keep applying, despite challenges.

    Martial arts usually involve a system of grading in which each student strives for their next belt. This means having a goal is crucial in cultivating an attitude of success as it keeps the practitioner focused. What is your career goal? Make it visible and it will motivate you further.

    Here’s an idea: make a quick list of the top ten values you live by. These can include anything from Integrity, Open-mindedness to Health and Education. This will immediately reinforce your sense of self and boost esteem. Traditional clubs run their classes by precepts and tenets; core beliefs which students respect and uphold, further implanting a strong resolve. Rob Yeung, Business Psychologist and writer of job application and interview books insists that simply reminding yourself of your key values is like an “instant espresso shot of confidence”.

    Even better, spending a few moments visualising your future – imagining and feeling successful – influences the outcome of your actions. Positive visualisation is no secret in competitive sports and a vital tool for martial artists; creating and practicing imagined combat situations and visualizing success nurtures the belief to win. It’s all part of that healthy habit that martial artists have of ‘training the mind’.

    The great news is that, like other skills, self-belief can be practiced and mastered.

    Conquer lingering anxiety by thoroughly researching your field, your future job role and the company you’re applying to before beginning your application. For the martial artist, studying your opponent during a fight is essential in knowing where the weaknesses and strengths are. Preparation comes before success.

    If this still isn’t hitting home then try out a martial arts class and see how the philosophies and practices blend into other areas of your life, bringing you a renewed sense of faith in yourself. (Not a bad thing to put on your CV either!)

    Still struggling with your application? Don’t forget you can book an appointment and have one of our Application Advisers check it for you before you submit.

    – Payal Patel, Application Adviser, UCL Careers

    Write a Damn Good CV: Use the rules of fiction to sell yourself on paper!

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 29 September 2015

    As a seasoned Applications Adviser, I’ve seen countless CVs from students and graduates – some good, some bad. Who am I kidding? Mostly bad.

    “What do bad CVs look like?”

    Aimless. Poorly marketed. A document detailing work history; a list of roles or tasks performed under job titles, small fonts, perhaps a generic and often unnecessary career profile – and no personality. Verdict: just a record of characterless details unlikely to get the employer’s attention.

    “So what’s a good CV?”

    I hear you ask.

    Let’s first understand the point of your CV!

    The purpose of writing a CV is to get you to an interview. The CV is your marketing ploy to marry you to your dream job. It’s the professional representation of you, which demonstrates the value you’re going to offer to the company or organisation.

    Think about a character in your favourite book. For example’s sake, let’s choose Harry Potter. Imagine the story taking a different turn – he never had that scar on his forehead, he was nobody’s ‘chosen one’. Not a great tale here then! Similarly your CV is a thrilling version of your story – you need to be the ‘hero’ they’re looking for.

    Harry has a lightning bolt shaped scar as part of his personality trait that makes him special and stand out. What you’re essentially doing on your CV is re-presenting yourself as the character the employer is looking for.

    To find out which personality traits to convey, look to the person specification outlined with the job’s description.

    The Making of Harry Potter/Dave Catchpole/Flickr.com

    The Making of Harry Potter- Creative Commons/Dave Catchpole/Flickr.com

    Make sure the first page mirrors most of the essential skills and qualities they’re looking for

    Damn good CVs are selected in a matter of seconds. On first glance show the employer that you’re their ‘chosen one’. Highlight those qualities preferably on the left hand side throughout the page; bolding, italicising or underlining are all good ideas. Bullet points down the page before key words are also quite effective.

    Write out your work history in terms of relevance

    A good story is a page-turner and begins with a bang. At this point you can choose to tease the employer with an overview of your ‘hero’ qualities and your experience in the same battlefield, but this must be credible and works well if you have a certain amount of years experience within that field.

    Write what you have achieved backed up by facts and don’t bore the poor reader with generic features: ‘dynamic’, ‘hardworking’, ‘enthusiastic’ – these words are penned to the point of extinction and are meaningless without proof. A good idea is to bullet-point your main achievements being careful you’re always mirroring their person specification.

    Create titles such as ‘Relevant Experience’ or be even more specific to the industry you’re applying: ‘Publishing Experience’, ‘Finance-related Experience’. This is followed by ‘Other (or Additional) experience’.

    Show don’t tell

    I love this element of fiction. It separates the bestsellers from the worstsellers.

    In the case of CV writing, you could say ‘Sell don’t tell’. To sell yourself on paper means to present a professional version of yourself that proves you’re the ideal candidate. Write not only of the skills you’ll bring to the job but of the value you will add if hired.

    The CV demonstrates not only that you can perform the job to a high standard but that you will deliver results as shown by your past experience.

    In this sense employers don’t want to see a list of the tasks you performed in your previous experiences, they want to see what you achieved, to this end you could begin your bullet points with phrases such as ‘Raised customer satisfaction by…’ or ‘Supported 5 team members successfully by…’ even ‘Completed group project ahead of time…’ Compare that with ‘Involved customer service…’ ‘Working in a team to…’ and ‘Duties included managing a project and meeting deadlines’. Clearly the first lot of examples makes for an interesting story and presents a character worth putting your faith into.

    Bestselling writers always think from the reader’s perspective

    Put yourself in the employer’s shoes and imagine assessing the CV from their perspective. You know what the employer is looking for – the blue print of their hero is on the person specification. In a ten second glance does your CV portray this character? It doesn’t take long for a reader of fiction to move on to the next book if it’s devoid of interesting personalities.

    Create suspense for the reader to turn to the next chapter

    Let’s say the final section of your CV is the end of Chapter One. Chapter Two is the interview. For employers to further your application to the next stage, they need to feel that you’re a character worth investing in. We wouldn’t invest in Harry Potter if we didn’t think he had the ability to vanquish Voldemort. We put our trust in him because we were made aware of his perseverance and personality.

    To conclude your CV with a heading such as ‘Interests and Activities’ is a good way to showcase your intention and character traits. After all, the employer wants to know if you’ll be a good fit into the team and it’s a great section to illustrate your values – hopefully these match the objectives of the company or organisation too.

    Don’t just write Travelling, Playing football, Calligraphy, Photography. There’s no credibility here. Treat each passage, each sentence and word as a step in the ladder to your ideal destination. Like fiction, provide details and build a world that a reader believes in. For example, ‘Travel: extensively journeyed through South East Asia, recently visited Paris.’ Equally you could use this area to reflect again key attributes listed in the employer’s specification. ‘Meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures: travelled to South East Asia and Europe within the last year.’

    If you play a sport write how often you train and for how long you’ve been playing, e.g. ‘3 years playing football, training twice weekly.’ The same goes for other hobbies and be specific about them explaining your interest, ‘Digital photography: undertaking an online course.’ This shows commitment and dedication—virtues in the workplace.

    Are you commercially aware? What reflects this? Perhaps you’re subscribed to relevant newsletters, magazines and journals that show you’re keeping up-to-date with news and changes in the industry.

    Aim for writing succinctly holding back just enough detail so the reader will want more.

    Suspense is about engagement as it is about leaving an air of mystery. ‘There is definitely something about this person. I want to meet her face to face.’ Meeting you in person will solve that mystery.

    All great books have that page-turning quality; all you must do is follow the rules of fiction!

    Come and get your CV checked by one of our Application Advisers.

    – Payal Patel, Application Adviser, UCL Careers

    10 things you can do to improve your CV – NOW

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 6 May 2015

    This post originally appeared on the Develop your Career blog

    1. Write a one sentence profile

    Did you know that employers sometimes only have 10 seconds to look at your CV? Writing one sentence about who you are and what you are looking for can attract their attention so they will continue reading. This will ensure your CV doesn’t immediately end up on the unsuitable pile.

    1. List any previous work experience, paid or unpaid, in reverse chronological order

    This means starting with the newest first. An employer wants to see what experience you have and whether it is relevant to the position. It is best to set it out this way so that the employer can see ‘your story’. Do include any voluntary work you have done as this highlights further employability skills.

    1. Underneath each job title list anything you achieved whilst you were in the role

    As a recruiter I don’t need to know that part of your daily duties are to make a cup of tea for your boss. What I am interested in are your achievements in each job and what transferable skills they can bring to this role. For example ‘At University I worked in a group to achieve a 2:1 in a group presentation’ shows that you have experience of working in a team and can achieve goals.

    1. Adapt your CV to the job description or person specificationgroup work

    This is easy to do if you are applying for a specific role. Try and mention everything it says in the person specification on your CV. For example when it says ‘Ability to prioritise a varied workload and meet deadlines – Essential’ you could address this by saying ‘Adhered to assignment deadlines at university whilst working part time at H&M’.

    1. Condense or delete irrelevant grades

    This is a common occurrence – secondary school grades taking up a whole page because you feel like you don’t have enough experience to make your CV long enough. You can have a one page CV – it’s OK. Just bear in mind that an employer might not be interested in the fact you got an A for Child Development GCSE when it was five years ago and irrelevant to the position.

    1. Get rid of references

    If an employer wants to contact your references they will do so after the job offer stage. Unless you are filling in an application form that specifically asks for them, delete them and use the space to list more achievements.

    1. Only include interests if they are relevant to the job

    It sounds like common sense but including ‘I like shopping’ when applying to a data analyst position is not relevant and it doesn’t show any transferable skills. ‘I like building websites in my spare time’, however, would be more suitable.

    1. Use the same formatting and font throughout

    This shows consistency and attention to detail. It makes CVs much harder to read if paragraphs are in different fonts or sizes. Use a sensible font like Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial.

    1. Make use of online advice

    There’s so much advice out there (like this post!), so be sure to use it. If you’re a University of London student or recent graduate and you haven’t already, check out our CV resources in CareersTagged.

    1. Ask others for help

    Get as many eyes on your CV as possible before you use it. Ask colleagues, friends, and family for their input, and if you’re a current student (or a recent graduate), make use of the university careers service available to you.

    The Global Citizenship Employability Programme is open for bookings!

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 23 February 2015

    On Friday 20th February UCL’s Global Citizenship Programme launched, and undergraduates across UCL will be able to register to take part in one of the different programmes taking place from 1-12 June.

    What is Global Citizenship?

    Global Citizenship is UCL’s initiative to build students who can:

    • look beyond their individual and local interests and see the complexity of an interconnected world
    • understand the nature of the challenges that face that world
    • are aware of their social, ethical and political responsibilities
    • are ready to display leadership and work together to change the world for the better
    • are able to solve problems through innovation and entrepreneurship
    • prosper in a global jobs market that values the skills UCL provides

    It’s made up of 7 different strands to choose from: 4 targeted at first years and 3 more open to 2nd years, penultimates and finalists. The Global Citizenship Employability Programme (GCE), run by UCL Careers, is one of these latter strands – so if you are thinking about what your future may hold beyond UCL, read on!

    What will you gain on the GCE programme?

    UCL Careers Global Citizenship Employability Programme is an exciting and very hands-on 2 weeks. This programme is ideal for students who are interested in having a fulfilling and rewarding career, and who want to prosper in a global jobs market. In many ways the GCE programme is an ‘employability crash course’.

    During the programme, you will take part in interactive workshops helping you to build an effective CV, perform well at interviews and assessment centres, build your network, search successfully for jobs and understand the graduate labour market. Importantly, the programme begins with a full-day dedicated to helping you discover, and articulate, your strengths, which you can then use to help develop your career.

    What else does it involve?

    Programme highlights include:

    • fast-paced speed interviews with a range of employers, arming you with tips from professionals across different industries
    • priority access to more employers at our Jobs Market, most of whom will have live vacancies they want filled!
    • Employer 1:1 coaching on your CV
    • Support to develop a personal action plan that you can take with you, helping you identify key steps you need to take to enter and prosper in a global job market.

    What did people say last year?

    Don’t just take our word for it – check out our video and hear from attendees at last year’s programme and come along to our information session held Friday 27th February in Archaeology LT G06 at 1pm for more information, and to hear some case studies of students who succeeded from last year’s programme. And most of all, be sure to register and come to UCL Careers to pay your £20 deposit to secure your place!UCL Careers Global Citizenship Employability Programme 2015

    Seven top tips to perfect your engineering CV and covering letter

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 21 October 2014

    Some engineering employers, notably smaller companies, prefer CVs and covering letter. Here are some hints and tips to help you perfect your CV and covering letter to convince recruiters you’re right for the job.

    1. Length of your CV: A CV should be no more than two pages of A4, and a covering letter just one page. By researching the skills sought by the employers you’re targeting and then matching your experience to theses you should be able to fit in all the information that is relevant to that particular graduate job.
    2. CV layout: the layout of your CV is important. Choose a layout that is clear and easy to read, avoid small fonts and large sections of text. Use a skills-focused or chronological format for your CV, depending on what sells you best, and remember to tailor your CV to each employer.
    3. Personal statements | Many students start their CV’s with a brief personal statement outlining their abilities and aspirations. If you choose to do this, be specific and keep it relevant to the engineering job in question.
    4. Educational history: your educational history from your university years should include your predicted or actual degree class, information on group projects and your dissertation, any modules relevant to the job, and relevant academic awards. Include you’re a level (or equivalent) subjects and grades. Give GCSE/standard grad results.
    5. Engineering work experience: outline engineering work experience in your CV, judging how much detail to give by how closely it relates to the specific job you are applying to. Explain what skills you learned and how they can be transferred to the position in question.
    6. Non-engineering work experience: Many engineering employers look very favourably on achievements and experiences outside engineering. This can be a real boost if you haven’t been able to secure engineering work experience – and can give you an extra edge if you have. Examples worth mentioning include fundraising, voluntary work, organising independent overseas travel, sporting achievements or taking a leading role in a university society. Don’t go into detail: summarise your achievements and any transferable skills developed.
    7. What’s the point of a covering letter? Most engineering graduates have a fairly wide range of career options open to them. Outside the engineering sector, graduate engineers are sought after for their numerical skills and problem-solving mentality; inside, there’s a wide range of industries and job types that engineers of most disciplines can choose from. Your covering letter, therefore, is a chance to convince the engineering employer in question that you want to work in their industry, for their specific organisation, and in the job role advertised.

    For more advice visit www.targetjobsengineering.co.uk

    TARGETJobs Engineering kindly sponsored the UCL Careers Engineering Fair 2014.

    Webinar: CVs and covering letters for the charity sector

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 29 May 2014

    This blog post originally appeared on the Develop your Career blog

    Are you considering a career in the charity sector? Unsure how to write an effective CV and covering letter that really communicate your passion and motivations? Want to know what charity employers are really looking for at this first stage of the selection process?

    On Monday 9th June 2014, 1-2pm we’re bringing together a small panel of charity employers to ask them what they look for in CVs and covering letters and how those looking to work in the charity sector can make the most of their skills and experience on paper. As part of this discussion we’ll be asking panellists to critique a small selection of genuine CVs and covering letters submitted to us by University of London students and recent graduates.

    We’ll be broadcasting this discussion live via a FREE webinar –  participants will be able to view the CVs on screen and listen to the accompanying discussion, as well as having the chance to put their own questions to the panel. Our panel of charity employers will include James Wilson, Service Manager at British Red Cross and Jack Lewars, Director of Operations at School of Hard Knocks, with more names to be confirmed.

    To take advantage of this unique opportunity, click here to reserve your place on this webinar. Places are limited and expected to fill quickly so early booking is advised.

    If you’d like to submit a CV and covering letter for feedback in the webinar please send it by email to Anne.delauzun@rhul.ac.uk by 9am on Friday 30th May, and include a brief summary of the position or type of organisation to which your CV and letter are targeted. All CVs and letters will be anonymised and we can’t promise to feature all those we receive.

    Write an amazing CV for the Charity/NGO sector

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 3 March 2014

    This post originally appeared on the Develop your Career blog

    So you’ve decided to apply for that position at a Charity/NGO, but you’re stuck, blankly staring at your CV, not knowing how to best get across your experience or even if it will make the cut. You’ve got this nagging stat in the back of your head, that on average less than 10% of CVs make it through the first stage of the recruitment process.

    Here are some quick tips on writing a CV for the Charity/NGO sector that can help give you a fighting start:

    • Make sure it’s no longer than 2-sides and know that the first half of your CV is key – it is what the recruiter will look at first and if they aren’t intrigued to read further, they won’t! Note: Some employers such as the UN might take a longer CV, so check and do your research before hand especially on the position you are applying for.
    • Read the person specification and tailor your CV against the competencies they are looking for. Most recruiters score CVs against a criterion and if you haven’t clearly labelled or demonstrated those competencies, your application won’t go any further. For example, if you are applying for a researcher role, make sure your research section has enough of the core competencies matched so you are ticking all their initial boxes.
    • A recruiter only spends on average 7 – 30 seconds looking at each application initially. Make sure you have a powerful punch at first glance. Get some friends to review or even get your application checked by your careers service.
    • When you are explaining why you want to work for them, ensure it is tailored appropriately and highlight what you can offer them. No one wants to read: “I want to work for Save the Children because I can’t wait to touch all children!”
    • Make sure it is a consistent format and if possible send it across in a PDF format – it doesn’t lose its formatting.
    • Get someone to triple check for spelling and grammar mistakes!
    • Demonstrating evidence is easier than you think. Core Humanitarian competencies are often:
    1. Understanding humanitarian contexts and applying humanitarian principles
    2. Achieving Results
    3. Managing yourself in a pressured and changing environment
    4. Developing and maintaining collaborative relationships
    5. Operating safely and securely at all times
    6. Demonstrating leadership

    Once you’ve broken these down, finding examples are easier than you think.

    Realised you haven’t got one of these competencies?  Build them up by:

    1. Volunteering whilst at university
    2. Internships during the summer breaks
    3. Reading
    4. E-learning
    5. Networking/attending free talks at ODI
    6. Training
    7. Transferring your skills from any sector
    8. Waitressing – pressure
    9. Childcare – operating safely
    10. Enhancing your knowledge of cultures – you can do all of this without even leaving the country!

    Once you’re confident that you can nail your CV, come in and get it checked by an applications advisor who can give you more specific tips against the person specification and job description.

    Good luck!