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Careers Advice

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When you’re looking for a new job, it’s important to find a role that fits with your skills and experience — and the way you want to work.

Over the last few years, we’ve interviewed thousands of people. So whether you’re just entering the workforce or have decided it’s time for a career change, we know what employers are looking for.

From writing your CV, to preparing for an interview; from mastering online networking, to choosing your references — here you’ll find top tips & videos to help guide you to get the job you’re looking for, and useful advice for managing your career going forward.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships FAQ

Apprenticeships are changing. They’re not just for trades anymore; you’ll find apprentices in almost every industry you can think of — from banks, to manufacturing, to marketing and more.

The schemes provide a real alternative to college, sixth form or university. In fact, statistics show that 89% of bosses say that they’d take an apprenticeship if they were starting out on their career now, and 30% of their company’s senior management are former apprentices.

Not sure if it’s right for you? Let’s take a look at what apprenticeships entail:

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a structured training programme which mixes work-based learning with classroom education. You’ll receive on-the-job training to build up your knowledge and skills, and earn money at the same time.

Who can be an apprentice?

You must be a UK or EU citizen aged 16 years old or over. If you don’t hold an NHQ Level 4 qualification, it will be fully funded by the government, so there will be no training costs for you.

How long does an apprenticeship last for?

Typically, you’ll complete it over a 12 month period, but that will depend on factors like the requirements of your employer and how long it takes you to gain the required range of experience.

What’s the benefit for me?

In addition to gaining valuable workplace experience, at the end of the apprenticeship you’ll achieve a nationally recognised qualification. You’ll be given time off work to complete your studying, and you’ll also receive at least 28 days paid annual leave.

Your CV

Writing a CV

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Your CV is your chance to show you have the right experience, knowledge, skills and drive to do the job. So, it’s worth taking some time to perfect it.

How to write a winning CV

1. Start with your personal information

Your name, address, phone number

2. List your career history

How long you were employed for and your key achievements

3. Detail your education

If you have a degree there’s no need to list each module results

4. Interests

Relate these to the skills the job you’re applying for requires

5. Proof read

Check your spelling and grammar and use short sharp sentences

6. Formatting

Keep your CV under two pages long and use subheadings and bullet points

7. Register with ES ( Every Staff Ltd)

click here to register an account with us

Do

Showcase your achievements

Companies are results-orientated so emphasise how you made a difference in your previous roles

Tweak your CV

Make sure your CV suits the specific position you’re applying for

Commit it to memory

It will be the basis of your interview, so be prepared to discuss everything you’ve listed

Don’t

Exaggerate

Honesty is absolutely the best policy, make sure all the information is accurate and up-to-date

Leave gaps in your employment history

Let them know why you weren’t in work, for example travelling or redundancy

Use jargon or abbreviations

You’ll risk making your CV difficult to read.


CV Template
Cover Letter Template

References

Choosing your references

References are used to help determine if you’re right for the job, so it’s important to choose people who can speak knowledgeably about your professional and personal attributes.

Who should be your reference?

Your reference should be someone who knows you well and who you would be happy to answer these typical questions:

How would you describe [name]’s professional style?

What was [name]’s major contribution to the organisation?

Why did [name]’s leave your company?

What are [name]’s strengths? Weaknesses?

What transferable skills can [name]’s bring to this position?

What type of management style would best fit with [name]’s approach?

Commonly used referees

Your most recent/current employer

Long-time professional contact

Colleague

University/College tutor or lecturer

Interview

Interview guidance

Before

Research the company

This shows you take an interest in what they do. Take a look at their website and read recent articles about the organisation. Make a note of any major changes, and basic information like their annual sales, number of employees, geographic location and latest industry trends.

Be prepared

Practise answers to common interview questions – e.g. what are your strengths and weaknesses?

Prepare questions for the interviewer

Have two or three questions ready to ask the interviewer to show you really want the job.

Dress for success

If you're unsure what to wear, it's always better to be slightly overdressed.

During

Do

Use positive body language

Posture and eye contact says a lot about your interest in the job

Keep your responses relevant to the question

Take the time to gather your thoughts so you can give a clear response

Be clear why you want the job

Prepare to illustrate why you're the best person for the role.

Don't

Use tentative language

Avoid phrases like “I feel I could” and “I think I can” — be firm

Speak negatively about past employers

This can give the impression you're a difficult employee

Be evasive

Turn any career gaps on your CV into a positive.

After

Close on a positive note

Professionally sum up why you're the best person for the role.

Thank the interviewer

Show you appreciate them considering you for the job; think about sending a thank you note within 24 hours too.

Be patient

Remember a hiring decision might not be made straight away.

Your career

Managing your career

From time-to-time, it's important to re-evaluate where you are and where you want to go in your career. Putting together a career plan is a great way to formalise your aspirations, and work out what you need to do to take the next step in your career. To develop a career plan you need to consider:

Where you are

Start by updating your CV with new responsibilities and achievements and then use this as a starting point to think about how satisfied you are with your current job. Are there new skills you want to learn? Do you want to build on your list of accomplishments?

Where you want to be

Think about what motivates you? What do you like to do? What experiences do you enjoy? What's going to happen in your industry? What skills/knowledge will be needed? How can your skills transfer to other industries? What type of company do you want to work for?

How you're going to get there

Think about the short and long term goals that help you achieve your aspirations. Short term goals, such as organising your working day more effectively, should move you closer to achieving your long term goals. Next, write down the steps you need to achieve them with a timeline and deadline.

Think about the short and long term goals that help you achieve your aspirations. Short term goals, such as organising your working day more effectively, should move you closer to achieving your long term goals. Next, write down the steps you need to achieve them with a timeline and deadline.

How to resign

How to resign

When you're ready to move on to another company, it's important to make your resignation from your current employer as positive as possible.

When resigning, remember to:

Follow proper resignation protocol by writing a short and direct resignation letter

Deliver your resignation letter to your boss in person; ease your nerves by practising what you're going to say in advance, including how you'll react to a counter-offer

Be positive about your experiences with your employer. Don't burn your bridges during an exit interview

Get all your questions answered before you leave — that might be about benefits, unused annual leave and other compensation you're expecting.

Resigning isn't about airing your grievances. It's about moving onwards and upwards to something new in a positive way.

Networking

Mastering online networking

As the world's largest professional social network, LinkedIn now plays a big part in finding a new job. A good profile helps you to stand out from the crowd. It's not just about the job you do, it's about showing the world who you are and what you're best at.

At ES (Every Staff Ltd), this is something we know all about. Every single one of our recruitment consultants take part in #RelationshipsMatter, an ongoing training programme to make sure that we're all up-to-speed on the latest developments in the world of social media.

Optimising your profile helps potential employers find you when they're searching LinkedIn for people to join them. So what should you be doing? Here are some ideas:

Add your photo — People are much more likely to connect with you if your profile include a photo, so make sure you include a headshot of yourself in professional attire;

Change your professional headline — Include your job title, company name, and what you specialise in; this will help you to rank highly in search results when potential employers are looking for suitable candidates;

Include a summary — Sum up in two-three paragraphs who you are, what your job involves, why people should connect with you, and some information about the organisation you currently work for;

Ask for recommendations — Don't be afraid to ask your old boss and people that you've worked with to recommend you; it's a great way to show from an outsider's perspective what you're really like;

Regularly send out updates — Stay at the front of your connections' minds by sharing news and information about what's happening in your sector, this helps to build up your credibility;

Join groups — This can help you to showcase your expertise to other people in your sector.