As our Financial Services Graduates embark on their final placement of the 2019-2021 Programme we’ve been working closely with them on employability and career advancement strategies to help them to secure a permanent role.
We’ve held a series of virtual sessions hosted by specialist career coach Ruth Wootton, of Momentwm Consulting Ltd. The sessions have covered a range of employment topics offering advice and support for the next stage of our graduate’s careers.
Most recently, Ruth shared some helpful insights on CV and Interview skills in an interactive workshop.
Some stand out points from the workshop included:
1. Create a Master CV
A Master CV is a comprehensive document of education and career history, references, personal achievements that you may want to include on a CV at a later date
You would never send your Master CV to an employer or apply for a job with it but having this information in one place makes it much easier to create a tailored CV to a specific job you are applying for.
The master document should include timelines, facts, figures, feedback, and outcomes of a variety of experiences that will help to demonstrate your skills. These examples could centre around education, training, volunteer work and employment history.
It is sensible to update your Master CV annually so that you remember all your recent achievements.
2. Quality over Quantity
Words such as passionate, self-motivated and hardworking have become overused because they are thrown about on CV’s without being backed up by evidence.
Instead of just listing adjectives that you think an employer might be interested in, focus on the core skills they’ve asking for in the job specification and give evidence of how you’ve demonstrated them.
There was some debate over the ideal length of a CV and some graduates were concerned that going into too much detail around skills would use up the word count. However, Ruth recommended to focus on quality over quantity of examples. By tailoring these examples to the job description, you’ll have a much better chance of success.
3. Overcoming Applicant Tracking Systems
It’s become increasingly common that employers will use applicant tracking systems to sift through the first phase of CVs. This means that if your CV doesn’t match the algorithm, it’ll likely be declined, and you won’t get to the interview stage.
The best way to overcome the ATS is to ensure your CV uses the key words and phrases used in the job description, it really is as simple as that!
This makes it even more important that you tailor your CV to every job you apply for and use the job description as the basis for it. Identify what the employer is asking for when it comes to skills and experience and make sure your CV reflects this using the same words and phrases they’ve used.
When it comes to the interview stage, storytelling was identified as the best way to showcase your skills. This method allows you to evoke a reaction from the interviewer which in turn helps to build rapport as well as giving them an insight into your character.
Try coming up with a few different stories which cover a range of different questions you may be asked in an interview such as a time when you overcame a challenge, solved a problem, worked as a leader etc.
When thinking of the story you will use to demonstrate these instances, use the CAR method (Challenge, Action, Result). This will help you be concise as well as focussing on the key things an employer will want to know about.
Top tip: Practice telling your stories out loud before the interview. Say them in the mirror, tell them to a friend or mentor. The more you practice, the more natural it will sound on the day.