6 Extracurricular Activities to Boost Your CV as a Graduate

Whether you’re looking to get a full-time job after your studies come to an end or you want part-time work to earn extra cash while you’re studying, having an impactful CV is essential. 

One of the best ways to stand out among the competition is through extracurricular activities, which not only showcase your personality and interests but also help you develop skills that you can use in employment. 

There are certain activities you can choose to gain to really improve your skillset and boost your CV – here are 6 suggestions. 

1: Language learning

Source: Unsplash

Learning a foreign language is a rewarding and fulfilling thing to do, but it’s also something that is in demand in the job market, and it could set you apart from your competition when it comes to applying for a job. Having a hard skill such as being fluent in another language can even boost the salary you could hope to receive from a job. 

By learning a second language, you’ll be able to demonstrate to employers that you are dedicated, have an interest in self-development and you’re culturally aware. But it also offers you the personal benefit of making travel easier and boosting your communication skills. 

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2: Tutoring

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Tutoring is a rewarding way to use your spare time and in addition to being a great supplement to your CV, it also helps out others to learn. You can join a formal school tutoring programme to help others in your year or share your knowledge with younger children to help them develop core skills in reading, writing or mathematics by volunteering at a school once a week. 

Tutoring shows that you have great communication skills, that you enjoy working with other people and that you have specific expertise in a certain area. But it also shows a willingness to help others and to share your knowledge, which is a skill that hiring companies will really value. 

3: Volunteering

Volunteering is similar to tutoring in that it shows your willingness to use your time to help others, but it’s often related to a specific cause such as for a charity. Adding a volunteer position to your CV showcases your passion for the cause and shows you’re dedicated to your responsibilities. Recruiters like candidates who have carried out volunteering positions because it shows commitment, organisational skills and motivation, as well as a strong work ethic. 

4: Sports

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Young people are often naturally interested in sports, so why not put that interest to use and join a club or a team? Many sports rely on teamwork, so it’s a great way to make friends and meet new people, plus it helps you to stay fit and healthy. 

Playing sports requires dedication and motivation, something that employers love to see in their employees, and it also shows great time management skills in order for you to make practice sessions and events. If you happen to be a team captain for your sport, this extracurricular activity also demonstrates leadership and communication skills which are valuable to businesses. 

5: Student Council

Many schools and colleges have a student council to represent the students and it can help you develop a broad range of skills that can transfer to the workplace. From leadership skills and public speaking to collaboration and organisational skills, being a member of the student council is a great way to boost your CV and make friends in the process. 

When you join the student council, you develop problem solving skills and boost your ability to make decisions, as well as developing your active listening skills. You learn how to work well with other people, take on board different opinions and react rationally, and often learn event planning or fundraising experience. 

6: Art

Source: Unsplash

Art is a hobby that may seem like it won’t add anything valuable to your CV, unless you’re striving for a career focused on it, but that’s not actually true. Creative thinking is a top skill that employers look for and spending your leisure time practicing art is the perfect way to develop creative thinking skills that you can take with you into the workplace. 

It’s a great hobby to spark innovation and seeing things from a different perspective, which are excellent skills to bring to a business. Whether you join a club, run workshops for other aspiring artists or simply work on your own projects, art can help you develop key creative skills.

Final thoughts

You may be planning ahead in readiness for joining the job market or you may be edging closer to applying for jobs and want to upgrade your CV to stand out – whatever your reasons, there’s never a bad time to consider ways you can make yourself a more employable individual. While many hobbies and extracurricular activities may seem, on the surface, to be just for fun, you might be surprised by the skills you’ll learn through these activities that employers are looking for. 

Written by Gemma Hart, Education / Careers Specialist
Featured Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels

Police Graduate Schemes and Routes into Policing

Thinking of becoming a police officer or a detective? In this post, we outline police graduate schemes and explain the various routes you can take to launch your policing career.

There are various graduate schemes to help those who have finished university become qualified, both on a national and local level. For those who are not graduates, there are still schemes that will give you the relevant knowledge and skills to police effectively, meaning joining the police is accessible for both graduates and non-graduates. 

1. Police Now Graduate Schemes

Police Now provides two different graduate schemes, the National Graduate Leadership Programme, and the National Detective Programme, and hires applicants from across England and Wales. 

The National Graduate Leadership Programme is focused on becoming qualified as a neighbourhood police officer, especially concerned with helping and transforming local communities. Two important qualities the scheme focuses on is the ability to negotiate and resolve conflicts and being able to demonstrate leadership in the community.  

The National Detective Scheme focuses on the necessary qualifications to become a police detective, learning how to quickly respond to new information and how to investigate potential crimes. You will also be required to manage and prioritise various facts, a life skill that is important in many different careers, not just policing.

Both schemes last two years, requiring that applicants are aged 17 or over, and have a 2:2 or higher degree from a UK university, or equivalent from a non-UK university. Any nationality can apply, but you must have lived in the UK for the last 3 years. For the National Graduate Leadership Programme, the starting salary after qualification is £24,177- £30,369, with allowances of up to £6,735, depending on where you are situated. For The National Detective Programme, the salary can start from £20,370-£24,177, including location allowances, depending on the force that you join.

How to get a graduate job with police now

In the video below, the host of the gradate job podcast speaks with the CEO and founder of Police Now, who shares top tips on how to get a graduate job with Police Now

GraduateJobPodcast

2. The Metropolitan Police 

Alternatively, you can apply to the programmes run by the Metropolitan Police, the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship and the Degree Holder Entry Programme. 

The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) is a three-year programme, aimed at applicants who are not university graduates, and works towards a degree in professional policing. This is important as it means that being a police officer is not limited to those who have gone to university, making it a very accessible career. There is also the option to work part-time through both programmes, making policing a viable option even for those who cannot commit to working full time. 

You will be assessed with both operational and written assessments, ending with a 10,000-word dissertation and a portfolio with evidence of your accomplishments. After completing the programme, the starting full-time salary is £30,006, rising to £33,000 after a probationary period, including allowances. This base salary will continue to increase annually, with the salary after seven years expected to be roughly £48,000. 

To apply, you need to have a GCSE in both maths and English language at C or above, although if you do not have the former you can earn it while completing the programme. 

The Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) is a two-year scheme and is for applicants who already have a degree. Similarly to the PCDA, the DHEP includes both written and operational assessments and ends with the completion of a portfolio of accomplishments. One difference is that the DHEP ends with a graduate diploma in professional policing practice instead of a BSc. 

The salary for a full-time constable from this programme is slightly higher than one from the PCDA, starting at £31,000, rising to £33,000 after the probationary period, both including allowances. This salary will rise annually, reaching roughly £48,000 after seven years. 

Similarly to the PCDA, you need a GCSE in English language at C or above to apply, but will also need to either have already finished or be in the final year of your degree. 

Metropolitan Police

3: Regional policing graduate schemes

There are other schemes for more local areas, such as the Detective Constable Graduate Scheme from the Leicestershire Police, and the Police Officer Graduate Entry Programme from the West Yorkshire Police. Both of these are worth looking into if you are from these areas, and there may also be other schemes closer to you that are worth researching. 

Further study – Master’s in Policing

Once you become a police officer, you may consider pursuing further study to specialise or learn more about an area of expertise. For example:

  • The University of West London offers an MSc in Policing, that allows you to specialise in international policing, leadership and management or investigating serious crime.
  • UCL offers a Policing MSc, aimed at police and professionals from related agencies who aspire to become future leaders and managers. Optional modules include cybercrime and cybersecurity.

Summary

Overall, joining the police is accessible to both graduates and non-graduates, making it a viable career option for a wide variety of potential applicants. These schemes will also give you life skills, such as leadership and problem solving that are vital both while policing and in other careers. 

Written by Sam Sheridan
Featured image by: Connor Danylenko from Pexels

How to Write a Great Cover Letter

In this post, we share top tips on how to write a great cover letter.

One of the most important parts of the job application process is your cover letter, as it allows you to sell yourself directly to your potential future employers, helping you to stand out amongst the competition for the job you are all applying for. Your cover letter should also sell you as a person, something your CV, essentially a list of achievements and qualifications will struggle to do. 

To write the most optimal cover letter possible, you will need to combine different factors, such as an effective structure, the relevant qualities that will make you a good fit for the job, as well as demonstrating how motivated you will be in this role. 

1. Structure your cover letters effectively

The first paragraph of your cover letter should explain why you are applying, what position you are applying to, and how you found out about the job opportunity.

The first of these helps to establish you as highly motivated, something that will give you an edge over those who do not emphasise this, as employers will obviously prefer applicants who show little enthusiasm.

The second is also important as it makes it clear that you know exactly what position you are aiming for, and are aware of what qualities are needed. 

Your second and third paragraphs should be about what skills you possess and how they make you well suited to the job being applied for. You will need to decide for yourself which skills are most relevant, although a lot of the time this will be fairly obvious, such as emphasising IT skills for a job that requires significant hours working on a computer. 

This shows the person reading your cover letter that you have done the proper research, further proving that you are genuinely interested in the position. On the flip side, emphasising irrelevant skills shows the reader that you know little about what is needed to fulfill the role, and will be quickly rejected. 

The final paragraph of your cover letter should be about you personally, and more about why you think that you would be the ideal candidate, although you need to ensure that you do not go too far off-topic and discuss things that are not important to the job. 

Your cover letter should be no longer than one page long. While you may be tempted to write more in an attempt to include every possible thing that you believe makes you perfectly suited to the role, you need to take into account the person reading the letter itself.

The reader will likely not have enough time to comb through every small detail you include, especially if there are a large number of other applications. It is therefore your decision for which qualities you prioritise over others. 

For a better idea on how to structure your cover letter, watch this video on the topic. 

ZipJob

2. Demonstrate Your Employability skills Throughout 

If you are struggling to come up with skills you think employers will value, the CBI’s list of employability skills, is a good place to start. These employability skills are business awareness, communication, enterprise, IT, numeracy, problem-solving, resilience, self-management, and teamwork. 

These are important to your cover letter as if you can provide examples of you possessing these qualities it shows the reader that you have the practical skills to do the job you are applying for. This is far more impressive to employers than simply talking about your degree, which is something that is not always directly relevant to the role you will end up working at.

You will have learned and improved on many of these skills during your time at both school and university and can use examples from there in your cover letter. You just need to be careful to make sure that these examples are both relevant and concise. The latter is important as if you discuss one anecdote in too much detail you will not have enough room to discuss others, possibly giving the reader the impression that that is the only relevant quality you possess, making it less likely that you are accepted. 

One thing to keep in mind is that different jobs will require different skillsets. Therefore, you should write a new cover letter for every job you apply for, emphisising the most relevant skills each time. This is important as discussing fewer, but more relevant skills will be more useful than more skills that are not directly relevant to the job you are applying to. 

3. Balance

Something you will need to be aware of while writing your cover letter is the balance between modesty and selling you and your skills to your potential employers. 

If you downplay your abilities too much, then the person reading your cover letter might assume that you are less competent than you actually are, stopping you from being seriously considered for a job you are definitely qualified to do. Therefore, you should ensure that you give yourself the full credit for your own achievements, while simultaneously ensuring that everything you say in your cover letter is true.

The latter is connected to the other side of this balancing act, which is making sure that the content of your cover letter is believable. This is because if the reader believes that you are exaggerating your own achievements, you are unlikely to pass this stage of the application process. 

If you are unsure on how to exactly word your cover letter, it is perfectly fine to ask friends and family to look over it. They will be able to give a second opinion, and will be able to correct you if they fell you are either under or over exaggerating your achievements. 

4. Proofread Your Cover Letter

This may sound obvious but it is important to check your cover letter before you submit it as part of your application. You are highly likely to be rejected of there are any obvious errors, especially if written communication is a large part of thee job you are applying for. 

Again, having friends or family check a draft of your cover letter is a good way to ensure that your cover letter is free of these errors. 

You may also wish to update your cover letter if you achieve something worth writing about in between drafts. This is especially important to keep in mind if you have a big deadline coming up, the result of which will look impressive and shows skills that would be relevant at the job in question. 

Summary: How to write a great cover letter

Overall, to write a great cover letter, you need the correct structure, to demonstrate that you have the correct abilities to do the job you are applying for, while also striking a balance between selling yourself to your potential employers, while also ensuring that everything you say is completely honest. For more posts like this to help you with applying for a job, check out the Graduate Coach Blog

Related posts:

By Sam Sheridan
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Psychometric Tests in the Recruitment Process: A Short Guide

As part of their recruiting process, many employers want to know a bit more about their candidates – they want to see for themselves how a potential employee might react in certain situations, where their values will take them, or what their instincts are.

These aren’t always clear from a CV or interview. To dig deeper into their candidates’ personalities, employers sometimes use psychometric tests.

What is a psychometric test?

It’s a (usually) short test, completed online or on paper, that measures skills and personality tendencies related to the job. Because the same test can be given to any number of candidates, and their outcome depends on raw performance, not interview skills or the impression they make on first meeting, they are usually considered more objective than questions asked at interview.

Psychometric tests consist of one or more tasks, measuring important skills and behaviours that the employer has decided are key to the job. Some of them, such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, are widely popular and used in many companies. Other tests might be developed by a single employer for a specific job.

There are, broadly, two kinds of psychometric tests: aptitude and personality. Aptitude tests are designed to measure your ability to carry out tasks associated with the job, employing skills such as mathematical or verbal reasoning, logic or attention to detail. Personality tests instead look at your behavioural tendencies – how you’re likely to act in certain situations, or whether your values are compatible with the company.

Common Features of Tests

Many tests are timed and have a set number of questions for you to complete. You need to complete as many as possible within the time limit, but often, a test might have more questions than it’s realistically possible to work through properly within the time given. Just do as many as possible and make sure you read all instructions carefully.

Employers will often set a minimum pass score on their tests and will discard any applications from candidates who score too low. However, some organisations will look to compare candidates’ performance directly and prefer to take the very highest scorers. Alternatively, they may analyse scores by skill or area, and take candidates who show a combination of skills they like.

Types of Psychometric Test

Most psychometric tests fall into one of two categories: aptitude or personality. However, within these there is greater variation. Aptitude tests include:

  • Numerical reasoning tests measure capability, though not necessarily knowledge, of dealing with mathematical problems. Typically, the only things they expect you to know are how to add, subtract, divide, multiply and calculate percentages.
  • Verbal reasoning tests involve deduction of information from statements, as well as understanding logical arguments. Often, they present you with a short text and you must answer questions based only on information you can deduce from it.
  • Abstract reasoning tests require observation and application of rules to new situations. They often feature numerical or spatial patterns which you must detect and apply to a further sequence
  • Situational judgement tests examine your ability to respond to hypothetical events in a productive manner. In these tests, it is often empathy, pragmatism and foresight that is being looked for

Personality tests might include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a widely used test that places people into one of 16 general personality types. Alternatively, the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) may be used – this test examines your work style and preferences to see if you would fit well within the organisation you’ve applied to join. These tests can tell nothing about ability, only about general work behaviour.

How do employers use these tests?

CVs and interviews provide only limited information – the former includes only ‘official’ qualifications and verifiable work experience, while the latter gives only a snapshot of a candidate’s behaviours and ideals. For a full-time job that could test an individual’s abilities and patience, employers may desire more detailed information about a candidate. The tests can provide insight into how the candidate may interact with co-workers and tasks in an office, and suggest whether or not they will be a suitable fit for the company.

Psychometric tests will usually be combined with other methods, such as interviews or group exercises, where they are used. The totality of information about an applicant provided by these means can then be used to make a decision. Employers want to know if the candidate is capable of performing all tasks given to them, and that they will be a good fit for the organisation. Most companies do not want to have to replace employees who aren’t up to the demands of the job, and applicants generally prefer to keep their CVs clean of quick redundancies that are due to a lack of suitability.

For employers, one advantage of psychometric tests is that they provide quantitative, intrinsically comparable results. It can be difficult to judge which of two applicants has performed better at interview, especially if their answers were similar or both made good, important points. The results of numerically scored tests can be easily compared and ranked, showing at a glance which candidate has done best.

Passing the test

There are numerous online resources to help people practice and score well on psychometric tests. Some organisations provide sample questions from tests they give to applicants, while many websites exist purely to provide advice for doing well. There are also a few basic pieces of advice which apply for any test:

  • Read the instructions. Since many tests are timed, it is important that you are working to a useful response from the start. Avoid spending part of the time looking for the wrong answer – read the question carefully and make sure you understand it.
  • Prepare. If a test allows a calculator or other equipment, make sure it’s ready before the test begins. Similarly, paper for notes or working out, as well as pens and pencils, are useful to have to hand. You may also wish to have a glass of water.
  • Make sure your working environment is quiet and comfortable.
  • Try to be honest if the test is, for example, asking what you would do in a certain situation. Dishonesty will make things difficult in the following interview.

Sites that offer further information and practice tests

  • Job Test Prep– offers several kinds of free practice tests, plus more advanced practice with paid subscription.
  • Psychometric Institute – source of information and advice about psychometric tests, as well as a few practice tests
  • Graduates First – information about different kinds of tests, as well as some practice
  • Assessment Day – lots of different practice tests

Written by Alex Hogan
Featured image by Liza Summer from Pexels

The difference between hard skills and soft skills

You may never have heard the terms hard and soft skills before. You understand that you need skills for the workplace, but you assume that skills are skills. In this post, we highlight the difference between hard skills and soft skills.

The world is changing at a rapid rate. We are entering what is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This revolution brings a ripping up of the rulebook on all that we know about the world of work. Technologies are being innovated daily that are disrupting how we do business. There is AI, blockchain, the IoT, 5G connectivity and renewable energy systems, and many more, all pushing against the status quo.

While we might feel all this innovation happens in a far-off place and does not impact us, we need to realise that it is drastically reshaping the workplace. Practical-based skills are now being achieved by machines more than ever. The only advantage we have as people is our humanity. The demonstration of being human is encapsulated in our soft skills, the intra-and interpersonal abilities that computers cannot replicate.

What are hard skills?

Our CV of old will have been filled with a list of qualifications that assessed our hard skills. We will have studied to be a specialist in a specific area of expertise defined by a set of capabilities. These hard skills are those things we learn to do that we could never have done without the training. We are not born with these capabilities.

The mechanic learns to change an engine, the chef knows how to bake effectively, and the computer scientist knows how to code. Other examples of a hard skill include speaking foreign languages, tiling and plastering, fast keyboard typing, admin tasks such as bookkeeping and data input, copywriting, carpentry, first aid, and many more.

Most hard skills are learned to leverage a career, though some people use them to practice a hobby or interest.

What are soft skills?

Hard skills are easy to quantify. You can either do it effectively, or you can’t. Soft skills are more challenging to assess as they are not linked to a specific job or responsibility but instead to how you interact as a person in the workplace. Leadership is an obvious example. There are a host of human skills needed to be a great leader that cannot be easily measured.

While these soft skills can be learned to some degree in training and through courses, they are fundamentally linked to a person’s personality. Therefore, soft skills are more often developed while undertaking work experience

While this gives the impression that soft skills are more challenging to attain than hard skills, this is not always the case. A person can be born with an aptitude for a soft skill, which is not the case with a hard skill. If we spend some time reflecting, discover those soft skills we are predisposed to be successful in and use this to guide our journey into the workplace.

The importance of soft skills in the modern workplace is apparent. They are a manifestation of our humanity, and something technology does not replicate. These soft skills can also transfer across workplaces, so we will never be without the opportunity to find work if we can harness them.

Examples of soft skills include communication, negotiation, good manners, leadership, conflict resolution, teamwork, adaptability, empathy, creativity, integrity, and more. It is worth noticing how these skills are not centred on a specific career but are more about becoming a better person.

TED

Hard Skills versus Soft Skills

You could argue that both hard and soft skills are valuable when looking to start a career. Some hard skills are pre-requisites for getting a job in your chosen career, as it is how a human resources director may shortlist candidates. However, when you get to interview, it is most definitely your soft skills on show and will get you over the line.

Studies seem to suggest that business values soft skills more than academic performance. There are constant requests to universities to focus on work-ready abilities – also known as soft skills. The theory seems sound.

If you develop human beings who are adaptable and capable of flexibly moving from workplace to workplace, they will be more successful. For a business that might need to pivot quickly and change its focus because of, let us say, a pandemic, then these soft skills are crucial too.

While hard skills are teachable, soft skills are developed through experience.

You need to look to your role models and feel inspired to try this out in your life. You need to reflect on what works for you and correct your course if it doesn’t get the results you hoped. It is a process of constant improvement and learning never stops.

Read more:

Featured photo by cottonbro from Pexels

How to use Technology to Boost Your Job Search

Since the turn of the century, technology’s impact on our day-to-day lives has been ever-increasing. But whilst this is the case, it is not always fully utilised. This is especially true when it comes to looking for jobs.

In this post, we have collaborated with Tempo, the end-to-end hiring platform, to reveal how you can utilise technology in your job search so that you can become gainfully employed much quicker.

“The job market has been turned completely on its head and you are faced with competing against hundreds of other applicants. It’s time to turn to innovative recruitment methods to help you to stand out from the crowd and give yourself a competitive edge.” 

Olivia Horsley, Head of Customer Success at Tempo

#1: Beat the Bots

It can be extremely dispiriting to receive a stream of standardised rejection emails after sending out your CV. It almost feels as if nobody has taken the time to even look through your application that you put so much time and effort into. 

That’s because there is a high chance that nobody actually looked at your CV.

This is because Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are being used to scan and reject CVs before they are ever read by a human. 

You might be wondering why these ‘resume robots’ are being used to filter through applications. After all, aren’t recruiters paid to review CVs and identify the most promising candidates?

Well, to understand why these systems are used, look at it through the lens of a recruiter. As it is so easy nowadays for people to submit their CVs online such as via ‘1-click apply’ and LinkedIn applications, recruiters are flooded with digital applications. 

It would be impossible to sift through thousands of CVs within their deadlines to handpick the most suitable candidates. 

That’s where ATS comes in. The ATS creates a shortlist of suitable candidates and screens out the rest. 

Now you know why these systems are used. It’s time to find out what you can do to ensure that your CV makes it through the ATS filter and into the hands of a human. This will boost your chances of making it to the next stage of the recruitment process. 

In many ways, applicant tracking systems operate like search engines – which means you should write your CV in a search-friendly manner – kind of like search engine optimisation, but for CVs instead of websites. 

Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds! In fact, the team at Graduate Coach teamed up with the friendly folk at Give a Grad a Go to explain in 6 easy steps how you can beat the bots and get your CV seen by a human

#2: Start your work adventure with Tempo

Tempo is an end-to-end platform that uses super-smart technology to match you with jobs at the UK’s fastest-growing companies.

You can get hired through Tempo in three simple steps.

Step 1: Create a profile. This acts as your digital CV and contains all the information employers want to know about you.

Step 2: Get matched. Once your profile is complete you’ll see a list of instantly matched jobs that suit your skills and interests.

Step 3: Get hired. You can receive interview requests and even job offers from companies directly within the platform.

Tempo has tools to help give you a competitive edge, such as:

Profile video

A profile video is a great way to let your personality shine through, showcasing your skills and experiences in a unique way. It helps you to show employers you are more than your CV and you are even seven times more likely to get hired with one.

Yolanda, a Tempo candidate, even said, “In a lot of my interviews, they said the reason I got to that stage was because of my video. It helped me to stand out – communicating what I was looking for and the key skills and experiences that I could bring to the table.” Find out more about how Yolanda landed a graduate job

Leave a note

This allows you to leave a tailored reason to each hiring manager on why you are interested in the role and why you would be a good fit. This boosts your chances of securing an interview as you will seem passionate about the role, giving you a competitive edge. This alongside your profile cuts out the faff of having to do multiple cover letters.

#3: Track your job applications in Notion

It is very important to keep track of all the applications that you have sent out. This will help you to assess the progress that you are making. 

If you notice that you’ve sent out 50 CVs for positions that you are interested in, but got rejected from all of them, it’s time to revise your CV and cover letter.

Likewise, if you have been invited to several interviews but keep failing them, you may need to refine your job interview technique – we can help you to nail your interviews

Notion has a great job application tracking template!

As you can see in the screenshot below, the job application tracker enables you to list all of the applications that you have sent out, record what stage of the application process you are at, link to the job description and more. 

Want to find out more about tracking your job applications? If so, check out our post on how to track job applications

#4: Use Grammarly to check your spelling

Grammarly is a free online writing assistant that is powered by AI technology.

When completing online applications, you want to make sure that you do not give potential employers the wrong impression of you. 

Whilst it may seem small, spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors could inhibit your chances of getting called to an interview. 

These common errors signal to recruiters that you may lack attention to detail, or that you may not have taken the time to review your application properly before sending it out.

Grammarly is a free Google Chrome extension that flags up spelling and grammar errors and allows you to easily correct them. 

#5: Use video interview software 

Your interview preparation should not start the day before. 

Becoming really interview confident takes some time. Therefore, you should start preparing for job interviews as soon as possible. 

Of course once you get invited to an interview, you will need to tailor your preparation to the company that you are interviewing at. However, there are some foundational tips and techniques that you can learn and apply at any job interview. 

One way to use technology to help you to prepare for your interview is to use video interview software. 

Video interviews are a very common stage in the interview process nowadays, so it is more important than ever to become familiar with how it works and how to ace them. 

Graduate Coach offers an online interview course called Nail that Interview. The course is unique as it offers candidates the opportunity to do mock interviews and to get personalised feedback from an experienced coach to help you to improve and refine your interview skills. 

In addition to this practical element of the course, you’ll gain access to nine modules taking you through everything you need to know to get really good at being interviewed. Along with the modules, you will also get eight downloadable guides to help you to discover your job-specific skills. 

Summary

We hope that you enjoyed our post on how to use technology to boost your job search! It is becoming more and more important to understand how technology is redefining the recruitment industry and subsequently how the best candidates are sourced, so that you can ensure that your applications make it to the top of the pile.

Featured image by: Life Of Pix from Pexels

Effective tips for writing a cover letter for an internship

It’s the start of the year and I’m sure many of you are already looking at potential internships. I, therefore, thought it would be useful to share some tips I learnt whilst writing cover letters for internships last year. 

Once you have made the choice of your prospective company and internship program you want to work for you will often be asked to send your CV and a cover letter to your employer. It is important to tailor your CV and Cover Letter to each role you are applying to, I recommend looking at the job requirements and making sure some of their key skills and qualities are mentioned within your application. In some cases, you may also be required to pass a special survey or test at some point. 

Do you need a cover letter for an internship? Sometimes it is obligatory. At that rate, you can turn to an acceptable intern cover letter template and use it as a reference. You can check out tips on how to write a cover letter here

A cover letter is a great way to show employers what you have learnt from academic experience, work experience, jobs and additional self-education, it is important to also relate your cover letter to the vacancy you are applying to and is a great way to tell employers more about yourself. So, let’s figure out what are the basic simple rules of successfully writing a cover letter for an internship!

  • In order to make your intern self-presentation stand out from the crowd, follow a certain document structure. Point out your contact info in the header and don’t forget about the official salutation.
  • The opening part of your intern cover letter should be confident and has to intrigue the reader. Use power verbs and try to describe yourself without hyper self-praise.
  • Your intern application should always be tailored to the specific case. Customize your cover letter according to the program and make sure that it is unique.
  • Search for the internship program description and compare the list of candidate requirements with your skillset. Prove your particular abilities with certain real examples.
  • Feel free to use keywords from the internship program description. Highlight your main personal and professional strong features in accordance with the listing.
  • Proofread your cover letter before sending and check the text for the smallest mistakes, typos, and even minimal grammatical errors attentively. Keep it clear, short and readable!
  • Win several additional points by adding some bright details about your relevant volunteer experience, from extracurricular activities to social work that you had performed as a student.
  • Your cover letter for an internship position should contain a powerful closing sentence. Formulate the conclusion of the document as a confident call to action for the hiring manager.

One of your essential missions in the role of the intern will be not just to fulfil the assigned tasks but to learn something new and gain experience. Implementing tips and recommendations from this article will make you “faster, better, stronger” than other candidates and will open the way to your great internship.

Guest post written by Student job

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How to track job applications

When applying for jobs you want to give yourself the best chance possible by applying for multiple suitable roles at once. During this process, you will want to keep track of your applications and the stages you have reached in each recruitment process.

You will be able to check if you’ve already applied to a certain job and also it will remind you to follow up with employers.

Having the details of your applications to hand will also help you prepare for interviews. You will quickly be able to check what skills are needed for the role and be able to prepare to present yourself accordingly.  

Not tracking your applications can lead to basic errors, such as lost contact details and forgotten deadlines or interviews. To avoid any mistakes, here’s how to track job applications.

#1: Create a Spreadsheet

Creating a simple spreadsheet is always an effective way of keeping track of job applications. This will allow you to keep on top of which roles specifically you have applied for, which companies, and when you applied.

Here are the key columns:

  • Company Name
  • Contact – The person you have contacted at the company, perhaps who you addressed your cover letter to, such as a Manager of Human Resources.
  • Email – The email of your contact
  • Date Applied – When you submitted the application.
  • Application Summary – Things you submitted, such as a cover letter, CV, and any additional materials, like references.
  • Interview – If you have one and when it is scheduled.
  • Follow-Up – If you have sent a follow-up email
  • Status – What stage of the process are you at, e.g. were you rejected or offered an interview?

Alternatively, you could use the job application tracker in Notion.

Notion

#2: Make a list of jobs to apply to

Many career searching sites offer the ability to save jobs that you want to apply for later, and allow you to set job alerts. Use this to keep track of jobs you don’t want to miss out on. 

Make sure to note down the application due date so that you apply for it in time. If you are mainly a mobile user, Monster has an app that lets you save positions for later.

#3: Keep a list of applications you have not completed

It’s important to also keep track of job applications you haven’t completed yet. Be sure to note down all the necessary details such as the company, due date, and the sections of the application that you need to finish. 

If you do your work on multiple devices you can use a spreadsheet on the cloud, such as Google sheets, to have everything in one place.

You could also utilise Kanban software such as Trello or Monday.com

#4: Save the different CVs you send out

When applying for a role, you want to send out a CV that has been tailored and optimised to the role. You want to look out for the skills and experience they are looking for in the job specification and try to mention that in your CV and cover letter. 

When you’ve sent off CVs you want to keep track of which types you have sent off and to who. This will help you when you want to optimise a CV for a new job and want to review old CVs for ideas.

  • Create a ‘Master’ CV
  • Each time you apply for a job, make a copy of your Master CV
  • Rename that CV with your First name, Last name and the name of the company
  • Save the file in a folder on your computer

This helps you to track which CVs you have sent out and makes it easy to look back on CVs to see what can be improved based on your feedback.

Braven

#5: Record contact you’ve had with employers

After you’ve sent an application or just had an interview, it is a good idea to follow-up with your employer. You want to contact them to remind them that you are interested, but not too much to irritate them.

 For this reason, it is wise to make a note of all the communications you have had on a certain application. You can add this to the spreadsheet you have recording the roles you’ve applied for. Record who you have spoken to and when, so you know when it is appropriate to follow up again.  

You also might want to write notes about the details mentioned in conversations with employers. This will help you when you come to follow up, as you will have notes on what has already been discussed and what you want to mention. This will show that you have paid attention in past communications.

Track feedback from any unsuccessful applications. Whilst getting rejected, especially after interviews is not nice, it is a good idea to make a note of all feedback so that you can apply it. Remember, as one door closes, several other open – so do not be discouraged. Instead, use feedback to refine your skills.

#6: Set up job alerts

Most job search websites have tools that will give you a notification when there are relevant jobs openings for your skills. Make sure to regularly check your email, this will save you having to trawl through hundreds of roles on various sites

 If you are overwhelmed with too many roles, filter out the ones that most interest you and record them in a spreadsheet so you can apply for them later.

Monster Jobs

#7: Use a specialist website

If you are wondering how to track job applications with help, there are many websites that offer job search management tools for free or for a small subscription fee.

One popular tool, JibberJobber, which is a good idea if you need help keeping on top of your applications.

Another option is Huntr, which helps you track all the relevant details related to your job search such as opportunities, tasks, notes, and contacts. It also offers a chrome extension which allows you to save jobs from any website in one click so you can find them later.

#8: Use an app

If you use your phone or tablet more than a computer to search for jobs, you should try getting an app to keep track of your applications.

There are many apps such as the Indeed mobile app. This will allow you to upload your CV and apply for roles easily. You can also try out the Glassdoor app. This will allow you to apply for jobs and also read reviews of companies and their interview process from current and former employees.

#9: Make a schedule

Job searching can be an arduous process and it is easy to get out of the habit after some weeks without success. Try to set aside some time every day to send off and track applications. How long you spend on this depends on your current situation. 

If you are already employed then maybe commit to just a couple of hours a week. If however, you are unemployed, try to keep a strict plan of applying for jobs and tracking them every day. Essentially, make it your job to apply for jobs. Remember to take regular breaks during the day, to keep your job search motivation high.

#10: Create a list of companies you want to work for

It is worth creating a list of companies you want to work for. It is worth keeping track of them for when they have a role available for your skillset. When applying for these companies, make sure to take extra care when tracking their applications.

When you have a list of the companies you want to especially want to work for, research them thoroughly so that you can tailor your CV and cover letter adequately. You can also prepare STAR interview responses for competency-based questions.

Summary: How to track job applications

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to track job applications. The best way to keep on top of your applications is to use a spreadsheet. You can also check out online tools if you would prefer. Tracking applications is key in the job search process and will help you retain a clear head.

Try to focus on the quality of your applications rather than sending out hundreds of rushed ones. Make sure you are qualified and try to tailor each CV and personalise each cover letter. With an organised system for tracking job applications, you will find yourself working more efficiently and not losing track of your progress.

Featured image credit: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

How we helped a History graduate to land a job in Shipbroking

Are you hoping to secure a place on a shipbroking graduate scheme?

If so, keep reading. We will share an inspiring story of how we helped a graduate to successfully land a graduate position within the shipbroking industry.

What is shipbroking?

Shipbroking is a financial service that is part of the global shipping industry.

Shipbrokers are specialist negotiators between shipowners and the charterers who use ships to transport cargo, or between the buyers and sellers of vessels.

Becoming a shipbroker

Shipbroking is a complex profession. There are no formal qualifications required for entry-level positions however, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have several skills and attributes. You will also be expected to possess a solid understanding of the shipbroking industry.

Being a business-minded individual with an entrepreneurial flair will be looked upon favourably in a shipbroking role. This is because you will need to work directly with clients and have a strong work ethic.

Skills and attributes required

When applying for a role in shipbroking, you should demonstrate these skills throughout the entire application process:

  • Negotiation and influencing skill
  • Teamwork skills
  • Lateral thinking skills
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of shipbroking and the industry
  • Commercial awareness

“You will need to demonstrate that you have what it takes to become a successful broker, which will start with the first impression you make with your application. Our interviewing panel is keenly aware of the particular “it” factor they seek during the selection process.”

Bob Knight, COO, Clarksons

How we helped a graduate to get a job in shipbroking

Here at Graduate Coach, we help students, graduates and career changers to secure good graduate jobs.

We do this by offering a range of products and services that are designed to give individuals everything they need to know to get the jobs they really want.

Here’s an account from a History graduate that we helped to get a job in shipbroking.


“I had a focus on what I wanted to do, but knew that I would need to be upskilled on the technical and digital aspect of things for when I delved back into the job market.

I discovered Chris during some research and although unsure of what to think he very kindly invited me to an introductory meeting to discuss what I wanted to do, where I thought I could use improvement and to hear how he saw the graduate job market and how best I could approach it.

I came away feeling encouraged because naturally Chris genuinely wants you to succeed and will help however he can.

We agreed, particularly when the coronavirus caused a lockdown that the already competitive job market would become even more so, that it was a good time to learn what Graduate Coach could teach me.

First things first, he helped me improve my social media presence in the form of a good LinkedIn account, which I never gave much credence towards but paid dividends as future employers will certainly use it to look at you, so I had a presentable and ambitious image straight away.

Next Chris’ team began a several week process which taught me essentials in digital marketing (which really you can take anywhere as I did), essentially the use of Google Docs and Excel, analytics, SEO courses and
even client/partner introductions to give you a taste of business through GC’s network.

All in all, I learnt a lot, it kept me motivated and ultimately I was rewarded with my job during the lockdown in which I am learning every day. I owe a lot to Chris and his team!


Are you hoping to get a place on a shipbroking graduate scheme?

If you are hoping to get a shipbroking graduate scheme, we can help you!

We offer career coaching, to help you to produce an achievement-based CV, cover letters, interview training and much more.

Which companies offer shipbroking jobs?

Here are some examples that offer trainee shipbroker opportunities.

1. Clarksons

Clarksons provide trainee brokers with the opportunity to be trained by leading experts in the field and to gain hands-on experience, whilst developing core skills to excel in the field.

Find out more about the trainee broker programme

2. Maersk broker

The trainee shipbroker programme at Maersk consists of on the job training, as well as e-learning and classroom training.

Applicants for the Maersk shipbroker traineeship must have:

  • Bachelors degree
  • A commercial mind set
  • A high proficiency of written and spoken English
  • A profound interest in the shipbroking industry

Find out more about the graduate shipbroking trainee ship at Maersk

3. Howe Robinson Partners

The trainee shipbroker programme and Howe Robinsons offers candidates a unique insight into the relationship between international commerce and the shipment of goods by the sea.

On this programme, candidates are funded to study for the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers qualifications.

4. Pacific Basin

Trainees at Pacific Basin commence with 3 months of training. During this time, experience life on board vessels and undertake voyages to observe the loading, lashing and unloading of cargoes.

You will also be supported to study for the Institute of chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) exams.

Find out more about the shipbroker graduate scheme at Pacific Basin.

What is a day in the life of a shipbroker like?

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