Here you will find useful information to help you get the career you want. Tools are included on this page including writing your CV, updating progress file and information on work experience for pupils, parents and employers.

  • Writing a CV

    Download our example CV here.

    What is a CV?

    A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a brief outline of your employment history, qualifications, interests and achievements. Your possible employer would see your CV as a review of you as a person. It’s like a film review. You want to go to the cinema but there are ten films on, so you read the film reviews to decide which one to see.

    An employer wants to interview five people for a job vacancy; CVs will be used to decide who to interview. It’s like a ‘person review’.

    Your CV should be

    Positive, Relevant and Accurate. You should only write down things you can talk about in an interview.

    What to include: Personal detail – This is where you write down your address, date of birth, postcode and telephone numbers.

    Personal Profile – A personal profile gives you the chance to sell yourself to an employer. It is one of the first things they will read on your CV so you need to make a positive first impression. You only have a limited amount of space so you should make the personal profile relevant to the job you are applying for. You should tell the employer, in a couple of lines, what your important skills and personal qualities are. Skills are things that you can do, for example:

    • I can use a word processor,
    • I can measure accurately,
    • Instead of using the phrase ‘I can’ all the time, you can use ‘I am able to …’. Personal qualities can be similar to skills but describe what you are like rather than what you can do, for example:
      1. I am reliable
      2. I am honest
      3. I am trustworthy
      4. I am a good listener

       

    • If you say that you are reliable, you must be able to demonstrate this, e.g. “I am reliable as I turn up to football / swimming practice every week.”

    References

    It is common to include details of two references on a CV. Referees are people who can write a reference for you. A company will normally ask for a reference before an interview. If they do, it means that you have made a good impression and they are considering you for the job / placement.

    Make sure that the people you have named as referees will give you a good reference. You don’t want a bad reference.

    Who can you ask to be a referee? Young people would normally have referees from School or college, work or training. You may also use other people who know you well enough to provide a good character reference. A referee should not be a member of your family. It is a good idea to have a referee from School and one from industry, e.g. work experience or a Saturday / part-time job.

    Make sure that your referees are happy to be named on your CV

    So, how do I go about writing a CV?

    A CV should include information on:

    • Personal details
    • Personal profile
    • Education
    • Work Experience
    • Training
    • Interests
    • Other Information
    • References
    • Qualifications

    It should be well presented:

    • Word processed
    • Accurate spelling and grammar
    • Two sides of A4 paper or less
    • Clear and easy to read

    You want to make a good impression, You want to be given an interview.

    Personal Profile

    Including a personal profile means you can alter your CV more quickly when you apply for a different job. The basic details of the CV can stay the same and you can just rewrite the personal profile with the new vacancy in mind. e.g. “I am a self motivated school leaver with good communication skills and an ability to use my initiative.”

    What is a CV?

    A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a brief outline of your employment history, qualifications, interests and achievements. Your possible employer would see your CV as a review of you as a person. It’s like a film review. You want to go to the cinema but there are ten films on, so you read the film reviews to decide which one to see.

    An employer wants to interview five people for a job vacancy; CVs will be used to decide who to interview. It’s like a ‘person review’.

    Your CV should be

    Positive, Relevant and Accurate. You should only write down things you can talk about in an interview.

    What to include: Personal detail – This is where you write down your address, date of birth, postcode and telephone numbers.

    Personal Profile – A personal profile gives you the chance to sell yourself to an employer. It is one of the first things they will read on your CV so you need to make a positive first impression. You only have a limited amount of space so you should make the personal profile relevant to the job you are applying for. You should tell the employer, in a couple of lines, what your important skills and personal qualities are. Skills are things that you can do, for example:

    • I can use a word processor,
    • I can measure accurately,
    • Instead of using the phrase ‘I can’ all the time, you can use ‘I am able to …’. Personal qualities can be similar to skills but describe what you are like rather than what you can do, for example:
      1. I am reliable
      2. I am honest
      3. I am trustworthy
      4. I am a good listener

       

    • If you say that you are reliable, you must be able to demonstrate this, e.g. “I am reliable as I turn up to football / swimming practice every week.”

    References

    It is common to include details of two references on a CV. Referees are people who can write a reference for you. A company will normally ask for a reference before an interview. If they do, it means that you have made a good impression and they are considering you for the job / placement.

    Make sure that the people you have named as referees will give you a good reference. You don’t want a bad reference.

    Who can you ask to be a referee? Young people would normally have referees from School or college, work or training. You may also use other people who know you well enough to provide a good character reference. A referee should not be a member of your family. It is a good idea to have a referee from School and one from industry, e.g. work experience or a Saturday / part-time job.

    Make sure that your referees are happy to be named on your CV

    So, how do I go about writing a CV?

    A CV should include information on:

    • Personal details
    • Personal profile
    • Education
    • Work Experience
    • Training
    • Interests
    • Other Information
    • References
    • Qualifications

    It should be well presented:

    • Word processed
    • Accurate spelling and grammar
    • Two sides of A4 paper or less
    • Clear and easy to read

    You want to make a good impression, You want to be given an interview.

    Personal Profile

    Including a personal profile means you can alter your CV more quickly when you apply for a different job. The basic details of the CV can stay the same and you can just rewrite the personal profile with the new vacancy in mind. e.g. “I am a self motivated school leaver with good communication skills and an ability to use my initiative.”

    Education
    You should include the name of any schools or colleges you have attended. You don’t need to write down the full address but the town or city. You should include the date you attended.

    Qualifications
    You should include all your qualifications and grades. You do not have to write down every time you took an exam – just include your final results e.g. if you took Maths GCSE three times and got grades E, D, C – only write it down once with the grade C as your result as this is your final qualification.

    Work Experience
    Include the names of the companies that you have worked for even if only on a part-time basis or through a work experience placement. Write down the dates you worked there and list your main duties.

    Training
    You need to include the names of training organisations you attended and courses or programmes you followed. Don’t forget to include dates.

    Interests
    You can include brief details about what you do in your free time. This section becomes more important if you have been out of education for a while and have little work experience to talk about. In this section, you can show how you have been filling your time.

    Other Information
    If you have anything else you wish to include in your CV you can add a section for other information to include things like:

    I have a full, clean driving licence.
    I can start working after …
    I am available for evening work.

    You should include the name of any schools or colleges you have attended. You don’t need to write down the full address but the town or city. You should include the date you attended.

    Qualifications
    You should include all your qualifications and grades. You do not have to write down every time you took an exam – just include your final results e.g. if you took Maths GCSE three times and got grades E, D, C – only write it down once with the grade C as your result as this is your final qualification.

    Work Experience
    Include the names of the companies that you have worked for even if only on a part-time basis or through a work experience placement. Write down the dates you worked there and list your main duties.

    Training
    You need to include the names of training organisations you attended and courses or programmes you followed. Don’t forget to include dates.

    Interests
    You can include brief details about what you do in your free time. This section becomes more important if you have been out of education for a while and have little work experience to talk about. In this section, you can show how you have been filling your time.

    Other Information
    If you have anything else you wish to include in your CV you can add a section for other information to include things like:

    I have a full, clean driving licence.
    I can start working after …
    I am available for evening work.

  • Letter of application

    Download example letter here.

    Letter of application

    When the employer receives a letter of application they must decide if they are to short list the applicant. You need to know how important this letter is. Will your letter give you a chance? Below is a list of things that should be included in a letter of application. This exercise will help you write a letter, remember it well, as you may have to write a number of such letters in the future!

    Your letter should include

    • Your address in full
    • Date
    • Name and address of the person/company you are writing to
    • Greeting (if you don’t know the person’s name use Dear Sir / Madam)
    • The work experience job applied for
    • Dates of the work experience
    • School attending
    • Subjects studying
    • Experience and interests
    • Personal qualities
    • Why should you be considered?
    • A formal closing, if Sir / Madam then close with “Yours faithfully”, if writing to a named person then it should be “Yours sincerely”
    • Your signature

    Points to consider

    • Your letter should be polite, clear and to the point
    • Use good quality paper and write in ink or type it
    • Your letter should be clean and neat
    • All words should be spelt correctly
    • Write out your letter in rough first
    • Keep a copy of the letter so that you can remember what you wrote
  • Ace that interview

    Ace that interview presentation here.

    Interviews

    To do well at the interview you will need to convince the interviewer you are either technically qualified to do the job or just the person they want in their college. You will also need to show that you are sufficiently motivated and keen enough to get the job done well, work hard on the course and that you will fit in with their organisational structure and the team in which you will work.

    Before your interview find out everything you can about the company or college (read their annual report or prospectus). Re-read your application and CV to make sure you remember what you wrote! Think through your own experiences to date and the questions they might ask you. You should try to anticipate the general questions which they will ask and also prepare some questions to ask them.

    Things to think about

    You should dress smartly for the interview and should leave home earlier than you need to on the day of the interview – you may be delayed by traffic or for other reasons. Be courteous to all employees of the company/college and anyone else you meet or are introduced to. At the interview itself you must be positive about yourself and your abilities – but do not waffle!!

    Your Progress File is a great way to remind yourself of some of the achievements you have had and can be a good lead in for conversation in the interview.

    Before attending an interview you should think about your responses to the following sorts of questions. Your answers may depend on the job or college course in question, so you should go through your responses before each interview.

    Before you go

    • Confirm that you will be there.
    • Sort out what you are going to wear well in advance.
    • Find out how to get there, give yourself plenty of time in case of unexpected holdups. Check out travel information on web page help!
    • Find out some information about the College or Company.
    • Think about some of the questions you might be asked and the possible answers.
    • Read through you application form and progress file.
    • Can someone help you with a practice interview
    • Do you need to take anything with you? Check the letter inviting you.
    • Prepare some questions that you might ask. Training opportunities, prospects for promotion, sporting activities, hours etc.
    • Have you any special needs that the college or employer needs to know about?

    At the Interview

    • People will start assessing you as soon as you arrive! Be there on time, maybe even a few minutes early.
    • Dress well, clean and smart, look as if you want to do well, the effort will be noticed and appreciated.
    • Be positive about yourself, believe in yourself!
    • If asked about something you don’t know, explain that you are unsure but will be willing to learn it.
    • If you don’t understand the question, say so and ask them to repeat it.
    • Smile and be friendly.
    • Answer questions as completely as possible without waffling!
    • Speak clearly, when nervous we tend to talk too quickly so take a breath, think about the answer and go slowly.
    • Show that you are interested in the job or course.
    • Look at the person who is asking you the question.
    • Don’t fidget
    • Turn off your mobile!
    • Don’t chew gum!
    • Give full answers, not just a “Yes” or “No”
  • Progress File

    Progress File is there to support you in education, training, work and leisure as you go through life. It is an effective way to show a college, university or future employer what you are about, your qualities, achievements and ambitions. It provides a talking point at an interview and a basis for your all-important CV.

    It’s a process people of all ages can use to make progress, and achieve more.

    It helps you to be more in control of your learning, your personal development and planning for the future.

    It is about making improvements and seizing opportunities, both personally and academically.

    It is your working file in which you keep evidence of your achievements.

    It will help you select, sort and present information to present to various people as you move through stages of your career. I will help you sell yourself at an interview!

    Apart from following the activities in the booklets there are a number of things you have to do. Remember this is your opportunity to sell yourself at an interview. We have a number of templates for you to download and use. These will need to be done in advance of your interview, you should have it all finished by Christmas!

    Personal details

    This section should include your personal details and how they can contact you. Just complete the information asked for in the spaces provided. This sheet is an administrative one.

    Your full Name

    Current Address, including postcode

    Telephone number (Include mobile)

    Email address

    Date of birth in full

    School Attended (Full contact details)

    Have a few copies in your file so that you can leave details if requested.

    Personal Statement

    This is possibly the most important section of your progress file.

    This is the opportunity for you to sell yourself.

    This section should highlight strengths, interests and what you think are your best qualities.

    This personal statement should be in two sections and fully reflect your personality. Make sure that all positive points are covered.

    In school:

    • Mention your best subjects and say why. What grades are you expecting to get.
    • How do you respond to schoolwork and homework?
    • Comment on level of effort in school.
    • Comment on attendance and punctuality.
    • School activities involved in.
    • Awards and achievements.
    • Positions of responsibility.
    • Educational visits and how they have helped benefit work. eg team building, confidence, key skills.

    Out of School:

    • List what interests you have outside of school.
    • Sports and/or activities you take part in?
    • Do you belong to any other organisations?
    • Do you play any musical instruments or have any musical interests?
    • Any other interests or qualities displayed outside of school?
    • Any awards or achievements gained outside of school?

    Give examples! On the template start typing and the grey box will expand as you go. You can then format the text.

    Core Skills Statement

    This statement is to show the reader how you have developed your core skills. There are twelve areas to comment on.

    • COMMUNICATION
    • NUMERACY
    • USE OF IT
    • TEAMWORK
    • PROBLEM SOLVING
    • INITIATIVE
    • TAKING RISKS
    • ENTHUSIASM
    • FLEXIBILITY
    • LEADERSHIP
    • LEARNING NEW THINGS
    • ORGANISATION

    You should make a comment on each, explaining how you have developed that particular skill with examples. Although you should be very positive you must also be truthful. Where you are lacking skills you should explain how you intend to improve.

    In each case specific examples of where you have used the various skills should be given. This can be in lessons, during activities in or out of school and of course Work Experience. The skills recording sheet will help you with examples and provide you with a certificate. Your CoPE award will also enable you to give evidence of your Skills level.

    Individual Action Plan

    In the next year:
    What do you want to achieve in the short term: the next year, taking you up to the end of school? Set out your plan, which will enable you to meet these targets?

    In the next 2 years:
    This will take you to the end of sixth form, college or an apprenticeship. Where would you like to be at this point.

    In the next 5 years:
    What is the medium-term plan, taking you to the end of university or even a couple of years into employment? Where will you be?

    My long term aim is:
    Eg. Eventually owning my own company, successful, the best that I can be. You need to put in more detail and information!

    Be positive, honest and realistic.

    Employment History

    In this section you need to talk about any previous experience of work that you have had.

    To show that you are trustworthy, responsible, able to work with others and able to work sensibly.

    If you have had more than one job talk about the last job first.

    Include the following:

    • Dates that you had the job
    • Name the employer and the address of the organisation. Include the telephone number and contact person.
    • Job title.
    • What did you do, were there any specific responsibilities?
    • Did you enjoy the work, try and say something positive.
    • How many hours a week and how did you fit this around school?

    Give specific examples to demonstrate the above. There are 3 boxes, if you need more insert rows or delete as necessary.

    Work Experience

    In this section you need to describe your Work Experience. You should include:

    • Where and when the placement was.
    • Give the address, phone number and contact name.
    • Describe the duties performed.
    • State skilled learned giving examples of where and how they were used.
    • Explain how you might have benefited from the experience.
    • Include useful and positive sections from the work experience booklet, especially the employer questionnaire from the back of the booklet.
    • If you can get a testimonial from the placement then make sure it is included.
    • Your work experience booklet is very important; it should have examples of where you have used skills in the work-based environment. Refer to it when giving examples.

    Educational Achievements

    There are 3 tables, the first is for exams already passed eg NCFE French or those who take English early, the second one is the main table, see below and the third is for other exams you might have taken like Dance, Music or First aid either in or out of school.

    Be careful how they are displayed, make sure that levels are included; examples are already inserted for you.

    Attendance and Punctuality:

      • This is one of the first things that a prospective employer or college will look at! Out of about 40,000 employers who were asked for the most important things they look for in an employee, this was the top!
      • It shows commitment, reliability and a willingness to work.
      • You should include the latest attendance record from the School. This can be printed from the attendance office.

    Evidence of Achievements

    In this section you should get together as much evidence as you can to back up what you have said in previous sections.

        • Certificates
        • Testimonials
        • Photos
        • Paper cuttings
        • Sports awards
        • Work you are proud of
        • Work Experience evidence

    Photos are a great way to break the ice and start a conversation at an interview, this is the section that can catch the eye and make you stand out from the rest!



Work experience



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