Back to Basics: Application forms

In this blog I am going to take you through some basic tips with using application forms to apply for jobs.  Here are some basic instructions to help:

  1. Read the instructions

This sounds so simple, but I have been supporting people with writing applications for nearly 20 years and you would be surprised at the amount of people who have not read the instructions.

If the recruiter has specifically asked to use their form and not a CV. Then do not attach your CV. Use their form. They have designed a recruitment process which uses the sections and assess the information in their form to create an interview shortlist. Including a CV does not support that process, so will not add any value in that process. It also suggests that you cannot follow instructions. I do not want people working for me who cannot follow instructions, do you?

2. Complete all the sections in the application form.

They are there for a purpose (explained above) so complete them. If you are struggling to understand a section or question, book in a career’s express appointment with one of our advisers and we will help. You can find the link to our booking system in My Career Centre:

Current students can use this link: https://mycareerscentre.page.link/StudentMCC

Use your My Hope login details to log in.

Alumni can use this one: https://mycareerscentre.page.link/eMCCAlumni

Use the details you entered to access the centre as an alumnus. If you did not complete that before you graduated, put your @hope.ac.uk email in the reset password section and a link will be sent to your university email account. Yes, it is still active.

3. If you are asked specific competency or behavioural questions in the form, answer them using the STAR framework. Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Using the STAR (situation, task, action and result) method to structure your answers is a useful way to communicate important points clearly and concisely. For every answer you give identify the:

Situation/task – describe the task that needed to be completed or the situation you were confronted with. For example, ‘I led a group of colleagues in a team presentation to potential clients’.

Action – Explain what you did and how and why you did it. For example, ‘We presented to around 20 big industry players in the hope of winning their business. I delegated sections of the presentation to each team member and we discussed our ideas in a series of meetings. After extensive research and practise sessions our group presentation went off without a hitch’.

Result – Describe the outcome of your actions. For example, ‘As a result of this hard work and team effort we won the business of 15 clients’.

Source: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/interview-tips/competency-based-interviews

5. If you are asked to write a personal statement – Use the Person Specification and Job Description as a guide for content.

People always come to me and say: “I don’t know how to sell myself; I am just not that type of person”. This is fine not many people are like this.

You do not need to show off about anything, I like to say be Messi more than Ronaldo. In football Ronaldo is brilliant, he knows he is brilliant and acts like he is brilliant on the pitch, he celebrates and loves it all. Messi is brilliant too, but Messi does not act it as much, he does his talking on the pitch. He just gets the ball on the halfway line glides past 5 players and scores a beautiful goal.

When writing your statement, you need to demonstrate that you have the skills, character and experiences which are required for the job. You do need to show off or use some brilliant sales pitch about yourself, you simply need to confidently show them that you have and if possible, exceed the requirements for that job.

My tip is to copy and paste all the criteria from the person specification into a word processing application, use each one as a subheading. Then write an example showing how you have used that skill to achieve an outcome or had that experience where you have achieved an outcome or used that behaviour / characteristic to achieve an outcome. For each one. Sometimes editing one example may cover more than one subheading, merging some subheadings together is fine. Then you decide to keep the subheadings in or to delete them and make the statement read good, with a start, middle and end.

If possible you could look at the criteria, let’s say it’s Communication Skills, then you could read through the job description and figure out what tasks you will be doing which require communication skills. You will then have a good understanding of the context in which you will need to use communication skills in that job. You will then be able to use an example which demonstrates communication skills in a similar context. E.g. You do not want to give an example of how well you write reports if you are applying for a job where you do not write any reports. If the job is face to face customer service, then give an example of that, If you can, if not then next best transferable example works.

Yes, I went from instruction 3 to instruction 5. I purposely missed out number 4. That’s to test you, if you noticed, Well done. If not, get better at reading instructions before applying for a job.

Also check out My Career Centre using the links in instruction 2. We have loads of resources about writing applications plus many more on there. You can also have a read this blog.

Chris Biggs

Senior Careers Adviser

The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Career as a Freelance Language Teacher

Whether the economy is rocking, or whether things are looking a little shaky, there’s one thing that you can guarantee. People will always be looking to learn languages! And this trend is going nowhere.

With that in mind, we thought we’d condense more than a decade’s worth of language teaching experience into this 10 step guide to help you get started in a career as a freelance language teacher.

Straight out of University. Implementing this 10 step process correctly could have you making money from day 1. So what are we waiting for? There are students that need teaching!

Ten Steps to Becoming a Freelance Language Teacher

1. Choose language(s) you’d like to teach

This might be obvious. You may only speak English so decide to teach English as a foreign language (EFL). Or you may speak another language and decide to dedicate yourself to teaching that. Perhaps you studied a language e.g. French at Uni and feel like you’d like to continue using it to help others achieve their goals.

If you speak more than 1 language, you may have to decide whether you want to specialise in teaching more than 1 language or stay focused and teach the language you’re best at. This is a personal choice. It’s up to you!

2. Start planning

There are so many different ways to teach languages. This guide is for those of you who would like to go the freelance route. Teaching either 1:1 or small groups off your own back and collecting your teaching fees directly from your students. Not usually connected to an institution or employer (though you can choose to work freelance and do this as well – see later).

All our network of language teachers are freelance teachers. They invoice us for their work just as they would do a private student.

To start, you will need to focus on how you want to deliver your lessons. Are you going to meet people for the lessons at their homes, offices, public places in your local area? Or are you going to teach purely online via platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype? Perhaps a mix of both would work for you. Or maybe you just don’t quite know yet. That’s ok, you can change things as you go.

The most important thing is to commit to taking action.

You will need to think about the types of students you would like to teach.

Do you love the energy and enthusiasm of young children?

Or do you prefer the (perhaps more) intelligent conversation that goes with teaching business executives or casual learner adults who are looking to learn in a more relaxed atmosphere?

Maybe helping teens and older children get through their school exams motivates you.

There is certainly no shortage of choice when it comes to planning who you are going to teach. Again, you can mix and match here. But we would highly recommend going for a niche group of students who you think you can help most and planning things around them. It will make you stand out as an expert. Rather than a Jack (or Jill) of all trades! It also cuts down time and expense buying textbooks and workbooks; as well as planning lessons and courses.

As the old saying goes: “If you appeal to everyone you appeal to no-one”

Now we’ve chosen which language(s) we’re going to teach and we’re crystal clear on who we want to be teaching, what now? Step 3, that’s what!

3. Start teaching for free / exchanging languages to gain valuable experience

This is not really for the reasons you would expect. Gaining experience is of course valuable to put on your CV for a potential employer. But as this is freelance teaching, your employer will be the (hopefully hundreds!) of satisfied students you teach (or their parents). They’re unlikely ever to ask for a CV.

This is more for you to get a final feel for teaching and a last chance to walk away and say “no this isn’t for me”. Better to decide this before you’ve invested your time and money in the next steps than decide once you’re up and running. You could have saved yourself months of work!

Ask around. Do you have friends/relatives who have always wanted to take up or improve the language you want to teach? At this point it doesn’t have to be the target group in your plan you made earlier, although if you can find some people in your target group to try out your teaching, even better.

If you’re still at Uni, is there any way you can help your fellow students with some free lessons? Make sure to ask them to write a review or testimonial of your teaching in exchange.

Bonus points for getting them to do a video review, you can use that in later steps for a massive impact.

Are you looking to learn another language? Pair up with somebody else at University and do a language exchange. You teach for an hour and then they teach you for an hour. Your University language centre should be able to help you with that. The key here is to ask around. And keep asking until you get the answers you need.

To continue reading Step 4 visit the UK Language Project here

Focus on: the Business School

Calling all Business School students, The Careers and Employability team have a plethora of resources to support you with your career development.

You can be exploring options through My Career Centre,  on the dashboard panels we have a ‘Careers in…’ panel where there are links to guides and profiles for a range of careers from working in finance to law and working in the charity sector.

We also have a volunteering panel where you can learn more about our volunteering opportunities, our Extracurricular Service and Leadership Award and Duke of Edinburgh Gold award.

You can visit our career pathways section where you can enter the career you are interested in and watch recordings from people talking about their journey and pathways they took into that career:

Gaining Experience is essential for all our Business School students. Either through part time work, summer internships or taking up a placement year.

It is very important to understand that all recruiters recruiting for a year in industry, a summer internship or a graduate job start recruitment early. For example summer internship programmes start recuitment in the autum through to spring for programmes starting in summer.

Same for placement years or year in industry recruitment, if you want to take up the option of a placement year at Hope you will have to start looking and applying in the September of your 2nd year right up to May of your second year to start in the summer.

It is exactly the same for Graduate Schemes in your final year, most applications windows start early in August/September with a view to you starting the following summer. There will be some recruitting throughout the year, but I would advise to get looking and applying early.

All these types of opportunities will be accessible through a number fo different ways, listed below:

Job search section in My Career Cente

Placements and internship programme page in My Career Centre.

Virtual placements – Through The Forge which are online and open all year.

Placement year information – Blog from Liverpool Hope Placements Officer

Find out more about placements here – Page with more information on My Career Cente

We have a range of online events from our team, local, national and international recruiters in our events calendar

I advise you check our events on a weekly basis.

Read our blogs:  

Job Searching: https://liverpoolhopecareers.com/2020/11/02/job-searching-back-to-basics/

Back to basics with CV writing: https://liverpoolhopecareers.com/2020/11/09/back-to-basics-cv-writing

We have much more resources to help you through the application process including interviews and assessment centres, you can also book an appointment to speak to one of our advisers on My Career Centre

What Accountancy Employers Are Looking For, That School Doesn’t Teach

You’ll learn a multitude of valuable skills while you’re studying at university. As you join the
world of work though, you’ll soon notice there are a few skills that school simply can’t teach
you.

Having a degree definitely gives you a distinct advantage, but applying for jobs is seriously
competitive – especially if you want to get those in-demand dream jobs!

Employers are increasingly looking for candidates who possess traits that will help them
thrive in the business. According to a recent study only 50% of employers believe degree
level applicants have all the skills required for the workforce.

Don’t be discouraged by these perceptions, your qualification is still a valuable addition to
your CV. We’re talking about what else is needed to go with your degree. The other skills
and qualities employers in the accounting field love to see in candidates.

A Willingness to Learn

We hear what you’re likely saying as you read this. You’ve just spent three years learning –
obviously you’re willing to learn! However, consider this.

We are living in one of the most dynamic times in history in terms of business technology
and innovation. New ideas can be shared with ease, and things change very quickly. And
let’s not forget, many businesses have had to shake-up recently due to various pandemic
restrictions.

It all adds up to a highly changeable work arena. Only those who are willing to listen and
learn new practices, technology and techniques, can help propel a business forward.

Show you’re practicing continuous professional development by reading industry
publications and websites. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate your knowledge of new or
suggested innovations in any interviews. You’ll be perceived as the true expert you really
are.

A Respect for Experience

We all know people can get stuck in their ways, and that fresh eyes tend to question things.
It’s never a bad thing to challenge the norm.

Remember, the people who interview you aren’t trying to hold you back. They’re more
likely to be looking for a protégé, or a future leader they can mentor.

But also remember that industry wisdom that comes with time. Prove you’re willing to listen
and learn from those ‘in the know’ by spending some time filling your CV with work
experience.

Even if you only spend a few days or volunteer, there will be experts you can meet and
network with, who will be more than willing to teach you the true value of experience.

Confidence and An Innovative Attitude

‘Intrapreneurialism’ is the practice of acting as an entrepreneur, but within an organisation.
Employers need a company culture of intrapreneurship in financial roles, as finance is often
the backbone of the whole organisation.

Show confidence in your ability to research and create new ideas. As long as you can back
up the reasoning behind them, be comfortable talking to your peers and higher-ups about Innovation


You don’t have to live and breathe finance to be a success in an accounting career path, but
an active interest will equip you with many of the skills employers want.

Challenge yourself to learn and develop outside of the academic environment, and we
guarantee your CV will be the one that your future boss can’t put down.

Article By – The Accountancy Partnership

My experience of studying Psychology at Hope

Article first featured on https://hopeuniblogs.com, posted on November 11, 2020

My name is Vaishali and I have recently graduated from Liverpool Hope University with a degree in BSc Psychology (honours).

One of the main reasons why I chose Psychology at Hope was because of how small the university and the department really was. Having a small department and cohort means that I really got to know the people on my course and my tutors. The academics really get to know you on a name basis and not just as a number on the course, they are really approachable and will always make the time help you with any problems that you have during your time at the university. Hope has such a sense of community within a large and busy city which put me at ease, especially as I moved to a new city for university.

Another reason why I loved Hope and Liverpool was the amount of opportunities across the university, while studying Psychology and in the city of Liverpool. During my time, and with the support of the careers hub, I worked as a Student Ambassador which really improved my university experience. I would get paid to support with Open Days, school visits, campus tours and representing the Psychology Department. This was great because I only worked when I wanted to, so I could focus on my studies if and when assignments were due. I also made so many friends from different courses and year groups – I had more familiar faces around the campuses which made me feel like I was really part of a community. I really enjoyed helping others and learned so much, which informed a lot of my course work.

The Psychology course at Liverpool Hope University provides a range of topics from religion to research methods. I got a better understanding of a large variety of topics throughout my degree and you have the option to choose specific modules that you want to learn. My favourite module was Clinical Psychology, which prepared me a lot for my dissertation during my final year. You have the opportunity to choose your own research project to conduct with the support of a supervisor. I was able to do my dissertation on investigating the genetic and environmental factors which influenced smoking behaviours and being able to quit smoking.

I loved my time at Liverpool Hope and I have learned so much about Psychology and myself.

Back to basics…CV Writing

What is a CV?

A tool to market yourself for jobs

How your content effectively matches the role’s requirements (i.e. Skills, Knowledge and Experience) of a vacancy. The better you can demonstrate this match, with relevant information, the better your chance of being short-listed.

A reflective tool

Drafting a CV is a great way to identify blind-spots or areas in your Skills, Knowledge and Experience or further enhance what you already. This can also be a great way to start a careers appointment.


The Basics…making it competitive

In most cases, a CV ready for submission should be no longer in length than two sides of A4.

The main body of text font size 11 or 12.

The font type needs to be sensible. We recommend Ariel or Calibri.

Do not include a portrait, age, marital status, criminal record, nationality or disabilities.

Keep contact details to address, contact number and any relevant online profiles (e.g. LinkedIn) or websites that you would like the employer to know about.


Pick’n’Mix Your Sections

Below are a list of ideas for sections to include in your CV. You can choose some or all of these sections. However, the most important thing to consider is: does this document create an effective match between myself and the role? – i.e. does it present me in the best possible light?

Personal Profile: this is a brief overview of your Skills, Knowledge and Experience that briefly highlights why you are a suitable candidate for the role

Skills and Attributes: a short-list of skills and attributes that you consider relevant to the role and add value to your application. This is an effective section for candidates who have lots of technical expertise and/or those who are lacking in relevant experience to the role.

Education: list from most recent/current to last. Title line for each stage of education should look include: date (e.g. mm/yyyyy-mm/yyyy) course (e.g. Degree or A-Level or GCSE, etc) and institution. Depending on the relevance of the role, the reader may be interested in reading more about the content of your degree studies.

Work Experience: this can include paid employment and unpaid work experience. As with Education, you should list these from current or most recent with a title line: date, role (e.g. Chimney Sweep) and organisation (e.g. Hope Sweep inc). Briefly describe the duties of each role.

Other Information: this should include anything that you consider valuable to the employer that you haven’t mentioned already. This could include: driving license, additional languages, professional training, company visits, project work, etc.

Achievements: if you have received any official awards, commendations or recommendations this is the place to include it.

Hobbies and Interests: firstly, avoid content like: go to the gym, socialise with friends and read books.

Either include interests that are relevant to the role or pick one interest and describe it in greater detail (i.e. what it is? what you get out of it? what you might do with it in the future?).


Judge it Yourself

  1. Is there a clear message in my CV?
  2. Have I created an effective match between the content and the requirements of the job?
  3. Is it easy for a reader to find all the content they are looking for quickly?
  4. Does it have a professional appearance?

Before submitting…

  1. Check for spelling and grammar corrections
  2. Get a second opinion
  3. Save as a PDF