If you're a Victory Housing tenant and you're looking to improve your skills and opportunities, the Community Skills team are here for you. Call, email or use the contact form below for a free, informal and confidential chat if you'd like to discuss any of these topics.
Writing your CV
There are many ways that a company can ask you to apply for a role - you could be asked to fill in an application form, take a test or submit your CV. It’s a good idea to have a professional looking CV that you keep up to date:
- To meet job centre requirements
- To send speculative enquiries to potential employers
- To register with an employment agency
- To refer to when filling in an application form
Four top tips for writing a great CV
Keep it concise
- Make sure it’s no longer than two pages long.
- Using bullet points instead of sentences can help save on space.
- Put your name at the top of the document and in the file name. This helps your CV stand out and makes it easier for recruiters to get in touch.
- You can have a few versions of your CV to send to employers in different sectors, emphasising different skills depending on the industry.
Keep it simple
- Use a clear, plain font such as Calibri, Verdana or Arial and use a straight-forward layout.
Looking for a job
You can register with as many employment agencies as you like – some of them have specialist areas, so take time to speak with the right ones. You can search for a job independently too, and some of our favourites are Indeed, Find A Job and Jobs24.
To really organise and maximise your job search, try making a list of the companies that you might really like to work with.
- Check out their ‘About Us’ or ‘Careers’ page to see if they have any vacancies.
- Sign up to newsletters or even read their blogs if they have them – it pays to keep up to date!.
- Follow them on social media and interact with their posts from time to time.
- Try sending a speculative letter – this means writing to a company to let them know you are interested in working for them.
If you or someone you know needs help to get a digital device or digital access you may be able to get help from the Norfolk Assistance Scheme. We can help you with your application.
Making contact with a recruiter
Following local companies or employment agencies on social media is a great way to stay up to date with the local jobs market. Smaller companies often share their vacancies on social media instead of using an agency because it can be more cost-effective for them. Who would you like to work for, and do they have a LinkedIn page you can follow?
When you’re ready to speak to a company or employment agency, make sure:
- Your CV shows skills appropriate for the job you are applying for.
- You’ve spellchecked your CV and updated it with your latest information.
- Always write a cover letter, email or message even if it’s short. This shows the company you are making an effort and are serious – it can help you stand out, too.
- If you are asked to write a formal personal statement in an application, make sure you address and provide evidence for all the points required. This is quite a skill that takes time to build.
- Build a job search routine – it establishes good habits and helps you be more organised
We can help you develop and establish all these skills, and more! Contact us here.
Well done! You made a great application and you have been offered an interview. So how do you get ready for an interview? Building good interview skills takes time and experience, but here are three things you can start thinking about right away.
The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel.
- Make sure you are clear on the interview date, time and whether it’s in person or digitally (like on Zoom or over the phone). You can always call them to double-check, they won’t mind!
- Plan how you’ll travel to the interview location. Or, if it’s a digital interview, make sure you’re set up in advance. Make sure you have their phone number in case of unexpected issues on the day.
- If you are asked to prepare a task or presentation, give yourself plenty of time in advance to plan and rehearse.
- Choose appropriate clothing - smart, clean and presentable. Of course, if you are applying for a job with livestock for instance, you may need waterproof boots or more practical outdoor clothing. As always, if you aren’t sure – ask!
- Do some research. Read up on the company, looking for latest news and any other information that interests you. If there are things you’d like to know more about, jot it down and ask them on the day. Most interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask questions at the end.
- Make some bullet point notes about the company. Interviewers like to ask questions such as ‘what do you know about our company?’ so make sure you have an answer.
Being able to communicate clearly can help you out of the most difficult situations.
- Listening skills. When you’re in the interview, listen carefully and answer the question that was asked. Make notes if it helps you, and if you need more information then feel free to ask them. Repeat important information back to ensure you have it right, even names! Use open-ended questions to buy yourself a bit of thinking time. Questions like ‘can you tell me what you mean by XYZ please?’ will get a longer, more involved answer than a yes/no question like ‘did you mean XYZ?’.
- Body language. Eye contact can be tricky to begin with, but it is important and shows you are engaged. Keeping your shoulders back and your head up will help you look confident, and slow, deep breaths will help you relax and improve your posture. And, of course, a smile goes a long way!
- Verbal communication. Don’t worry if you stumble, it’s OK to explain that you are nervous and would like to rephrase your answer. Try to keep your answer to a reasonable length – it’s so easy to keep talking when you aren’t certain you’ve given the right answer. If you aren’t sure if you’ve given enough detail, you can ask if they’d like you to keep going.
Set yourself up to succeed!
Sometimes, the key to success is not just knowing what you need to do but how you need to do it. Recognise what you’re good at and identify the areas you may need to work on. We can do anything, but we can’t do everything, so take the time to figure out your key strengths.
When thinking about an upcoming job interview consider the following:
- “I can do this job because…” Review your application against the job description. Identify all the areas where you match or have transferable skills. Remind yourself that you are a good candidate – they want to meet you, after all!
- “What three things about the interview do I feel most confident about?” Make a list and remind yourself of what you do well, and why this makes you a great fit for the role.
- “What three things about the interview could trip me up?” If you’re bad at timekeeping or prone to staying up late, think how this might affect you on the day of your interview.
Our Community Skills team can work with you to identify a full personal profile that will give you plenty of ideas for interviews as well as improve the content of your CV. We will explore the results with you in detail and help you develop real, working strategies that will help you continue to move forward.