October and November are our busiest periods here at Careers. We know it can be frustrating when our appointments get booked up and it is difficult to find a free slot. It’s worth remembering we have a whole host of resources that are available 24/7, which you can use in your own time without a booking.
If you’re applying to a big-name employer, there’s a good chance they’ll use applicant tracking systems, or ATS, to scan your CV or cover letter. They do this to look for key words to determine if you’re a good fit for shortlisting. To find out how an ATS might view your CV, you can use CV360 to receive automated feedback. It also gives you a score and shows you where you can improve. Go to our page about CV360 on MyFuture.
We recommend Prospects for many reasons. One is that they have several example CVs, ranging from chronological to skills-based CVs. Additionally, if you are tailoring your CV to the mechanical engineering sector, but you don’t have a job description to refer to, you can use Prospects’ job profiles to find out what skills and experiences will be expected of you. Find out more about Prospects on their website.
We are running regular webinars in semester one. These will focus on CVs, cover letters and application forms. But if you don’t fancy joining in real time, you can watch our recordings on MyFuture.
One of the most common mistakes we see in Application Advice Appointments is a lack of tailoring. If your CV or cover letter feels impersonal, it is far less likely to be shortlisted. Employers want to know why you are applying to their job at their company. It’s not enough to repeat what’s on their website – this is easy, surface-level information that they’d expect you to already know. Read our resource on how to provide the missing answer.
The CV rubric tool was informed by research at Keele University. You can use it not only to check your presentation, accuracy and content is on point, but also to consider the weighting and therefore importance of these. Go to CV Rubric Tool on MyFuture.
The ‘what’ model
Not sure what information to include in your CV bullet points? Start with what you did. Your next task is to justify what you’ve included. So what was the outcome, success or impact of your action? Finally, don’t forget your employable qualities. And what skill did you use or learn? This is the most frequent advice I give in my appointments, and our information page has examples of how to put it into practice. Go to ‘Creating effective bullet points – the ‘what’ model’ on MyFuture.
How do I display my grades?
If you’re not sure how to display your grades for any reason, our MyFuture resource may help. It explains how to display international grades so that UK employers understand what they equate to. It also explains what you can do if you are disappointed with your degree results, so you can present yourself in the best light. Many employers take on applicants with a 2:2, so don’t lose hope if you find yourself in this situation. No matter your grades, it’s important to write about skills, qualities and enthusiasm too. Go to ‘How do I display my grades?’ on MyFuture.
Applications, CV and cover letter guide
Finally, we’d recommend browsing this guide on MyFuture. At 98 pages, it may look daunting, but you can use the hyperlinks in the contents menu to navigate to whatever you feel is most relevant. It covers everything from layout to language. There are also example CVs, cover letters and personal statements with feedback from advisers. We’d recommend scoping this out even if you have booked an appointment. Find the Applications, CV and cover letter guide on MyFuture.
Other ways to get help
Ask a question or send us an email
We can’t give application feedback over email. But if you have a question about layout, formatting, or something similar, you are welcome to send us a quick query. We can be contacted by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can ask a question on MyFuture.
Come and see us in our new space!
The Careers team now works on campus, so why not pop in to Wessex House 2.24 to ask us a question? While we can’t whip up appointments on demand, we are more than happy to talk to you at our helpdesk.
Attend a drop-in
Drop-in sessions run frequently from Wessex House. They are first come, first serve – just speak to the Information Team at the helpdesk on the day of the drop-in, and we will let you know if there are spaces available, and how long you have to wait. Find out when we are offering drop-ins on campus.
This is just a handful of the application resources we have to offer. You can find all of these and more in our Get Started: Applications, CVs and cover letters guide.