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Educational IT Jobs Thread, General Advice for Job Applicants in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; As we go through the applications for the job at my school (closes on Friday), I'd like to offer some ...
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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    General Advice for Job Applicants

    As we go through the applications for the job at my school (closes on Friday), I'd like to offer some advice to applicants for any job.

    It doesn't matter what job you are applying for, you are trying to make sure that your application stands out from the crowd, so that you get selected for interview. It is unlikely that there will only be 2 or 3 applicants for any job, so:

    1. READ the application details thoroughly. If it says to use an application form, don't send your cv instead.
    Our secretary has been very patient responding to people asking them to fill in form a so that their application can be considered. Many companies will not be as patient and your application will be disregarded.

    2. Questions on application forms are not optional.
    Don't just fill in the bits that suit you. If the form is incomplete, it will be disregarded.

    3. READ the job specification.
    Minimum two years relevant experience means don't apply if you're fresh out of college, or still in college with 3 years experience of catering.

    4. Use keywords from the job specification in your application
    If certain software or hardware experience is a requirement, make sure the employer can see that you have it. If an employer can't easily see that you have any of the experience they are asking for, you will not be selected for interview. Fitting in with "the school's family ethos" is important, but not as important as mastery of GPO and AD

    5. Use a spell checker.
    Our application form is in Word, there's no excuse. There's no excuse not to type up your answers in Word to spell check them, even if you're filling out a form by hand
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 4th October 2011 at 10:51 AM.

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    Abaddon's Avatar
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    If people would actually follow these simple guidelines, I'm quite sure they would have better results. The amount of dross I get from job adverts is unbelieveable - I'm quite sure some of them have no real interest in the job itself though, and are probably just to pacify some jobseeker requirement.

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    mortstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    ...
    3. READ the job specification.
    Minimum two years relevant experience means don't apply if you're fresh out of college, or still in college with 3 years experience of catering.
    ...
    All of this is very sage advice, though I sort-of disagree with number 3. I understand the point you are making, but that needs to be tempered with 'Don't take the Jod Description/Person Specification as gospel'. A lot of times you see requests for very specific technologies/software which in your previous employment you haven't encountered. Here you need to show transferable knowledge (some similar technology/software you have experience of) or, if you have never encountered that technology/software before, demonstrate that you are willing to learn and to do so quickly.

    In regards to experience; if you're asked for minimum x years relevant experience and you have less then that, show that through your outside interests or specific courses during education you feel that you make up that 'missing' experience. It doesn't hurt to 'throw' an application in this situation if you feel you are a strong candidate in other areas.

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    And dont complete the form with a Blue colouring pen

    Edit - was someone applying for my old job. That made me feel very special

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    I dont agree with application forms when all they do is repeat your CV always have a rubbish layouts and never enough room for everything.

    But having just looked at your form at least it works and doesnt move everything around when you fill it in
    Last edited by markcuk; 4th October 2011 at 03:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markcuk View Post
    I dont agree with application forms when all they do is repeat your CV always have a rubbish layouts and never enough room for everything.

    But having just looked at your form at least it works and doesnt move everything around when you fill it in
    This +1

    I think they are designed for lazy recruiters who can't be bothered to read a CV. I won't even apply for a job with an application form these days, even the ones that contact me asking me to apply. They are awful. I put a lot of time and care into my CV and then I'm demanded to snippit it out into an application form that misses half the critical things from my CV because there isn't a place on the form, and then they ask me to essentially do the interview for them with "Why are you right for this position?" where I have to regurgitate a load of crap into 4 paragraphs rather than the recruiter taking the time to interview the best on paper and see if their personalities match.

  7. Thanks to deceptivex from:

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    I too hate poorly designed application forms. If you want me to list my experience, give me some room to do so. Don't use a form that appears to be aimed at people who'd scratch their crotch and write down "Today, I managed not to bite anyone" as an accomplishment.

    elsiegee40 's isn't bad, but the "Your full employment history" is surprising, as is having technical hardware skills and wireless networking only as "desirable".

    I tend to send a link to the CV / pdf copy along with the application form with a "if you'd like more in-depth info on skills/roles, they're available here:" that way I cover all bases and for the technical person doing the vetting (as opposed to the HR people) it's often useful*.


    *or rather, if I'm picking through candidates, being able to have a look at a decent CV is useful for me. Of course, if it looks like My First CV, it can lose you points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deceptivex View Post
    This +1

    I think they are designed for lazy recruiters who can't be bothered to read a CV. I won't even apply for a job with an application form these days, even the ones that contact me asking me to apply. They are awful. I put a lot of time and care into my CV and then I'm demanded to snippit it out into an application form that misses half the critical things from my CV because there isn't a place on the form, and then they ask me to essentially do the interview for them with "Why are you right for this position?" where I have to regurgitate a load of crap into 4 paragraphs rather than the recruiter taking the time to interview the best on paper and see if their personalities match.
    You won't get a job in education then as safeguarding rules require that ALL candidates fill in an application form. As for whether there is space on the form for what you want to put, all the forms I see have at least half a page where you can write what you like and they invite you to continue on another page if you need to. So how is that not enough space for you to put down these 'critcal things'?
    And lazy recruiters not bothering to read a CV - excuse me, but they are the ones with the job, not you, so taking that high and mighty line isnt going to get you anywhere. YOUR CV may be a thing of beauty and a joy forever but many arent and it is easy for a recruiter to miss a vital bit of information due to the CV being written in a different order. 'Lazy' doesnt come into it when you have 45 CVs to read and they are all laid out differently and the relevant information (usually skills and current job) are not easily seen.
    "Why are you right for the position" is there to see how YOU feel that you match the job - it is interesting to see what people say - by the tone of your post you would say something like "because I am the best and you just KNOW it" which might give the recruiter an insight into your mindset
    It also gives people whose CV might not 'quite' match the job a chance to explain how their expertise and experience DOES allow them to believe that they can do the job.
    Dismissing application forms out of hand will not get you very far, my friend

  10. 3 Thanks to witch:

    elsiegee40 (4th October 2011), GrumbleDook (4th October 2011), somabc (26th October 2011)

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    rad
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    Question

    If the Person Spec requires you to have a degree (or degree prefered) but if you don't have one but have 10 years of ICT experience, could you still apply and prove yourself with the experience you have?

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    What I've been trying to say is that candidates must read the job details carefully and taylor their response within the required reply medium

    @witch is correct and under Safeguarding regulations, cvs are not admissable for job applications to schools.

    @markcuk is correct in that our form doesn't junp around.. I made darn sure it didn't when it was orignally set up. But it's no excuse if it does. Show you're a technical wizard and sort it out! Our application form is standard for non teaching posts. We're not going to taylor it for every variant of support staff role in the school.

    My general point from starting this thread is that too many applicants are doing themselves a disservice. They may be perfectly suited to the job, but if they don't present the information in the required manner, or fail to present the information at all, then they will not get called for interview.

    The job spec mentions AD & GPO... show you know what they are!

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    With respect to the requirement for degrees ... I can understand why some people will find it extremely frustrating when that criteria is put in, but a good company will add something in like "Or equivalent experience and professional qualifications" ... and this means that you *must* have equivalent experience and qualifications. We can argue about whether a degree is good or not, but should someone say they require it them that is their choice ... it is pretty ugh an employers market right now so they can dictate what they want to trim down the applications.

    I have had my CV dropped a few times now because of the lack of degree, not so much because they want someone with a CS degree, but the schools / colleges I applied to had an ethos that all who work their in skilled, professional and managerial positions should have degrees (managers had to have at least Masters) as it showed the commitment they wanted their students to have. Fair enough ... their choice.

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    I am the only person (excluding cleaners/catering staff) in my place without a degree...so far I am in based on equivalent experience.

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    With regard to meeting the job specification, I disagree quite strongly that you need to match it fully. I’ve seen a lot of adverts that have specified everything but the metaphorical kitchen sink, and it is obvious that whoever wrote it did not understand IT or the role and are simply ‘fishing’ for a high quality applicants. The advice I was given was that if you can match 80% or more it is worth applying. I did not fully meet the specification for my current job!

    The way the majority of applications will be processed is that a table is drawn up with the relevant criteria, each applicant is given a score against each of the criteria, and the people with the highest score get shortlisted. So if you’ve only got 2 years experience instead of 3, you might lose a point, however if you have worked in a school and have a wide range of skills, you may have an advantage over somebody who has been working in first and second line support for 5 years, but who has very limited knowledge of networking, virtualisation and SANs.

    With regard to CV’s, you can easily cut and paste the majority of it into your application. There is no harm in including it with your application, however it is not an excuse for being lazy, still fill in the application form as fully as possible.

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    Thanks for this stuff i like your post it is so nice and helpful i want to prefer this one it is nice thinking about jobs applicant
    so keep it up

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    Quote Originally Posted by rad View Post
    Question

    If the Person Spec requires you to have a degree (or degree prefered) but if you don't have one but have 10 years of ICT experience, could you still apply and prove yourself with the experience you have?
    You can still apply but whether the application will be considered will depend. Some organisations might just bin it - they have stated a requirement and for them it is a box that MUST be ticked. Some organisations might normally do just that, but they have only had 3 applications and are feeling a bit more flexible. With "degree preferred", you should definitely apply with 10 years actual experience. How that experience will count against a degree is anyones guess. I'd personally rate even a few years good quality experience over a degree but if you are up against someone with 10 years experience AND a degree, then they will tick more boxes.

    In the end though, the application is just a means to an interview. You do need to tick the boxes I'll have on my list and those boxes will be either pretty explicit from the job description or fairly obvious (can spell, can communicate, has answered all the relevant questions). Once you are at interview, good experience is likely to count much much more than a degree simply because you will know how things work in the real world (as opposed to a graduate who might well need to learn that theory and practice are sometimes quite different beasts.

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