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How to Improve Your Chances of Getting an Interview


What Next After Your GCSEs


15 Ways to Make Your CV Stand Out


Types of Interviews


Photo Of the Month


Puzzles & Brainteasers

20 22


EDITOR’S LETTER Hello everybody! It gives us great pleasure to welcome you to the October Issue of the Careers UK Magazine. Our goal is to be your go-to place for career-related advice. Our aim is to guide you through each step of your career development and jobhunting journey. We intend to be the best career information hub with a great job-hunting platform and a great easy-to-read magazine that is freely available to everyone. We’d love to hear from you on social media if you have any feedback or enquiries.

EDITORIAL POLICY: The views, comments, statements and opinions are not necessarily those of Careers UK. Careers UK will accept no responsibility for any loss incurred by any person or organisation as a result of using any material from this publication.

AVERAGE CIRCULATION: Print: 30,150 Digital/Online: 1.4 million Telephone: 0800 865 4770

EDITORIAL: Shareen Akhter




Sham Tizora & Aiden Brocklehurst

DESIGN: Joe Page


Sky Shazad & James Hall



HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING AN APPRENTICESHIP Take charge! Even before your heart is set on doing an apprenticeship, begin searching! Unfortunately, the ideal opportunity isn’t going to come and present itself to you unless you go out and look for it. Sit and think about what it is you would really like to do and then search for something suitable on recruitment and government sites. It can also be helpful to search social media and ask family and friends.

Some great websites to check

Tailor your CV When applying to apprenticeships, it’s a good idea to do some research into the company you’re applying for. Find out what the key responsibilities of your role as an apprentice will be and reference them in your application. Tailoring your application will help you stand out over other candidates who use the same CV for every role they apply for. The best thing about apprenticeships is that most of the time you don’t always need industry experience to land one, but it never hurts to do your research just in case the role has some prerequisites you’ll need to mention in your application.

What makes a great application • One or two A4 pages maximum • Neatly laid out paragraphs with clear subheadings


• No grammatical errors • Accompanying cover letter to optimise your chances of getting noticed

Show your interest in the industry Despite not needing to have any prior experience in your chosen industry, it will help your application if you can prove that you have an interest! By listing any events or additional courses you have attended, you may become more favourable to an employer. You could also try and tie in your interests and hobbies. If you don’t have anything to add to your CV, search for any events in your area that can help boost your desirability!

Social media Social media can be a blessing and a curse these days. When applying apprenticeships (or any job for that matter) ensure that your social media is presentable as it could deeply affect your chances of landing a role for a company you want to work for. If you’re the party type or enjoy the occasional inappropriate meme it’s probably best to keep your accounts on private, just in case. However, the right LinkedIn profile attached to your application can increase your chances of impressing any recruiters. Another great tip is to keep your eye out on company run social media profiles as it’s likely they will post any vacancies and apprenticeship schemes on there.



WHAT NEXT AFTER YOUR GCSES Year 11 will soon be over - happy days! Most people by now have an idea of what they want to do. If you don’t, keep reading. We happy put together a summary of the main options available out there. Around 80% of young people stay in education after completing their GCSE. The four main options to consider are: A LEVEL/ Scottish Higher/ Advanced Welsh Bacc: Generally, these typically major on a more academic study approach with a course structure focussing more on written work and exams. A Levels/ Scottish Higher/ Advanced Welsh Bacc are considered the main (but not the only) route into university/ higher education. Most people usually study three subjects over a 2-year period with main exams sat at the end of the course. Vocational Qualifications: these tend to have a more practical approach, equipping with both the hands-on skills and practical knowledge to undertake the job. They range from those with a ‘Tech’

orientation (generally common in fields such as engineering, IT and Science) to those with an ‘Applied’ orientation (generally common in broader fields such as business, social science or sport). The most popular further education progression option after GCSE is taking a Level 3 qualification. These include Level 3 NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) or SVQs (Scottish Vocational Qualifications) BTEC Nationals, Advanced and Progression Diplomas, BTEC, OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technicals, T Levels and CACHE Level 3 Diplomas. Completing this level will give you entry into University, Degree Apprenticeships, some Training Schemes and a range of technical or supervisory roles. Apprenticeships (and Traineeships): This option is for those who are fed up with fulltime classroom education but want to practically learn a new trade, profession or set of skills. An apprenticeship is typically a full-time paid job with integrated

on-the-job and college training built in. Apprenticeships ideal for school leavers tend to be Levels 1,2, and 3 and their duration usually range between one and three years. Traineeships tend to be unpaid training and work experience opportunities to help prepare you for an apprenticeship or work. They tend to be short - could be a few weeks or could last up to six months. They are popular for those who didn’t get a good grade in Maths and English as they often integrate Maths and English training to boost your chances of employability. Employment + Flexible learning (Part-time study / Distance Learning): There are a lot of employers who are willing to take someone straight after their GCSEs and are willing to sponsor them to do a further education qualification parttime or by distance-learning. These opportunities are plenty in almost every field and discipline. Discuss with your advisors on the options available in your field. ADVERTISEMENT


the chance to do myself proud. Inspire and encourage me, and help me shape a future to be proud of. Give me the University of Portsmouth. Visit us at an Open Day: Saturday 12 October 2019 Saturday 9 November 2019 Saturday 30 November 2019


Further Education/ Vocational Qualification

A LEVEL/ Scottish Higher/ Advanced Welsh Bacc

Apprentices hip (and Traineeship)


Employment + Part-time study / Distance Leaning

Tips for Choosing the Right A-Level or Vocational Subjects Choose subjects you are strong at. You are more likely to be motivated to study a subject that you have a natural ability for than one you are poor at. A good rule of thumb is to pick a subject you have sufficient ability to get at least a Grade 6 (B) in your GCSEs. Choosing subjects that you are predicted to get strong GCSE grades – increases your chances of great A Levels and better prospects and wider degree/employment options. Choose subjects you are familiar with and enjoy. Again, you will most probably be more motivated and engaged studying a subject you ‘to some extent’ enjoy. Take time to familiarise with the range of subjects available at A Level, including some that are new to you – you never know if it’s something that could excite you. It is a good idea to consider a subject you have a connection with: • •

Someone who loves researching, developing an argument, and logical presenting ideas should consider subjects like history, sociology or law Someone who loves the outdoors, nature and environment-related issues may consider subjects like Geography or Environmental Science.



Align the subjects to your career aspirations. Most universities and employers give you guidelines of what subjects are prerequisites for each degree or apprenticeship. For instance: • • • •

Pharmacy generally require chemistry, plus at least one from biology, maths and physics Medicine generally require chemistry, plus at least one from biology, y, maths and physics English generally require English literature and/or English Language Engineering generally require Maths and one related subject such as Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Science, Computing, Design

Should you take three or four subjects. Our recommendation is to concentrate on the minimum required 3 subjects as much as possible, unless you feel you really need a wider choice, want to impress in your Oxbridge application or are very convinced the increased workload is not going to be any issue to you. Research. Read the syllabuses and consult your teachers and Careers Advisor. Lastly decide whether you prefer FE College, Sixth Form College or Sixth Form. Sixth Forms tend to focus more on the academic subjects (A LEVEL/ Scottish Higher/ Advanced Welsh Bacc).

Avoid combining overlapping or ‘too similar’ subjects. Examples of combinations that could be classified as too similar, overlapping or too narrow and might give you issues:

Most colleges tend to provide a much wider range of courses at different levels including vocational qualifications and in most cases A LEVEL/ Scottish Higher/ Advanced Welsh Bacc as well.

• • • •

There are few contrasts between the two. The learning environment at college tend to be more relaxed, with a less congested timetable, a more casual dress code (freedom to wear what you want) and a more diverse age range.

Biology and Human Biology Business and Economics Business and Accounting Drama and Media Studies

Minimise ‘non-preferred’, new and non-traditional subjects. Try have a maximum of one of these less popular subjects. Examples of subjects that fall under this list include: • • • • • • • •

PE Music Media Studies Drama Textiles Dance Accounting Home Economics

Prioritise ‘facilitating’ subjects. Facilitating subjects are commonly preferred A-level subjects. If possible, include at least one or two of these in your combination. Examples of subjects that fall under this list include: • • • • • • • •

Mathematics English Geography Biology Chemistry Physics History Classical / Modern languages


Before making a choice Consult with consult your teachers and Careers Advisor and any parent/senior colleagues who have progressed to Sixth Form/Sixth Form College/FE College. Visit the different institution and have a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be at a Sixth Form/Sixth Form College/FE College. Consider your career aspirations and research where the majority of people in your preferred profession/trade have been to.



15 ways to make your cv

stand out

1. In recent years, employers have seen an increase in CV’s that include a picture of the candidate. Some have welcomed the trend as it makes your CV stand out. However other employers prefer to keep things traditional and would rather have a CV that focusses purely on the candidate’s skills and experience, not their looks. If you prefer to stay safe or you feel it’s not really necessary, avoid adding a photo to your CV, not only is it a grey area, but if an employer chooses not to hire you, it may be interpreted as or deemed as an act of discrimination. But if you feel it will help in your particular field, go for it – one thing for certain, it will make your CV stand out. 2. Add your professional title beneath your name can also be a good way of catching an employer’s eye. Sometimes something as simple as a couple of keywords can help your CV stand out. 3. Have a neat, professional but unique layout. Templates are a great way to get started. There are plenty of websites and free Microsoft Office ones available to download online. It’s even okay to use a friend’s or relatives CV as reference with their permission. Only use the layout though and avoid copying content. For creative roles, a more imaginative design may be necessary, as it may be a key part of the employer’s decisionmaking criteria. 4. Get someone to proofread it for you they may spot something in terms of layout, grammar and content that you may have missed including something as small as a spelling error. 5. If you’re applying for a role in the art industry or a more creative role, don’t be afraid to jazz up your CV. There are loads of great examples online but don’t go too overboard. Stick to one or two staple colours and still use easy to read fonts. Font size 11 is the most popular. Calibri, Arial, Cambria, Garamond and Gill Sans are some of the most popular font types. 6. Be truthful- It’s been said a thousand times but the more honest you are, the less likely you are to fumble in the interview.


7. It’s not uncommon for people to have two or more versions of their CV’s. This is a useful tactic for graduates who are looking to break into their desired career but need an alternative option in the meantime. Don’t overwhelm yourself but have at least two solid templates you can tailor to specific job roles! Before applying for any role, it’s always advisable to research more about the company and the role you’re applying for. This will help when putting your CV together, to align your career aspirations to their corporate goals and person specifications.


Personal Details

8. Don’t be afraid to seek advice- most universities, colleges and job centres have careers advisors that can assist you in creating your CV. If you’re struggling, pay them a visit.


Personal Profile and Summary Statement

A brief pitch of who you are, your USPs (unique selling points) / key skills, strengths and core competences/ experience; as well as your main career aim. ――

Career Summary and Relevant Experience


Education and Qualifications


Skills Summary


Interests and Hobbies



9. Stay away from generic buzzwords and dull, commonly used phrases such as ‘hard working’, ‘motivated’, punctual. Instead evidence your skills with examples from your career history. If possible, try mirroring or borrowing the language of the job description to help establish a natural connection with the employer. 10. Avoid negative and ambiguous words and phrases such as ‘I have basic knowledge in…’ or ‘ I was required to perform various tasks …’ Be more positive, specific, assertive and confident in your skills. 11. Don’t limit your experience to the paid jobs you have done but spice it up with any other activities you have done – charitable activities, volunteering, sporting activities, club and society memberships, travelling abroad, competitions and college/university projects. 12. Use relevant keywords to allow your CV found in searches on applicant tracking systems, job boards and social media profiles such as LinkedIn. Recruiters use these systems to filter out applications, and using keywords increase chances of your CV coming before a real human being. These could include professional or industry qualifications, systems used, technical processes or unique experience relevant to that profession. 13. Stick to a maximum of two pages. One page for entry level candidates or those who are very good at summarising their experiences. If going for the 2-page option, avoid leaving the second page halfempty. 14. Avoid using uncommon acronyms, unless if its something as obvious as GSCE. If it’s something not that obvious, write in bracket what it stands for. 15. Lastly, key sections to include on your CV. The order is not particularly important.

Name, address, phone/mobile number and email address. Adding your LinkedIn Profile URL or your website address is also a great idea. Avoid including your age, gender, nationality, marital status and date of birth. Also steer away from including details of your other social media accounts such Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I doubt if there are any relevant details worthwhile including! Avoid unprofessional email address such those including words like hot/sweet/juicy…. Just open another more professional one, please – it’s free, after all.

Whatever title you choose, make sure you include the roles you have had in the past. Its common to lay them out in chronological order, starting with your current/latest/ most recent role. Include your key achievements and skills acquired in each role. Most people tend to use bullet points to keep them short, snappy and easy to skim through. Include all the major qualifications you have attained including the dates you qualified. Again, it’s common to have them in chronological order. Avoid including short courses or listing every GCSE you have studied; unless that’s all you have. Include qualifications you are currently studying and a predicted grade and anticipated date of completion, if known. For degrees, if relevant, you may want to emphasise any key modules/dissertations/thesis/ projects. An optional section that can used to showcase your core skills. By breaking down your key skills into easy-to-read, well formatted points you make it easier for the employer to scan through your main abilities and strengths. Show your personality and social side by including key things that you do outside work. This could include volunteering, charity work, club/associations, travelling and sporting activities. Stay away from writing the full references. Just mentioning that ‘references available on request’ usually suffice. Some modern recruiters advocate for not including this section at all, it’s a waste of valuable space, whilst adding no value.

Popular CV Websites



TYPES OF INTERVIEWS Even though it is the most popular type, not every interview will be a face-to-face interview. In fact, there are several different types of interviews that employers can use within the recruitment process. Depending on the type of job and the employer, you could be asked to attend an interview that you have never done before. So, here is a list of different types of interviews and the key tips for how to prepare for them effectively.

TELEPHONE INTERVIEW You absolutely must shop around before choosing a bank account because every bank has different benefits, so you should know what they all have to offer. Assess how they’ll help you when you’re in sticky financial situations, but be cautious of high interest rates. A telephone interview will usually be a short 10-30 minutes (but sometimes longer) call that will consist of the employer getting to know you a little bit and asking you a few questions. It is also an opportunity to ask any initial questions about the role. A telephone interview is often the first time the employer makes contact with you and some employers use it as an initial screening strategy, without commitment more resources for a face-to-face interview. Most employers also tend to use the telephone interview as a fact-checking exercise, especially to verify any prerequisites for the role, to avoid wasting time with someone ineligible. In some cases it may be necessitated by geography – a recruiter may want to do a first interview for an employee hundreds of miles away, with the hope of a second face-to-face interview if the candidate is looking promising If the latter is the case, you will need to pick a time and date for which you know you will be able to talk on the phone.



Make sure you are in a place with good signal. If your location has signal issues, it might be best to use a home phone rather than a mobile phone as the signal will be better and you will have less chance of the call dropping. It is unprofessional to arrange a telephone interview and then have the call keep on abruptly dropping when in the middle of the interview.

Sometimes employers won’t arrange a telephone interview and will just call you without prior notice. If this happens, let them know whether it is okay for you to talk at that very moment. If you cannot talk, then politely let them know and arrange a time and date for when you can proceed with the interview. If you can talk, remain calm and try not to show that you are nervous as they will be able to hear it through your voice.

KEY TIP #2 Try and pick a time and day for which you know you will be able to conveniently talk on the phone.




Have your notes, CV, Job description/ specification in front of you either printed or on your computer/ tablet.

Speak clearly and confidently, not too slow, not too fast – and show your energy and enthusiasm in the way you talk. If you can’t hear due to bad signal, politely request them to repeat, putting a disclaimer that the line is not brilliant.

Don’t be tempted to multi-task or check your emails whilst on a telephone interview. Not only do distractions cause some background noise, you could lose focus and unconsciously sound disinterested. The interviewer can easily spot this, if they are experienced. Remain focused, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.


VIDEO CALL INTERVIEW Some employers like to interview over videocall so they can see you but without have to spend time and resources on interviewing you in person. This is usually done on Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Webex or Go-to-meeting. Like the telephone interview, you will have to arrange a time and a date for when is best for you. Make sure you have access to a quiet space, computer/tablet/phone and WI-FI.

KEY TIP #2 Avoid background distractions such as someone or a pet coming into the room. Put your phone on silent and ensure no pop ups or sounds come from your computer. Test your technology prior to the video interview, to make sure is has the capabilities to handle the video interview. A camera/webcam, microphone, the right software, and a stable highspeed broadband connection are the key ones. When installing the software, put a decent username – preferably your name spelt properly (say, Sam Edwards not the likes of magic_sammyboy99 or anything unprofessional)

KEY TIP #1 You should still dress smartly even if you are in your own home in front of the computer. Your top half of your body should be donned with smart clothing as that is the part of you they will see through the webcam. However, it might be a good idea to put on smart trousers or skirt in case you have to get up and move around. Make sure the background (and desk) is also tidy and looks nice and there is sufficient lighting.

KEY TIP #3 Make sure the room you are in when doing the videocall has good WI-FI as you don’t want the call to lag or drop. If you know your house doesn’t have good WI-FI, go to a friend’s house or take the router and place it near your computer. Ensure the room’s good acoustics – no echoes or noises from within or outside.



Again, avoid multitasking during the video interview; the interviewer can easily spot your movements and your eyes darting around or hear the keyboard or mouse noises. Also avoid reading from your notes. There is no hiding this time as you are live on screen! And remember, the employer is still expecting the same level of diligence and professionalism, as if it were a face-to-face interview.

Smile; and use your body language wisely – they can see all of your facial expressions, gestures and even your posture. The interviewer can spot the confidence and enthusiasm beaming through the screen. They can also spot the boredom, slouching, yawning and lack of energy. Aim to establish eye-contact as if it were a face-to-face interview.

FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEW This is, by far the most common interview and will consist of you having to visit the place of work and be interviewed by either a manager or a panel. They will ask you a series of questions that will determine whether they think you should be hired for the job. If there is a panel, you will have to answer questions from a series of senior employees within the company.



Research the company before the interview. Some employers like to ask what you know about the company and will judge you based on your knowledge of it. Showing you know what the company does, who it caters to and what services it provides shows that you have done your research and you are eager to join.

Research different interview questions and practice your answers with a friend or family member. You don’t know what it is they are going to ask you so you need to be thorough when researching. Come up with answers for the most popular questions so that if you do get asked, you will know what to say.

KEY TIP #3 Arrive on time.

KEY TIP #4 Don’t forget your firm hand-shake, eye-contact and gestures.

KEY TIP #5 Remember the STAR interview technique when answering competency-based questions. OCTOBER | SCHOOL EDITION 13


GROUP INTERVIEWS A group interview is when an employer invites you and other candidates to one interview and assesses you all at once. Usually, group interviews will take place before the one-to-one interview so you will have to try your absolute best to

KEY TIP #1 Some group interviews will have team building exercises involved. These could be doing things such as building a tower out of straws and marshmallows or solving puzzles. Either way, you will be doing it as a team so make sure you show the employer that you work well in a team. Listen to the group but also give your opinion on how to do the exercise as well. Don’t take over and try to do it all by yourself as that won’t look good. You have to work as a team.


KEY TIP #2 Avoid speaking over people when they are trying to speak. It may not give the best impression and it is very insensitive. Although you are trying to stand out from the rest of the group, you don’t want to come across as someone that is not a good team player. Give others a chance to speak and when they have finished, you can include your opinion as well.



Avoid getting lost in the group, especially if one participant is trying to dominant. Be confident and assertive in articulating your views but without creating tension.

Be inclusive, to showcase your true leadership skills. Support the quiet and introverts and encourage them to contribute.

KEY TIP #3 Clearly show that you can manage with stress, team challenges, criticism and a highly competitive environment.







PHOTO OF THE MONTH JESS GRIFFITHS Bradford Photo taken at the Peak District National Park @grifficdesigns



PUZZLES & BRAINTEASERS RIDDLES 1. What do you call a skeleton that makes you laugh? 2. What did the ghost teacher say to her class? 3. What room do ghosts avoid? 4. Why did the witch refuse to wear a flat hat? 5. What happens when a ghost gets lost in the fog? 6. Why are graveyards noisy? 7. What is a mummy’s favourite type of music? 8. Why didn’t Dracula have any friends? 9. What does a ghost panda like to eat? 10. Why didn’t the zombie go trick or treating?


Letter Scramble:

1. A funny bone

6. Because of all the coffin

11. Spooky

15. Treat

2. “Watch the board and I’ll go through it again”

7. Rap music

12. Ghost

16. Undead

8. Because he was a pain in the neck

13. Scary

17. Mummy

14. Scream

18. Coffin

3. The living room 4. Because there wasn’t any point to it 5. He is mist


9. Bam-boo 10. Because he felt rotten


15. A R T T E

12. T H S O G

16. N U D E A D

13. S C Y R A

17. M M M Y U

14. R M A E S C

18. O F F I N C





Profile for Careers UK

Careers UK | October – School Edition  

Careers UK | October – School Edition  

Profile for careersuk