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the professional university

kindly sponsored by

INTRODUCTION The Careers Handbook introduces you to the services of the University’s Careers Centre, and directs you to the advice and support that the Careers Service can provide to you at any stage of your university career and beyond graduation. Do remember that planning your career should NOT be left to the last semester, in the last year. Start planning early in your degree course! There are lots of opportunities available both within and outwith the University such as volunteering, participating in clubs and societies and part time and vacation work all of which can enhance your employability. The Handbook has been split into three steps: STEP 1 Making your career choice Helping you to consider what options are open to you, what you want to do and how this matches your qualifications, experience, skills and interests. You should take steps to build up any skills or experience to enhance your employability towards your career ideas. STEP 2 Making your career happen Helping you to understand where you can find jobs and how to promote yourself effectively at the application and selection stages STEP 3 Resources The final section provides key resources to support you in achieving your ambitions. As well as these resources at the end of this handbook, each individual section contains a link to our website for further information and resources specific to that topic.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR – BP BP is pleased to sponsor this careers booklet which is packed full of great tips about how to identify the best career for you and how to develop the skills you will need to ensure that you are ‘work ready’ by the time you begin your search for a job towards the end of your time at University. As a major employer in the North East of Scotland, we know how competitive the job market can be and we have worked closely with the University Careers Centre to develop an understanding of what employers are looking for when recruiting graduates. We would strongly encourage you to make use of the Careers Centre from an early time at University – where guidance on progression through the course itself, transfers to great advice on how to produce CVs, your approach with interviews and assessment centres in whatever your chosen field may be. We hope that you find this booklet useful and wish you every success in your chosen career. Nancy McConville HR Director, BP North Sea

CONTENTS What do Robert Gordon University graduates do?


What can we do to help you?




Work experience: Vacation, Part Time, Internships and Voluntary


Changing your course


Postgraduate and Further study options


STEP 2 MAKING YOUR CAREER HAPPEN Where are the graduate jobs?


Covering Letters




Application forms




Assessment Centres


Timetable for Action‌ what you should be doing and when


STEP 3 RESOURCES Careers Centre Resources


Online Resources



LAUREN KERR BA(Hons) Corporate Communication, graduated 2009

Fundraising Manager with Macmillan Cancer Support “My job involves a bit of everything that I studied in my course. I spend a lot of time doing PR including press releases and photo calls. I also do a lot of event management as I have to organise lots of fundraising events. Do as much work experience as you can. Paid or unpaid it will get you much further than having none.”

g and interestin neer - BP very exciting a Drilling Engi is al er tic ne re gi eo apply th Drilling En opportunity to “Working as a ts. an en ne nm yo ro an vi s le give ions and en at tu si of e career. The ro ng ra hat I skills in a wide that this was w and practical y time at RGU m hen w h n ug io ro at th ic ilor my appl ta I knew early on to e could m ed w involved and . This allo what the role wanted to do od te to ra rs st de on m un I bs as sity to de applying for jo work / univer om fr of re es su nc t rie no pe u are thus use my ex that role. If yo ys successful in g to careers da be on ld al ou lf w I se ur hy yo w t ge es t lv ou arn ab c role invo best way to le what a specifi e tes. This is the ua er paths and th ad re gr ca , to es k m m ra og and spea pr te panies, gradua different com b involves.” of what the jo ls ta en am nd fu

Dietitian NHS Ayrshire and Arran “Make the most of any opportunities that are offered to participate in extra activities such as being a class rep. When it comes to getting a job, employers are looking for someone with that bit more that makes them different from the other candidates.” 2

Richard Gall BEng (Hons) Mechanical and Offshore Engineering graduated 2007

RUTH BARCLAY BSC(Hons) Nutrition & Dietetics, graduated 2008

WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP YOU? Making the Choice • Supporting you in exploring your options and ideas: Work, further study, gap year, etc • Helping you understand what makes you employable • Making you aware of what employers will expect of you • Providing opportunities to enhance your knowledge of the world of work and develop your skills and relevant experiences: • Part time work opportunities; volunteering and making the most of your Student Association (clubs, societies etc); work experience and internship opportunities Making it Happen • Connecting you with the graduate labour market: Information and Labour Market Intelligence, Employers on Campus Events, Careers Fairs • Identifying appropriate sources of opportunities: Including JOBSHOP, the Careers Centres own on line vacancies notice board and employer directory • Marketing yourself effectively through CVs and Application Forms • Preparing you for Interviews and Assessment Centres: Interviews - 1 to 1, telephone, panel, group, competency based, technical based, tips and techniques, mock sessions, DVD examples • Assessment Centre - group tasks, presentations, psychometric test, case studies, practical activities How? • Through our website and our Careers Link resource • Daily drop-in services and bookable appointments • Regular Essential Skills and Careers workshops on all career planning and job search topics • On course activity presentations and Workshops – ask us, your Course Leader or Class Rep about organising an input to your course. • Attending our programme of Careers Fairs and Employer On-Campus activities 3


MAKING your career CHOICE

“Brillian ts give gre taff who at supp ort and trustwo rth checkin y service in g applica important tio brillian ns. Reassurin t an g, advice. d competent Friendly faces.” 3rd y

ear Ph arma


CAREER PLANNING Not sure what to do when you leave University? Don’t worry! It is never too late to start planning your career, whether you are in your first year or last. Career planning is made up of four simple steps: 1.  Self Awareness: A key aspect of career planning is reviewing what you like and just as importantly, what do you not like. Consider the different activities you have been exposed to within education and employment. What are your interests and hobbies? Are there aspects of these that you would like to take forward into a career? You need to consider your motivation for doing the job, and how this links in with your values. We recommend that you speak to a Careers Consultant to get you started thinking critically about what you have to offer the world of work and what you want back from it. Online tools such as Prospects Planner or Windmills online careers coaching programme may also be useful start points, see the resources section for the URL links. 2.  Opportunities: Most people are only aware of the careers that they are exposed to. What else is there? By researching companies and jobs you may uncover a position that you may not have realised existed. Prospect Planner and other online career matching programmes will be able to suggest career ideas worthy of further research based on your responses to a variety of careers related questions. Please note that these tools are a starting point to generating ideas not an excuse to avoid having to escape further research. 3.  Decision Making: Once you know what you like and are interested in, it is important to compare this with what the career offers to allow you to make a well informed decision. You may also have to consider the industry or sector you want to go into, and consider the future prospects for positions within that area. The more you know about yourself the easier you will find it to identify possible career options. The more you know about what jobs and careers offer you the easier it will be to see where you and where your skills and interests fit in. 4.  Taking Action: Once you have made your decision, you need to develop your own action plan for taking the next steps towards achieving your career goals. l sentia nd Es e t t A • ion on entat s e r P Skills ning r Plan Caree py of up co k ic P n • ion pla t act s li a in f


Now that you have started the career planning journey, further sections within this Handbook will support you in making the choice and making it happen to ensure your future career success. Resources:


• Lo o time k out f o cam jobs fair r part p • Vi us in Se on si ptem port t part time ber al: w ww.r care jobs g e choi rs/makin ce g th e

Work experience is a valuable way of discovering more about employers and gaining an insight into what you like and don’t like in a working environment. Employers will ask you about your work experience, whether on the application form or in an interview. It is beneficial to have experiences you can draw upon. If it has some relevance to the organisation, so much the better, but don’t worry if you haven’t been able to obtain such work as all work experience is good experience. TYPES OF WORK EXPERIENCE Vacation Work Experience allows you to use your vacation time to gain temporary jobs for example in retail, catering or administration. It is an opportunity to develop your skills further whilst earning money. Part Time Work Experience is important as graduate employers are interested in the transferable skills that you can offer, and working part time allows you to develop and demonstrate these in graduate applications. Please ensure that you think carefully about how you will balance part-time work alongside your studies, particularly if you are in your final year or are a post graduate student. It is important to maintain a balance between work and study. We recommend that you don’t work more than 15 hours per week and this is supported by National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES). Internships are career related placements with graduate employers, designed to provide a taste of the organisation and to encourage students to apply to that employer in their final year. They are often restricted to the vacation before your final year and you will normally work alongside full time employees in their day-to-day work. Such a placement may give you an advantage over other students when applying for jobs. In general, these placements are well-paid, although you will usually need to arrange your own accommodation. Internships are extremely popular, and entry is competitive. However, if you are unsuccessful this should not put you off applying for a graduate opportunity with the same company as there are often more vacancies. Voluntary Work Experience is invaluable. Whilst you may not be able not to get work experience within larger organisations, there are smaller organisations within the voluntary sector who appreciate assistance with their marketing, public relations or finances. At University, you can volunteer through the Student Union and work towards your Millennium Volunteers Award. A National Insurance Number is required for working in the UK. If you do not have a national insurance number you will need to contact Jobcentre Plus on 0845 6000 643 to make an appointment for an “evidence of identity interview”. Please note national insurance numbers will only be issued if you can provide evidence of a confirmed offer of employment or that you are actively seeking employment. Resources:


CHANGING YOUR COURSE If you have decided that the course you are studying is not for you then you should take some time to consider your options and seek help and advice. Don’t ignore your feelings, it may just be that you don’t like your course as you are unsure what career path it opens up for you, and having a clearer direction will allow you to be more focused in your studies. Speak to your Course Leader or Tutor as soon as possible to see if any issues can be resolved. Try to identify what it is about the course that you do not like, perhaps a change of module or having some additional support will help? Discuss your future options with a Careers Consultant. We can support you with identifying your skills and considering how they match in with different careers. We will be able to work with you to develop a career action plan to move you and your ideas forward.

“Fantastic support available, all you need to do is ask, I will be using the service again, for definite.” 4th year Physiotherapy Consider the impact of leaving your course halfway through the year as each full year of study is accredited. Speak to your Course Leader about the qualification you may be eligible for if you successfully pass all your modules. Don’t rush from one course to another without thinking about what your decision process was for your original course, are you in danger of making the same mistake again? You may decide to change course, either within Robert Gordon University or by moving to another institution, take time out of education, or seek employment with training. Make sure that you research your ideas. Find out about jobs available in different industries and learn what options are open to you with your subject. Finally you should think about the funding implications if you leave your course now. Contact SAAS to find out how your decision might affect the funding you receive in the future.

Resources: 6

POSTGRADUATE AND FURTHER STUDY OPTIONS When you think about continuing your studies you need to carefully consider your motives:

• Is the course an essential entry requirement to the career area? A professional post graduate qualification is essential for some careers (e.g. Physiotherapy, Law and Teaching) and may be advantageous for others.

• Postponing having to make a career decision? Whilst you will have another year of studying, most applications need to be made at the start of the academic year so you still need to consider your options. Whilst the extra year can be an advantage, is it giving you time to improve your employability skills through various experience such as work experience and volunteering.

• Vis it www .prosp • Ma ects.a k appo e an intm ent discu to ss a ca options reers w cons ith ultan t

“I made an appointment to discuss my future and planning for summer work and full time employment. I think the Careers Centre is really helpful and worthwhile for all students to use.” 3rd yr Corporate Communication

POSTGRADUATE AND FURTHER STUDY OPTIONS TYPES OF POSTGRADUATE COURSES • Taught Programmes are a range of post graduate qualifications available at Certificate, Diploma and Masters level. Masters generally last one year and Diplomas 9 months. Entry requirements may be an ordinary or honours degrees. • Research Programmes are normally 3 years with the most well-known being the PhD which either follows a first degree or a Masters. There are also MRes and MPhil which typically last one or two years. Not all research programmes are taught in a university, some are industry based such as Knowledge Transfer Partnership. Consider the impact of your post graduate qualification. Whilst some employers may value the additional knowledge and skills others may have concerns about candidates with postgraduate qualifications who may have a specialisation and narrowness of interest, difficulties in integrating into a business environment, and unrealistic salary and career expectations. There are financial pressures of being a student. Course fees can be expensive. You will also need to factor in your living expenses and the costs involved in your study and any research. You may be eligible for support from the university you are going to study and from other resources, but financial help is limited. Funding arrangements for postgraduate study are quite different from those for undergraduate degrees. Which University? Once you have decided what you want to study, you need to think about institutions. You need to consider what you want to gain from your course, and what different universities offer. Is a work placement important? Are you eligible for a university scholarship? What areas do graduates from that course go onto work in? Look at university league tables such as The Times Good University Guide published yearly and attend course information days. Applying for a post graduate course. There is no limit to the number of the applications you can make, but don’t get carried away. We recommend submitting between 3 and 4 focused applications. You are typically allowed about one page to sell yourself (250-500 words). Points you should include are: urse/

co do the

want to do you • Why rch? resea is subject? ? u got to y th sity • Wh this univer kills have yo s y • Wh t academic er? a you off • Wh ? ls can il k s r le offe ferab ngths? egree e first d t trans • Wha t are your str nce of your a a v • Wh t is the rele s? • Wha study? er aim to this re your care a t a • Wh


You may wish to discuss your choices with a Careers Consultant, and understand further options which may be available to you.



MAKING YOUR CAREER HAPPEN WHERE ARE THE GRADUATE JOBS? Graduate Vacancies can be found in a wide variety of places. These include online sources, newspapers and journals, recruitment agencies or speculative approaches. The Careers Centre can help you identify the most appropriate sources of vacancies relevant to your ideas and help you develop an effective job search strategy. This strategy may include some of the following: SOURCES OF ADVERTISED VACANCIES JOBSHOP: The Careers Centre’s vacancy database allows you to search for all types of opportunities from employers specifically recruiting Robert Gordon University students. Our Employer Directory is a searchable resource which allow you to identify potential employers from our extensive list of employer partners. Employer Directories advertise graduate vacancies, are published annually and you will find copies of these in the Careers Centre. They are free to take away and most of them are also available online. As well as useful articles on industry information they highlight details of employers who recruit students for work placements/internships and graduate jobs. Key directories include TARGETjobs, Inside Careers, The Times Top 100 Employers, Milkround. com and the Prospects Directory. Newspapers, both local and national are a key source of graduate jobs as well as part time and non graduate roles. You will be able to view opportunities via their websites as well as in print. Our website provides links to the main UK news media publications and depository sites for UK and international newspapers. The Library holds an extensive range of professional journals relevant to the subject discipline areas of the University. Recruitment Agencies (office based and online agencies) aim is to match suitable applicants with companies that are actively recruiting to fill vacancies. There is no charge to the applicant only to employers.


MAKING YOUR CAREER HAPPEN They offer a wide range of full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary positions in a variety of fields. Vacancies can be for non-graduate positions as well as professional roles that require a degree. Certain agencies specialise in particular areas e.g. engineering, finance, IT, sales and marketing, etc. Remember that Recruitment Consultants are not Careers Advisers and, therefore, will not provide careers advice so you need to be clear about the skills, knowledge and experience you have to offer and the type of work you are looking for before you register with them. Job Search Websites and Jobs Search Aggregators: There are a multitude of online searchable vacancy websites (often linked to large scale recruitment agencies). Aggregator sites pull vacancies from a range of other job search websites into one online resource. It is often possible to set up structured feeds from these types of websites to your email account alerting you to new opportunities that match your registered interests. OTHER SOURCES OF VACANCIES The Hidden Job Market. It is commonly understood that a significant number of positions may never be formally advertised but filled by speculative applications, word of mouth, and networking. The benefits of tapping into the hidden job market cannot be underestimated by students and graduates when looking for employment. Speculative applications involves sending your CV and a good cover letter to an organisation that you are interested in working for. Remember to ensure your CV and letter are targeted to the organisation and position you are trying to attain. Networking is a critical job search skill. Talk to people, make direct contact with employers and tell everyone you know that you are looking for job opportunities. Attend professional events in your chosen job area if you can and also bear in mind asking academic staff for contacts. Networking is a way of building a list of suitable employers and contacts who may be able to help you with your job search. Voluntary work or work shadowing are beneficial if you lack experience in the area of work you are trying to get into. It allows you to build your knowledge and skills, enhances your CV and will help to convince an employer of your genuine interest in the job. Self-employment appeals to many students and graduates who are keen to establish their own business, to be their ‘own boss’, to work in the area of their choice and often to fulfil a lifelong ambition. Business Gateway and Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust offer support to develop business plans and source funding. Resources: 10


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COVERING LETTERS When applying for a position with a CV, it is essential to attach an accompanying cover letter, outlining the role you are applying for and why you feel you are suitable. Although less common, employers may also request a cover letter to accompany an application form. Don’t make an employer work to read your cover letter, keep it succinct and no more than one page of A4. The covering letter highlights to employers that you have the necessary skills and experience needed for the jobs you are applying for. It should give the personal touch that your CV may lack: Your Address Date Name Position Company Address Dear Title and Surname or Sir/Madam Introductory line stating purpose of letter Paragraph One: State why you are writing, e.g. for a vacancy that has been advertised or a speculative approach) and what you are currently doing (e.g. course and level of study and when you graduate(d)). Paragraph Two: Match your relevant skills and knowledge including any experience to the job. You may wish to refer to sections on your CV here, and draw attention to other parts of your CV that make you specially fitted and support your application. Paragraph Three: Explain why you are interested in that company in particular and what appeals to you about that vacancy. Demonstrate that you have researched the company and are aware of the services or products that they deliver and the market in which they operate. End your letter positively, detailing when you are available for an interview and, importantly any dates you are not. Yours sincerely (if you have addressed the letter to a named person) Yours faithfully (if letter is addressed Sir/Madam) Sign your name here Print Name



66 Herald Way Aberdeen AB10 7QE 1st September 2010 Miss Murdoch Human Resources Aberdeen Technologies Ltd Express Road Aberdeen AB10 1AB Dear Miss Murdoch Re: Communications Graduate I am interested in applying for the position of Communications Graduate with Aberdeen Technologies Ltd as advertised by Robert Gordon University Careers Centre. I recently graduated with a 1st class BA(Hons) Communication with PR, which is accredited by the CIPR. I have an understanding of the communications industry, both from a voluntary and paid perspective. Working for 4 months within a busy communications department allowed me to understand the different roles and areas that the team worked in whilst also gaining experience in researching, writing and editing articles. As a Girl Guide, I also volunteered with our County PR Team, helping promote activities that the girls are involved in, raising awareness of the organisation and was instrumental in establishing ‘The Rocket’, a monthly on-line magazine for the Guides in the County which was commended by the National Association, and adopted by other Counties. From researching your website, I understand that Aberdeen Technologies is a fast developing company. I am confident that I can make a valuable contribution to your success by combining my work experience and my excellent interpersonal and communication skills to the benefit of the project you are currently working on. I have enclosed a copy of my CV, and I look forward to the opportunity of discussing my application with you in greater detail. I am on holiday 8th to 15th September but available thereafter at any time for interview. Yours sincerely

Donna Thomson Donna Thomson


COVERING LETTERS ter ver let and co V C d y e "I got m s I have start da e jobs. k e c t e a h u c or grad akes me f g in apply and m I able if service Good is avail lp e h t tha aware ." it g d e ne urveyin ear S y h t 4

Not all vacancies are advertised and so sometimes it is worthwhile submitting a speculative application. In this instance, the content and quality of the covering letter is key as it is the first impression you make with an employer. Consider what your unique selling points are in relation to the company and what roles you can undertake for them and highlight this within the letter. Ensure that your CV and covering letter are in the same format, and printed on the same paper. If you are emailing your application, ensure that you put your covering letter in the body of the email. If you attached your CV with nothing in the email body it may be misidentified as spam. Resources:


CVs TOP TIPS • A potential employer may take just 20 seconds to make a judgement on your CV. • Make a positive and lasting first impression. Ensure that you match your key skills, achievements and experience to each position and company you apply to. Think about your USPs (Unique Selling Points), what will make you stand out? • Do not write ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top, nor include personal details such as date of birth, nationality or gender, just contact details are sufficient (include a professional e-mail address, e.g. not: or A photograph is not required. • A ‘Career Objective’ or ‘Personal Profile’ sets the scene, and outlines briefly what you have to offer, but is optional depending on space and preference, and can equally be detailed in the cover letter. e entr rs C hey e e r Ca ! T • Make the most of what you’ve learned at "The antastic e to f m i s university, not just module titles but emphasise project/ wa ated t e d m c dissertation work, practical experience and both the dedi nd helpe perb u a specific and transferable skills developed on your course. me ruct a s t s " n co ks! ctice Than Legal Pra . V • Don’t undersell work experience. Any placement, C in ma part-time, vacation or voluntary work is valuable in Diplo highlighting transferable skills. Ensure you consider your achievements and extracurricular activities to give an insight into your motivation and personality. • Your CV should be a maximum of 2 pages long, well presented with no time gaps, giving actual examples and evidence of your skills and abilities. • Ensure format is consistent; use a mix of bullet points and short, punchy sentences. and make sure all your key matching information is easily accessible and clearly presented, an employer should not have to go looking for information in your CV • Your CV must be legible so choose an appropriate font such as Arial or Verdana in a point size no less that 11 and use good quality paper. • Check your spelling and grammar. If you don’t, and an employer picks up on this your application may immediately be rejected.If you can’t take the time to proof read your CV, what does this say about your work ethic?


CVS • Ask your referee’s permission to include their details on your CV. Ensure that they are in a position to sell you positively to an employer, you may choose a current or past employer and/or your course tutor. Provide them with details of the job you are applying for. • Use action words and phrases which can be found on our website. This may support you in selling your skills and experiences to the employer. You may wish to bullet point the information to make it easier for the employer to read. • Look at the examples of the skills based and chronological CV below, consider which one would suit you and your target audience best depending on how much you have to say on the areas mentioned above. These examples are for guidelines only and more detailed examples can be found on the Careers Centre Moodle Pages. You may choose a reverse chronological CV if you have an in depth work history to allow you to show case your related duties and responsibilities. However, if you have limited or no work experience in the area of work you are applying for you may wish to evidence that you have the skills and potential needed to do the job with a skills-based CV. • Consider your target audience when writing your CV. The information you include when applying for a professional job may be more detailed than that for a part time opportunity.

“I met up with a careers consultant to receive help with my CV, Covering Letter, and I had a second meeting with her to go over interview techniques. I would highly recommend the Careers Centre to anyone, I received excellent service and I was offered job interviews due to their help. I told my friends about it and they also really appreciated the help they received.” 4yr LLB




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Career Objective or Personal Profile (¾ lines) This should be no more than 3 or 4 lines detailing: who you are? (course and qualification you are studying); what your career aim is and the skills/experience that you have that are relevant to the position. Education Dates

Course University, location Key Modules: Choose no more than 5/6 modules that you have studied that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Dissertation: Insert the title of your dissertation If you have also completed an undergraduate degree or a qualification at college use the same format as above. Alternatively, use the format below for your Secondary Education. Dates Name of Secondary School Qualifications Gained Highers: Professional Career History Start with your most recent position, and work backwards detailing your professional career history. Dates Job title / Position Company, location  Detailed explanation of duties that you have carried out.  Ensure that you relate to the job you are applying to.  Include evidence of the competencies required for the position.  Repeat for each professional job you have had. Additional Skills and Achievements This section allows you to highlight any additional information that you wish to highlight in your CV, but was not relevant in previous sections.  IT Skills: You may wish to detail your experience of various software packages that are a requirement of the job you are applying for.  Awards: If you have been recognised for any specific achievements you should highlight this here. Professional Membership If you are a member of any professional bodies, you should detail this here. References Use the format that suits you best: either including your references details or providing them later. Name, Title, Company (T) (E) Name, Title, Company (T) (E) OR References available on Request



Term Address: 65 Russell Road, Aberdeen, AB11 OPZ 01224 123 456



Home Address (from June 2011): 34 Hilton Drive Inverurie, AB51 9RH 01467 123 456

MBA student and a Chartered Engineer with several years experience in Oil and Gas. Ambitious to secure engineering consultancy position within the Energy sector. EDUCATION Masters of Business Administration (AMBA Accredited), Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Key Modules: Strategic Management, Business Economics, Human Resource Management and Operations Management. Consultancy Project: The benefits of oil and gas to T&T. What comes next?

2010 – 2011

BEng Mechanical Engineering Nigerian National University, Lagos, Nigeria Key Modules: Environmental Engineering, Project Management, Safety, Risk and Reliability Management and Failure Analysis. Dissertation: Investigating Environmental Impact of Thermal Fluid Systems in Oil and Gas Assessed industrial Internship: Maersk, Aberdeen 2000-2004

PROFESSIONAL CAREER HISTORY Logistics/Contracts Manager (Engineering Projects) ABC Oil Ltd., Aberdeen Analysed data to monitor performance and plan improvements and demand. Implemented new procurement software resulting in 15% cost savings on company logistics budget Allocated and managed staff resources according to changing needs. Liasied and negotiated with customers and suppliers. Developed business by gaining new contracts, analysing logistical problems and producing new solutions.

2008 – 2010     

Production Engineer ExxonMobil Nigeria, Port Harcourt, Nigeria Shift supervisor and designated lead hand for overseeing manufacturing, production and assembly of several aspects of oil and gas equipment. Responsible for plant and equipment overhaul, repair and maintenance as per company’s maintenance schedule. Have in-depth knowledge of all manufacturing processes required in various aspects of production process such as turning, milling, grinding, drilling, boring etc. Fully conversant with every aspect of premium threads and threading equipment, inspection procedures, tool room, Renishaw Probing, and possess working knowledge of several NDT techniques. Highly skilled in interpretation of engineering and P&ID drawings.

2004 – 2008     

Summer 2003 Engineering Internship (4 month secondment) African Oil, Lagos, Nigeria ADDITIONAL SKILLS AND ACHIEVEMENTS      

Awarded ‘Employee of the Month’ prize in August 2005, for exceeding productivity targets Student Representative on the RGU Staff/Student Committee 2010/2011. Completed London Marathon 2008 Promoted to Production Engineer (staff position) 6 months ahead of schedule following fast track graduate traineeship Familiar with a wide range of software packages and databases. Also experienced in using AppleMac and Unix systems, and most Internet applications Basic knowledge of French and German and fluent in English.


Society of Petroleum Engineers (Aberdeen Student Chapter) Chartered Institute of Logistics Managers AMBA




Email Mobile

Career Objective or Personal Profile This should be no more than 3 or 4 lines detailing: who you are? (course and qualification you are studying); what your career aim is and the skills/experience that you have that are relevant to the position. Education Dates

Course University, location Key Modules: Choose no more than 5/6 modules that you have studied that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Dissertation: Insert the title of your dissertation If you have also completed an undergraduate degree or a qualification at college use the same format as above. Alternatively, use the format below for your Secondary Education. Dates Name of Secondary School Qualifications Gained Highers: Relevant Career History Dates  

Job title / Position Company, location Detailed explanation of duties that you have carried out. Ensure that you relate to the job you are applying to

Other Career History Dates Position, Company, location There is no need for you to go into detail with this section. You use the Skills Profile to highlight any experiences that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Skills Profile Pick 4 or 5 skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for and EVIDENCE your competence from work, education and social activities. Consider using the STAR approach which is mentioned in the application form section to compose your examples. Communication and Interpersonal   Organisational and Time Management   Additional Information Detail any additional information that is relevant to the position you are applying e.g. Professional Memberships, Social Activities or Volunteering. References Use the format that suits you best: either including your references details or providing them later. Name, Title, Company (T) (E) Name, Title, Company (T) (E) OR References available on Request



66 Herald Way, Aberdeen, AB10 7QE 01224 123456 / 07123 456789 / BA(Hons) Communication with PR undergraduate seeking vacation work experience within the communications sector to develop skills and enhance my studies further. EDUCATION BA(Hons) Communication with PR (CIPR accredited) Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Key Modules: Media Industries, Visual Culture, Advertising Communication, Desktop Publishing and Communication Principles and Public Relations. 2008 – present

2002 – 2008 Scotsman Academy, Aberdeen Higher: English (A), History (A), Business Management (B), Art (C) and Maths (C). RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE Jan 2008 – present Volunteer PR Assistant, Girl Guiding, Aberdeen  Assistant Guider with local Guide Company, also support County PR adviser in marketing local guide events and celebrating successes in local newspapers. Summer 2009 Administration Assistant, Communications Office, Shell (UK), Aberdeen  Responsible for opening mail, recording in database and allocating to appropriate team members.  Dealing with telephone queries from individuals and companies.  Compiled research in various areas as delegated by manager and reported to account manager in charge.  Assisting with writing and editing in-house magazines, case studies, speeches, articles and annual reports. OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE Sep 2009 – present 2007 – 2008

Senior Sales Assistant, Paperchase, Aberdeen Sales Colleague, ASDA, Aberdeen

SKILLS AND ACHIEVEMENTS Teamwork and Leadership  Responsible for weekend team at Paperchase. This involves ensuring that the tills are covered, all stock is refilled and merchandised in a timely manner and any customer queries are dealt with efficiently.  Completed Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, this required working as part of a team to complete the expedition and daily activities.  Member of University Netball team. The team meet weekly to train, and compete with other Universities in the challenge cup winning for the past two years and being nominated for “Players Player of the Year”. Problem Solving  Identifying errors in company materials prior to information day. Had to bring this to the manager’s attention, rectify and arrange for a print re-run. This resulted in me being commended by the company Director for my work.  At school, was captain of Young Enterprise Team. During the fundraising, the graphics company that was printing the cookbooks closed and with limited time a new printer had to be sourced and the material delivered which raised the largest funds for the charity of choice. Organisational and Time Management  Carried out independent research for project reports at Shell (UK) to deadlines, developing Project Management skills.  Completing my Duke of Edinburgh Gold award whilst studying and working part time. This involved managing time appropriately to ensure all deadlines and commitments were successfully completed.  Completed a training plan to successfully finish a 10K, raising funds for Cancer Research. Communication  Understand the importance of tailoring communication style to suit the needs of different customers and have been awarded company prize for customer service.  Experienced in writing reports, essays and giving presentations. nd  Negotiated with staff and students as Class representative in 2 year, to resolve issues and communicate information.  Regularly write an article for Church Magazine, updating the congregation on the activities of Girl Guiding and appealing to new members. MEMBERSHIP 2008 – present 2008 – present

CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Member of Robert Gordon University PR Society



APPLICATION FORMS (online and paper based)

When completing an application form whether online or paper, preparation is important. You should photocopy, print or download the application form. Use this as a first draft to ensure you can fit everything in you want to and also to make sure you answer the questions positively. Employers use application forms to judge each candidate using the same information which makes the process more systematic and ultimately fairer. Application forms also allow employers to restrict the information they receive to the areas they are particularly interested in, tailored to the role they are recruiting for. Ensure that you read the form thoroughly and follow all instructions. If you are handwriting, use black ink and ensure your handwriting is legible as your form will probably be photocopied and this makes it easier to read. Make certain that you adhere to the word/ character count. DO keep your own copy, this means that when you come to the interview stage it is good to review so you can remember what you told the employer, many employers will take their lead at interview from information on your application form. Be informative, detailed but concise in your answers. Give employers the essential detail but leave them wanting to meet you to find out more. Use the job description and person specification as a guide, bearing in mind the competencies and qualities that the employer is looking for, and answer the questions with evidence of these skills. 20

- At te Skills nd Esse ntia pres e l app licat ntation io - M on ake n form s a closi ng d note o f ates

APPLICATION FORMS Don’t dismiss anything as irrelevant without careful thought – students often think that their vacation work as a waiter, shop assistant or security guard is not relevant, and of no interest to a graduate employer. This is not the case. Employers can learn a great deal about your motivation and skills from jobs such as these, so include them! Don’t make lists on your application form, detail the relevance and the extent of your interest. Most applications have a section for competency-based questions, and this can be the hardest section of the form for most applicants. The questions usually begin “give an example of” or “describe a time when you” and asking for examples of specific skills such as problem solving, leadership, communication or teamwork etc e.g. Give me an example of where you have demonstrated your ability to work effectively as part of a team? Describe a time where you needed help to complete a job, project or task. How did you go about asking? These skills are normally the ones that are essential for success with that employer. You need to construct a paragraph for each situation, ensuring that the focus is on you – even if the situation involved a group. One way of answering these questions is via the STAR approach:


Situation: How, when, where and with whom?

Whilst employed at Aberdeen Technologies Ltd last summer

Task: Describe the task you were faced with.

I was asked to review the current inventory system.

Action: What action did YOU take?

To do this, I had to look at how often stock was ordered, how often it stayed in the warehouse and identify any areas of over ordering. I worked out a method of tracking the products in the warehouse, ensuring there was minimal stock whilst meeting demand. I then submitted my proposal to my manager.


Result: What result/conclusion did you achieve? What did you learn from the experience?

My manager approved my ideas, and after implementation cut stock levels by 30% and reduced costs by 15%.

References: Generally in application forms employers expect one academic and one personal or employer reference. Ensure that you have asked your referees permission to give their names and provide them with details of the position you have applied for so they can relate the reference to the job. Resources: 21

INTERVIEWS What is an interview? It is an opportunity to present your skills, experience, personality and suitability, whilst giving you the chance to evaluate the company and the job. The interview process may be challenging but employers don’t expect perfection so try to relax, be yourself and enjoy the experience. Interview types vary between organisations some graduate recruiters initially have telephone interviews to ‘screen’ a high number of candidates. Smaller companies may have a one-off one-to-one interview, however more likely in larger organisations is a Panel Interview. The final stage may be an Assessment Centre so employers can assess your skills directly. Preparation is key! When invited to interview ensure you have all appropriate details such as location and timing. Refresh yourself on the position and the organisation and the application you submitted. Consider questions you may be asked and think of questions you may wish to ask. Book a Mock Interview at the Careers Centre to practice and get feedback. You can also watch a DVD of graduate job interviews. The purpose of any interview is to assess if you CAN you do the job by assessing skills, achievements, experience and learning potential, WILL you do the job in terms of your motivation, interest in position, company and industry, work ethic and outside influences and ultimately will you FIT the organisation regarding your communication style, attitude and personality, values, work style and appearance. Typical structure of an interview starts with a short introduction by those interviewing and the interview process. The middle bit (30 – 45 mins) is to ascertain the ‘Can You’ – Skills and Experience, ‘Will You’ – Motivation and ‘Fit’ – Personality, rounded off with a conclusion (5 – 10 mins), allowing you to ask any questions. You will usually be told when you should expect to hear from the employer and thanked for your time. If asked to deliver a presentation you will be notified in the interview invitation and advised what resources may or may not be available. Ensure you plan your topic with careful attention to timing, allowing for any questions to be asked. Consider the delivery method and your intended audience. It is also worthwhile preparing hand-outs. Behaviour during interview is crucial ensure you make a good first impression. Maintain positive body language throughout, any distracting mannerisms may detract from what you are trying to say. Speed, pitch, rhythm and tone of voice are equally important. It’s OK to be nervous, interviewers are human and should quickly put you at ease. They may push you a little to get the best out of you so be prepared to voice opinions and to analyse yourself. Listen and give relevant answers, not necessarily those you have pre-prepared. If you don’t understand a question or need time to think, say so, don’t launch in blindly or stare wildly into space! Finally thank interviewers for their time. What employers don’t want you to do is to underestimate your skills and abilities, ramble or waffle, use jargon words, nor antagonise or argue with them. They don’t want to hear about your weaknesses without saying what you are doing about them. 22

interviews Asking questions at interview is an important part of the interview decision process so think ahead and prepare. Genuinely ask yourself ‘Do you have all the information you need to make a decision about whether this is the job for you?’ Ask questions which demonstrate that you are already thinking about your performance or development in the job should you be offered the position. After the interview and whatever the outcome, treat it as a learning experience and reflect on your performance. Were you uncomfortable with or unprepared for any questions? Note down any difficult questions you struggled with. It is worth aiming to get feedback from an employer, not all will supply this, but some are very happy to do so and whether positive or negative will hopefully be constructive for future interviews. Types of questions Competence (Skills, Experience, Achievements)… • Give me an example of where you have demonstrated your ability to work effectively as part of a team? • Which aspects of your professional and technical competence do you feel are most relevant to this post? • What are your key achievements in your career to date? • Describe a time where you needed help to complete a job, project or task. How did you go about asking? • How would you demonstrate your ability to build strong customer and client relationships? Behavioural (Personality, Attitude, Motivation)… • Why are you interested in working for this organisation? • If you were offered more than one job – what factors would you take into consideration? • Use 3 adjectives to describe yourself? Why? • Describe a situation where you were faced with conflict in the workplace. What was the outcome? • How do you like to be managed? Administrative (Salary, Terms and Conditions, Availability)… • What are your salary expectations for this post? • What type of environment do you work best in? • Would you be in a position to undertake overtime on an occasional basis? • Would you be willing to travel to other locations as part of this role? Additional typical questions… • Tell me about yourself ... • How would your friends describe you? • Why have you applied for this particular post? • What do you think makes a good X? • Give me 3 good reasons why I should recruit you. • What are your strengths/weaknesses? Resources:

Watch 'Makin g an Impac t' DVD , availa at Ca ble reers C entre Book a mock interv iew 23

ASSESSMENT CENTRES An Assessment Centre is an extended selection procedure, usually lasting a day or two. It allows an employer to test candidates skills further than they can at a traditional interview. The benefit to applicants is that a number of different selectors get to see you over a longer period of time and have the chance to see what you can do in relation to the required job competencies, rather than what you say you can do, in a variety of situations. The Careers Centre can support you in understanding a typical assessment day and preparing you with practice exercises and informative discussions. There is also an Assessment Centre DVD that is available for viewing within the Centre. During an Assessment Centre selectors assess your performance against pre determined criteria necessary for you to do the job well and fit in with the organisation. Typically, a variety of the following activities may shape the Assessment Centre: • Information sessions • Social/informal events • One-to-one or panel interview • Tests and exercises such as Psychometric/ aptitude tests, personality inventories • Case studies • In-tray exercises • Presentations • Group activities • Practical tasks • Discussions and role plays

- Pra ctice te - Wa tch 'A sts online ssessm Cent re' DV e D, ava nt at C ilable areer s Cen tre

Find out the format of the assessment centre. How long it will last, what sort of exercises will be carried out and support available for transport and any necessary accommodation. Make sure you are dressed appropriately. Some companies have a much more relaxed approach to dress than others but, if in doubt, wear a suit. You won’t be criticised for being too smart but employers will notice if you walk in wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt! Ensure you know yourself, why you are the best person for the job. Be prepared to demonstrate these skills and strengths through the activities you are asked to undertake. Keeping abreast of current affairs and having a commercial awareness can be useful too.



Throughout the Assessment Centre stay enthusiastic and motivated, no matter how tired you may get. Maintain positive body language, excellent communication skills, good eye contact and it can be very important to have a good sense of humour! During the social or informal part including meal times of the event remember to behave in a way that shows you in a positive light you are being assessed throughout. Talking to other candidates as well as the company employees will help you prepare for the group activities. You are competing against the competencies. There may be a position available for every assessment centre candidate, therefore don’t compete aggressively against other candidates, be yourself, show your strengths and support others in participating fully. Ask for feedback: Hopefully you will be offered a position but if this is not the case you can ask the employer for feedback on your performance. This information will help you to prepare effectively for the next assessment centre.

REsources: 25


Vacation Work Consider the opportunities’ that are available to you during your University break. Either working abroad or at home will allow you to gain experiences that you can detail on your CV.

Part time jobs fair Attend the part time jobs fair and meet employers who are seeking part time and temporary staff.

Make the most of your time at university Consider volunteering or joining one of the Societies. Not only will it allow you to meet new people, but will give you a chance to develop your transferable skills!

JOBSHOP Vacancy database for graduate opportunities, voluntary experiences scholarships, funding and much more… • book appointments with a Careers Consultant • Sign up to Careers Events • Contact us with your query online.

Careers Centre website ( ‘Careers Link’)


Careers Publications by AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) provide a core range of careers and guidance information vital to your career planning accessible through their website e.g. Options with your subject, Explore types of jobs, Industry Insights, Special Interest Series and much more…

Daily Drop-in Consultations Allows you the chance to speak with a Careers Consultant, without an appointment, to answer a quick question.

Interview Skills & ‘Mock’ Interviews Practice for interviews and assessment centres and receive constructive feedback.

Careers Guidance Consultations – Identify your career options, opportunities for further postgraduate study, finding employment or changing direction by booking an appointment to speak to a Careers Consultant.

Directories of Jobs and Employers Free employer directories PROSPECTS, Inside Careers and Target available with details of undergraduate and graduate opportunities.

Employer Presentations On-campus presentations take place throughout the academic year. The Careers Centre works in partnership with employers to promote their opportunities. To view a timetable of forthcoming events regularly refer to the website www.rgu. or look at the various advertisements across the campuses.

DVDs Available for viewing on a range of topics such as interview preparation and assessment centres.

CV checks and Application Form Consultations Review your CV and advice and guidance on completing application forms online and on paper.


Careers Fairs Attend either or both Fairs held in October and Spring to allow you to understand what is happening in the labour market.


Career Planning involves taking ownership of your future. Although graduation might seem like a long way ahead, it is important not to leave your planning and job search until the last minute. Remember, it’s never too early to start using your Careers Centre. Here is a brief overview of our services and how we can help you at each stage of your degree. To view our full service portfolio please explore our website:



CAREERS CENTRE RESOURCES Publications AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) Special Interest Booklets Agcas produce a series of special interest booklets available online on a wide range of common career topics of interest to graduates and current/prospective Higher Education students. Their titles range from Application Forms & CV’s through to Further Study Options. AGCAS DVDs We stock a selection of AGCAS DVDs that are available for viewing in the Careers Centre. 1. At the Assessment Centre. 2. Making an impact - The Graduate Job Interview. Prospects Prospects provides a range of printed material in addition to their online careers resources at These titles cover career information, postgraduate study advice and job opportunity directories for students and graduates. Prospects is the UK's Official Graduate Careers Website (supported by all UK Higher Education Institutions careers services) and has information on: • Prospects Vacancies useful for identifying recruiters offering graduate training programmes. • Industry Insights contains sections on 'typical employers' and 'contacts and resources'. • Occupational Profiles contains sections on 'Typical Employers / Vacancy Sources'. • Employer Profiles provides a comprehensive listing of graduate employer profiles. Target Jobs Target Jobs produces a series of sector related career information aimed at graduates entering the sector. The publications contain applications advice for the sector along with information on relevant professional bodies, key business leaders and the experiences of recent graduates. They also have a website which gives information on a range of career sectors as well as graduate jobs, internships and advice. Inside Careers Handbooks These handbooks cover the areas of Business & Management, City & Finance, IT & Engineering and provide you with sector specific career information and jobs listings. www. details more graduate jobs and careers advice for a range of sectors. Realworld The magazines give you overviews of the Engineering & Technology, City & Finance & Law sectors with specific careers information to enhance your application process. www. has information on a range of sectors plus advice and graduate jobs. 27

CAREERS CENTRE RESOURCES Job Directories In addition to the sector specific careers information we stock a range of employer directories to aid you in your graduate job searching: • The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers • Get Directory • Britain’s Top Employers • The Best 600 Companies to work for • Guardian UK 300 Books We stock a selection of reference books to support you on a wide range of careers issues that you can use in the Garthdee Centre.

Interactive Resources The Careers Centre has developed the following online tools to enable 24/7 access to quality assured careers information. Careers Website: The website can be found at Careers Link: This is your online portal where you can search for jobs, attend events and access advice and support. To access this resource login at Part Time Jobs Portal: You can you search through the Careers Link and access jobs which local employers have advertised with us and link to a number of recruitment rss feeds Moodle: When you login to Moodle (access through the University INTRANET page) you will find you have been granted access to two careers information pages. • RGU Careers Centre: JOBSHOP, Advice, Information & Events: This page provides general careers information with links to all our paper based publications, jobs and events pages. • Degree Careers Information: This page has been designed to give you access to the latest careers information specific to your degree.

Online Resources has a section detailing additional online resources that will support you to make the choice and making it happen.


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Tell us what you think of our service:

where are we? Garthdee Campus: Careers Centre, University St (under RGUSport),


Garthdee Campus Schoolhill Campus: Careers Resources, StudentZone, St Andrews St, Schoolhill Opening Times: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


9am–5pm 9am–5pm 11am–5pm 9am–5pm 9am–5pm

Check our website for our drop in times in both locations. 

01224 262110


Robert Gordon University, a Scottish charity registered under charity number SCO13781 Produced by The Gatehouse: Design & Print Consultancy at Robert Gordon University  •  0710/28796/CAREERS/AA

Robert Gordon University Careers Handbook  
Robert Gordon University Careers Handbook  

Careers Handbook for Students and Graduates.