Work Experience

What do you need in order to land your dream job? One word: experience.

Recent studies show that two thirds of employers seek graduates with relevant work experience, as this better prepares them for working life and helps to develop their general business acumen. Additionally, one third of employers reportedly feel that job applicants do not possess enough knowledge about their chosen career.

But developing your business skills and career knowledge isn't the only reason why work experience is important. There are several other advantages the you can gain from getting a taste of working life before seeking a permanent role.

Why work experience is important:

  1. Exploring your options - If, like many people, you are not yet sure what career path you'd like to take, work experience provides a great opportunity for you to see what it's like to work within a certain industry. This can be a deciding factor in the role you eventually choose for yourself.

  2. Displaying your enthusiasm - If you already know what career you'd like to pursue, gaining work experience within your chosen field will demonstrate your passion and interest to potential employers when you send them your CV. Employers like to hire individuals who want to work for them because they're genuinely interested in the role, not just because they need the money. Gaining work experience in your preferred industry will show a high level of commitment, which can increase your chance of future success.

  3. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses - Work experience can be a great teacher. While working within a real-life work setting, you'll have the opportunity to assess your abilities more clearly. Skills that you developed in school and university can be put into practice; you'll also be able to learn what skills you do not possess, and perhaps begin working to develop them.

  4. Networking - Work experience will give you many options to network. You'll get to know a number of potentially useful contacts, and they'll get to find out what you have to offer. Even at this early stage of your career, networking can provide benefits that will last throughout your working life.

  5. Discovering opportunities - Frequently, employers who take on individuals for work experience end up offering those individuals permanent positions within the same organisation. Neither employer nor worker can really know how well the candidate is going to perform prior to the beginning of the placement, but after some time, the employer may realise that the worker can bring lasting benefits to the company. This is particularly common among undergraduate students whose courses include a placement year; once the placement is finished and the student has gained a considerable amount of knowledge, their employer will often offer a full-time role for after graduation.

As you can see, work experience comes with a number of important benefits, all of which can help you to secure your dream job.

If you are interested in working with the science industry. Hyper Recruitment Solutions can help you to take the next step in your career. We work with the biggest and best organisations in the UK science industry, helping talented individuals to fill vital roles and drive the sector forward. Click the link below to see a full list of current vacancies.

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Graduate writing CV

You've graduated from university, and now you're on the hunt for your dream job. But having the right degree, the right skills, and even the right work experience means nothing if you don't know how to lay it all out on your CV!

A good CV needs to make a lasting impression on the person reading it. The average employer spends mere seconds scanning each applicant's CV, so it's crucial to make sure that yours really grabs their attention. Follow our graduate CV guide to make sure your document hits all the right notes.

Personal Information

This section should include your key personal details, such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact number
  • Email address
Feel free to include other information - such as the fact that you have a clean driving licence and access to your own vehicle - if you think it may give an edge over other applicants. If you are currently employed, mention this here (along with the notice period you will need to serve before leaving).

Skills & Expertise

This is where you should talk about your skills as they pertain to the job you're after. It is crucial to highlight skills that are relevant / transferable to the position - examples may include:

  • Strong problem solving skills
  • A good understanding of relevant regulations / legal matters
  • The ability to work in a team
  • Good communication skills
This is your opportunity to show off the skills and expertise that make you the perfect candidate for the job! 

Experience & Education

This is the juiciest and most important part of your CV. List all of your past work/education experiences in chronological order, starting with the most recent and working backwards. Include start/end dates, a brief description of each role, a brief list of what you achieved or learned in that role, and any qualifications/grades earned.

It is again important to focus on experience and education that is relevant to the job in question, as this will look good to your potential employer. For example, if you're applying for a scientific position, make sure you list your most impressive scientific experiences and qualifications. If you do not have any relevant work experience, try to focus on education and any transferable skills you've picked up over the course of your life thus far.

Interests & Hobbies

This is where you can detail the activities that you enjoy in your spare time. Remember, though: the employer does not want to read your life story! Ideally, the activities listed here will complement the information you've given elsewhere in your CV; for instance, if it's a scientific position that you're applying for, you might state that you like to read the latest science news and keep up with trending topics. This reinforces your interest in the position and will look better than saying 'I like playing video games and watching Netflix'.

References

It's common practice to state 'References available on request' at the end of a CV. That said, if you have strong, relevant references available, this is another opportunity to stand out from the other applicants. Some positions may state that references are required, so be sure to know exactly what is expected of you before proceeding.

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Including all of the above on your CV should get you well on your way to securing the job you want! Remember not to waffle and to focus on what's really important at all times. Also, check for spelling and grammar mistakes, as these will really take the shine off what you've written. Finally, consider tailoring your CV to each job you apply for - different roles will require different skills, and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't always pay off!

If you need help with your job hunt, please don't hesitate to contact Hyper Recruitment Solutions for expert assistance.

Further Reading:

Why Didn't I Get a Job Interview?

Virtually every job seeker experiences rejection at some point in their journey. No matter how much time you spend fine-tuning your CV...no matter how much effort you put into writing your cover letter...no matter how much you really really want the job...there's sadly no guarantee that you'll make it to the interview stage. Sometimes you'll get a politely-worded rejection email from your prospective employer, but sometimes you just won't hear back from them at all.

In either case, you'll probably end up asking yourself:

Why didn't I get an interview?

Today, we'd like to suggest some possible answers to that question. Of course, there are all sorts of reasons why an employer might choose not to offer an interview; it might be that other applicants were more experienced, or that the position had been filled before you even expressed an interest. Sometimes it's just out of your control.

For the purposes of this post, however, we're going to focus on things that you can control. Take these five things into account the next time you apply for a job, and with any luck, you'll be rehearsing answers and picking out an outfit for that big job interview before you know it!

1. Your application was too long and rambling.

It's important to keep your CV and cover letter reasonably concise. When an employer has a huge stack of job applications to go through, they generally won't want to spend too long on each one, so make sure your documents are easy to skim-read. The important details—relevant qualifications, impressive achievements, similar positions you've held in the past—should leap off the page, and that won't happen if they're buried in paragraphs and paragraphs of waffle.

2. Your made spelling / grammar mistakes.

You don't need us to tell you that spelling errors and bad grammar can torpedo even the most qualified candidate's chances of securing a job interview. Always double-check your documents for typos before sending them (and ask a friend or family member to check them too, just to be sure).

3. You didn't tailor your application to the job you were applying for.

Employers can usually tell when you send them the same generic cover letter that you've sent to dozens of other companies. Writing a new document every time you apply for a new job is tedious and time-consuming, but ultimately, you're more likely to get the interview if the employer feels like you're specifically interested in (and suitable for) the role they're offering. Consider tweaking your CV each time you send it, too – you may want to highlight different experiences / achievements for different jobs.

4. You didn't make a convincing enough case for yourself.

The main aim of any job application is to argue that you are the right person for the job in question. When you get rejected for a role you really wanted, go back and read the job description – did your CV and cover letter convincingly argue that you meet the stated requirements? Could you have done a better job of explaining how your previous experiences made you a better prospective employee? Did you shout about your unique talents and skills, or could you have made them clearer?

5. The employer wasn't able to view your application.

It doesn't matter how sensational your job application is if the hiring manager can't open it. When submitting a CV / cover letter, make sure it's in a common file format, and send it to yourself first to make sure it opens without any issues. You might want to view it on a few different devices, too.

Need more job application advice? Read our CV & Cover Letter Checklist, or contact the HRS team to find out how we can help you to get the job you want!

Image from pixabay.com

New Year Fireworks

An article recently published on Buzzfeed offered a number of suggestions for job seekers who are hoping to land their 'dream role' in the new year. The tips were fairly wide-ranging, touching on everything from cleaning up your social media accounts to choosing the right interview clothes.

Even so, we believe that we at Hyper Recruitment Solutions can add a few extra tips to the list - if you're serious about getting a new job in 2018, here are 5 more things that you should keep in mind:

1. Ask somebody else to read your CV.

Before you send your CV to any potential employers, give it to a trusted friend or family member and ask them to give it a quick read-through. Your proof-reader will hopefully catch any spelling / grammar mistakes that you failed to spot yourself, but more importantly, they'll be able to tell you whether or not the document is a fair representation of your abilities and experiences. It may just be that you're selling yourself short!

2. Tailor your CV to each job you apply for.

Once you've finished writing your CV, it's easy to just send exactly the same version to every prospective employer. But tweaking your CV each time you send it - tailoring it to the specific role you're applying for - can be a very worthwhile endeavour. You don't have to start from scratch every time you begin a new job application, but you should assess each job description and make sure that your CV is emphasising the right skills and focusing on the most relevant parts of your career history in each case.

3. Eliminate all filler from your cover letter.

When applying for certain jobs, you will be required to accompany your CV with a cover letter that explains why you're applying for the role in question (and what makes you a good fit for it). Your cover letter is a great opportunity to make a glowing first impression, but no matter what you decide to put in this document, it needs to be concise and to-the-point. Once you've written your cover letter, read back over it and make sure that every single sentence has a point - if it doesn't add anything to the picture you're trying to paint, delete it! Employers won't enjoy reading a lot of pointless waffle that wastes their precious time, and a shorter, punchier cover letter will likely make more of an impact anyway.

4. Know how you're getting to the interview.

Showing up late for an interview is almost always a surefire way to not get the job. Once you've been told where you're being interviewed, take the time to plan your journey carefully: will you be walking, driving, or taking public transport? What time will you need to set out in order to arrive on time? Do you have an umbrella in case it rains on the day? Planning is key if you want to be sure of arriving on time (and not looking too dishevelled because you had to rush!).

5. Didn't get the job? Ask for feedback.

Even an unsuccessful job application can be valuable if you're able to learn from it and improve your approach for next time. If a prospective employer tells you that you didn't get the job, thank them for their time and ask them if they would be willing to provide any feedback. Did your answers leave something to be desired? Could you have dressed more appropriately for the interview? Was it simply a question of experience? You can't control every aspect of your job application, but constructive feedback can give you a better idea of what employers are looking for and how to present yourself in the best possible way.

Useful links:

Applying for a job in science or technology? Here's our advice for crafting the perfect CV

Writing a CV

Everybody talks about how important it is to make a good first impression when you attend a job interview, but in most cases, it's actually your CV that's responsible for making a good first impression on potential employers. Sure, you should wear smart clothes and speak clearly when you're being interviewed, but if your CV isn't up to snuff, you won't even make it to the interview stage in the first place.

If you've been applying for science jobs for a while without hearing anything back, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and rethink your CV. If you want yours to stand out from the stack of documents every employer receives when they advertise a new vacancy, here's what you need to do:

The Basics

Be sure to include the following essential details:

  • Your full name
  • Your current address
  • Your telephone number(s)
  • Your email address (make sure it's something professional - don't use your Hotmail address from when you were a teenager!)

If you have a clean driving licence and access to a vehicle, include this information as well. It may give you the edge over applicants who do not have their own means of transportation.

You will also need to state if your current employer requires you to serve a notice period before changing jobs.

Areas of Expertise

Once you've included your personal / contact details, add a brief section entitled 'Areas of Expertise'. This should simply comprise a short bullet-point list (5 or 6 items max.) of the key skills that make you a great candidate. For example:

  • Data analysis
  • Team management
  • Report writing

This makes it easy for the employer to see your potential value right off the bat.

Education & Work Experience

This part forms the meat of any CV. List your experiences in date order, starting with your most recent role(s). Here's a rough example of what this should look like:

GRADUATE DATA ANALYST

JULY 2015 - PRESENT

Description of this role and what it required of you. If this experience was especially relevant to the job(s) you're now applying for, you may wish to include a bullet-point list of the duties involved.

BSc MATHEMATICS (UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM)

SEPTEMBER 2012 - JULY 2015

Description of your course and the relevant skills you learned / knowledge you gained.

And so on. Try to focus on things that are relevant to science/technology, particularly the field you're looking to enter.

Previous STEM jobs should take precedence, but if you don't have any particularly relevant work experience yet, put the emphasis on your scientific education. In any case, be sure to emphasise responsibilities and achievements that demonstrate your competence and versatility.

It's worth including non-scientific education and work experience, but this shouldn't take up too much space if it's not relevant. Some people simply refer to 'various part-time jobs' or 'assorted temporary roles', but before you take this approach, think carefully - some roles may have taught you relevant skills even if they themselves were nothing to do with science or technology.

Interests

It's important to include some information about what you get up to in your free time, but remember, the employer isn't interested in your life story. You don't want to come across as a work-obsessed robot, but ideally, your hobbies and interests will complement the professional self-portrait you've been painting elsewhere in the document. For instance:

"In my spare time, I enjoy reading and catching up with the latest science/technology news. I subscribe to a number of publications, including New Scientist and Wired, and I also spend a lot of time on the Internet reading about topics that interest me. I also enjoy outdoor activities, including hiking and rock climbing."

References

It's usually fine to save space by writing 'References available on request' at the end of your CV. However, check the details of each job you apply for - some may specifically state that references are required, in which case you'll need to include them in the document you send.

General Advice

  • Be concise - don't waffle. Employers generally don't have time to read essays from potential new recruits.

  • Make absolutely sure to double-check your CV before sending it to anyone. Nothing takes the shine off a well-written CV like a spelling mistake or grammatical error!

  • Don't be afraid to tweak your CV each time you send it. Sometimes it pays to tailor it to the job you're applying for (even if you're also sending a covering letter).

Visit our CV Advice page for more useful tips!

Ready to start applying for jobs? Click here to browse the latest scientific vacancies.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

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