Gillingham Job Club (Dorset)

Hints & Tips

posted 10.10.14

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Hints & Tips for working with Recruitment Agencies


Recruitment agencies aim to get everyone on their books into work.

Tip - Always be persistent. There are examples out there to suggest that daily contact with your Recruitment Agent works as new jobs arrive daily. You should always:

• Be clear;

• Be available

• Provide appropriate contact details and current email address etc.


It is very important to build a relationship with your recruitment agent. Don't be afraid to give them a call to find out how they are getting on with finding you suitable vacancies. They'll have lots of people signing up every day. Being proactive will remind them you are keen to work.


The same rules apply to agency workers as being employed directly with an employer. If employees are on the agencies books then once the qualifying period is passed they pay holiday pay.

Tip - Don’t forget to ask your recruitment agent what their terms and conditions around holiday pay are!


Cover Letters:  

Seven Cover Letter Don'ts


When you meet someone new, what is the first thing you notice about them? Maybe you notice a nice smile, a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, or beautiful brown eyes.


Now imagine someone has a piece of spinach between his teeth, toilet paper stuck to his shoe, or is avoiding eye contact.


While these may not be the kinds of things you'd hold against someone, an employer may not be as forgiving if her first impression is not a good one. Before an employer sees your CV or meets you in person, they begin forming an impression about you from your cover letter.


Here's a sample that includes mistakes we've seen in actual cover letters:


Dear Sirs: I saw you're ad. This is the kind of job I've been looking for. I'm pretty sure I would enjoy it and it would be good experience for me. I've already sent out a bunch of résumés without much luck so I hope you'll hire me. As you can see I have everything your looking for. Its you're loss if you don't hire me. Call me at 555-1234.
Andy Applicant


You can learn from "Andy's" mistakes by avoiding the following don'ts in your own cover letters:


1. Don't address the letter "Dear Sirs". The person reading your letter may be a woman who won't be impressed with this salutation. Instead, find out the name of the person who will be reviewing your CV by contacting the company's human resources department, or address your letter "Attention: Human Resources Department" if they won't give you a name.


2. Don't forget to say which position you are applying for. Many companies advertise more than one position at a time.


3. Don't send a cover letter that has not been thoroughly proofread. Typographical and grammatical errors (such as confusing "you're" with "your") create a poor impression.


4. Don't focus on what you want. In this case the applicant said he thought he'd enjoy the job and get experience. Focus instead on what value you can bring to the employer, such as increasing revenues or cutting costs.


5. Don't send a generic letter. You can make a much better impression by mentioning the company name and doing a little research so you can say something flattering about the company. You can learn what companies pride themselves on, including their products and achievements, by checking their Web sites.


6. Don't appear desperate. Avoid comments such as "I've already sent out a bunch of résumés without much luck." Employers may wonder if there's a good reason why no one else has hired you.


7. Don't challenge them to hire you. Employers will be turned off if you say something like "It's your loss if you don't hire me." Instead, show them, with examples of your accomplishments, why you would be an asset to their company.


Remember, to leave a good impression, treat your cover letter as if it were the first meeting with your potential employer. Not many employers will give you a second chance (i.e. an interview) if you leave them with a bad first impression. So, make your cover letter count, even if you have some leftover lunch stuck between your teeth while you are writing it. 




•         You can still claim Job Seekers Allowance (and other benefits) if you work            part time less than 16 hours a week.

 •         You can sign on in Salisbury even if DWP ask you to go to Yeovil, just say             you want to use Salisbury as it is easier by public transport.

 •         There are many free courses and qualifications available, ask for them.

•         Gillingham Job Club can help you with interview practice.

•         Many benefits and tax credits can be claimed while you train or work.

•         Volunteering looks good on your CV.

•         Check spelling on applications and your CV, ask for help if you struggle                 with writing and reading.

•         Employers take about 10 seconds to reach a first impression of a CV.

•         They also take about 10 seconds to reach a first impression of you at an                  interview.

 •         Part time work often leads to full time.

•         Temporary work often leads to permanent work.

•         Food hygiene level 2, only £15 from

•         Do you have any other tips to pass on?


Feb 2013




4U                                   Graham Smith BSC, Diploma in Careers Guidance




CV Tips and Pointers

When writing or refreshing your CV the following points are to assist you present you qualifications and experience in the best possible light. The highly competitive job market means that applicants failing to present themselves well can be filtered out at the first stage of making a job application simply because of the presentation of the CV.

There is no single best way of producing a CV. The model you use should reflect the nature of the type of employment you are seeking and how you feel you can best present your work and qualifications experiences.

For help with selecting the type of CV you will use refer to publications such as ‘Brilliant CV’, there are many on the market and, or web sites of which once again there are many.

Job seekers will usually have several CVs.Ccontent will vary according to the nature of the work being applied for. Always ensure when applying for a specific job as opposed to canvassing the possibility of there being a job in a place of work, that there is a clear match between the ‘job profile’ and the skills/qualifications/experience included in the CV.


1.   Keep the CV to 2 sides of A4. Don’t cram more in by making the text smaller. Dense text using a small font doesn’t encourage the reader to give it more than a cursory glance.


2.   Regard the CV as your shop window, it should have a good visual impact, be clear and easy. Use the available space wisely focusing on the key important points of experience. For the reader to identify the key points they will be seeking highlight key words and be neat and tidy.


3.   Have a personal pen picture or ‘Personal Profile’ (between 5 and 7 lines is a good average) that presents a profile of you and the key strengths you wish to draw attention to.


4.   The language, should be focused and use examples. AVOID ‘I am a committed employee and always do my best’ , (you are hardly likely to say you are a poor employee and there is no indication of whether your best is going to be anywhere near good enough) -                                ‘I manage a team of ? people – set and monitor key performance measures based on the teams objectives against the business plan. My team has a ?% success rate in meeting its quarterly corporate targets over a three year period’. This gives the reader some idea of how the applicant performs


5.   In larger organisations/agencies the CV may be scanned into a database and searched by key word. If the key words are missing then it may not surface in a database search and your CV won’t make it to the next stage.


6.   Check job details for the key words describing skills; attributes; experience the employer is seeking and ensure that you include these in the CV.


7.   In the employment history section start with your current, most recent job role. Give greater detail to recent work experience rather that gained some time ago.


8.   Remember to include skills and competences achieved in the workplace which didn’t necessarily have a qualification linked to them – ability to use e.g. specific software or equipment and to what level/skill. If you hold a high level of skill in a relevant area – say so by defining the level of work/skill you hold e.g. ‘I train experienced staff on company ICT systems…..……


9.   If you are applying for a specific job then write a formal letter of application that states the title of the job and draw attention to the specific skills that you would bring to the job. Don’t assume that the employer will see this in your CV – you can’t assume they will read your CV. As with CVs there are publications and web sites that provide good example of formal letters





© Career4U - Graham Smith June 2013