Well done to all our Chester Difference Award recipients!

Last week we hosted The Chester Difference Award celebration evening at Queen’s Park Campus to present the awards to eligible students. If you attended, we hope you had a great evening. We were really inspired by some of the stories from students who completed the award.

Speakers at the ceremony included Malcolm Walker CBE, Chief Executive of Iceland and an Honorary Graduate of the University of Chester; the University’s Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr Chris Haslam; and Joanne Leigh (Sales Operation Manager) and Jack Bolton (Sales Co-ordinator) both from TalkTalk Business who have endorsed The Chester Difference Award for the last three years.

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How to write a good covering letter

Great covering letters are a really easy way to stand out from the competition when you’re applying for jobs. Many applicants won’t bother including a covering letter and others will write their letter as a bit of an after-thought. So a well-written letter is crucial.

Here are some hints and tips to help you write a winning letter to accompany your CV or application.
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General tips:

  • Keep to a maximum of one side of A4.
  • Paragraphs should be clearly laid out.
  • Use a font that is easy to read, such as Arial.
  • Writing your letter in a direct and simple way will help you save space and get your message across more easily.

Structure

  • Always address your letter to a named person: check online, check LinkedIn or ring the company and ask who would be the best contact
  • Use their title and surname only, eg Dear Mrs Smith rather than Dear Mrs Eve Smith (always best to play it safe)

First paragraph

  • Use this to set the scene.
  • Clarify what you are applying or looking for, and what you’re currently doing.
  • For example, ‘I wish to apply for the position of xxxxxxxxxxx. I am currently a final year xxxxxx student at the University of Chester.’
  • Add a reason for your interest in the vacancy, eg previous time spent in a similar organaisation, relevant options during your degree.
  • Mention you are enclosing your CV.

 Second paragraph

  • Address why you are applying to that organisation
  • Then widen this out to anything special or unique about the employer (online research will come in useful here)
  • You need to demonstrate that you have researched the employer and area of work
  • Make links to any experience that has helped you come to your decision and avoid vague generalisations such as ‘top class training programme’ or ‘international reputation’.

Third paragraph

  • This is where you need to convince the employer that you are right for them and for the role. If you are responding to an advertised position, address each of the selection criteria.
  • Don’t expect the reader to turn to your CV to evidence this; lay it out for them to read and
  •  If you don’t have much relevant experience, explain why you think you could make a contribution, e.g. team player, fast learner, good people skills.
  •  Refer to points on your CV that you want the reader to note without repeating too much information.

Fourth paragraph

  • This is for any other relevant information such as mitigating circumstances for poor academic results, or details of extra qualifications that are relevant to the job, e.g. languages.

 Final paragraph

  • Use this space to sign off and indicate your availability for interview.
  • Use ‘Yours sincerely’ where you have written to a named individual and ‘Yours faithfully’ if you have had to use ‘Sir/Madam’.

Unsure about teaching as a career? New scheme to try it out before applying

If you’ve thought about teaching, but you’re still not sure whether it’s for you, Try Teaching could be just what you’re looking for.

Try Teaching  gives you the opportunity to gain paid experience in a school before you decide whether or not you’d like to train as a teacher.

The idea is that you’d spend one or two terms as a paid intern completing graduate-level work whilst also completing a personal development programme. Your role could involve widening participation and outreach activities and working with under-represented pupils who are considering a university degree.

If you’re interested, you need to register via the Try Teaching website. If successful, you will then be matched with a school and undergo an interview.

After the internship, you can either decide to apply for teacher training and get lots of help with your application, or you can  receive guidance regarding alternative career paths if you decide teaching isn’t for you.

Interns can also expect to gain employability badges through Careercred.com, a CBI-approved scheme, which rewards the transferable skills you will have acquired during your placement.

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Exams looming? Already graduated? Either way, don’t forget Careers and Employability

Are you struggling to get started with job searches, wondering about internships or confused about your prospects? With the world of work beckoning, summer can feel like a difficult time. But it doesn’t need to be. Whatever your circumstances, we can help!

We’re open all summer and with fewer students on campus and more appointments available, summer is the perfect time to get help from Careers and Employability. Contact us and book a guidance appointment with one of our Career Consultants or come along to one of our drop-ins.

Whether it’s advice on interview technique or getting the experience to start out in your chosen field, we can help. If you’ve moved away from campus, don’t worry – we can offer help via Skype, email and telephone.

Some of the issues we’ve helped graduates with include:

“I’m still in the part-time job I started at uni but want to move forward with my career.”

“My current job seems a bit ‘dead-end’. I’ve got an interview for another job which offers a lower salary but seems to offer more potential.”

“I’m not getting interviews despite several applications.”

So, if you’re struggling to get to grips with job sectors or need help finding the right role, either call in if you’re around, or ring us on 01244 513066 (Chester) or 01925 534235 (Warrington).

Find out more: https://careers.chester.ac.uk/

Twitter: @chestercareers

Facebook: ChesterCareersblog 10th june