E-guidance and templates
Photo: Jakob Boserup
It takes time to prepare an efficient CV. It is an on-going process and your CV has to evolve in line with your studies. It is worthwhile to put extra effort into preparing your CV, as an efficient CV will optimise your chances of landing an invitation to a job interview.
Three facts about your CV:
• Is usually read before the cover letter
• Takes an employer 30 seconds to review
• Must principally describe your accomplishments, not your future perspectives
There is no 'one size fits all' solution to constructing the perfect CV, but that does not mean that anything goes. Get off to a good start by using CBS' templates, but keep in mind to find your own style and let your CV reflect who you are.
The hardest part of making a CV is often describing your job assignments. It matters how you formulate your CV. Use action verbs when and where they are needed, but do not overuse them. Find inspiration for action verbs (pdf).
Always seek feedback
Always make sure to check the layout and the formulations before you send it. Check the spelling and grammar. You can also drop by CBS' open guidance, every Monday-Friday from 09.30-13.30 and get feedback from one of the career counsellors.
The purpose of the cover letter is to explain your motivation and qualifications and how they match the job, you are applying for. The cover letter should complement your CV and is how you sell yourself to the company.
Three facts about your cover letter:
• Is essential, but not always read by the employer (read an article about the topic)
• Must in principle be max. 1 page.
• Must be written with a perspective on the future
You must focus on the two following issues: write a catchy motivation and explain why you are qualified for the position. In other words – target your cover letter. How to get the right message across with a cover letter is up to the individual, but you can use CBS' templates and examples as inspiration.
Cover letter templates
Always seek feedback
Always make sure to check the layout and the formulations before you send it. Check the spelling and grammar. You can also drop by CBS' open guidance, every Monday-Friday from 09:30 - 13:30 and get feedback from one of the career counsellors.
Good news! You have been invited to an interview. Now you need to start preparing. It is common to underestimate the preparation part for an interview but most often it is time well spent to show up prepared.
JOB INTERVIEW PROCESSES
Company recruitment processes vary but below you can see the course of a typical recruitment process for a graduate position.
A job interview normally takes 30-60 minutes, with most of the time being spent on getting to know you as a person and your CV.
An interview often follows the structure illustrated below, so it is a good indication of what to prepare for.
Practice makes perfect - also in job interviews. Whether you get offered the job depends on how you perform, so be prepared! Below is a list to guide you in your preparation.
• Do your research on the company/industry → use the library database and other sources
• Do your research on the people who will interview you → it is okay to look people up on LinkedIn
• Become familiar with the job → read the job ad thoroughly
• Practise your answers → this is important!
• Prepare a few questions for the company → but no more than 3
• Think about what you wear → it is better to be overdressed than underdressed
• Know how to get there → it leaves a bad impression to be late
PREPARING FOR YOUR JOB INTERVIEW
• Be on time
• Bring the job ad, your CV, and cover letter - perhaps a pen and notepad
• Shake hands and look everyone in the eye
• Small talk on your way to the interview room
• Answer every question properly
• If you do not understand the question, ask them to rephrase it
• Make sure that you say everything you have prepared, if relevant
• Do not criticise former employers
• Think about the impression you wish to make
PERSONALITY AND ABILITY TESTS
Psychometric testing is a structured collection of knowledge about a person’s capabilities, behaviour, and preferences. Most large companies use psychometric tests as part of their recruitment process and the most common are personality and ability tests. You will typically be introduced to tests in the second interview round.
Before you take a personality or ability test it is good to have some basic knowledge about the different types of tests, what you can expect, and if and how you can prepare.
Personality tests come in many different forms from a range of test providers. You cannot prepare for a personality test as there are no correct or incorrect answers in these types of tests. When you take a personality test it is important that you do not overthink your answers or freak out about giving contradictory answers. You will get the most rightful picture by following the test instructions and answer the questions swift and honestly.
Ability tests are used to test a specific ability e.g. numeracy and verbal skills. The tests are usually timed and you will be under a tight time schedule to finish all the questions. It is important to prepare for this type of test and it is particularly recommended to practise for the numerical parts where most students are weakest.
Practice for numerical tests:
• Percentage calculations
• Multiply and divide
• Number sequences
• Volume and distance calculations
• Index calculations
How to prepare
Studies show that you can improve your test score if you practise for ability tests. Do not expect a tiger leap, as your performance is related to your IQ. However with proper practice you should be able to improve from average to above average, which is the acceptable minimum for most employers.
What are you good at? What gives you energy? How do you convince a potential employer that you are a good fit for the company?
Being aware of your skills is crucial if you want to get off to a positive start in your search for a job. If you give a vague presentation of your skills, they may also seem vague to a potential employer. As the job hunting graduate, you must convince the employer of how you create value for the company.
So before you begin your job search, we recommend that you map your skills. This exercise will give you an indication of where to focus your job search and what to emphasise when presenting yourself to an employer. Knowing what you are able to and what you are good at will also boost your self-confidence.
ACADEMIC SKILLS: WHAT DO YOU BRING FROM YOUR STUDIES?
As a university student you have many years of schooling under your belt. Through your education, you have acquired a number of general skills. You bring these skills with you, whether you are good at them or not. Depending on your studies, you will also have obtained specific professional skills, for instance valuation, market analysis, etc.
A company hires academics because of the skills that students and recent graduates bring. So you already bring the qualifications that are required by an employer.
Below is a list of general academic skills for you to get inspired from, in case you are uncertain about what skills you have acquired through your studies. The list is not exhaustive so use it as an inspiration. You should also add your own specific examples.
List of academic skills:
• Structuring - one piece at the time, logic
• Project organisation and management, composition of teams
• Surveys and design - interview, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, text voting (sms)
• Comparison of big data - analysis, filtration, selection, dissemination
• Evaluation - qualitative and quantitative methods
• Creation of complex models - graphic illustrations
• Innovation, methods, brainstorming, illustration of ideas
• Cultural understanding, industries, environments, regions, countries
• Group insight, insight into own preferences and abilities, division of roles: Rooter, having overview, starter, finisher, social talent, optimist
Source: CA A-kasse
PROFESSIONAL SKILLS: WHICH SKILLS DO YOU BRING FROM JOBS, VOLUNTEER WORK, ETC.?
Besides the professional skills you have built through your education, other experience has also given you professional skills.
In the effort of identifying these, think about the tasks you have carried out. What did it take to solve them? With which tasks have you been particularly successful? In this way, you will discover your main academic strengths, which is exactly what you need in your job search.
Below is a list of business-related skills and competences for your inspiration:
• Project management/coordination
• Written communication/dissemination
• Customer service/sales
• Campaign planning
PERSONALITY TRAITS: WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL QUALITIES?
In terms of skills and competences it is also relevant to find your personal qualities. We all possess a personality with some characteristics being more prominent than others. In a professional context, your personality is expressed through the way you work. It is therefore important that you are aware of your personal competences, as an employer is going to place emphasis on the right personal qualities for the job in question.
For instance, a team-oriented and service-minded person will not thrive in the long run with filing cases, alone in the basement, as he or she will need human contact.
You will most often recognise your preferences as your largest strengths. When you apply for a job, you have to focus on your strengths in particular, but it is also important to the employer that you are aware of your development areas.
3 good reasons to map your skills:
• You have a guideline for which jobs are relevant for you
• You can create a more focused and relevant CV and cover letter
• You are more capable of presenting yourself at the job interview - since you know what you are worth
SKILLS OR COMPETENCES?
When talking about skills, it is difficult not to talk about competences, as we often tend to use the concepts interchangeably - especially in Danish. But what is the difference between skills and competences?
Skills are an expression of what you are able to, whereas competences are about your ability to translate your knowledge and skills into practice.
When searching for jobs, an employer would typically ask you to give an account of your competences, so when you have mapped your skills, the next step is to translate your knowledge and skills to actual competences.
Having a skill means what a person can do or accomplish. A skill can be both practical, cognitive, creative, or communicative.
Competence is about responsibility and autonomy and is the ability to apply knowledge and skills in a work situation or in a study-related context.
In terms of networking and career, LinkedIn has become popular in the business community.
LinkedIn is a professional network. You can search for jobs, establish relations, participate in and create professional groups. Don't forget that your profile is your professional business card. On LinkedIn you can share your knowledge and systematise your continuously expanding network. Job search reaches a whole other dimension with LinkedIn, and it is a perfect tool for your exposure. For recruitment consultants and head hunters, LinkedIn is one of the most important tools when searching for qualified candidates.
It is a commonly used platform for job search and recruitment, which is why you as a recent graduate should have a LinkedIn profile.
Here are 10 tips on how to build a top-level profile on LinkedIn.
1. Complete your profile
Make sure that your profile is as complete as possible in terms of education and professional experience. Make short descriptions of your tasks and achievements. Substantiate the information with videos, links to your homepage, etc. Describe your education and career until the present in the "Summary" field. Focus on qualifications, ambition and motivation. State at least 5 relevant competences in the field "Skills & Expertise". Your profile will appear as 100% complete, which enhances your exposure.
2. A professional profile picture
Choose a picture that looks professional. The background must be neutral, i.e. no closets, paintings, etc. in the background.
3. A telling headline
LinkedIn will automatically choose a "Professional headline" with a job title and name of employer, but customise your headline to give it far more impact. Write a one-line appetiser that sums up your qualifications. Include relevant search words. In this way, you will rank higher in the search results when recruiters are looking for certain titles or competences
4. Use the right key words
Spice up your profile with key words as many places as possible. Place your key words and titles different places in your profile, e.g. in the headline, summary, expertise, skills, etc.
5. Create your profile in several languages
You can create a profile in two languages, for instance Danish and English. You will obtain the highest exposure by creating your profile in many languages.
6. Establish a network
LinkedIn makes it much easier to keep track of your network and to stay in touch. You can also see when your connections change jobs. Expand your network by inviting your current and former colleagues, fellow students, and people from other academic activities.
7. Join groups that represent your industry
If you wish to get in touch with people from your industry, LinkedIn is a good opportunity to do so. There are numerous exciting and active academic groups on LinkedIn where you can contribute your knowledge, but also ask questions. A lot of the people on LinkedIn are part of the business community, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to expand your network and brand yourself within your field.
8. Add more features
Click “Add sections” under “Edit profile” and add different qualifications, publications, and files which underpin your language proficiencies, your CV, recommendations, etc. In addition to that, there are plenty of other things you can do.
9. Links and URL
Are you on Twitter or do you have a blog? Create links under "Edit profile". It is important that you describe the links and refrain from the standard descriptions. You can also customise the URL to your LinkedIn profile. Usually this URL consists of an illogical sequence of numbers and letters. Delete the unnecessary and make your name appear from the URL.
Recommendations help provide a nuanced picture of you. So ask your former bosses if they want to recommend you on LinkedIn. Current and former colleagues, clients, and suppliers are also relevant in terms of recommendations. The recommendations make your profile more credible.