Created on 19 October 2022

Putting our money where our mouth is

It’s a sad reality that, with the ending of our funding, HeadsUp is going to stop taking referrals from the 14th of October. By the time you read this, we will very likely have enrolled our thousandth participant. In plain English, that means we will have supported one thousand people from Essex- including Southend and Thurrock- during the lifetime of our programme. One person for every 1,500 people in the entire county.

Teaching into action

One of our Development and Skills Officers had to make the difficult choice to look for a new job, so thought he’d put into practice what he’s been teaching others for several years. Having decided the sort of role he’d like to do he had to make sure his CV was suitable, displaying the most relevant skills and experience. Sometimes deciding what to leave out is as hard as deciding what to put in, but this is an essential bit of good discipline that also helps you to focus for the rest of the application.

Highlighting relevant skills

Having found a role and uploaded his CV, he then checked that all the relevant information had been extracted. The job he was applying for required a “personal statement” showing why he was suited for the role, so he followed a similar format to a cover letter. This meant highlighting how his relevant skills matched those required by the employer and backing this up with examples. He had to show why he was a “good fit”, and the ways in which he matched the values of the employer. Very often it is this step which is the most important in getting you through screening; and by doing a great job here you are also helping to prepare yourself for an interview.

With fingers crossed, the DSO sent off his application and was invited for an interview which was going to include a presentation- with just 48 hours’ notice. Having done his homework when applying initially, he was able to put together a presentation which both addressed the question asked and showed an understanding of the wider issues he would have to address if he was successful. He kept it simple, reading it through to make sure it met the time limit.

And then the interview!

The interview was to be held online. Prior to the interview, the DSO checked his equipment was working. As part of this, he used the camera function on his laptop to ensure that the lighting and background would be suitable for the interview: that he wasn’t in shadow, and that there were no distractions behind him. He then got into a suit, to show the interviewers that he was taking the meeting seriously.

As part of his interview preparation the DSO had reviewed the person specification and job description, looking for likely questions and working on STAR responses. He identified possible “threats” and worked out answers he could give on areas where he was not an expert. This gave him a bit of confidence going into the interview, and also helped him to manage his own expectations: at the end of the day, if someone ticked more boxes than him, then they would most likely be successful. He could only do his best.

The DSO logged in five minutes before the interview. He had the interviewer’s contact details to hand in case there were any connection problems but was able to sign in without an issue. After brief introductions he delivered the presentation before moving onto answering a range of questions. After what seemed like a very short hour the interview was over. He knew he’d given some good answers but wasn’t entirely convinced by others. Rather than dwell on the unknowable he resolved to get on with his day.

A successful outcome

Two days later (after periods of self-doubt!) he was informed that he’d been successful. This success came from following the same lessons DSOs share with participants- just another example showing that they work.


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