I’d really like that cpd23 certificate, so I need to get a move on and finish those last few pesky things (and, er, catch up with the ones I skipped over on the way!). I thought I was doing well, then things at work got really busy, and things for cpd23 slipped away…
For along time I kept every version of my CV, for the simple fact that it made it much easier the next time round to update (actually I do still have them, just been a few years since it was needed). I have an A4 ringbinder that contains versions of CVs, copies of certificates, and copies of job applications, so that I know I have all (or most) of the information I need at my fingertips (there are a few versions online too, so I can copy and paste that vital information). Its interesting how time progresses and those all important exams taken at school start to fade into the background, until they barely merit a mention, as so much has gone on since. Once I reached postgraduate qualifications, the fact that I got a distinction in my RSA level 1 typing (yes, Typing, not Wordprocessing or IT) didn’t seem so relevant anymore, and means I am quite happy to shut away the abysmal ‘o’ level French grade. It might be time to update that folder, and transfer more of the information online, and keep it updated with new achievements; much as I keep intending to update my continuing professional development folder at work!
I am currently happy and secure in my job (as much as anyone can be, and grateful for it), but there was a time a few years ago when I was keeping my eyes peeled and sending off applications, in order to find a more fulfilling role than the one I had at the time. In many respects I was lucky in that I eventually managed to get a better role in the institution I was already in.
Interviews are always a nightmare (for me), like taking exams your mind goes blank at the crucial points. One of the best interviews I had was for a job I knew I wouldn’t get – not that I didn’t think I was a perfectly good candidate for the job, its just that when I met the other candidates one of them had been the person who had trained me in that particular skill – well they were hardly going to pick me over him. So I totally relaxed and it almost became enjoyable (and yes he was the person who got the job). I also knew the people conducting the interview. If only I could apply those relaxation techniques at other interviews!
In the last 5 years or so I have become interested in European folk dancing,
more specifically French, Breton and Swedish; a quick think about this interest and the skills involved, has led me to a whole host of CV applicable strengths. The ability to learn new skills, to apply these skills in practice, and combine them with previous knowledge, to work by one-self, and with other people, teaching others new techniques, becoming the secretary for a local group, which organises monthly events and an annual festival (lots of organisational skills there!). I’m sure there are more things I could think of, but it makes my earlier interests of ‘reading’, and ‘walking’, and ‘art’ pale in comparison (not that there is anything wrong in any of those activities!). These days (as I’ve got older and done more things) I am far better equipped to fill in the CV/application form than when I first left University – as I would guess most people are.
I really like the blog post by the Real Wikiman on the key to a good interview that we were pointed to by the cpd23 blog. I think I’ve been fairly lazy in the past and not really got feedback, and although I think I’ve done preparation I probably haven’t really done enough, or nothing spectacular anyway. I’ve now sat in on two interviews on the other side of the desk (ie asking the questions!) and I think that will also help me next time I have to be interviewed. Going the extra mile when answering a question with ideas and suggestions, showing you don’t just know the theory, but want to put it into practice, bascially demonstrating that you are not just an average candidate, but someone who is that little bit special. (Although, not showing the panel that you are a bit of a nutcase, and know better than anyone interviewing you, also helps).
I’ve also been pipped to the posts in interviews,where I’ve come a close second, and sometimes it just happens that way (one job I even heard a few months later that they wish they had picked me as the other candidate didn’t actually match up to her intervew, and they knew I could have done the job a whole lot better; gratifying to know, but rather annoying too!).