Author Topic: "Please give me a job in the UK"  (Read 26782 times)

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Offline GrahamE

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"Please give me a job in the UK"
« on: January 15, 2005, 08:58:27 AM »
More people want to live and work in the UK than the country can support; that's a political statement that you and I may or may not agree with, but it's government policy and is a commonly shared and accepted view by those people already here.  Therefore, if you're a native and citizen of the USA (that's an example, because I'm writing this to post on UK Yankee) you can't simply book a flight to the UK, enter the country, walk into a job, and live happily ever after.

I'm British - lived in the UK all my life.  Been a manager iat a company looking after 3 or 4 staff, including reviewing resumes, deciding who to call for interview and hire. Seen an application from an American fail because of paperwork problems (and my boss really wanted her).  I've now been "my own boss" for a while and hired - now up to payroll number 5 of which 3 including myself are still here. Very low staff turnover, successful little business. Why am I telling you this? Because I see, quite often, posts here that ask getting a job in the UK / what to say / what employers look for / how to write a resume, and I think I'm one of a minority here who has been at the other side of the interview table in England and can see how you application may look from there.  I'm going to share some of my thoughts which may help you ... whether you're presently in the USA and looking to make a move, or if you're already in the UK (perhaps having married a British Citizen) and need employment ...

Hot Tip At all stages, trying putting yourself in the shoes of the person who's going to be hiring you, and consider who you can provide what that person's looking for.

What's a good employeri/interviewer asking him/herself?
"Can I take on this person legally?" and
"how well is this person going to do their job?" and
"how well is this person going to fit it with colleagues and customers?" and
"am I going to enjoy working with this person?" and
"how much attention / management will they need?" and
"what's the initial cost / effort of taking them on?" and
"how long are they likely to stay?" and
"why do they want to work for us?" and
"how well is this person going to develop as the company and role develops?" and
"if this person doesn't work out, will I get blamed for taking a risky decision?" and
"will this peson be a threat to me?"

In summary ... what makes this person "tick" and how will they "fit in". 

So far, this post looks like a general lecture (sorry about that) on job applications; let me go through each of the points noted above and put an "international slant" on it.  Opinions and views expressed are not necessarily mine, nor are they necessarily the norm - but they ARE things you may come across.

Can I take on this person legally?

If you're a UK citizen, in general you can be taken on legally (there may be excpetions if you don't come up "clean" on a child protection register search) and there's no need to explain this to an interviewer.  If you're applying from outside the UK, state you're a UK citizen (if you're dual, I'm open minded as to whether you should simply say "UK" or mention both).

If you're a European citizen, state it and add a term such as "which makes me eligable for employment without restriction in the UK" or words to that effect; most employers will know that anyway, but it confirms you've done your research and are serious and also it shows that you've thought about what the employer will be thinking / asking / needing to know

If you don't hold any European Citizenship, in my view it's best to mention this in your initial application and also to state how or why you would be entitled to work in the UK. (examples - I'm a student and can work up to 20 hours a week for 2 years OR I'm married to a Brit and can work without restriction OR I'm the original author of the Dimond programming language and you won't find anyone else in the EU qualified to get me this job, so you'll be able to help me get a work visa OR I'm South African and have just finished my degree, so I can work for up to two years in the UK on a Visa I am currently applying for.)

how long are they likely to stay?

If someone who lives locally and is British applies to me for a job, I can somwehat work this one out.  In theory, I'm not supposed to ask a newly married woman about her plans to start a family, but in theory I have to look for the best person for the job as the job is now, and will be in the future if I'm looking at a long term hire.  An application that says "newly married - planning to start a family and go part time in 2 to 3 years" is refreshingly honest, and helps a potential employer know where he stands.

For a non-local applicant, there's a whole extra set of issues.  Someone who's moving and taking up a job is statistically more likely to move again. Half of an international couple settling in one partner's home town may move back to the other partner's origin. Someone who's moving into an area without connections is a bigger risk; "I'm moving to Liverpool because I fancy a change" raises the question "and when will you next fancy a change?".

If you're applying for a long term job from "away" explain why you'll be in the area for a long time to come. If you're looking at a short term / casual type job, explain how your plans fit in with what the employer needs (examples "My husband Rupert and I will be living in Paisley permanently.  I've grown to love Glasgow during our 5 year courtship, and his children (Sally, 12 and Jimmy, 10) call me 'Mum'" OR "I'm studying at Grimsby College for the next 3 years, on their unique and exciting fish farming course")

How well is this person going to fit it with customers?

If you're going to be "customer facing" at all, this is a "biggie".  It's enormous.

In the business that I'm in, it's an asset to have someone answering the phone who's clearly NOT from the immediate area of the country in which we work; it says to the caller "you're speaking with someone who has some life experiences and knows a little bit about what he / she is doing". But at the same time, it's vital that the person answering the phone understands the caller as well as anyone else would, and can be understood by the caller too.  That's at both the level of the language, and at the level of the implications of the language, and at the level of understanding how things are done here - especially in areas that concern the business you're working for. 

To give you an idea ... yesterday, we had three staff, and two contractors working for us all day. We had seven customers on site from 8:45 to 17:15, and we had another contractor and various deliveries / pickups too - in addition to phone calls and emails.  Issues that came up included the provision of running water and a private room for Friday prayers, health and safety issues with a contractor's cable running across a walkway, serving and clearing of lunch, ensuring everyone has coffee when they want it (there are 15 empty mugs this morning), giving telephone and internet access to our customers, querying a plastic pipe where the listed building people wanted, we understood, aluminium. Of the three staff, I happened to be the only "Brit"; the other two needed to be able to pick up these issues / deal with them as necessary, or if they're as yet unfamiliar with some of the aspects they really have to know enough to ask or refer.  Don't panic, though, dear American reader - we're an extreme in this aspect, and we've got team a team that's exceptional in the extreme.

Where am I headed? You need to show that you'll understand customers and that they will be accepting of you. You might feel that the second point there is unfair if you're going to do your job well; perhaps you're right in feeling that, but it's a fact of life.  I couldn't employ an excellent staff member if he / she was going to loose business because he / she wasn't liked by customers. Not a big issue, thank goodness, with us ... but let's say that someone who comes across as a "brash American" joins a security service that follows a policy of "work with our community" ...

So how are you going to show how you'll fit in at application and interview time?  By using terms that are "English English" rather than "American English". By showing an understanding of the British system and applying though and working with it in your application.  Yes, that probably does mean completing "Catholic or Protestant" questions in Northern Ireland, with a smile of understanding that the question had to be asked. By saying "England" when you mean "England", and "Britain" when you mean "Britain".  By saying many of ....
Personnell rather than Human Resources
employ me rather than hire me
holiday rather than leave
CV rather than resume
Christian Name rather than Forename
Motorway rather than highway or freeway
Police Force rather than Police Department

I started writing this post a couple of hours back.  Since I started, darkness has turned to light, the cat has gone out, and Lisa has built 4 bookshelves.  It was originally inteded to help give some food for thought - especially for newcomers - taken from the viewpoint of a British Employer, but it seems to be turning more into a "manual of job application", and it may be preaching to an unhealthy extent. I'm quite happy to write on over the next few days if you would like me to; on the other hand, if the moderators feel I've gone totally AWOL from my senses this time, please delete the post!

If I carry on, I intended to continue to look through the things an employer looks for, then to look at the stages:
Initial Approaches
Resumes
Interviews
Follow Ups
-- Graham
Well House Consultants - Open Source training
Well House Manor - Hotel in Melksham, Wiltshire

Offline jim fat

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2005, 04:13:50 PM »
Excellent post! Very, very useful--thank you.
ouchy

Offline crabbit.expat

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2005, 09:48:15 PM »
Yes, very helpful Graham!  Thanks for the insight.  I'm still working on converting my resume to a CV - any helpful hints there?  I'm willing to take into consideration any and all advice...
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Offline GrahamE

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2005, 07:17:06 AM »
Carrying on where I left off yesterday.  Thank you for your encouraging comments and looking back it didn't seem too preachy.  Let me see - I was going through the issues of what employers are looking for in potential new staff.   Then I was going to go on to look at the application of these (e.g. good CVs).  All from the andle of a person of American origin looking to work in the UK.

A potential employer will think ...

How much attention / management will they need?

Before he retired, my Dad was the manager of a department with around 100 employees and swears that he spent most of his time looking after staff issues; his office needed a large staff of trustworthy operators to do repetitive tasks day in, day out in central London - not an easy type to find, even in those days.  In previous employments, I've taken over a staff member who would do a lot of hard work then (routinely) not actually post it out to the customer, and another who stayed in the office late every evening to play computer games ... which turned out to be to avoid the crying of the new baby as home.  His wife came in one day and verbally attacked me for keeping her husband at work all hours!

A staff member who manages him/herself is worth his/her weight in gold.  Show what an excellent job you've made of moving from the USA to the UK and planning everything so that others (including your future employer) have little to do, and you'll also be showing that you'll be largely self-managing.

You may also get the opportunity to show how practical and flexible you are - how you solved problems with minimum fuss to get the results you wanted. I don't want staff who are going to uphold all the rules they're entitled to for no practical reason.  Example from an employee taken on very recently; I know that I should provide a max / min thermomemeter in our office so that my staff can walk out on full pay if the temperature is below a certain figure 30 minutes after starting. New employee, new room in use as an office.  Employee happy to turn on gas fire if she feels a bit chilly.

About 18 months ago, I did a week's work in Germany for the US Army. Got onto base easily the first day, but the second day was a nightmare; I got to the gatehouse at about 08:30 and I wasn't able to start training (my job there) until after 11 ... during which time I had been here, there, and everywhere, including inside the Military Police's detention building (not actually in a cell it has to be said, but in the cell block!).  Why?  Because one of my hosts had failed to complete the right form, and the gate guard wasn't allowed to call him up on the internal phone system to get him to come down and sort it out. 

On one hand (as per the example just given) Americans have a bit of a name for saying "rules is rules" in some quarters and this can cost the other party involved dear. But on the other hand, they have a reputation for getting things done. Show that you're someone to get things done, and not someone who stands on rules just for the sake of it.

What's the initial cost / effort of taking them on?

They say it costs an employer twice what he pays someone to employ them.  In other words, if I were to pay you 10000 pounds a year, I would actually see an outflow from the business of 20000 pounds.  That includes my NI contribution on your behalf, hiring office space for you, uniform, management and admin costs, (and in our case a good free supply of tea, coffee and soft drinks ;-) ). There will also an initial extra cost, at a time when the new employee isn't yet productive and fully efficient. I've see it stated that a typical first year costs the employer THREE times salary.  Let's see ... desk and computer to buy ... training to be done ... all of these things are unavoidable. There are other initial expenses that a potential employer will be looking to minimise through his choice of candidate.

I've read "should I apply from the USA?".  Maybe, but If you're not currently resident within commuting distance of your potential job, it's a good idea to indicate that you're planning to move to anyway, rather than to suggest to a potential employer that he'll have to help with a move you wouldn't otherwise be making. It's probably also a good idea to be "seen" around in the area - to be available for interview, know about housing and roughly where you would live, etc. Be aware that a house (and country and school system) move in addition to a job move can, potentially, make you a slow starter in your new role.

Another issue under the "initial cost and effort" headline is that or local qualifications - anything from having your UK driving license if you're required to drive in the job through to having acceptable trade qualifications in the UK.  That last issue varies, I understand, from industry to industry; a airline pilot's qualification might be transferable whereas a gas fitter's probably isn't (how many USA gas fitters are CORGI regsitered?).  It's in your interest to research any certificated and qualifications you'll need to update or retake, also to start that process "on your own bat" - e.g. get your UK driving license early and also to provide your potential employer with information about how your USA qualifications compare and can be translated into UK ones.

Am I going to enjoy working with this person? and
How well is this person going to fit it with colleagues?

Politics. Personallity. Comfort. Dress. Distraction.

I'll never forget a sales call I made on an engineering company in Manchester a couple of decades ago.  Mostly male employees, with a few female secretarial staff for whom the standard dress appeared to be lacey blouses over revealing bras.  I think I would have been distracted working there, and I certainly felt uncomfortable during my call - I didn't know where to look.  For interview - typically smart suit or dress, perhaps dressing down a little if you're going for a blue collar rather than a white collar position.  Cleanlyness vital; no BO, no bad breath, no smell of alcohol, and (please) not over-perfumed / over made-up. Why am I mentioning it here? Because the norm for the locality you're in may not be quite the same as the norm for "back home" ... and "back home" is a dreadful term to use as it implies you're not permanent

For 30 years, I've worked in companies with an international angle and strong USA influence.  The field that we work in has a heavy influence from "the States", and many of our customers are not native Brits.  Thus, here, Americans (and South Africans and Irish and French and Swedes ....) can fit in well. That won't always be the case; there are work places where everyone went to school with everyone else, the boss is your childhood friend's parent and you never even see a customer. I'm at a bit of a loss to advise as to how to best approach applying to such a place for a job - if the existing staff don't see you as a threat you may be welcomed (but do not go in there saying "I can bring you up to date with the real world".  Accept that they have their ways and it might take a long while to be accepted as a member of the team.

Can I tell a story "out of class" here?   When Lisa moved to England in 1998, she joined me in a village where I had lived for a number of years and I was still an outsider to some extent.  You had to live there at least 30 years to be accepted fully, and the village fathers talked about how things were when they built the village hall with their own labour in 1956.  We wanted to work from home, and the place was a bit small so we moved - less that 10 miles - to the little town of Melksham where we're now located.  What a contrast; a cheery "hello" from the folks walking their scotties outside our gate yesterday as I brought the bins in, and truely helpful service from a shop keeper I had never seen before when I was in with a friend buying a washing machine connector for a few pence.   You'll find other contrasting areas too - residential suburbs where no-one knows anyone, and areas that are shaped by the religious influences of the inhabitants ranging from some inner city areas through to some remote Scottish villages where you'll be "beyond the pale" if you don't respect the sabbath.   Where am I headed?  Places of work vary like this too - some you'll find comfortable and others not. Be your own personality when applying - it may mean that you're rejected by some companies when you might have been able to pretend and get a job, but there's lots of other styles and there should be one that suits you better

Will this person be a threat to me?

Do you know too much for the job you're applying for?  You may fail to get it if you're overqualified; the interviewer / CV reviewer with think "how long will they stay" and "will they try to re-organise us" and "will they be happy to convert to our way of doing it" and "will they want my job / get promoted ahead of me"

There's a tendency for newcomers from outside the UK to start of by saying "I'll start by taking a job - ANY job" to get on the ladder early; sometimes it works if you're clear that you're taking job such as waiting on tables, but sometimes it can result in a lot of rejected applications. If applying for a job that's below your qualifications, clearly indicate why / what your intents are in a way that doesn't threaten the person looking at your application.

if this person doesn't work out, will I get blamed for taking a risky decision?

"Noone every got fired for specifying Microsoft products".  So no-one is going to blame a weak staff selector for choosing local talent.  Alas, your weak staff selector may be very reluctant to consider anything out of the ordinary.  Two pieces of good news ... firstly, non-UK staffing has become much more common these days and it isn't quite so out of the ordinary ... and secondly, if a staff selector DOES choose you, then boy oh boy is he/she going to want you to do well; his / her reputation may be greatly influenced if your special case goes well or badly.

No specific advise here ... except that you might want to "sell" your unusual positives. And remember that most people do, indeed, use Microsoft products, but there's a very healthy Open Source world out there too. This post is NOT using any of Mr Gates' products!

why do they want to work for us?

The person you're applying to will be very curious about this one.   Perhaps they don't really care "why", but by knowing it will answer so many other questions for them and give them an idea as to how you would fit in, how long you'll be there, whether you'll be looking to take over, whether you'll be high maintenance.

So - just WHY is a 26 year old woman, born and bred in Buffalo ("where on earth is that??") and currently living in the Bay Area ("Isn't that in California?") looking for a job in Melksham, Wiltshire, England?  A question I might well ask.  Look at each of these snippets that might form parts of answers, and consider which an employer might like to hear.  Of course, some would be good for some positions (oops - I mean "jobs") and bad for others.

"I'm fed up with life in the States and want a change"
"I'll be living just up the road in Chippenham - arriving this Autumn - with my husband who'll be working at the Westinghouse"
"I admire your company and what it does, especially how you xxxxxxxxxxx"
"I'm looking for someone who'll give me a way to get to England"
"I've been looking for a long time but haven't been able to find any other job"
"I enjoy doing xxxxx" (where "xxxx" is the job role) "and this job would let me do something I enjoy for a lot more of my time"
"Your job would let me stay in the UK for another [time period] after which I could apply to stay permanently"
"In another country, I'll be a long way from my ex, who's a control freak"
"I need the money"
"My doctor tells me that the British climate would be good for me"
"I've got a degree in staff management and it looks like you need me to come and show you how to do it"

Whilst any resemblance to actual people is co-incidental, you would be suprised just how many of these I've heard, or have turned out to be closer to the truth than I might have wished!

How well is this person going to do their job? and
How well is this person going to develop as the company and role develops?

Ah yes.  Last in my list, but not least; perhaps, though, combinations of some of the other answers earlier in this post and in yesterday's. Very much influenced by what the job and company actually is.

Thanks for reading thus far.  Think I'm hitting the post size limit here, so I'll pause for the day
-- Graham
Well House Consultants - Open Source training
Well House Manor - Hotel in Melksham, Wiltshire

Offline GrahamE

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CVs / Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2005, 05:49:51 PM »
How should I apply? or Changing from a Resume to a CV

If you want to be considered for a job, you need to ask. "Choose me, choose me" nagged the donkey in Shrek and being a friendly Ogre who really wasn't looking to choose part of a triangle to later include Fiona, the Ogre sort of did. But, let's face it, when applying for a job in real life you won't be sucessful if you simply invade the personal space of the employer in this brash way.  If there's a job to be had, you'll probably be competing with others for it ... and if there's a job to be had, it's a very serious decision for the employer and he won't simply pick the loudest and most persistant shouter.

Whether you approach a company "cold" not knowing whether they have a current vacancy, or apply for a job that's advertised, they'll usually expect you to apply by post; exceptions may be telesales jobs where a pushy phone call to them may help establish that you can make pushy calls to their potential clients, and high tech company / job applications that may be acceptable by email.  Cold applications be email need to be exceptional to get noticed; you wouldn't believe how many "I wanna job"s I get from our mail server, but I'll tend to notice something that arrives in the post.  And with a posted application YOU can control the quality of print, the colour (colour is spent with a "u" for UK applications!) and the paper.

So - what should go in your posted application. Usually:
a) Your CV - that's your "Curriculum Vitae" - the English (or Latin?) word for a Resume
b) A cover letter
Also read very carefully indeed any advert / data provided if you're applying for an advertised job, and any company application policy statements you can find if you're applying "cold" and follow them to the letter.  This may mean adding in references, applying on their form rather that via a CV, or even handwriting the application.

I guess that the best way to illustrate would be for me to present you with my CV and tell you why it's good.  Ah, but a CV should be tailored to present what's needed for the particular role you're seeking and not duplicated off in 0s or even 00s, and I haven't had to apply for a regular job since 1991 when I walked onto a boot at a trade show (or in English, onto a "stand" at an "exhibition") and asked the guy there "Have you a job for a trainer?".  He had, he hired me, and the rest is history.  And so, with that proviso, here's a link to my most recent CV which was written to support my application to present a one week long training course rather than for full time employment. Link to Graham's CV as a .pdf file

Your CV

Design you CV as well as you possibly can, and present it on an A4 sheet of high quality white (or very near white paper). A4 is 297mm x 210mm. The nearest American size will be an immediate TURN OFF to anyone in the UK (UK branches of USA companies run by USA staff excepted) who receives it.  Wrong paper size means you don't know the customs of the country you're applying to, and are liable to need a lot of (re)training.

Lay out should be clear, pertinant information typically presented in tabular form rather than as a long essay - though longer paragraphs may follow the initial information.

Code: [Select]
Graham John Ellis

Personal Details
        Date of Birth - 16th July 1954
        British
        Full driving license holder
        Married, three (grown up) children
        Hobbies include skiing and cooking
        I'm also treasurer of the local Village Hall

Education
        Eight O levels
        Four A levels (Maths, further Maths, Chemistry, Biology)
        BSc (Hons) Computer Science, City University, 1976
        Details of appropriate vocational courses

What's notable about this for applicants who are not native to the area?

* Add a note of your gender if it's not blindingly obvious from your name and/or any picture printed on the CV
* Date of Birth in British format please, and NOT 12/27/1979
* If not British, state how / why you can work in the UK
* Driving license usually important. Slight expansion of your answer may be required if you're not yet here / haven't taken your test. (e.g. currently driving on license from Maine, USA; UK test to be taken on 25th February and I expect no break in being able to drive on my own on UK roads)
* Also mention other not-quite-educational qualifications that might be relevant either here or later. e.g. First Aider, Life Guard
* The "married with children" is important in setting up some background as to who you are. (and keep it in proper English - "Children" and NOT "kids"). Give their ages if they're under 18.  ("Three children, aged 15, 12 and 18 months"). It's also a great point for the interviewer to start with ("goodness - that's a big gap between the second and third") when you get to that base.
* You may wonder about hobbies and other interests; this gives a good insight into the person, discussion point for interview, and should show that the
applicant is not a work bore.  I want to employ someone who's dedicated, for sure, but I want someone who's interesting too.  Be careful not to suggest activities which will interfere with your work.  "I'm the American 20m tiddlywink champion" would have me, as application reviewer, wondering how long you would want to be away each year and how it would affect your employment.

* As I write this, I'm thinking "disabilities".  I might add "fit and health" to my own CV; if you're (say) in a wheelchair this might be a good place to note it.
* I would not mention religion at this point for an application in Scotland / Wales / England. For Northern Ireland, I might get it "out the way" here.

On education ...

* It's traditional to state briefly how you got on in your school exams (O levels, or now GCSEs) at age 16, and your A levels at age 18, even if you went on to University.  Not from the UK?  Then mention your formal schooling qualifications at appropriate ages and draw a brief comparison to the UK standard if at all possible. Again, you're showing your study and knowledge of the British system even if these old qualifications are so old as to be irrelevant.
* Degrees to be stated as shown; if you went on to Masters and / or PhD, show those of course, listing subject and institution.
* Vocational course to list?  Could be a tricky one.  Clearly if you're looking to be an airline pilot it will be clear what you should show.  If I'm looking for
a customer facing role, I would tend to list my sales training ... for a programming role, programming and language courses.  Where something is a trade qualification, describe how it compares to the UK equivalent.
* For a "controlled" profession where you need a certain qualification to practise, state how your overseas qualification stands in the UK.  For example, "I am in the process of converting my USA electrician's license to a UK certificate as required under UK law from 1st January 2005"

After the initial tables of information, I'm going to suggest that you go on to describe the role you're looking for, and why and when you'll be available. For example:

Code: [Select]
I'm moving to Chippenham in March, with my husband. He's taking up a job with xxxxxxxx.
Although I enjoy my current job with Dairy King in Sacremento, USA, I'll have to give that
up when I move and I'll be seeking employment in an Ice Cream Parlour such as yours in
Bath.  Ideally, I would like to start a few weeks after we arrive to give me a chance
to support Rupert as he settles in, and to sort out our children's schooling.  I understand
that the Ice cream business is quiet in the UK until the main tourist traffic arrives in
early May, so I'm sure my timing will suit you.

The major part of the CV is going to be your employment history (unless you're just out of college);  there's big arguments as to whether everything should be listed or whether you can summarise the older and perhaps less relevant stuff.  Also argument as to whether it should be "latest first" or "earliest first".  You'll see that in my example, I elected to go for an employemt summary, followed by "current" ... but then, for me current is the last 10 years.

Pick our major projects, areas of responsibility (including staff management, budgetary responsibility). Be positive (but not sickeningly so) at all times and be very careful how you explain departures.  "As the market changed, the company centralised technical support in San Diego and my position in Basingstoke was no longer required" would explain my departure from Megatek in 1991.  What I really want to say was "my boss fought a political battle with the bosses in San Diego and lost, so they clipped his wings by taking away the technical team that I headed".

To be continued
-- Graham
Well House Consultants - Open Source training
Well House Manor - Hotel in Melksham, Wiltshire

Offline GrahamE

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2005, 07:27:39 PM »
Other subjects for CV ...

Your CV must contain your contact details.  Which?  Where should they go?

Postal Address - Vital.

An application from a UK address will be taken much more seriously than an application from a USA address; for an out of area address, confirm your ability to attend interview?   The use of two addresses complicates things.  "9305 Pismo Avenue, Atascadero, CA 93422, USA until 15th April,  54 New Road, Chippenham, Wiltshire, England, SN15 1ES  from 18th April" doesn't make it easy.  If you've got a helpful relative already in the area, it may be better to add "correspondence can be sent at any date (marked for my attention) c/o Phyllis Harris, 35 Queen's Crescent, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 0NG from where it will be forwarded promptly". UK addresses should always include the postcode.

Email address - an excellent idea unless you happen to be "redhotmomma@hotmail.com", which may give the wrong impression.  (If you are "redhotmomma" then - (a) please call me, I want to meet you ;) and (b) register a different address for your job applications).

Phone numbers - strongly recommended if you have UK numbers where you can easily be reached.  Remember that potential employers are unlikely to leave phone messages due to the privacy laws and not knowing who will hear the message, and may not be keen on calling overseas / with a time difference. Phone numbers should always include the dialling code, a space, and the main number.  Mine should read 01225 708225 (and, yes, I know it's styled slightly differently on my CV).

Mobile phone number.  Difficult one; if it's the only phone number you can be reliably reached on, go ahead, but just bear in mind that a potential employer may catch you while you're shouting at the kids in Tesco to remind them that they CANNOT have more crisps, and then the store announcement system will advertise special deals on crumpets while you're setting up an interview.

Web Site address.  Well - I do, but you should only include your web address if (a) You're applying for a techncial job and (b) Your website is impressive and (c) your web site has much more on it that pictures of the kids and a copy of your CV that you've posted anyway.

Picture?.  I'm inclined to say "Yes, if it's of high quality and printed onto the page, but NOT if it's stuck on or paper clipped". This is not a beauty contest; I've met a lot of members of UK Yankee in real life, and without exception a good picture could be taken of them. I'm pretty darned ugly, but you can't tell that from my CV picture.

Special effects. Please - no scent on the paper, no flowerly leaves running through the background.  If you're going to email the CV (against my general advise, but there are times), no musical background unless you're looking for the job of cello player with an orchestra.

References or testimonials?. As I understand it, a reference is where you give the address of a referee - either for personal or work - for the prospective employer to contact, and a testimonial is a something that's already been written by such a referee that you can submit with your application.  I'm personally wary of testimonials - it's amazing what you can do with a good graphics package these days, and they can be selected carefully for presentation by the applicant. References are useful on occasions, but there might be an issue at having to check references worldwide. If you're just arriving in the UK, how about "References are available from my most recent employers in the USA; I have permission to give out their email addresses at an appropriate time, but do need to write to them tolet them know who they may hear from in each case".

How long should the CV be? a LOT SHORTER THAN THIS POST!!! Two sides of A4, or even just one side.  Only go longer in exceptional circumstances - for example, if you're applying to be a copywriter and the job advert asks for samples of your work.

And to accompany your CV ...

Cover letter

A4 paper, to match your CV.

Your address.
Phone number if you're using one.
Email address if you're using one.
Address of the prospective employer - address it to a named individual and give a job title if at all possible.
Date (UK style)

Code: [Select]
Dear Mr Jones, .....

                ref: Your advert for a Phesant Plucker in the Wiltshire Times of 16th January

I am writing to apply for the job of ....

I would be good for you and your company (explanation in about 30 words).

Although I currently live in Ohio, USA, I'm moving to the UK (keep it short but explain in a
positive way the unusual aspects of your application).

I'll be moving to Chippenham and available for interview as from 16th April, and to start
work on or after 16th May.

Many thanks for your attention to this application. I look forward to hearing from you in
due course, and hopefully to meeting you and working for your company later this year.

Yours sincerely,

-- (sign here) --

(Millicent A Jobseeker)

Hindsight is marvellous - in the previous installment, I should have suggested that you add "known as" after your name if appropriate.
Millicent (known as Millie) Andrea Jobseeker

Neatly paperclip letter onto CV

Envelope

Matching stationary.

C4 or DL; Lisa and I have differing views, so it's probably not important.  If using DL, fold the letter and CV neatly three ways.

Hand write address, and mark it "for the attention of" .... for example

Sutton Benger Chickens,
Home Farm,
Sutton Benger,
near Chippenham,
Wiltshire SN15 5ET

Attn: John Jones Esq, Recruitment Section


Been a bit of "labour of love" has this post ... may have gotten a bit bitty towards the end but I wanted to complete the picture. Please note that much of it is just my view and others may not agree ... but then I have "been there, done that" from the staff selection and interviewing side of the table in the UK, and at the least it should give you some food for thought
-- Graham
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Offline Wishstar

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2005, 07:59:02 PM »
Graham, thanks so much for this post.  Great stuff!  I've been here for a few years now but have learned so much from you.  I'll make this sticky so others can find it easily later. 

Thanks for taking the time!

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2005, 09:27:48 PM »
* Add a note of your gender if it's not blindingly obvious from your name and/or any picture printed on the CV
* Date of Birth in British format please, and NOT 12/27/1979
* If not British, state how / why you can work in the UK
* Driving license usually important. Slight expansion of your answer may be required if you're not yet here / haven't taken your test. (e.g. currently driving on license from Maine, USA; UK test to be taken on 25th February and I expect no break in being able to drive on my own on UK roads)
* Also mention other not-quite-educational qualifications that might be relevant either here or later. e.g. First Aider, Life Guard
* The "married with children" is important in setting up some background as to who you are. (and keep it in proper English - "Children" and NOT "kids"). Give their ages if they're under 18.  ("Three children, aged 15, 12 and 18 months"). It's also a great point for the interviewer to start with ("goodness - that's a big gap between the second and third") when you get to that base.
* You may wonder about hobbies and other interests; this gives a good insight into the person, discussion point for interview, and should show that the
applicant is not a work bore.  I want to employ someone who's dedicated, for sure, but I want someone who's interesting too.  Be careful not to suggest activities which will interfere with your work.  "I'm the American 20m tiddlywink champion" would have me, as application reviewer, wondering how long you would want to be away each year and how it would affect your employment.

* As I write this, I'm thinking "disabilities".  I might add "fit and health" to my own CV; if you're (say) in a wheelchair this might be a good place to note it.
* I would not mention religion at this point for an application in Scotland / Wales / England. For Northern Ireland, I might get it "out the way" here.
To be continued

Graham, I think this part is really interesting as most Americans I know are conditioned to NOT put most of this on their CV. With our equal opportunity hiring laws a lot of this is heavily discouraged! It's a real paradigm shift.

I personally don't clarify my gender or put my birthdate - my fingers just won't let me!  :) I think I'd also have a really hard time putting family details if I had children. And I'd NEVER put a disability on my CV unless it would interfere with my ability to do the job well.

I'd just worry too much that all these things would make getting through the first cut too risky! Heck, it's bad enought confessing to be American!  ::)

That said, I'm in a field (graphic design) where I can probably get away with a more creative CV than others could.

That said, this is a wondernful resource Graham - Thanks!!!

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. ~ John Lennon

Offline sweetpeach

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2005, 05:10:47 AM »


Graham, I think this part is really interesting as most Americans I know are conditioned to NOT put most of this on their CV. With our equal opportunity hiring laws a lot of this is heavily discouraged! It's a real paradigm shift.

I personally don't clarify my gender or put my birthdate - my fingers just won't let me!  :) I think I'd also have a really hard time putting family details if I had children. And I'd NEVER put a disability on my CV unless it would interfere with my ability to do the job well.





http://www.acas.org.uk/rights/equality.html

In the UK,  employers are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of disability, race, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or nationality Therefore, in my opinion there is no reason to mention any of these on a CV, cover letter or application. If they say they won't hire you unless you provide this information, they are breaking the law.  Of course, in most cases, one's gender will become apparent pretty quickly.  If someone needs special accomodation for a disability, they should provide the employer with that information so the employer can take care of it.  And in the case of someone immigrating to the UK, it is important that they let a potential employer know their ability to work legally. However, as long as you are legally allowed to work for that company, it is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire you simply because you are American, because that would be discriminating against your nationality.

It is true that even though it is against the law to do so, some companies might refuse to hire you because of your marital status, race, etc., but cover it up by claiming you don't have enough experience, aren't right for the job, etc. etc. US employers do this as well. But would you really want to work for such a company in the first place?

Also Balmerhorn, telling an employer that you are single might cause you as many problems as telling an employer you are married. A single person could be perceived as being irresponsible, or their sexual preference could be called into question.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2005, 05:21:25 AM by sweetpeach »

Offline StuzMrs

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2005, 05:22:34 AM »
Graham,
Thank you so so so much for this excellent post.  This is a HUGE help!
Jeannie   :)
Bored

Offline GrahamE

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2005, 05:29:23 AM »
You've hit "the nail on the head" there in summarising and underlying difference.  There IS a while lot of equal opportunity law here; as an employer, the emplolyer can't discriminate on the basis of sex, ethnic background / race, etc.  The employer can openly use age as a factor. But there's much more to it that that.   A job application is a request to join a team, and the team leaders need to know how potential team members "tick".  Information such as this has freely been requested and given on application forms in the past, and in an extreme any application that leaves the reviewer wondering "what gender is this person" will raise eyebrows, probably to the extent of it being marked down.  

If you're asking an employer to take you on, you're the product; the least he needs to know is a bit about the product and what makes it tick.  If that information isn't forthcoming (because of a legal right to so withhold, perhaps), does he have a potential activist / troublemaker here? It also makes it very hard for him to judge the person's fitness for the role by the normal standards, which is really going to be his main / only criteria. I would suggest (hey, I HAVE suggested) that you provide the information and "provide it positive". Look at the earlier sections of this post and use the CV to get you across.

Married => Stable
Engaged => Stable, willing to commit, looking forward positively
Children => Unlikley to move away suddenly

I was looking for a permanent staff member - admittedly many years ago - to add as the fourth member to a team of three of us.  This person's role was to be a programmer who would form a key member of the team, and the impact on the company of making the wrong choice for the role  - for example having someone who would be leaving after a few months or requesting to go part time - would have had consequences far beyond the one job.   Enter into the ring of candidates a newly married young woman of childbearing age. On one hand, there was no way that we were allowed to discriminate, but on the other hand her age, gender and personal status could have dramatically effected her answer to questions such as "are you looking for a long term, full time job?". Better for her application's serious consideration that she told us a little of her plans.

As an aside, I had to fill in some US based forms a few weeks back - long enough ago to forget the questions exactly.  I think I was asked if I'm (a) A US military veteran, (b) If I'm disabled, (c) If I'm from a disadvantaged ethnic minority. I was quite taken aback at this from a land where things are supposed to be irrespective of all these things ....

((Sweetpeach posted while I was writing the above. I'll follow up with further comment))
-- Graham
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Offline GrahamE

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2005, 05:53:28 AM »
In the UK,  employers are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of disability, race, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or nationality

No, but they are REQUIRED to discriminate based on whether or not the person can legally work in the UK, and it's a good idea (in my opinion) to clarify that you can (and how you can) on your application.

Quote
Therefore, in my opinion there is no reason to mention any of these on a CV, cover letter or application. If they say they won't hire you unless you provide this information, they are breaking the law.

Most employers prefer to know what they're taking on and not surpise packages as they have to plan how they will use the potential employee in coming months and years; my view differs in that I think it's a courtesy on the applicant's part to provide "product information", and it can help the application - not necessarily in what the information provided actually is, but in the fact that it's willingly shared.  I agree that for a potential employer to demand much of this information may break the law; rather I've suggested that you help yourself by providing positive factors that mean you're going to be a good bet for the job.

Quote
If someone needs special accomodation for a disability, they should provide the employer with that information so the employer can take care of it.

Yes, they should.  But that can be a really tough one .... I've not been there as an employer but I have as a service provider.

Quote
It is true that even though it is against the law to do so, some companies might refuse to hire you because of your marital status, race, etc., but cover it up by claiming you don't have enough experience, aren't right for the job, etc. etc. US employers do this as well. But would you really want to work for such a company in the first place?

The words right for the job are key. I don't think I've ever been involved in a process that has rejected an applicant because of their race or marital status.  But knowing this information has helped me and fellow interviewers / selectors learn a little more about the applicant, and in some cases seeing how they "cope with their lot" has actually encouraged a job offer and employment even if, at first glance, they don't fit the ideal mould.   I wouldn't want to work for a company that refused to hire me because of my marital status or race either!!

Many thanks for the acas link - that will help fill folks in further.

At the end of the day, you're looking to work with potential employers, though.  And if it starts with "I won't tell you xxxx because I'm not legally obliged to" the prognosis may be pretty poor.  You just may start appearing arrogant when all the employer is trying to do is establish suitability from within a morass of restrictions.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2005, 06:01:20 AM by GrahamE »
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Offline sweetpeach

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2005, 06:18:33 AM »


No, but they are REQUIRED to discriminate based on whether or not the person can legally work in the UK, and it's a good idea (in my opinion) to clarify that you can (and how you can) on your application.

I agree. I said that in my post. They are not allowed to discriminate if you are legally allowed to work without restriction (i.e. married to a British citizen.)


Quote
Most employers prefer to know what they're taking on and not surpise packages as they have to plan how they will use the potential employee in coming months and years; my view differs in that I think it's a courtesy on the applicant's part to provide "product information", and it can help the application - not necessarily in what the information provided actually is, but in the fact that it's willingly shared.  I agree that for a potential employer to demand much of this information may break the law; rather I've suggested that you help yourself by providing positive factors that mean you're going to be a good bet for the job.


One's age, gender, marital status and so forth have nothing to do with whether one is a good best bet for a job.  And as I  mentioned earlier, would you really want to work for an employer who thinks otherwise?

Funny, but speaking as an American, I am turned off by prospective employees who list irrelevant things like health, marital status, hobbies and so forth on their resumes. It makes me feel like they are trying to fill up space on the resume to hide the fact that they don't have enough actual qualifications


Quote
and in some cases seeing how they "cope with their lot" has actually encouraged a job offer and employment even if, at first glance, they don't fit the ideal mould.

Erm, that statement itself reflects a discriminatory attitude--as if people with certain "qualities"-race, gender, religion, having kids, etc.--would automatically find it more difficult to cope than people with other "qualities." Hiring someone because of their race, gender, etc., when they would  otherwise be considered unqualified is just as discriminatory as not hiring a qualified person because of their gender, race and so forth.

Quote
Many thanks for the acas link - that will help fill folks in further.

You're welcome. I actually found it via the uk-yankee home page, so thanks to those who put this website together.

Quote
At the end of the day, you're looking to work with potential employers, though.  And if it starts with "I won't tell you xxxx because I'm not legally obliged to" the prognosis may be pretty poor.  You just may start appearing arrogant when all the employer is trying to do is establish suitability.

Well, that certainly wouldn't be the first thing I would say as soon as I walked into an interview. But if inappropriate questions were asked, I might answer them if I felt like it, but I would let the employer know that I am aware that I do not have to answer them.  Appearing arrogant has a lot to do with tone of voice, body language, etc. I am sure that there is a way to stand up for your rights without appearing arrogant, just intelligent and well-informed. And if you do get the job, your behavior at the interview will set the stage for how your employer treats you in the future. I would rather my employer learn right away that he needs to treat me with respect.

This is very strange to me; in the US, an employer wouldn't dare ask such questions in the first place. 
« Last Edit: January 17, 2005, 06:26:42 AM by sweetpeach »

Offline sweetpeach

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2005, 06:36:07 AM »
Enter into the ring of candidates a newly married young woman of childbearing age. On one hand, there was no way that we were allowed to discriminate, but on the other hand her age, gender and personal status could have dramatically effected her answer to questions such as "are you looking for a long term, full time job?". Better for her application's serious consideration that she told us a little of her plans.


Why? Because she might leave if she plans to have children? Well, couldn't any employee, male or female, married or single, quit tomorrow for whatever reason? Would you expect a newly married male applicant to tell you a little of his "plans"? Isn't it possible that any of your male employees could get a girlfriend or wife pregnant, than decide to stay home to take care of the baby? One of my coworkers is on paternity leave right now.  My fiance is more "parental" than I am and currently works with children; there is a very good chance that if we have children and can afford to live on one salary, he will be the one who stays home with the kids.

Anyway, if you are truly concerned about an employee having to choose between raising a child and continuing to work for you, perhaps you should provide decent childcare arrangements so employees don't have to make that choice.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2005, 06:42:29 AM by sweetpeach »

Offline GrahamE

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2005, 06:42:00 AM »
In response to sweetpeach ...

Much I could challenge there in a "quote war", but I'm not doing so.

I think we're coming at this from different angles; I wasn't looking to write a legalistic item about people's rights as they apply for jobs, but rather a more positive item on how they might best sell themselves. What a potential British employer may look at and say "wow - this person looks interesting and could be an asset to us" to, from initial application through to job acceptance.  And, yes, that does mean using information on your own behalf that you're not legally obliged to give; if you're not comfortable doing that, it's your choice. But you might be keeping some of your assets and achievments hidden.

[edit after reading the latest post]
To clarify. I would hope than any potential employee for a permanent job would tell me a little about his/her goals and ambitions so that it could help find the best person for the job, and a job and appropriate support that well suits the person.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2005, 07:00:01 AM by GrahamE »
-- Graham
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