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Improving your chances of being hired
Once you have learned more about the size and shape of the sector, looked at some of the roles that are needed and researched the opportunities available in subsea companies, your next step is to make the best application you can for the type of role you are interested in. The first thing is to make sure you are complying with the company’s process. For some this will mean filling in an application form, and for others it will mean sending them your CV.
Need Help Writing your CV?
Writing a CV tailored to the specific job you are applying for – and not just sending a general one – is very important. To help you do this, give yourself some time to read the hints and tips and look at the examples available below.
Hints 'n' Tips
When it comes to writing your CV, one size doesn’t fit all - your CV will need to be tweaked to show how what you know and have done matches each job you are applying for. This can be as simple are rearranging the order in which you present things so that the things with the most relevance are placed in priority order. Imagine the person scanning it as they read with a highlighter pen in hand.
Do your Research
To make sure you can tailor your application to the job advertised will require you to do some preparation. This should include, but be more than, a quick Internet search. Take the time to find out as much as you can about the company and the part of the industry they work in.
It can be tempting just to list in chronological order all the jobs that you have done over the years, describing your duties. It is, however, important that you make it easy for the person reading the CV to make connections between what you know and have done and what you are applying to do. Your research will help with this. So consider the following:
- What are the key activities of the job you are applying for?
- How can you show that you can do these?
You’ve done them before – but they were called something else?
You’ve done something similar?
You haven’t done it before but feel you could learn – because you have underlying skills or knowledge.
- What type of person does the company hiring need to do the job?
- How can you show your relevant characteristics?
- How can you demonstrate your personality and motivation for the role?
Make the translation for the reader.
Simplify for you Reader
Don’t assume the reader will have any knowledge of the sector or industry you are coming from so avoid using their jargon and acronyms. Similarly specific kit and equipment need to be explained. Again this is an opportunity to show parallels between where you have come from and where and what you want to do next.
The Balanced Approach
Be authentic and honest. Get the balance right between not giving enough information or credit for what you can do and coming across as if you can do anything and everything extraordinarily well! What difference do you make to your organisation? What would they notice if you didn't do your job properly? What would your current boss and colleagues say about you?
Skills can be Adapted
Be realistic about the transfer of your existing knowledge and skills into subsea. Think about the activities you could reasonably be asked to perform early on. What sort of training and development would you require? You may have heard the term “transferable skills”. This refers to the skills, knowledge and personal attributes that you have that can be carried over into new circumstances.
Employers write job descriptors which detail what a job role is there to deliver for the company. Many also make the person specification explicit too. This is the description of the type of person the employer expects to be the best type of fit for the role. Some elements of the person specification will be essential and some will be desirable. Subsea companies value previous experience highly. There is, however, a recognition that for some roles knowledge and skill that has been developed outside the sector has a very close fit with its needs. For example :
- Knowledge of hydraulics, mechanical and electrical engineering gained in the Navy allows people to take the transferable skills successfully into Remotely Operated Vehicle piloting and maintenance within Subsea companies
- Experience with leading people in the automotive industry may help a person quickly adjust to a subsea manufacturing environment
- Exposure to project management and Merchant Navy may facilitate a smooth transition into Subsea Field Engineering
- Experience working on major engineering construction projects would provide a boost to someone interested in working for a major Subsea contractor
- Interpersonal style developed in a customer service environment providing a useful platform for other client centred roles
Don’t just use buzzwords or phrases. Also do not copy your friend's application as you are a unique individual and this should come across in your application. Present yourself as an individual who alongside a set of technical skills and formal qualifications has other valuable attributes. Explain these in a way that is meaningful in the context of the job you are applying for. Someone applying for an engineering job might instead of saying:
I have excellent communication skills:
- I am prepared to listen to other people’s point of view and am ready to modify my own opinion if presented with compelling arguments
- I work well in a team
- I understand my own role and impact of own performance on the rest of the team
- I have 10 years successful experience working with close knit teams in challenging and hostile environments
- I have excellent problem solving ability
- I understand the impact of my own role in the larger-scale problem
- If appropriate I am prepared to challenge standard practice
- Where possible I try to find generic solutions to recurring problems
In addition to writing about what you have done in terms of job roles or voluntary experiences it is also useful to spell out your achievements. Done well this reinforces what you say you have done with something akin to evidence. In reality we tend to be humble and find it difficult to pick out anything relevant. Start by thinking about the things you have been most proud of in your career. Think about what you think that the organisation you are applying to would value from your experiences. Answering the following can provide a useful introduction to specific examples:
- The things that I have built an excellent reputation for at work include…
- The things that I am most proud of at work include…
- Proud to have received excellent feedback from former boss about my handling of the transport incident
- Successfully won a significant new contract for the business worth £1M
- Volunteered and selected to act as company mentor to new graduates
- Consistently received excellent rating in my annual appraisal
- Proud to have studied for and being awarded my degree in economics whilst working full-time as a chef
Remember however if you write something in your CV you must be prepared to provide examples or evidence in an interview to back it up. It is useful by way of preparation to write down your examples so you can refer back to them and have them at the forefront of your mind.
Choose the right place to convey your information most effectively. A covering letter allows you to reinforce your CV, pick out the key bits you want to highlight and say why you are motivated to apply.
Try to find out as much as you can about the culture of the organisation you are seeking to join. Organisational culture is the 'way things are done around here'. In life we sometimes become very aware of what we have considered normal in our upbringing when faced with friends who have grown up overseas or in very different family circumstances to our own. When changing employers in the past you may have noticed difference in the unspoken things which include unwritten rules about :
- What it is ok and not ok to wear in the workplace
- Who can park where etc
- Different companies will express their culture in different ways. The important thing is being aware of the differences with the one you are leaving – will it suit you? Even within an organisational sector such as subsea you will find different sizes of organisation and cultures exists. Finding the one that fits you best is important. The more you can learn in your research phase the better. This avoids you feeling too much of a culture clash on joining and feeling the need to leave quickly after you have started.
Before you Apply
Questions to ask yourself about the job you are applying for:
- What attracts you to this job?
- What skills do you think you would use?
- What would be your key activities day to day?
- What would a good and bad day look like?
- What kind of person would thrive doing this job?
- What roles would you work alongside?
- What roles would you rely on and which roles would rely on you?
- What specific safety issues would you have to be most aware of in this role?