Support & Advice For Care Leavers/Young Unpaid Carers

Children and young people who have been involved in the care system experience some of the poorest outcomes of all young people in the UK. For many, the disadvantages they face persist throughout their lives which can be detrimental for individuals, families (including the next generation), communities and society as a whole. BLMK ICB are committed to improving employment opportunities for those with lived experience of the care system and young unpaid carers.

If you have lived experience of the care system, or being a young unpaid carer and would like further support to find a career in health and social in the BLMK ICS, please email:

Why Are We Doing This?

There are around 70,000 children in care in England and the following facts and figures illustrate the often blighted and frustrated experiences of children in care and care leavers:

  • 14% of children in care in 2016 achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*-C compared to 58% of children not in care.
  • 40% of all care leavers of 19, 20 and 21 years of age (in 2016) were not in employment, education or training compared to 14% of all 19, 20 and 21 year olds.
  • The percentage of children in care gaining entry to university is 7% – a figure that has not been improved since 2006 – compared to the university entry in 2016 of around 40% for this age group.
    20% of young homeless people have been previously in care.
  • Children in care are four times more likely to have a mental health difficulty, which in many cases is attributed to isolation and loneliness.

The 2011 Census identified 177,918 young carers in England and Wales, with one in eight being aged under eight. This is widely believed to be just the tip of the iceberg, as some estimates suggest that as many as one in five schoolchildren are young carers, which has likely increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as:

  • Young carers are already likely to have significantly lower educational attainment than their peers.
  • With the added complications of COVID-19, young carers have missed out on even more school than before and urgent support is needed if they are not to be left behind their peers.
  • Caring can also be an isolating experience but having the right support in place can give young carers a better chance  of succeeding in all parts of their lives.

What To Do?

Confidence & Motivation

Having goals can help you to stay motivated and focused. Maintaining a positive outlook can help you become even more resilient, which means you’ll continue to bounce back from negative events and regulate your emotions.

Settle into a daily routine:

Developing and sticking to a daily routine can be beneficial to your mental well-being. In fact, daily rituals are known to reduce anxiety and increase confidence. Find consistency, get up at the same time each morning and work towards small goals.

Review your goals:

Setting small, measurable goals will help you stay motivated in your job search even when things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like. Review your action plan and activity and stay on top of your daily actions.

Make a list of your achievements:

If you’re experiencing job-search frustration, reminding yourself of all the things you’ve learned and accomplished in your life can give you a boost of confidence. Start putting together a list of all your achievements, from specific problems you solved to any projects you assisted with.

Look for opportunities to volunteer:

You may want to consider getting involved in volunteer work. Not only will this keep you busy until you land a new job, but it will also look great on your CV and give you something new to talk about in job interviews. Volunteering is also a great opportunity for networking and skill building, especially if you’re able to find a position that matches your career interests.

Focus on things you can control:

When searching for a new job, there will inevitably be some things that you have no control over, such as the job market, economy, industry trends, or even your location. To keep up your job search motivation, try to subdue your stress about the things you can’t influence and instead focus on what you can do to improve your situation.

Take a step back: Spending your every waking moment obsessing about finding a job can quickly lead to frustration and, ultimately, burnout. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and remind yourself of all the other important things in your life, like your friends, family, and personal interests.

You don’t have to do everything at once:

While you should certainly prioritise your job-search activities, it’s equally important to keep things in perspective.

Goal Setting

Goal setting within job search is extremely important. If you want to develop your career or land your dream job, you’ll need a plan. Having a list of achievable aims will keep you focused and will help you reach your goal. One mistake many job seekers make, however, is not applying a goal setting strategy to their application process. Sometimes you need to review your approach, as searching for a job can be challenging.


  • Allows you to pick the right jobs to help develop your career
  • Stops you wasting your time on the wrong applications (Direct or Speculative)
  • Gives you the chance to re-evaluate your job search strategy at any time
  • Develop the perfect CV statement or LinkedIn summary that hits the mark
  • Tailor your CV content to give you a better chance of being invited to interview
  • Helps you stay in control of long-term and short-term goals and day-to-day job-searching activities
  • Provides you with the motivation to move your career forward
  • Gives you personal satisfaction

Hint & Tips:

Don’t feel guilty about spending time with your friends, reading a good book, or anything else that helps you maintain a positive outlook on life and feel good about yourself. Your situation is temporary and things will eventually fall into place, even if it takes a bit longer than anticipated.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The first thing you need to focus on is achievable goals. It’s no use setting an unrealistic short-term goal, such as being the CEO of a major corporation. This can be your larger goal, but breaking things down into easily manageable and achievable chunks is key. Keep your goals SMART.

Specific: Keep your goal specific so that you can easily identify what you need to do: What do I want to accomplish?
Measurable: Ensures you know when the goal has been achieved: How will I know I have achieved my goal?
Achievable: You should have the ability and attribute to reach the goal: How will I accomplish my goal?
Achievable: You should have the ability and attribute to reach the goal: How will I accomplish my goal?
Timely: Every goal needs a target date, so that you can focus on a deadline and something to work toward: When will I achieve my goal?
  • Think about the results you want! Before you set a goal, take a closer look at what you’re trying to achieve. Example: To get a role in distribution.
  • Create SMART goals! Example: To gain a full-time role in distribution within the next 3 months.
  • Create an action plan of what activity you are going to do to achieve your goal! Example: To apply for 4 vacancies a day, to speculatively approach two companies each day. To research 4 companies’ websites daily for opportunities. Record all job search activity on a log/spreadsheet.

Setting SMART goals allows you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life. Create a timeline make the plan bite sized into a weekly plan. Take action, then re-evaluate and assess your progress at the end of each week.

Keep it simple when recording your goals:

Goal Action To Take By When

Transferable Skills

What are transferable skills?

These are a core set of abilities and skills which can be used in different jobs and industries.

What are hard skills?

Hard skills are specific abilities which help people carry out different jobs. They’re teachable, meaning that you can develop them through dedicated training. For some careers, certain hard skills will be considered a must.

Hard skills include…

  • An Industry Specific Certification
  • Bookkeeping
  • Degree or other Academic
  • Qualifications
  • Proofreading
  • Computer Skills
  • Foreign Language Skills
  • Presentation Skills

What are soft skills?

  • Soft skills are general attributes that aren’t specific to a job or industry.
  • They’re usually self-developed, meaning no training is needed to build them.
  • Because they can be applied to a number of different roles, soft skills are always desirable – no matter what field you’re working in.
  • Also, what is quite interesting is that many people are lacking in soft skills and it’s not always something that can be taught. This can be seen in how people interact socially
    with others.

Soft skills include…

  • Resilience
  • Team Working
  • Communication Skills
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Leadership
  • Problem Solving
  • Flexibility

How do you find your transferable skills?

  • Start to make a list of your skills that you have achieved.
  • Look at 5 different job roles advertised online – can you transfer your skills to the roles?
  • Research companies that you want to work for and check out their opportunities – do any of
    your skills match?
  • For example, a Retail Assistant could be a Care Worker, a Hospitability Team Member could be a GP Receptionist and a Delivery Driver could become a Paramedic.

Application Methods

There are different methods to consider when applying for a job. Most people will use job search sites to send their CV. However, it’s important that you’re aware of the other methods too. Using different methods when job searching will help you reach a wider audience and increase your chances.

These include:

  • Online applications – completing electronic applications that are sent to the employer
  • Application forms – physical application forms which you hand to the employer
  • Speculative approach – approaching an employer to enquire about an opportunity without them advertising, via emails, phone call or posting a spec letter and CV
  • Direct company applications – some companies, such as the NHS, will have an application process on their site, some, such as Tesco, will also have a skills assessment
  • Sign up to agencies – recruitment agencies will match you to available roles and act as liaison between you and the employer
  • Newspaper ads – some companies still advertise in their local newspapers
  • Networking, friends and family – tell people that you are looking for work. Are their employers recruiting?
  • Job Boards – check out the local job boards in the supermarkets
  • Job Fairs – attend job fairs, normal help in the local community or the Job Centre
  • Social Media – use platforms for job searching, including Facebook & LinkedIn

Applying for jobs independently

When applying for jobs, it’s important to utilise your time effectively.

Hints & Tips:

  • Don’t Rush – Many people will just press the ‘Apply Now’ button without taking the time to review their CV or application to ensure they have personalised their skills to match the advert. Employers highlight the skills and experience they are looking for within their advert to ensure they can employ a suitable candidate. Don’t waste your application by rushing it, especially if it’s the job you really want.
  • Strengths – Summarise your strengths. Sell yourself. Have confidence in your skills and experience.
  • Transferable skills – Write down your transferable skills, this will help you to identify skills you can use in a new job or industry.
  • Plan for rejection – As strange as it sounds, you need to be prepared for the Nos or not even hearing back from your applications. With the current market, more people are applying for the same vacancies. Being prepared will keep you on track and will support with your confidence and motivation. Don’t let the rejections stop you from applying for other vacancies and using different application methods.
  • Have a list of your experience – Write down your experience in detail. Use this information to sell yourself in your CV, cover letter or application.
  • Use multiple methods to apply for vacancies – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  • Research employers – Make your cover letter or spec letter personal to their values.

The NHS TRAC Application System

Making Successful Applications

Once you have successfully found a position you wish to apply for, you need to make sure your application does you justice and provides you with the best possible chance of getting an interview. Regardless of our job role you are applying for, you will need to complete a comprehensive application form on our TRAC application system, which is designed to assess your suitability for the role. This means reading the job description and person specification and taking time over your application by demonstrating how your skills and experience make you a suitable match for the role.

How good a match are you?

When completing your application form on TRAC, you will need to demonstrate how the skills, the qualities and the experiences you have gained meet both the essential and desirable aspects of the job description.

Within your application submission, you may decide to provide details and evidence you have gained that relate to work experience, life experience, volunteer experience and any relevant training courses you may have attended or completed over the years.

All employers will be judging how well your application matches the ‘person specification’ for the position you are applying for. The applicants who closely match the person specification will be the ones that are shortlisted for interview.

To stand the best chance of receiving an invitation is to demonstrate that you do have the skills and experience as stipulated within the person specification and provide clear examples within the supporting information section.

Never submit the same application form twice. Always adapt it to show how you meet the person specification of the particular post you are applying for.

Complete all the parts of the form

Read the instructions within the advertisement and application form very carefully and make sure that you complete all the sections of the application form. The information you give in the ‘application for employment’ section will be used to decide if you should be shortlisted for interview.

The ‘personal information’ and ‘monitoring information’ sections will not be used for shortlisting, but will be kept for administrative purposes only.

Provide good supporting information

The ‘supporting information’ section is your opportunity to sell yourself therefore make sure you use it to your advantage. You can include any information here that has not been covered elsewhere on the form. Demonstrate why you would be suitable and how you meet the person specification. You need to convince the recruiter that you have the required skills, knowledge and experience and that they should be inviting you for an interview.

You can include, among other things, details about:

  • your duties and responsibilities;
  • your skills, knowledge and/or experience which is relevant to the post;
  • identify any employment gaps;
  • voluntary work you have accomplished;
  • research, publication and/or presentation experience.


Your CV is a written overview of your skills, work experience and education. The information you provide will help your prospective employers identify the skills you can bring to the job. It can be a stressful task, especially if you’re starting from scratch, but it’s important to remember there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the perfect CV.

Your CV should always be clearly formatted and short enough for a recruiter to scan quickly and – most importantly – tailored to the role you’re applying for. It takes an employer just 7 seconds to save or reject your CV. This means creating a succinct CV is absolutely vital if you want to land that all-important interview.

To write your CV you should use the employer’s posted job description as a guide. Carefully examine the job description – they are telling you what they want from you. Utilise the key words and add them into your CV.

The job description is a list of the qualifications, qualities and background the employer is
looking for in an ideal candidate. The more you can align yourself with these details, the
more the employer will be able to see that you are suitable.

Write a CV that gets you noticed!

Your CV is the first thing an employer will see when recruiting, and how it looks at first glance will be the reason they decide to read it in more detail. Even if your skills match the role perfectly, a messy and confusing CV probably won’t even get a second look.

To ensure you’re painting yourself and your skills in the best light, you should always:

  • Keep it short and concise – two sides of A4 will almost always suffice.
  • Choose a clear, professional font to ensure that your CV can be easily read.
  • Lay it out in a logical order, with sufficient spacing and clear section headings (e.g. Employment History, Education).
  • Order your experience and education in reverse chronological order to highlight your most recent experience and achievements.
  • Check your grammar and spelling thoroughly (50% of recruiters highlight poor spelling and grammar as their no.1 reason to not read on).

Do’s & Don’ts

To avoid any awkward moments, make sure these personal details are clearly presented at the
top of your CV:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • An appropriate email address
  • Contact number

It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to include their
details. ‘Curriculum Vitae’ is an unnecessary title – your name is not!

Do not include the following information within your CV:

  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • National Insurance Number
  • Portrait/Photo

Personal statement

As it’s the first thing that’s shown on your CV, a personal statement is an essential part of
standing out from the crowd. It explains:

  • Who you are
  • What you’re offering
  • What you’re looking for

Your personal statement is one of the most important parts of your CV. It gives you a chance to sell yourself to the employer in a small and easy-to-digest paragraph. By summing up the specific skills and experience that make you perfect for the position, you’ll be able to prove your suitability and convince the recruiter to read on.

A well written personal statement can mean the difference between standing out from the crowd and your application being rejected. If you’re struggling for inspiration, use the job description to help you identify the specific skills the employer is looking for. Ideally, your personal statement should be no more than around 50/60 words (or four or five lines of your CV). Any more than this and you run the risk of rambling and taking up valuable space.


  • Get straight to the point – always aim to be specific.
  • Make sure you answer the key questions – Who are you? What can you bring to the role? What is your career goal? – structure your statement using these as a guideline and you’ll ensure you maintain focus throughout.
  • Use the job description – a key part of writing your personal statement is being able to put across the skills that make you the perfect fit for the role.
  • Other things to do – use some of the following words or phrases – successfully,
    developed, proven, track-record, experienced, delivering results.


  • Be too generic and use clichés – it might take a little more time to tailor your statement to each position, but your CV will be much more effective as a result.
  • Focus on yourself – the best personal statements cover what skills you would bring to the company and what you can offer them that no other candidate can.
    Confuse it with your cover letter – your personal statement is meant as a short introduction, keep it that way, small representations of your success (e.g. a Financial Analyst with eight years’ experience) are necessary, but keep them brief.
  • Think of it as a list – don’t feel confined to list everything you have ever done or every attribute you have.
  • Forget to read it out loud – get your friends and family to read it and, most importantly, read it out loud and make sure it flows (and there aren’t any spelling or grammar mistakes).
  • Other things not to do – confuse tenses, forget to spellcheck.

Key skills:

  • List of skills you can offer the employer at a quick glance.
  • No more than 5 or 6 skills should be listed.

Work history

Title this section Work not Employment. That way you can include any volunteering, or work experience you have undertaken. This section should include all of your relevant work experience, listed with the most recent first. Include your job title, the name of the organisation, time in post, and your key responsibilities.


Your educational experience and achievements should be listed here, along with dates, the type of qualification and the grade you achieved.

Hobbies and Interests

You don’t always need to include hobbies and interests in your CV, but mentioning relevant ones could back up your skills.


  • Don’t be afraid of white space and don’t fear the gaps – even if you think your CV looks quite bare, as long as you’ve included all the relevant information and applicable, quantifiable achievements, you needn’t worry – remember, sometimes less is more.
  • Don’t include irrelevant information – before including any points in your application, ask the same question, will it help you get the role – if the answer is no, take it out.
  • Don’t forget your cover letter – although it is often seen as a different entity all together,
    your cover letter is attached to your CV and both are vital in helping you clinch the right role –  utilise yours properly, and your CV becomes the perfect document to reinforce your talent.

Other things not to do:

  • Use crazy colours, fonts or font sizes.
  • Include unnecessary references – References will be requested by the employer when they are required.
  • Include a selfie/picture.

How To Write A Cover Letter

A cover letter shouldn’t be any longer than 1 page. Even half a page is good to give an overview, as you don’t want to discourage the employer from reading your CV. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the perfect cover letter, it should always be:

  • Clearly formatted and short enough for a recruiter to scan quickly.
  • Tailored to the role you’re applying for.

Use the job description and person specification to support you with writing your cover letter.
Carefully examine them as they will tell you what they are looking for when recruiting. The more you can align yourself with these details, the more the employer will be able to see that you are suitable for the role, therefore inviting you for an interview.

Use buzz words within you cover letter to sell yourself, examples include:

  • Professional
  • Customer focused
  • Efficient
  • Proactive
  • Interpersonal skills

Your cover letter is your chance to encourage the employer to read your CV and make a good first impression. How it looks at first glance will be the reason if they decide to read you application in more detail. Even if your skills match the role perfectly, an irrelevant and unstructured cover letter realistically won’t even get a second look.

Check your grammar and spelling thoroughly – about 50% of recruiters highlight poor spelling and grammar as their main reason for not reading on.

Hints & Tips:

  • Don’t forget to add your contact details, ensuring your have your up to date information.
    If you know the recruiting manager’s name, use it within your cover letter to make it more personal.
  • Include the role you are applying for within the opening sentence, and where you found the role.
  • Use the cover letter to highlight skills mentioned within the job description and person specification.
  • Finish it by saying why you want this role, how motivated you are and how you look forward to hearing back, so you encourage them to read your CV.

Speculative letters

There is a hidden job market, with an estimated 70% of employers not advertising all of their vacancies on the main job search sites. When people approach employers seeking employment opportunities, it saves the employer recruitment costs and time as they don’t need to review
CVs/applications. It also demonstrates your willingness to work.

Advertising on the internet tends to be the last approach employers take when recruiting. They will look to utilise knowledge and experience within the company first, before looking at methods that will save both money and time.

What to do:

  • Use a similar approach to your cover letter  and find out a contact name at the company you’re approaching, as this will making your letter more personal.
  • Introduce yourself and ask if they have any current vacancies.
  • Identify a department you’d like to work within and list the skills in your speculative letter that would be suitable, selling yourself.
  • Sign off your letter by asking if they can also keep you in mind for any future vacancies.

Hints & Tips:

  • Do your research about the company and the industry.
  • Don’t be generic asking for any role, sell yourself, your skills and your experience.
  • Thank the employer for their time in considering your interest in working for their company.
  • Offer a follow up conversation at their convenience should they wish to discuss your
    interest any further.
  • Use their website, LinkedIn & social media profiles to research any aims they have and use it e.g. the environment, lived experience, social justice, etc.

Approaching a company and introducing yourself with a well presented, relevant letter and CV is one of the least preferred approaches of job seekers, but it’s a winning way to get noticed. Even if there aren’t any current vacancies, you’ll have the chance of leaving them with a memorable impression for future vacancies!

Job Search Sites

For most, job searching through the internet and job search sites are the most common approaches when looking for a job. Job search sites have their advantages. However, there are also some common mistakes to be mindful of.


  • Convenience – you are able to job search from home, including your laptop, tablet
    and phone.
  • Immediate access to new vacancies.
  • Apps – most job search sites now have apps, which make them even more user friendly.
  • Alerts – you can save roles you’re interested in, receiving alerts via notifications or emails for relevant vacancies.
  • Saves time and money, as you do not need to print your CV, cover letter or application.

Common mistakes:

  • Many offer a simple ‘Apply Now’ button. Too many people will just send their CV without adapting it to the role, creating a relevant cover letter or even reading about the role/company in depth.
  • Only using job search sites could limit the vacancies you find.
  • People take a scattergun approach, as they apply for too many jobs and lose focus of roles that they want to do.

Signing up to job search sites

You need to consider which job search sites are you using. Are there any specialist job search sites for the industry you’re interested in? Don’t forget, Facebook also has its own
job search section that’s similar to a job search site.

Using Social Media When Job Searching

Most people now use social media within their personal lives. However, it can actually support you with your job searching too. Most people presume that LinkedIn is the only social media platform used for recruitment, when in fact Twitter and Facebook also play a large role these days.

Over the recent years there has been an increase with the number of companies now using social media to advertise their roles to attract candidates.

Did you know: Some hiring managers will check candidates social media profile? What are you sharing? Is it appropriate content? Is your information private or open? The platforms you use throughout social media may change, depending on the types of roles you are looking for.

Benefits of using social media for job searching:

  • You can apply for advertised roles easily and quickly.
  • You can be more visible to companies who are using social media to source new candidates.
  • You’re able to build a network and engage with companies.
  • You can speak to recruiters in real time, without having to wait for correspondence.
  • Recruitment agencies are utilising social media to source candidates for immediate starts.

Facebook for job searching

Advertising through Facebook is common for employers and recruitment agencies now, as Facebook is the nation’s most popular social media platform. Advertising through Facebook allows companies to reach a larger audience.

The majority of people will only think of Facebook for personal use. However, there is
also the Jobs on Facebook feature, which is where some employers are now advertising their
current vacancies.

Twitter for job searching

Twitter doesn’t currently have a built in job search feature, but many employers use their tweets to advertise that they are currently recruiting. Using hashtags, such as #recruiting, employers are able to reach candidates. You can use your Twitter account to learn about the employers and their focus. Employers use Twitter to report news and make announcements about the business. If you’re following companies and professionals within the industry you’re interested in, you’ll be able to keep up to date with what’s happening in the industry, as it happens.

Hint & Tips:

  • If you use Twitter, include your Twitter handle in your job applications & on your CV. Look as though you’ve been using your account.
  • Engage with companies you’re interested in, share tweets from the community and industry you’d like to work in.
  • Follow company job accounts, or their main accounts.
  • Use the hashtag search function – #jobs.
  • Update your bio – show employers your actively looking for work, and use keywords related to your industry.
  • Use Twitter to improve your networks. Attend events and expand your followers.
  • Don’t forget to show some personality on your profile – keep it professional, but highlight hobbies & funny observations from your favourite TV shows. Do not be offensive or share anything inappropriate.

LinkedIn for job searching

LinkedIn, a social network for professionals, is becoming the most used social media platform for job searching. You’re able to make connections with those in your industry, and you’re able to gain information and build your knowledge. You are able to follow sectors you’re interested in, ensuring you’re the first to hear about new vacancies.

Use your profile and bio to highlight your experience and that you are actively seeking employment opportunities. Your bio is the first thing any employer will look at, so make sure you sell yourself.

Adding a photo to your profile will help potential employers warm to you. Ensure your photo is
professional, but also real and approachable.

Hint & Tips:

  • Join the job searching groups to help you connect with new contacts.
  • Ensure your profile is up to date, with recent experience and skills.
  • Use your connections, without annoying them.
  • Reconnect with those you might have lost touch with.
  • Add your LinkedIn profile handle to your CV and applications.
  • Use your full name on your profile.
  • Keep up to date with hashtags in your preferred industry.

Interview Preparation

Your CV has worked, you’ve identified your skills and now you need to prepare for your interview. Interviews cost the employer both time and money, therefore, they wouldn’t invite you to an interview if they didn’t think you could bring something to the company or to the role.

There are different types of interviews:

  • Phone Interviews
  • Face to Face Interviews
  • Virtual Interviews

Due to Covid, the world of work has changed and it has made virtual interviews a more commonplace occurrence.

Hints and Tips:

  • No travel required – be on time
  • Dress – it’s still an interview
  • Check your surround and equipment
  • Be prepared for time delay in voices
  • Be mindful of your body language
  • Listen carefully
  • Make sure no one walks in on you during the interview
  • Look engaged – do not slouch
  •  Turn your phone to ‘airplane’ mode or off
  •  Remove all distractions from your eye line
  • Have a tidy presentable environment around you
  • Dress smartly
  • Be presentable with your appearance e.g. your hair
  • Try your speakers and microphone before the meeting
  • Ensure you can log onto the platform before the call (Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams)

It’s important to remember that not every company interviews using the same method, so you’ll need to review your interview instructions carefully. Some employers, depending on the type of job, may want an informal 1-2-1 chat, others may want you to attend a group interview if they are looking for lots of people. Other employers may want you to interview formally, either in person, or over the internet to a panel, which may include a series of ‘competency based questions’.

Interview preparation

Interviews provide the employer an opportunity to ask you questions so you can sell your skills and experience. The employer is looking for the right person for the role, but it’s also an opportunity for you to find out about the role.


  • Read the job description and advert again before the interview, highlighting skills and experience they are looking for.
  • Research the employer (What do you know about them? Can you list a few interesting facts about them?).
  • Use the information they have provided you to try and pre-empt some of the questions they
    may ask. Think about examples of common questions asked (What interests you about this role? What are your greatest strengths? What do you know about us?).

Competency based questions

During your interview, you may be asked competency based questions which will allow the employer to find out about your experience and skills. Competency based questions are open questions which allow you to demonstrate your competencies with real life scenarios.

Competencies show your skills, knowledge and behaviours, including communication, flexibility, customer service, team work and problem solving.

A great way to answer these types of questions is using a technique known as STAR.

S – Situation, T – Task, A – Action, R – Result.

STAR is like telling a story. For example, Q. Can you give an example of when you have given excellent service?

(S) A lady came into the shop and she couldn’t find anything to wear for a school reunion.
(T) I helped her consider other styles, but the dress she really loved was not available in her size.
(A) I called Head Office and explained the situation where I spoke to a Manager and arranged for
the size to be delivered to the store the next day for the lady to come and try on.
(R) She bought the dress and even came back a couple of weeks later to thank me so much for
helping make her reunion so memorable. She also spoke to my Manager about the excellent service she received, which gave me a huge amount of satisfaction.

Questions to ask the interviewer

Many employers feel confident about candidates who ask thoughtful questions about the company and the position. You should take time before the interview to prepare several questions for your interviewer(s) that show you’ve researched the company and are well versed about the position.

Example questions to ask:

  • What do you like best about working for this company?
  • What are your expectations for this role during the first 30 days, 60 days, year?
  • Can you tell me more about the day to day responsibilities of this role?
  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role?
  • Can you describe the culture of the company?
  • What sort of induction training will I have?

Hints and Tips:

  • Always ask at least one question. Not asking questions at your interview could come across as showing a lack of interest in the job, company, your career, or prospective colleagues.
  • It’s not appropriate to ask questions about salary, or benefits until you have been offered the role.

Always end on a positive note. Thank the interviewers for their time and the opportunity. For example:
“Thank you for your time today. I am extremely interested in the role and look forward to hearing from you soon.”