by Heather Ette GRoW Team Member
I was lucky enough to sit in on Sonia’s CV Workshop last week and get an insight into how Sonia’s expert advice and guidance is supporting GRoW participants in their journey to work.
It couldn’t have been easier to join, I booked via the GRoW App and received a reminder that morning with the link to the Zoom meeting. Sonia introduced herself to all the participants who had come along explaining that she is an Employment Officer with more than 7 years experience of being a CV writer. Sonia’s background is in Human Resources, Recruitment and Welfare to Work and she has worked with large organisations as a Team Leader supporting people into work. She put the GRoW CV Workshop together to help participants understand the importance of a CV to employers, help people write their own CV, giving them the tools and skills to make changes to their own CV so they can tailor it to suit individual jobs they want to apply for.
As well as the CV Workshop Sonia runs two other workshops, the Job Searching Workshop on Mondays and the Interview Workshop every other Wednesday. All the workshops run every two weeks and have proved very successful in helping GRoW participants into work – all of the GRoW Participants this year who have found jobs have been to at least one of Sonia’s workshops.
During the CV Workshop Sonia offered her advice through a presentation which outlined the importance of a CV and why everyone should have one. Sonia explained that CV’s need to be tailored to individual jobs to ensure it properly highlights the skills, knowledge and experience the applicant holds for the job they are applying for. Not only does it serve as an advertisement of who you are and what you can do but the process of creating your CV also helps you highlight the skills and experience you have and what might be missing. This is where Sonia’s expert guidance helps most – she explained that identifying missing skills is often the key to reaching your goals. Imagine you are looking for a job and you keep noticing a certain skill that the employer is asking for – if you don’t have that skill then you need to gain it!
Going through the process of creating your CV helps you build confidence because you can see all of your achievements and you learn so much about yourself and what skills you need to gain to get where you want to be. You don’t always realise what you have done and how much you have learned, even if you haven’t worked before. A lot of GRoW participants worry that if they have not worked for a long time or have not worked in this country then that will be a disaster for your CV but this isn’t true! There are lots of reasons why you may not have worked but the main thing Sonia emphasises is not to worry because everyone has transferrable skills. Transferrable skills are skills you already have that you can transfer into a job such as skills you have gained from being at home, from being a mum or perhaps from caring for somebody. By working with Sonia through the CV Workshop or from having a one to one CV review you can learn about your transferrable skills to put into your CV so potential employers can see what you can bring to a job.
Having a CV also helps you to get an interview and to prepare for an interview. Sonia advises the people she does practice interviews with to look at their CV to see the skills they have identified so they can talk about them in an interview.
Sonia offered some really great insights during the session such as how much information you should disclose on a CV such as your marital status or reason for leaving previous jobs. She spoke about what is essential to include, how long a CV should be and how to present it in a way that is attractive to potential employers and grabs their attention. She spoke a lot about skills, strengths and achievements too and what people have learned particularly through the pandemic such as Zoom meetings and remote learning which can all be used to create positive content for a CV.
Lastly, Sonia highlighted the importance of a Cover Letter to accompany your CV, explaining that it demonstrates your written communication skills. Some GRoW participants struggle with putting a Cover Letter together, particularly if English is not your first language but Sonia explained that GRoW can help you with this as we have advisers who speak many different languages and can help you write your Cover Letter.
The participants who attended the session said they found it really useful. One of the ladies said she felt she didn’t have any skills but after attending the session she realised she had a lot to offer. She saw she had some skills gaps and said she would like to do a food hygiene course and a safeguarding course as these were required for the type of job she was interested in.
Everyone who attended then booked into a one to one session with Sonia to create their CV and they were advised to book on to the job searching workshop and the interview workshop so they could start to prepare for the next steps in their journey to work.
You can book on to the next CV Workshop which takes place on 22nd September on the GRoW app.