Making the most of your skills assessment
According to the University of Liège professor Jacques Defourny, you spend roughly 600 hours working as a scouting leader every year. You do this for free, but not for nothing! By promoting scouting, you are giving a lot to scouts, but you also benefit from it. . You are not wasting time, and everyone should know. In addition to the satisfaction of working as a scouting leader, it is time to put words on all the specific benefits.
We want the skills you acquire during your career as a scout leader to be useful during your adult life, both in private and in professional settings. Here are some tips to make this happen. .
Before that, just so that you can see how useful this procedure is, we would you to read a few excerpts from our interviews with advisors and recruitment specialists, which will enlighten you on the importance of casting the spotlight on the right skills:
"We hire attitudes, not diplomas. When reading a CV, we look for who the person is."
"In your life project, it is essential to make choices which take your values into account."
"Being aware of the skills used to further projects we hold dear is like analysing the best ingredients for an unforgettable meal."
"I exhort young adults to be aware of just how many links can be forged between what they learn as leaders and what they will need in the many roles they will play during their adult lives."
"A person's best skills may not correspond to a certain position or corporate culture. It is essential to be aware of this and to know what skills you should emphasise according to the desired job."
"Act naturally when introducing yourself. Trying to act like someone else is more dangerous than beneficial. The whole point is to know who we really are."
"The skills assessment helps you to discover yourself in order to target the companies you wish to work for."
"Emotional intelligence is very important nowadays. Recruitment specialists appreciate one's values."
A skills path
Using the results of the skills assessment can be extremely interesting if you are looking for the big picture. It is what we call a skills path. You should not only use it to draft your CV or prepare your job interview.You should regularly think about your skills, about those you would like to acquire and, most importantly, about the projects you would like to take part in and why. Being able to question yourself and draw conclusions is important. Your skills evolve and support your projects.This is why we talk about a "skills path".
When looking for a job, this means:
- Using the skills assessment to find out who you are and for which sector and company you wish to work. Knowing what you want. At Les Scouts, we hope aware and critical leaders will be able to choose their adult projects which match their values and skills.
- Looking for a job and gathering information on the companies where you wish to apply for a position.
- Integrating the data from your skills assessment and information about the company in your CV and during the job interview.
- Following up on your applications: making inquiries, trying and find out who will interview you, etc.
- Getting ready for different types of recruitment specialists and the different stages of the hiring process: internal, external, and hierarchical superiors. Not everyone expects the same things from you and candidates must adapt their words to the person in front of them.
- Adapt if things do not turn out as expected.
CV writing tips
The whole point of your CV and cover letter is to get you a job interview, to open the door for you! There are many specialised books and websites where you can find examples of CVs. We will give you a few tips on the content.
- Be meticulous with the layout and writing.
- Indicate your technical skills and knowledge.
- Attitudes and soft skills should be showcased in the cover letter and expanded upon during the job interview.
- But remember that the presence of more soft skills than qualifications will make it difficult for people to take you seriously.
- Read the ad properly, understand what profile they are looking for and take this into account when writing your CV and cover letter. Cast the spotlight on the key elements of the ad in your CV and cover letter. You need to understand what lies behind the ad and show you have understood it. Mention only the skills they are looking for and which you master.
- Analyse the activities done (either professional or not) to identify the skills required to perform the duties properly. Emphasise these skills if they are relevant to the job on offer.
- Do not rewrite your CV in the cover letter.
- Adapt each CV to the job on offer.
- The cover letter must open avenues to be pursued during the job interview.
- Do not attach certificates (unless it is specifically required).This weakens your application and casts doubt on your claims. It gives the impression that you lack self-confidence.
- Importance of languages in a CV.
- For young people: emphasise strengths and personal points (e.g., indicate the topic of your thesis and what you did to complete it: traineeship, interviews, etc.). Do not go overboard (1 or 2 pages max.).
- Showcase your professional and volunteer experience (if you have no professional experience yet) by expanding upon the skills you have acquired.
Your experience at Les Scouts
Would you like to know how to bring up your experience as a scout leader and the skills you acquired during it in your CV?
Here are a few tips:
- You can include your experience as a scout leader in the "Other experience" section, not the "Leisure and activities" section.
- Use words which everyone can understand and avoid scouting jargon. Not everyone knows who Akela is, and what is a Woodcraft!
- Start by mentioning the period during which you worked with the scouts (writing "to present" if you are still active in the movement). You have probably been active with the scouts for several years, which proves your loyalty and tenacity. Mention your Federation Wallonia-Brussels approved scout leader certificate and holiday centre instructor certificate, if you hold them.
- Write your role in the scouts in bold typeface to emphasise it (not your function, but your duties).
- Then, list a series of points which show the responsibilities you have assumed and the skills you have developed during your time with the Scouts. E.g.: number of scouts at the camps, camp or yearly budget, positions held in the staff and what they involved, etc.
- Draw inspiration from the skills descriptions in your assessment. They show the extent to which skills are an inherent part of scouting activities and their relevance to the world of work. They allow you to make a quick and easy transition from scouting to the world of work.
- Draw inspiration from the job ad to cast the spotlight on your duties as a scout leader (e.g., planning a 10-day camp, keeping accounts, etc.).
- Do not hesitate to add skills which you have not put to the test yet, but which you think you master and are relevant to the position on offer.
- Lies about a position, diploma, etc.
Following up on your application
Your goal is to make a difference and get a job interview!
To do this:
- follow up;
- identify who the recruitment specialist is and who will be in charge of the job interview; and
- make yourself known by the company and/or recruitment specialist.
Tips for preparing a job interview
- Listen to the people present during the interview.
- Gather information on the organisation and people who are doing the hiring. It is extremely important for candidates to know the corporate culture and be aware of its values and visions. You can do visit their website, for example.
- Do not rely on your best skills unless they are relevant to the position and/or the company's corporate culture.
- Be in tip-top shape, on time for the interview and meticulous for your introduction. First impressions are important.
- Do not look like you have prepared everything, try and keep some spontaneity.
- Remain natural and as close to yourself as possible.
- In order to prepare job interviews analyse the content of the job on offer, as well as its challenges and environment.
- Think about a difficult situation you were able to manage and be willing to talk about it.
Highlighting the skills acquired as a scout leader
Saying you are committed to a movement seems to be trendy. That is why recruitment specialists want to know whether it is a long-running, strong commitment.
During a job interview, you can obviously draw upon your many years of experience with the scouts to prove that you have acquired a series of important skills. Your skills assessment will help you with this.
Of course, not all the skills you have acquired during scouting can be applied as-is to all professional situations. Draw inspiration from the contextual descriptions in your assessment and choose the most suitable skills for the desired job and the organisation itself.
Always be honest, use only your own experience as an example and, most importantly, always be modest.The skills you have acquired at the scouts are valuable, but you should not overstate their significance.
Using the skills assessment to prepare for questions
The following is a series of questions aiming to assess skills which you may have to answer during a job interview. This non-exhaustive list can help you to prepare your job interview.
- Give an example of task or project in which you took part together with other people. How did it go? What was your role?
- Did the interests of the group with which you worked sometimes differ from yours? What did you do then?
- In what circumstances did you make a mistake for the last time? What was your reaction?
- Do you remember any situation when you had to deal with a big problem? What did you do then?
- Have you ever been able to persuade someone that you were right, even if it seemed difficult or unpleasant at the beginning? What do you think are the factors which determine success in such situations?
- Give an example of negotiations in which you took part. What arguments did you use to support your point of view?
- When was the last time you disagreed with a decision? What did you do?
- Have you made any decision which you later came to regret? How did it happen?
- Describe a recent disagreement or conflict. How did you manage it? What was the outcome?
- Give an example of a situation in which you cooperated with someone whose career was completely different from yours. How did it go? What did you do to leave the other person enough breathing space?
- Describe a situation in which you had to set priorities. What were the consequences on the goals you needed or wanted to achieve?
- Describe a situation in which you had to give up a project. What problems arose?
- Are you always ready to take the initiative? Give a few examples.
- Have you ever organised something significant, something important? How did you do it? How did you get other people involved? What problems did you face?
- Give an example of a situation in which you changed your mind after thinking something over.
- You probably have already had to deal with a demotivated person. What did you do? What was the outcome?
- Give an example of a situation in which you changed your mind based on new information.
We can assume that the five skills you master best (according to the skills assessment) will not be those you will be questioned about. That is why it is important to be aware of other skills, especially if they are relevant to the desired position, and to make plans to explain why they are "absent". To do so, think of what could possibly put you against the ropes during the interview. You could wriggle out by saying "it is not my speciality, it is a bit outside my comfort zone but I can deal with it". Nevertheless, if you do not have a lot of experience, do your best not to flaunt your weak points.
Recruitment specialists expect candidates to make a difference by proving they have the desired skills: you needs to support your claims. Using "stock sentences", "run-of-the-mill" examples and banal pre-made stories is not enough. You need to go one step further. Show what you have lived and experienced, be ready to use specific examples to prove you have acquired certain skills. Your past behaviour can predict your future reactions. A well-known technique to structure your answers and avoid forgetting important information is the STAR method. With this method you state your answer as precisely as possible, which is exactly what recruitment specialists expect you to do.
STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.
- Situation = what was the context?
- Task = what was expected from you?
- Action = how did you react, what did you do?
- Result = what was the outcome?
Example: " Have you ever organised something important? "
- Last year, at the scouts we decided to organise a big fund-raising concert for Télévie. We the scouts are very committed to society, so we seized the opportunity to give our personal support. (= Situation)
- I was asked to organise the concert. I was responsible for the design and production. We wanted a flawless evening in which members would cooperate enthusiastically and we would raise a lot of money. (= Task)
- I brought together a team to help me. I first decided to organise a brainstorming session. The group reached a consensus on what the evening would be like and what would happen. I then drafted a detailed plan and showed it to the team. What needed to be taken care of (material, place), who could help, who could give us a hand on the evening itself...? We agreed on a clear division of work, priorities and deadlines. I then took on some of the duties and coordinated the entire project. (= Action)
- The evening was amazing. Everyone was thrilled and we ended up collecting about €2,000. (= result)
A few tips: what recruitment specialists like to hear
During our meetings with recruitment specialists, we saw certain trends which appear during job interviews. These are just tips, not universal truths. Use them wisely!
- People are increasingly becoming the focus of attention.
- If a candidate talks about a relevant commitment, the recruitment specialist will analyse the attitudes developed thanks to this commitment or those which led the candidate to commit.This is because attitudes are the cornerstone of a person, a candidate. If the candidate already has "skill-attitudes", the recruitment specialist will tend to think the candidate will be able to easily acquire other useful skills.
- Importance given to a person's ability to integrate in a structure.
- Within a candidate's profile, recruitment specialists pay attention to both must-haves and nice-to-haves. Personal goodwill is also extremely important.
- Recruitment specialists like to know how many people you "managed" as a leader: were you at the helm of a small group (staff) or a big organisation (group of units)?