Career Planning & Employability

Launch Success Stories – Elyshia Cantrill

In the lead up to our fifth Launch Business Incubator Cohort (commencing Autumn 2020), we wanted to take this time to showcase and celebrate some of the 42 most recent businesses from Cohort 3 and 4.

Today we’re writing about Cohort 4 member, Elyshia Cantrill who owns Pillar of Women, a female and community empowerment enterprise.

As a highly energetic and positive community activist, Elyshia has brought energy and initiative to many successful projects. Attending Launch has helped Elyshia to harness these qualities and develop a clear vision and goals for her own organisation – Pillar of Women. Elyshia’s organisation seeks to empower and enable women to develop and harness their own abilities to bring about positive change in their lives and communities through workshops, events and associated initiatives. With support from Launch Elyshia has been able to develop a range of resources and projects that are effective and flexible. Overcoming recent restrictions was always going to be a key challenge for a community focussed organisation. Launch funding has also helped Elyshia to invest in printing and portable promotional equipment. This means that Pillar of Women is now self-sufficient and highly flexible to the fast-changing needs and demands of running community events. Elyshia has developed an eye-catching brand identity and range of merchandise to promote  Pillar of Women and is about to launch a series of outdoor socially distanced workshops in her own community. Watch this space! read more

Career Planning & Employability

Launch Success Stories – Carole Guilmard

In the lead up to our fifth Launch Business Incubator Cohort (commencing Autumn 2020), we wanted to take this time to showcase and celebrate some of the 42 most recent businesses from Cohort 3 and 4.

Today we’re exploring the world of Black hair care and beauty products from Cohort 4 member, Carole Guilmard who owns Black Venus Beauty.

Carole Guilmard had always struggled growing up trying to find the right products for her curly hair. Living in a small town in France, where there was not a lot of black people in her community, Carole found shops weren’t selling suitable products for her hair type. 

This inspired Carole to create her online store contacting small brands to offer their products on her store, so they could get the recognition they deserved. As a result of some initial funding from Launch, Black Venus Beauty was officially launched in June 2019 as a platform giving customers access to products made by people who understood the needs of curly hair. read more

Career Planning & Employability

The Personal Profile

A Personal Profile section on a CV is a personal choice whether to include on a CV or not however it is good to keep in mind that a Personal Profile can be powerful. I am sure you have now heard that an employer will be spending very little time looking at each CV that comes in for the jobs they advertise. If we think about where an employer’s eyes are drawn on a CV, it is at the top, under the Personal Details section, where you usually place a Personal Profile.

The Personal Profile is the place to briefly outline who you are and what you can offer and be the first chance to start to evidence that you are a match for the job you are applying for. If an employer can start to feel from here that you are a match to the role, they are more likely to continue looking over the rest of your CV. read more

Career Planning & Employability

Job Hunting Tips: Focus Up!

When thinking about searching for a job, it can be easy to get into the mindset of “I’ll apply for everything I can remotely consider myself doing.” You want a job, and you want to maximise your chances of getting one, fast, so it seems obvious that if you apply for as many as you can, you’re more likely to get a job, right?

Not exactly. We call this approach a scattergun one – you’re shooting loads of bullets hoping one hits. Sometimes this will work, but more often than not, the many applications you send out will be very similar, they won’t be researched, and they won’t stand out from all the other applications that are being sent in for that job. We often get people coming to see us who say “I’ve applied or 50 jobs and had nothing back.” When we ask about those applications, they’ve been sending the same CV to those 50 different jobs, with no cover letter. This is often a waste of time; it is far better to spend time on 10 applications than send 50 of the same application to different companies. That way, you can focus on the quality of your application – you’ll get a better response rate and more interviews, I promise. It would be even better if you focus your job search with some actually really easy tools. read more

Career Planning & Employability

Applications: Cover Letters

Cover letters can be quite tricky. It can be very difficult to know what to put in a cover letter. Do you address every point in the job description? Do you repeat what you put in your CV? How long should it be?

There’s no one size fits all, and the answers to these questions do vary, but there are some principles you can use to help guide you.

Generally speaking, a cover letter does three things. It tells an employer:

  • Who you are and what you want – this can be as simple as “I am a graduate from Salford University, having studied Mechanical Engineering I am seeking a role in an Engineering firm that allows me to develop m skills further while making a significant impact on the company.
  • What specific skills or knowledge you have that’s relevant – here you would expand on things you have put in your CV – During my degree, I was fortunate enough to undertake a placement at Sodia Engineering, where I developed a strong attention to detail, time management etc.
  • Why you want it from that company – this is where you show you have done some research, more than just looking at a company’s website. Look at their Social Media, look at how they’ve been in the news if at all, and how that motivates you to want to work for them. What separates them from other employers in the sector?

An example to give you an idea would be something like this:

You can see here that each paragraph sticks to that formula – they make a point, then move on to the next section. This is the best strategy, keep it short and to the point (no more than one page) and include the three key sections above. It also does need to be set out like a letter; even if you are sending it as an email attachment, they will still expect it to be set out like this. read more

Career Planning & Employability

Job Hunting Tips – Specialised Job Boards

General job boards can be really useful if you use them right as we’ve seen (look at our previous post here for some tips). But sometimes, they’re just not enough. Some employers will not use them and only post on websites specific to their industry, especially if they’re niche or specialised employers.

Finding these specific websites can be tricky – a google search can help, but even this won’t necessarily find you the best resources. Thankfully, there is a ready-made repository of these websites which is organised by job.

We’ve shared it before on our social media, but the website Prospects is incredibly useful for this. Below you can see one of the job profiles. These give you loads of information on individual jobs; what to expect from the work, working conditions, salary (which is always good to know) and other useful things. read more

Career Planning & Employability Interviews

Answer difficult interview questions: The STAR Technique

Are you a good communicator? The answer, of course, is yes; you’ll never be asked this in an interviewer and say no to this question. Which is why an employer will never ask you something like this. They’ll ask, instead, “Can you give me an example of a time when you have shown good communication skills?”

This is much harder. So how do you answer something like this? We use something called the STAR technique:





Describe when you used the skill, the situation. Then, what were you trying to achieve using that skill? Next, the action – what did you do, and how did you do it? Finally, the result: what happened as a result of what you did?

This formula can really help to answer these questions, building an answer that demonstrates that you have the skill and experience they are looking for. As an example: read more