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D. Bruce, I know that you give a lot of presentations on the skills needed for finding work and that you’ve also written a short course on the subject. How did you get interested in this?
B. Well, in my lifetime, I applied for a lot of jobs and, in a previous career, I selected people for jobs. So I have seen the whole process from both sides.
D. What do you mean ‘selected people’?
B. I chose people for interviews based on their CVs and cover letters and also interviewed the candidates.
D. Why do you think there is a need for this type of course?
B. A Lot of young, and not so young, people study with us to improve their employment prospects. Having good English is often not enough. Most learners have very little preparation in this area.
D. Are you talking about the way people are selected for jobs in Britain?
B. No, most countries have similar ways of selecting new employees.
D. So you help people write cover letters and CVs then prepare them take part in interviews. Is that right?
B. Yes and no. The world is changing fast. Internet, social media and artificial intelligence are transforming the job market.
D. In what way?
B. Internet has made it much easier and cheaper to apply for a job. Large companies routinely receive hundreds of applicants for each job. It is prohibitively expensive to filter all of these candidates so large and medium companies often use algorithms to eliminate most of them.
D. Does this mean that a CV might not be read by a human?
B. A human will only read it if the algorithm has approved it. Companies normally check a candidate’s on-line presence as well. They can often learn more about a person from that than from the CV.
D. So is it best not to use social media?
B. No. That can be just as bad in some countries and for some types of job. It’s important that your on-line presence makes a good impression. It’s a form of personal marketing.
D. How can people improve their on-line presence? And what can they do about the algorithms?
B. That would take a lot of time to explain. They can come to the workshops or do the course called Preparing for Tomorrow.