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CV and covering letter

Writing a great covering letter

We receive thousands of applications, so it’s really important that you stand out from the crowd. After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Covering letters are a perfect opportunity for you to show your motivation and demonstrate why you’re the right person for the job.  Remember quite often this will be your first introduction to us, so make sure it counts.

Some pointers you may wish to consider are:-

Make it clear; always quote the job reference number (when you know what it is).

Why you? Wow us, tell us why you want the job, explain why you feel you’d be suitable briefly detailing any relevant experience and skills that relate to the role.

Make it compelling. Tailor your covering letter to the specific job application. Don’t be tempted to use one standard template. It supports your motivation if you are able to show us how you can add value to Virgin.

Is it spelt correctly? You know it makes sense; it’s also a good idea to ask a friend or family member to cast their eye over as a double check.

Re-vamp your CV. It can be a bit of a minefield on where to start. A great CV really highlights your skills and experience and can set you apart from the competition. There’s a wealth of information on the internet to help you create your CV

Here are a few highlights:

  • Keep it punchy and factual. Two pages is more than enough
  • If the job is in a different area than your previous roles, draw links between the two.
  • Do you have a seamless link in dates for your career history? – account for any gaps in your CV, you should update your CV regularly to keep it current.

Personal Details

Always include your name, address, phone numbers and email address. Also tell us the best way to get in contact with you, because it’s not great to miss out on an opportunity just because you don’t check an email address that often. – Changed your number recently? Update your CV. Don’t forget if we can’t reach you then we can’t interview you!

Work Experience

Honesty really is always the best policy. Please don’t embellish or exaggerate the truth, this will inevitably catch you out if you get through to the interview stage

  • List your most recent work experience first.
  • Describe your experience in short sentences or bullet points.
  • Highlight the general responsibilities of your role, your achievements, plus the skills required.
  • Cover any gaps in your experience. As an airline, we need full referencing to be completed in line with our security and vetting procedures.

We rigorously check work experience through our referencing & vetting processes. As an airline we have very tight security processes, which demand that these checks are always completed satisfactorily.

Education

List details of any qualifications you’ve gained, including your grades. You might also like to include any additional qualifications or courses that you’ve attended which would be relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Skills

Highlight any other skills that you have including IT skills or additional languages that may be relevant to or useful in the role. This is your chance to really sell yourself, so don’t be afraid to shine. Remember if you don’t your competition will!

Presentation

Good presentation is essential to create the impression, make sure your CV is structured with a good layout, clearly highlight headings and all the relevant information.  Highlight your achievements and not just your responsibilities. Include examples of your work, if appropriate.

  • Use clear fonts and colours when writing your CV.
  • Always use a readable typeface and select a sensible font size.
  • Always use spell check.
  • If in doubt, phone a friend, because it never hurts to get a second opinion. Ask someone else to read
  • Through your CV and give you constructive feedback.

 

Assessment

Our assessment process

So once you get the good news that your application has been successful, what happens next?
The type of interview or assessment that you will go through will depend on the role that you have applied for. We use a variety of assessment methods and each type provides the opportunity for you to display your abilities in different ways.

What is a behavioural/biographical interview?

During a behavioural interview, you’ll be asked to think of examples of specific work based situations you’ve been in. You’ll need to tell us how you handled it and what the outcome was. It might be worth thinking about this before your interview. The more detail you can recall the better quality of answer you can give.

A biographical interview involves a discussion about your CV and employment history, outlining what you’ve done, what your achievements are and why you’ve made certain career choices. It might help you to bring an up to date copy of your CV to the interview with you.

We’ll use a combination of both styles of interview, and our professional recruitment team will do their best to put you at ease. We understand for a lot of people the interview process can seem quite daunting, after all we have all been there! Our philosophy is that interviews are a two way process, so it’s just as important for you to find out about life at Virgin Atlantic and if we are the right fit for your career, as it is for us to find out more about you.

Assessment centres

An assessment centre is one of the methods we use to assess your strengths and development needs. Generally you can expect to be with us for all or part of a day and they’re made up of a number of different exercises. We appreciate that it can seem a long process for an all-day interview, but we often receive feedback on how candidates have enjoyed the day and made new friends!

We use assessment centres to recruit for a variety of areas within the business and they typically contain the following elements:

  • Group discussion
  • Role Plays
  • Ability tests, such as numerical reasoning or role related scenarios
  • Presentation
  • Behavioural/Biographical Interview

Group Discussions

Effective team working is vitally important in all areas of our business, so a group discussion can be a useful tool to help us see how you relate to one another when you work as a team.

We’ll give you a topic to discuss in a given time scale and then our assessors will observe the group for the duration of the exercise.

Don’t be put off by assessors making notes, we are purely writing observations of the behaviours we see you demonstrate throughout the exercise.

Role-plays

This involves you re-enacting a scenario you might find yourself in as part of the role. You’ll be given time to prepare and then you’ll carry out the role play with a couple of assessors. This gives us a good insight of how you may handle certain challenges that might happen in your role. We are aware that sometimes the role you have applied for might be a completely different step in your career direction so we’ll ensure you have all the tools that you’ll need to complete this exercise.

Ability tests

These measure certain abilities or aptitudes and we usually ask you to complete these online or on a printed answer sheet. Each exercise generally has multiple choice questions that you’ll need to complete within a time limit. You’ll be given clear instructions before you start, and there’ll be some practice questions for you to try with no time limit.

Presentation

Some positions we recruit for involve making recommendations in a formal setting or addressing groups and audiences. As part of the recruitment process, we could ask you to prepare a presentation on a particular topic before your interview. If the role has an analytical slant, we might ask you to carry out an analysis presentation. Just like the ability tests, we’ll give you guidance and all the necessary tools on the day.

None of our exercises are designed to catch you out; on the contrary it is a great opportunity for you to showcase your skills to our assessors.