What's What - The BlueDome guide to outdoor qualifications

Careers in the outdoors - getting an interview

The converstaion went like this "I wish that more job applicants could write a proper CV. I simply will not bother with trying to decipher a poorly presented CV, they go straight in the bin".

That conversation was earlier today when talking to the head of an outdoor company who uses BlueDome to recruit instructors at all levels for the centres he operates. At least a third of the applications he had received from potential employees had been discarded before being read . There may have been some real talent there but the employer did not get to see it.

"You only get one chance to make a first impression" - That may sound like something from an American motivational pep talk but it is perfectly true. It is likely to be your written CV that is the first point of contact between you and your prospective new employer. When the letter is opened and your CV is looked at can be the crunch point of getting the next stage which is an interview. Get it right and you are close to being shortlisted, get it wrong and you can start looking elsewhere for a job.

The CV.

Here are few tips that may be useful.

CV's that have the appearance of being written by a demented spider and are difficult to read will be ditched. Either improve your writing skills or use a computer to produce a printed and spell checked CV. If you are really having a toil then get someone to help. Don't lose faith at this stage, keep trying.

Be brief but accurate. Don't write pages of detailed descriptions about any previous posts or qualifications, they simply will not be read. The best rule is to keep your CV to two sides of single A4 sheet of paper. If you are supplied with a form to fill in by the employer don't over run the space for your replies.

A good instructor will or rather should have good communication skills. Get this across in your CV.

If you have other skills in addition to your outdoor ones make sure you get them onto your CV. Good all-round abilities, numeracy, literacy, other languages and computer skills will all help to make you a more attractive employee.

Always be honest. There is no point telling an employer that you have this or that qualification when you don't. Even if they do not check with the qualifying body you will soon be seen to be lacking. If you say you can lead E4 but really struggle with HVS then say so. One day someone might want to see that fearless and impressive lead!

Further points for job seekers

As a new starter the employer will be looking for several key skills or abilities - enthusiam - willingness to learn - good interpersonal skills - even temprament - sense of humour (essential). Miss out on one of these and you could be looking elsewhere for that job.

Experience and logbook records are important to your new employer. If you have a logbok full of days at the same crag it will look a lot less attractive when compared to someones' logbook who has been piling in lots of different experiences. Try and work with other instructors and try to vary the work as much as possible.

Always ask what career prospects there are with your new employer. Some posts are strictly seasonal and will wave you goodbye at the end of October. Other employers are operating year round and can offer long term careers.

Do your research. It has never been easier to look at the way a possible employer operates. Look at the jobs on BlueDome and you will almost always see a link to the advertisers web site. Find out what they do, where they are located and also see if they have their own pages covering jobs and careers. The larger employers have in-depth sections dedicated to informing job applicants of what is on offer.

Many employers will aid you to gain further qualifications and skills. If you are at the start of a career in the outdoors then focus on these posts. The downside will probably be lower wages as a trade off, nothing is for nothing! It is perfectly possible to gain a high level of qualifications and experience and become a desirable employee in a fairly short period.

The BlueDome forum is a good place to discuss outdoor employment and careers. Registration is easy, just fill in what you feel is enough information on the form and get posting - Forum link

David Lynch – Editor - BlueDome

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