Friday January 22nd 2016 saw Avadis & Co. Solicitors’ front of house and marketing coordinator Bill Montgomery head to Chalk Farm’s Haverstock School & Business Enterprise College to help out with their year 10 student CV & interview skills workshop.
The overarching goal for the first half of the day was to take the lead (with assistance provided by the group’s tutor) in exercises aimed at teaching a class of 14-15 year old students how to effectively prepare a personalised CV – which would in turn be sent out to potential employers with the hope of the student receiving a work experience placement suited towards their interests, experience and talents.
The second half of the day was taken up by mock interviews. Each student involved in the exercise had been required to pick a job from a list of real-world job advertisements; and it was up to the professional volunteers to mimic the role of a potential employer conducting an interview and to then provide legitimate feedback to the students with regard to their interview techniques.
Bill was lucky enough to be paired with Richard; another professional volunteer, ex-Haverstock student and a current manager within one of the top five employment organisations in the UK in terms of number of employees (top 20 internationally). Having been with the company for over 25 years, Richard had amassed a wealth of experience with regard to hiring people within the hospitality/service industry. Bill, as a 25 year old postgraduate having moved to London in March of 2015; was able to outline what it actually takes to get a foot through the door in today’s UK job climate.
Bill and Richard both felt that conducting the workshop together and being able to utilise the relevant aspects of their experiences within the employment landscape was fantastic for the students in that they were able to kick off a number of no-holds-barred discussions, with opinions coming from opposite ends of the spectrum.
Both volunteers had very similar views and subsequently ended up providing similar advice with regard to CV writing, which seemed to boost the confidence of the students. Knowing that they were receiving the same advice from Bill; the younger professional employed by a local law firm, and Richard; the older and more experienced professional often involved in the actual hiring process -meant that the year 10 students were more willing to engage with conversation and let the information sink in.
Although the pair did not get a huge amount of time with the students during the actual CV writing process, they were able to provide specific (but general enough to remain relevant within the context of future CV writing) guidance with regard to structuring sections; what is worth expanding on and what should be left out; how to make a CV stand out and what type of language and grammar is and is not appropriate in terms of writing a CV aimed at achieving a work experience placement.
Bill noted that he was genuinely impressed with how seriously the vast majority of the students took the workshop exercises. Many of the students with whom he conducted mock interviews had already set themselves on a path towards a particular type of employment – although obviously, even in today’s job climate, students of this age should not be expected to know what type of role they would eventually like to work towards.
Bill commented that one boy of only 15 was already so passionate about cooking for friends and family (and of course, himself), that he had not only undertaken a good amount of volunteer work within the field – but had set himself the goal of owning and operating his own bakery by the time he had turned 30.
This student, alongside many others he encountered during his visit stood out to Bill, as “being 25 I still (semi-)clearly remember being a year 10 student; and I’m not embarrassed to say that at the time I had no burning ambitions in terms of employment… other than being able to spend my days playing Baseball for the Yankees with my nights taken up performing in front of stadiums with the band I was yet to form (and still am)”.
Avadis & Co. Solicitors are genuinely proud of the fact that we are in a position (both professionally and with regard to proximity) to be able to volunteer our time and services to Haverstock School & Business Enterprise College, and the school’s surrounding community.
Our specialist solicitors regularly take on pro-bono legal advice sessions for parents of Haverstock students. If you, or someone you know feels that they would be able to take advantage of an introductory advice session – get in touch with Laurie and the rest of the team via firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 0207 267 8864.