The Shell application form consists largely of yes/no answers and options in dropdown menus, rather than opportunities to give detail about your skills and experience. For this reason, your CV must work extra hard to showcase your unique achievements.
Preparing your graduate CV for Shell
The company provides some general advice on CV preparation on its careers website so be sure to follow the guidance. Shell favours a traditional CV format with education and experience neatly listed in reverse chronological order.
Here are some things you should keep in mind:
- Don't try to include your life story; CVs should be clear and concise, with no waffle. While it's important to cover your full work history, for less relevant experience, you may want to pick out only a few key pieces of information rather than giving an in-depth account of each role.
- Highlight your most relevant experiences and provide details about your role and accomplishments. Your CV is a chance to sell yourself so make sure to highlight your personal contribution (write I, not we) and anything you achieved that you were proud of.
- For your education history, Shell suggests that you include information on any relevant modules or projects. This will help demonstrate your interest in and knowledge of your chosen scheme. Give an overview of what you did and what you learned. It's not necessary to list every module you studied at university. Instead, pick the modules you think are most relevant to Shell and the scheme you've applied for.
- Focus on the skills your degree and work experience helped you develop. So, for example, giving a presentation to your seminar group might have improved your communication skills, while working on a group essay might have developed your ability to work with others.
- Shell highly recommends that you include your achievements and outside interests in your CV. This helps show you're well rounded and injects personality into your CV. Avoid generic interest such as listening to music or socialising with friends – and definitely don't make things up. You need to be prepared to discuss your CV further at interview.
- Good written communication is something that Shell is looking for in its recruits so make sure your CV is well written, easy to understand and proofread thoroughly.
Match your CV to Shell's 'C.A.R.' criteria
It's important to tailor your CV to Shell. The best way to do this is to provide details of how you meet Shell's 'C.A.R' criteria (capacity, achievement and relationship). This can be laid out as bullet points within the sections of your CV; for example, as skills you've used in a particular job or hobby. Be specific and use quantitative details such as sales figures where possible to help illustrate your examples.
To demonstrate your capacity in your CV, you could include examples of times when you've:
- learned something new
- adapted to a new environment quickly
- made an important or difficult decision
- identified a solution to a problem
- discovered a more efficient method of working
To highlight your achievement in your CV, you need to emphasise your drive, enthusiasm and resilience. You could include examples of times when you've:
- worked towards an ambitious goal
- been driven to deliver results
- gone the extra mile
- persevered despite obstacles
- picked yourself up after a setback
To match with Shell's relationship criteria, you could include examples of times when you've:
- worked well in a team
- developed positive relationships with customers, work colleagues or university peers
- needed to communicate with a range of people, whether it was through written correspondence, over the phone or in person.
- adapted your style to suit your audience eg explaining a technical topic to somebody who isn't familiar with it
- dealt with a difficult customer and successfully appeased them
Think about other skills that Shell might value
Shell is looking for graduates who can evolve into its future managers so you should use your CV to highlight any experience you have of leadership positions or times when you've volunteered to take on more responsibility. For example, if you held a supervisory role in a part-time job. Make this clear and emphasise the leadership skills you used such as thinking stategically, making decisions, motivating others, delegating tasks and giving feedback.
Innovation is also important to Shell. It's Gamechanger programme, for example, was founded in 1996 and provides financial and technical support for innovators with promising ideas. So far it's helped develop over 150 ideas. Have you ever had a bright idea or thought of something new? How did you convince people it was a good idea? Did you face any obstacles and how did you overcome them? Maybe you've even been involved in Shell's global competition, Shell Ideas360, which encourages students to think of creative ways to tackle the pressures on the world's energy, food and water resources.
For more inspiration, take a look at the job description of the role you're applying for and Shell's website. For instance, Shell's core values are honesty, integrity and respect for people. Try to highlight examples in your CV that align with these values.
by Michael Cheary
So you’ve just spent three years or more completing your degree…
You spend hours perfecting your graduate CV, but how long do you spend writing the accompanying cover letter? The honest answer for many, unfortunately, is not long enough.
Teaming your shiny new CV with a half-hearted attempt at writing a cover letter (or worse, not including one at all) could count against you more than you anticipate.
A cover letter is often the first thing a hiring manager looks at so it’s crucial to get it right. As well as letting your personality shine, it’s also an opportunity to stand out from all the other graduate applicants. And remember, first impressions count.
We’ve already covered how to write a cover letter, but if you’re still feeling frustrated when it comes to the finer details, here’s our cover letter template specifically designed for recent graduates:
Just here for the template? Click the link below:
Download Graduate Cover Letter Template
Opening the letter
The opening paragraph should be short, informative and to the point. Explain what job it is you’re applying for, and where you found the vacancy.
Feel free to mention the website by name (e.g. as advertised on reed.co.uk) or, if someone referred you to the contact, mention their name in this section.
I wish to apply for the role of Graduate Commercial Analyst, currently being advertised on reed.co.uk. Please find enclosed my CV for your consideration.
Second paragraph – Why are you suitable for the job?
Briefly describe your professional and academic qualifications that are relevant to the role and ensure you refer to some of the skills listed in the job description.
Stating your degree classification and the name of your university is optional, but will help to build a more comprehensive background for the reader. And, if any specific qualifications have been mentioned as pre-requisites, stating this now will help confirm your credentials.
As you can see from my attached CV, I have recently completed a three year degree in Economics at Loughborough University, attaining a 2:1, and I believe the knowledge and skills built up during this time make me the perfect candidate for the role.
Third/Fourth paragraph – What can you do for them?
Use practical examples to emphasise what you can do for the company. These might be performance based (if you have some relevant work experience), but will most likely be focussed on your academic career.
Always make sure your examples are as specific and pertinent as possible. If you’ve completed particular modules which may be applicable, this is the point to include them.
It’s also a good place to include any extra-curricular studies or activities which are applicable to the position, or which help reinforce your skills. Examples could be particular books you’ve read around the subject, seminars you’ve attended, or any qualifications undertaken which are outside your degree.
Other examples include outlining your dissertation (e.g. ‘achieved a first class distinction grade in my dissertation on x’), or more quantifiable achievements you may have attained whilst in previous employment or during work experience (e.g. ‘Increased revenue by x%’, ‘drove x% more traffic to the website during my time in employment’, ‘an increase in students grades by x’ etc.)
The position particularly interests me because of my passion for Analytics. During my course, I studied topics such as Econometrics, Accounting & Finance and International Economics, and the mathematical and modelling skills learned from these modules have given me an excellent foundation for building a career as a Commercial Analyst.
Aside from my degree, I have built upon my interest in this field in a number of ways. Recently I have completed my dissertation on architectures for data-intensive analytics, which allowed me to put my theory for the subject into practice. Further, I have also started an online analytics course, which has given me a much more rounded view on the subject.
Fifth paragraph – Reiterate
Here’s where you reiterate your interest in the role and why you would be the right fit for the company.
I am confident that I can bring this level of expertise with me to your organisation and help Online Retail Company LTD build upon their reputation as one of the biggest brand names in the UK. Add to this my passion and enthusiasm for analytics, and I believe my contribution will have an immediate impact on the business.
Closing the letter
Thank the employer for their time. It is also a good opportunity to indicate you’d like to meet with the employer for an interview.
Sign off your cover letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ (if you know the name of the hiring manager)/’Yours faithfully’ (if you do not), and your name.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my application further.
Remember: Just as with our standard free cover letter template, this is a template, not a ready-made cover letter. Without the proper research into the company advertising the vacancy, and without tailoring it to the role, it will lack the impact for which a cover letter can drastically improve your chances of reaching the interview stage.
And these words hold even more importance when it comes to graduate jobs. Putting the time and effort in to each one will pay dividends, so keep at it. The more research you do and the better written it is, the greater your chance of standing out from the graduate crowd and setting yourself apart.
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