Barnsley Adult Skills and Community Learning

Advice when applying for a role

Find out about cover letters, what a job application is, the information you should include in your CV, and tips to prepare for an interview.

Cover letters

A cover letter is a way of introducing yourself to an employer and telling them why you're interested in the job you're applying for. It should show you've researched the company, explain why you'd be suitable for the role and highlight your relevant experience. It should be well written and not have any spelling or grammar errors.

You could structure your cover letter by:

  • explaining which job you're applying for and where you found the vacancy
  • describing why you're the best person for the job and what you can do for the company
  • saying why you want the job

You can find out more about how to structure a cover letter on the Prospects website.

Job application forms

A job application is an official form that employers might ask applicants to fill in. It usually asks for your employment history, qualifications, education, experience and references.

It's important to highlight all of your achievements and give examples of how your skills and experience relate to the job description.

You can find out more about how to fill in a good job application on the Propsects website.


A CV (curriculum vitae) is a way of advertising yourself and should include details of your education, employment and experience.

Aim to keep you CV no longer than two pages and use an easy-to-read style.

You CV should include:

  • your name, address and contact details
  • a personal statement or profile
  • your education and qualifications
  • details of your skills and work experience
  • your hobbies and interests, and any responsibilities and skills you've gained through these
  • references


You can prepare for your interview in advance by:

  • researching the company and making sure you fully understand the role you've applied for.
  • knowing exactly where the interview is taking place and how long it will take you to get there.
  • dressing professionally to give a good first impression.
  • thinking about questions you may be asked and preparing your answers.

Video interviews

Some employers carry out video interviews rather than inviting you to a traditional face-to-face one.

Prepare for a video interview by:

  • practising in advance.
  • making sure the room where you'll be doing the interview looks professional, clean and tidy.
  • checking your internet connection and the device you're going to be using are working properly.
  • making sure you don't speak too fast, so that your speech is as clear as possible.

Read more video interview tips on the Prospects website.

What employers are looking for

Barnsley's More and Better Jobs Task Force aim to get local people into work, on in work and ready for work. 

The competences below are what Barnsley businesses have said they're looking for in employees.


Competence Meaning
Team work You're good at cooperating with other people, sharing ideas and supporting others to get tasks finished. 
Motivation and initiative You have a positive attitude, can plan your own work and get on with it effectively. 
Digital skills
You know how to use email, the internet and the common office software found in most work places. 
Numeracy and literacy
You have the necessary reading, writing and maths skills to carry out work-related tasks.
Reliability You come to work on time and can be relied on to complete your tasks properly and thoroughly.
Follow instructions
You're a good listener and can follow instructions accurately. 
Flexibility You can adapt the way you work when circumstances change, if you need to switch to a different task quickly. 
Resilience You stick at tasks, even when things go wrong. You learn from any setbacks, stay positive and keep trying. 
Presentation You dress smartly and appropriately for your job. You speak clearly and respectfully to your colleagues. 
Understanding You act responsibly and know how to build good relationships with managers, colleagues and customers. 

For more information

Call (01226) 775270 or 07385 399853

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