How can I prepare my child for boarding school?

Sara Sparling

Sara Sparling, of Anderson Education, offers her expertise in getting your youngster ready for the daunting prospect of learning away from the family home…

Preparation
Involve your child in research and visits to schools, you can answer questions and discuss boarding life. 

What to expect
The joining information that you receive from the school is often a good starting point in talking about what happens in the first few days; arriving at the boarding house, meeting house parents and other boarders, unpacking and settling in to the dormitory. 

Home comforts
Pupils are encouraged to bring some reminders of home – photographs, toys or possessions and of course their own clothes for evenings and weekends.

Making the most of it
Boarding school is a way of life with many opportunities – music, art, sport, drama, extra-curricular activities and clubs. Together you can identify areas of interest or new experiences that your youngster may like to try. 

Communication
Skype or FaceTime can be reassuring and will enable you you to be the first to know that your child has been picked for the swimming team or done well in a maths test.

Points of contact
Knowing who to go to with a problem or concern will soon be second nature, but for the first few days it may be extremely helpful to note names and contact details for key people such as the house parent, academic tutor and student mentor. 

Date for the diary
It may be comforting for your  new boarder to know when they are next going to be home to give them something to look forward to.

How do I make my CV look good?

Heledd Kendrick

Every military spouse has the potential to create a great CV – the key to success is to identify your unique skill set, convey your “personal brand”, and demonstrate your value to an employer. Heledd Kendrick, of Recruit for Spouses, shares her advice…

  1. Begin with a professional profile that showcases the skills and experience that you bring to the table. Make it easy for the employer to see that you’re a viable candidate from the start.
  2. Tailor your CV to every job you apply for. Think about your transferable skills and how they are relevant to the role. Including key words from the job description will really help with online recruitment processes that use search engines.
  3. If military life has meant frequent geographical moves and a rather fragmented CV, incorporating a skills section will help to clarify your strengths to an employer.
  4. Don’t cram in everything you have ever done. Think  about what experiences and skills you have that are relevant to the job in hand, and focus on the last ten years.
  5. If you wish to emphasise specific achievements, include a ‘highlights’ section to draw attention to the high points of your career – even if they happened years ago.
  6. Never undervalue voluntary work. If you’ve been involved with fundraising or running events, think about the skills you have demonstrated and how they could be relevant to your career development. This is also a highly-effective way to address gaps in your CV.
  7. Include any training you have taken. This demonstrates your ability to take on new challenges whilst balancing a challenging family life.
  8. Think about those unique attributes that military spouses and partners have to offer: flexibility, adaptability, resourcefulness – all of which are of great value to an employer.
How can I prepare for a telephone interview?

Maggie Gordon

Maggie Gordon, of the Career Transition Partnership, argues you should treat a chat over the phone like any other interview…

Be ready
The level of preparation is exactly the same as it is for a face-to-face interview. Find out as much as you can about the company and job role. Visit its website, read relevant press and be aware of industry updates and competitors. It’s also useful to investigate who will be interviewing you – LinkedIn is a good tool.

Location
This is key. Don’t pick a noisy cafe with screaming children or rattling china. Pick a quiet room at home and make sure you aren’t interrupted.

Toolkit
Have a copy of your CV and the job description to hand as well as a pad with some questions.

sounding good
70 per cent of what we say is received in non-verbal form such as body language, so you have to rely on the other 30 per cent – your tone of voice and what you say. According to research, people can actually ‘hear’ you smile – you become more relaxed and your voice will sound more confident, upbeat and assertive. Standing up can keep your confidence and enthusiasm levels high.

Ask questions
This is your chance to stand out against all other candidates so show what you can give to them, sound interested in what they do, ask questions about the team, the environment and the job.

Listen
Undoubtedly the most important thing to do. Listen intently – take on board all elements of their questions and make note of anything that seems of particular importance just in case they refer back to it later. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat something.

Ending the call
Before you say goodbye, ensure you’ve expressed your interest in the role. Confirm what the remaining recruitment process is and how long it will be before you hear from them. Make a note to follow this up.

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