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A curriculum vitae (CV) translates roughly as “the course of your life”, so this document should give anyone who is looking at this document a fair idea of what work and study you have done throughout your life up to that point.  It should also give a fair idea of what key skills you have.

Like the essays, we receive some good CVs and some not-so-good CVs.  While we’re not expecting a thousand page document, we do expect something of substance within the document that lets us know what you have been doing in the years previous to applying to us.

According to Wikipedia, some of the areas in your CV should include:

  • Your current personal details;
  • A personal statement;
  • A list of your key skills and attributes;
  • A reverse chronological work history with achievements and role duties;
  • A reverse chronological educational history with academic and professional qualifications received;
  • Your hobbies and interests are optional.

In each of the areas, here are some of the things we are looking for:

Current Personal Details and Your Personal Statement

For your personal details, please include:

  • Full legal name (first, middle and last names)
  • Your current address
  • Your landline number
  • Your cellular phone number
  • Your email address

This is usually located at the top of your CV.

Your personal statement is usually a paragraph focussing on you.  As per the Wikipedia article, it would be best to remain objective (“Scott Fack has worked in academic, administrative and customer service roles…”) instead of subjective (“Scott Fack is the bestest, highest qualified person to work in academia…”).

List of Key Skills and Attributes
You provide a bullet-pointed list with skills and other things you have picked up over the years.

For example, a key skills and attributes list on my CV might read like:

  • Can type approximately 90 words per minute
  • Helped write and implement a quality management system consistently called “a strong document” by auditors from New Zealand and overseas
  • And so on… 

Your Work History
You should list your employment history, including where you worked, how long you worked there for, approximate dates and duties and key points.  You should do this starting with your most current job first.

An example:

Retail Assistant
ABC Hardware Store, Papanui, Christchurch
July 2007 – May 2009
Responsibilities included:

  • Stock control
  • Assisting customers with purchases
  • Et cetera

While some CV sites encourage you to list your entire work history, we would encourage you to use common sense when making your CV.  This does not mean omitting jobs you didn’t like or stayed a short while at; however, it does mean that jobs before a certain time (say ten or twenty years) may not be relevant.

We leave this decision up to you.

One warning: If there are gaps in the history, we will be asking you questions.  You are obligated under various rules, regulations and laws to tell us the truth.

Your Educational History
This is a very similar format to your employment history.  An example:

XYZ School of Hardware, Merivale, Christchurch
Diploma in Hardware Sales (Level 5)
January 2006 – December 2006
Further information:

  • Gained the Diploma in Hardware Sales (Level 5)
  • Gained 80% overall score

Subjects learned:

  • Sales
  • Hardware tools
  • Et cetera

Make sure you are telling the truth in your CV with regards to educational history.  Under the way the current law works, we have the right to request information from the NZQA and other providers on whether or not you have completed your study with those providers, and they are obligated to let us know this.

Overall, though, we would like to take your word for it, so please be honest.

So, overall, your CV should be a comprehensive yet focussed guide to show others, like us, your history and goals to help us gain a better picture of where you are coming from and how we can assist you in achieving your goals.

As always, if you have any questions about your CV, the application and interview processes or anything else, please feel free to contact us during our office hours, and we will endeavour to assist as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

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As you are looking to enter tertiary education at the equivalent level of the first year of university in most cases, you need to demonstrate you can achieve and succeed in learning.  The way you do this for us is by providing us with an educational history; this is important for all applicants to do, if they have an educational history, and required for students who are 17, 18 or 19 years old.

For applicants who are 20 and older, we look at work history too, so if you left high school and went into the work force, not having undertaken any further education, you can supply us with your work history through your Curriculum Vitae.

Like in a court case, we need evidence to back-up your claims or we rule these as inadmissible.  For example, if you tell us you gained a Certificate in Underwater Basketweaving (Level 4) from the Underwater Basketweaving and Knitting School of New Zealand, but you have no evidence of this (i.e. a certificate, letter from the provider or official academic transcript), we can’t use this as evidence.  See this from our point of view:  What’s to stop anyone from saying they have the Certificate in Underwater Basketweaving (Level 4)?  They might have it; they might not.  You can’t get convicted of a crime if there isn’t some pretty strong evidence against you; the same applies here.  We need evidence-based facts to support your claims.

In saying this, there are a few terms I’d like to put forward here that we have in our forms; this hopefully will help clarify some matters for you.

What is a completed course or qualification?
Completed only means you got to the end of the course; this does not mean you passed or failed the course, only that you got through the entire course.

What is a successfully completed course or qualification?
Successfully completed means you got to the end of the course and you passed everything.  You received a certificate or diploma as a result.

We use the words course and qualification interchangeably.  There seems to be some confusion in these terms, but when we use them, we use either to mean a programme of study that leads to the awarding of a certificate or diploma.

The absolute minimum educational standard we will accept for applicants between 17 and 19 is the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1.  You need to have the:

  • Actual NCEA (Level 1) certificate; or
  • A Record of Learning from NZQA stating you have:
    • 80 or more credits at Level 1 or higher; and
    • 8 or more credits in literacy; and
    • 8 or more credits in numeracy; or
  • A letter from your school stating you are expected to meet the requirements for achieving NCEA (Level 1).

We also only look for NZQA-Approved courses or their overseas equivalents.  This means a certificate for being the best underwater basket weaver at work or doing a short course through work to update your underwater basketweaving skills in most cases will not be acceptable for our educational history purposes; you may wish to submit these for your work history purposes to show you have learned at work.

As always, if you are uncertain or need further clarification on any matter, please feel free to contact our offices during office hours, and we will be more than happy to assist you as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Applications, Part 1: The Essay

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When prospective students apply to enrol in one of our longer courses like the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, one of the requirements is he or she must write an essay in response to statements we have given them.  This exercise gives us a fairer idea of their direction and insight into why exactly they want to enrol in our course.

Unfortunately, a small minority of the responses we receive appear to be spouting what we want to hear, not responses where the applicant has sat down, truly thought about what to answer, and written the reply from there.

On the other side of the coin, a good chunk of the responses we receive do, to varying degrees, address this and delve (at various depths) into giving us insight into the reason(s) why the prospective student wants to enrol in the course.

My suggestion to those applicants who are interested in studying with us is to sit down, have a good think of why you feel this is the industry for you, and answer from your heart.  Like in a court case, use evidence to back your statements up, where possible.

For example, you might say from a young age you were passionate about beauty therapy.

Why? How?  There are so many ways you can take this statement to expand upon it.  Maybe some of your fondest memories were of accompanying your favourite aunt to her weekly facial treatment, and the beauty therapists there got your initial interest going.  Over the years, you built up this interest by… (and you can continue from there).

And “passionate” is a very strong word to use.  Why are you passionate about this industry?  A lot of people say they are “passionate” about something, but how many can demonstrate or explain why?

These are the sorts of questions you might want to ask yourself after making the first draft of your essay.  (I say first draft because you may need to go through and clarify things, correct misspelled words, and so on.)  When you read the draft of your essay, make changes and corrections, and think of how to best expand upon what you have written (if needed).

Remember, you know what you are talking about because you have experienced it; putting those ideas on paper doesn’t always translate the way you want it to.  So think about, “does the way I’ve written this get my point across?”

(It’s like people who don’t use indicators when they are driving.  They know where they are going.  The rest of us don’t!)

If you’re not sure, have someone else who is very analytical at these things sit down and read your essay to make sure it makes sense and gets your point across.  This could be a teacher or parent or someone who has perhaps experienced with writing essays for university or other tertiary education.

Of course, as always, if you need clarification or guidance, please feel free to contact us, and we will be more than happy to assist as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Your Previous Learning

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Today was a good example of a few issues we face when we get a lot of applications in and a lot of enquiries about our courses.  What previous learning do you need to have to apply for one of our courses?

Well, let’s assume we’re talking about entry-level courses, i.e. courses that are a “foot-in-the-door” level for beauty therapy and nail technology.

Do I need to know anything about beauty therapy or nail technology to do the course?
No.  You will have needed to research the industry to see if this is the industry you want to get into, but you do not need to know how to perform any beauty therapy or nail technology treatments, or anatomy and physiology, or anything like that.  We assume you know none of these when you start the course, so relax! You start at square one, so to speak, and learn from there.

Do I need to have any qualifications before I start the course?
This depends on your age.

If you are over 20, we look at your work history if you have no formal qualifications.  In short, no.

If you are under 20, you need to have at least NCEA Level 1 or higher qualification.  (Yes, we do accept Cambridge Exams, et cetera.)

We usually only look at completed qualifications.  These need to be NZQA-Approved or equivalent, i.e. a certificate you received from your employer because you took a 2 day course in basket weaving does not count.

I don’t know if I have NCEA Level 1.  Do I?
In order to have NCEA (National Certificate in Educational Achievement) Level 1, you must have:

  • Gained 80 credits or more at level 1 or higher.
  • Gained at least 8 credits in literacy (i.e. reading, writing, comprehension, et cetera).
  • Gained at least 8 credits in numeracy (i.e. maths, geometry, calculus, et cetera).

If you have less than 80 credits, you do not have NCEA Level 1.

If you do have over 80 credits, but do not have at least 8 credits in literacy and at least 8 credits in numeracy, you do not have NCEA Level 1.

I really want to be a beauty therapist or nail technician, but I’m not sure if I can cope with the level of study (or I don’t have NCEA Level 1 to get in).  What do I do?
You can do several things, but two of the things I know off the top of my head are:

  • Start off in our nail technology course.  This is a level 4 course, which can lead into our level 5 Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics once you achieve competency in the Certificate in Nail Technology.
  • Maybe complete the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics over the part-time option, i.e. Certificate in Aesthetics (Facial Therapy), which is level 4, then progress to Certificates in Physiatrics (Body Therapy) and Electrology, both of which are level 5.
  • Complete a lower level qualification with a provider like the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand or another provider.
  • CPIT offers a Certificate in Sciences (Pre-Health) which is a fantastic stepping-stone into our courses.  This helps equip you with the skills and knowledge you need in order to achieve and succeed at our course.

I’m sure I haven’t covered everything about previous learning here, but if you do have questions, please feel free to contact either Jacqui or me at the school, and one of us is always willing to help as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

This Course is All About Hard Work

When Jacqui or I take the interview presentation, there’s a slide that starts off with that phrase: “This course is all about hard work.”  If I am presenting, my eyes scan the room full of interviewees to see what their reactions are.  And believe you me, there are a variety of reactions.

I think, to be honest, with just under 20 years’ experience with teaching in one form or another, one usually finds those who take this statement too seriously are the ones who don’t need to worry about it, while the students who don’t take this statement too seriously… have no idea what they are in for.

When we get to the end of a course, we hear from the students that nothing could have prepared them for how much hard work would have to go into the amount of studying and case studies and routines in their time at the school.  And, once they have finally graduated and get out into the industry, the amount of pride in how hard they struggled to achieve something so wonderful finally comes to fruition.  These graduates spread the word to potential students about the hard work they are facing, as we do, but I don’t think words can truly prepare anyone for any level of work they may need to complete any course.

If you are considering attending one of our courses, please be prepared to put in hard work to achieve and succeed.  As Noel often says, you’ll find people around you who aren’t knowledgeable about the industry will say, “It’s just slapping on a bit of make-up”, or “You paint nails”, with the implied comment after, “How hard can it be?”  (At that point, you should take out your textbooks and plonk them down on a table.  Ask them how much of the information in those books they know… You usually will find if they have a good look through, they won’t be making those comments again, and will have a new-found respect for you and your course work!)

Their comments could drag you down, but as our Code of Ethics say, you should show pride in your abilities and your skills.  You learn everything from broad things such as massage (something that most people have some innate ability to at least perform to a basic level) to fiddly things (like nail polish application to a professional standard), so you should show pride in these, and learn them to the best of your abilities.

In short, nothing we can say will prepare you for the hard work you will face when you attend one of our courses.  But if you’re willing to put in the hard yards, you’ll get that repaid ten-fold when you graduate and get out into the industry.

As always, if you have concerns about the level of the course, or if you want any advice or assistance, please let us know, and one of us will be more than happy to assist you.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.