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Judith C


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Bite Sized Training



I am looking at putting together some bite sized training sessions for job seekers in areas like CV prep, interview techniques etc to get them ready for work and boost confidence whilst giving them some much needed advice and information on looking for work.  Can anyone provider any pointers on structuring the sessions to make sure the session has impact, is useful and fun.  

Is there a formula or model to follow that you have used that has helped you develop your sessions?  What is the ideal length of a 'bite sized' session? I read some where this is about 90 minutes.  



10 Responses

  1. Bite size training

    Hi Judith

    I've delivered a fair amount of these. You are right, they are often 90 minutes. Whether or not this is the right length depends on a few factors. If the attention span of your group is short. 90 minutes may be all the can handle, but in all honesty, it doesn't give you much time to explore the issues or give them more than much more than a starting point. I'd prefer 3 hours given a choice. 

    I think it can be a harder job than running a longer sessions as there less room for flexible timing or discussions.

     As for content, you'll need them to be fast paced, with a good variety of short. practical activities. Plenty of examples of CVs, job ads, interview questions etc can help take away the fear…buy can overwhelm, so it's a fine balance! I often use exercises around putting them in the employers shoes which work well.

    I've also trained career advisers to work with groups on job search topics. Apologies for blatant promotion, but you'll find ideas of what to include, sample session plans, plenty of activities etc in The Groupwork Toolkit and The Job Interview Toolkit. Details on Amazon or at


    Hope this helps


  2. Hi Julie

    Hi Julie

    Thank you for your reply. This is really helpful. Sounds like I have a tough challenge ahead to get as much as into the session without it overwhelming the participants. I am used to delivering workshops that are half a day or a full day, even then I often don't get through everything as participants have so many questions which is great. 

    Do you have any further tips you share with careers advisers?

    Thanks for your link and tips. It certain does help me. 

    Kind regards


  3. Further tips

    Hi Judith

    Glad it helped ūüôā

    Hopefully in the next month I'm going to have rebuilt and expanded- I'm planning to include an area where careersy type people will be invited to submit a guest blog. I haven't quite decided what type of content I'll include, but I want it to be upbeat and not a place to moan (there are linked in groups where you can do that). Watch that space!

    The only other thing I have to offer are my blogs which aren't always careers focused but some you might find useful – there's People Tips at, and also I'm a guest blogger at where I write about training practice which might be more useful for you.


    All the best



  4. A few tips


    I specialise in bite-size training (Power Hour). All my sessions have a 'core' which can be run in 60 minutes, but this CAN be tight, especially with larger groups. I provide additional material to explore the key issues in more detail if there's time.

    However, here are my tips:

    1. Don't be tempted to turn it into a download session – you still need to have lots of 'doing'

    2. Use a very short ice-breaker that is directly relevant to the topic so that you can refer to it later

    3. Decided if you are going to provide an overview of lots of ideas or cover 1 or 2 in detail…you can't do both

    4. Have one or two activities that you can draw multiple learning points from

    5. Give lots of guidance about where people can find out more (or provide a detailed handout/workbook for reference)

    6. Don't get bogged down in theory. Keep it practical as much as possible.

    I do have more tips for running bite-size sessions on my website, which is free to download.

    With your topic, I'd probably have a 'compare and contrast' activity to look at the difference between poor, OK, good and great CVs. I'd also get them started on identifying their 'benefits' (as opposed to features) to help them to start using their CV to sell themselves and get that interview.

    Sounds like a good session, so good luck with it.

    Louise Gelsthorpe – Power Hour Bite-Size training material

  5. Thank you

    Thanks Julie and Louise for your responses these are great tips.  Now my issue is getting started and deciding on my topics there is just so much to consider in such a short space of time. 

    Julie all the best with the new site and look forward to seeing the new site and reading your blog, I certainly welcome tips to improve my performance. 

    Louise thanks for the encouragement. 

    Best wishes 


  6. Bite versus Byte!

    Dear Judith,

    One thing to bear in mind before you design the sessions is to ask "what could the participants benefit from by meeting together with yourself, that they wouldn't be able to do alone on-line". This will enable you filter out the information that can simply be given as web-links or hand-outs for the attendees to study afterwards. Given the topic, this is the best opportunity for mock interviews rather than CV preparation (and more importantly the covering letter which is often given greater emphasis). Here's one possible exercise:

    Divide the group into teams of four. One person is the interviewee, one person an observer and the other two interviewers. Each is given a hand-out explaining the roles of all four. Have a lucky-dip of standard questions that are asked and the sub-questions that follow so that there is a dialogue. Each person has five minutes of interview and three minutes of feedback from the observer + interviewers. The roles then change so that everyone has a go at all roles. This will take up about 35 minutes including time to explain the process.

    The 2nd most important thing that can't happen easily after the attendees have gone their separate ways is to share experiences from previous interviews, especially if they have had the benefit of feedback for jobs for which they didn't get selected. Gathering all this information through small discussion groups and recording key points on Post-its for example, then writing it up afterwards on one document and e-mailing all participants will result in a useful and valued resource for all.

    Kind Regards




  7. Thanks great suggestion

    Dear Kevin

    Thanks for your kind response.  Your suggestion considering what the participant could benefit from our time together was a good thought., that I hadn't considered.   Simple but sometimes the best things are.  I also like the feedback part that they could share about past experiences, people like to share.  I feel with the tips on this site I just might be able to put something together that has some sort of impact. 





  8. Just a couple of ideas to add

    Just a couple of ideas to add to what is already posted:

    Where possible, carefully scrutinize your group ie are they all school-leavers or are they predominantly job seekers with work experience; work backgrounds;  male/female; etc.  I'm not for one moment suggesting putting like-with-like, but be sure you tailor your content as best you can to fit the people.  Admin folk will quickly turn off if you are talking mainly about getting a trade type job etc.

    Second, be sure to help them wherever possible to put their CV together such that it looks more like their presentation rather than that of an HR pro.  In my experience a CV that looks like it is the product of some HR template will get less attention than one which appears to be the product of the person.

    Third, train them to ask questions as well as how to answer questions.  In this day and age most Employers……….or should I say better Employers……..are looking for people who can think as well as give answers.

    Cheers.  DonR.

  9. It’s often a case of candidates underselling themselves

    Hello Judith

    I think that the above responses are excellent and so just wanted to add to the expertise that's already been shared.

    I think the concentration on questions is a good area; in recruitment I often find that good – sometimes excellent – candidates undersell themselves, both on their CVs and in interview. Many I speak to think that they will 'talk too much' when, so often, they don't talk enough!

    An exercise I like to do is to break delegates into pairs and give them lots of interview questions on separate cards which they lay face down in front of them; they then pick them up at random and answer the question they see to their partner. This develops their 'question arc' and is also very useful for practising the STAR technique.

    When working with younger, inexperienced candidates I really do as Kevin suggests and ask them what the skills they would like to work on are. This brings up subjects that many more experienced people might not think of. Examples I’ve had are: ‘Do I sit down first in the interview room or wait for them to ask me?’; ‘What if I don’t know the answer to the question?’; ‘What if I say something wrong, can I go back later and change my answer?’; ‘What do I wear?’ My point is that introverted and/or inexperienced candidates have very basic needs which often don’t get picked up in sessions.

    My own shameless plug. I asked over 30 of my recruitment contacts from around the world why people get turned down for interviews and turned their answers into a book called ‘40 Interview Icebergs’, which you can find here:

    Good luck with your session!


  10. Tailoring

    I'm a trainer with Jobcentreplus, and I deliver a lot of CV workshops for staff.

    For jobseekers the most important thing is to get rid of the gaps in their employment history, so focus on skills based CV.

    A lot of employers recruit online and use computers to sift CVs so help them to identify the buzz words in vacancies and then use them to create a CV that is relevant to the employer.


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Judith C

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