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Common mistakes in CE preparation and how to avoid them

Preparing a Career Episode is a delicate process that calls for careful and planned work. The writer must take various factors into account, and combine a rich set of elements in order to meet the requirements of a successful assessment. Here are the most common mistakes done by those who have little experience in writing CEs:

Too long
You want to include everything that was done in a project, and you want to describe all work in great detail hoping that the evaluators will appreciate it. However, the maximum allowable word count limit is 2500, and so you need to respect this limit and keep your CE content length under it. Evaluators don’t have all the time in the world to read about intricate work details.

Too generic
Saying “I designed a circuit board” is a generic statement that doesn’t adequately reflect what you did. Including details like what design software tool you used, what revisions were needed, what parts did the circuit board consisted of, and whether you had to collaborate with someone from your team to finalize the design will make things more appropriate.

Too technical
One more common mistake is for CEs to be extensively technical, leaving little margin for the inclusion of other elements such as “reporting”, “communication”, “cost-related decisions”, “participation in meetings”, and “introduction of pioneering processes”. All elements need to be adequately covered, so a career episode shouldn’t be completely dedicated to the technical description of the work done.

Not focused on the applicant’s work
The career episode must highlight the work done by the applicant, and not by the team or department that the applicant was a part of. This means that using active voice like “I did”, “I checked”, “I measured”, and “I tested” is imperative. You should not present the work done with “we designed”, “we supervised”, and “we simulated”. Evaluators want to see what you did, even in the context of a teamwork task, so even when describing something that was done by a team you should specifically explain what your contribution and participation was exactly.

Finally, many applicants feel that they need to add elements that are fictional in order to make their career episodes compelling enough. That is a typical mistake as evaluators are experienced enough to be able to pinpoint unsubstantiated claims that seem to be out of context. Instead, try to cover an element with honesty even if that means that it will be weakly or marginally covered.

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