National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

22 June 2021

It was the second time Amy Boothby from Staffordshire FYFC had made it to the national final of Situations Vacant but this year she actually got to compete in it and win the trophy!

Amy, who is County Chair of Staffordshire FYFC, is a big fan of the Situations Vacant competition and has won the County round three times and twice at the Area round. After qualifying for the national final last year, her achievement was thwarted by Covid-19, as the competition had to be cancelled.

Determined to compete nationally, Amy managed to qualify for the national finals again this year and went on to win it.

“I’m Situations Vacant’s biggest fan,” said Amy. “I am such an advocate of the competition. I have been doing it for three years, so I have a lot of experience now. It’s the closest YFC competition you’re ever going to get to the real world.

“No one can prepare you for what an interview is going to be like, and you can take away advice and experience from this competition. That’s why I have always come back to it as you can never stop refreshing your interview skills.”

All competitors are asked to choose a job advert from the last 12 months for a role they would like to pretend to apply for and then submit a CV and covering letter two weeks in advance of a live interview with the judges.

Amy chose to apply for a Mechanical Design Engineer position as she had the relevant skills and experience for the role which had been gained during her time at Harper Adam’s University while studying for a degree in Agricultural Engineering.

All of the interviews were held online and Amy was given a 25-minute grilling from the judges.

“They asked some tough questions, such as ‘tell me about the time you had to overcome a challenge and the steps you took to overcome it.’ Both judges were very personable, and I took a lot from what they said during the interview.

“Situations Vacant is such a good competition for networking, as you never know who the judges are going to be on the day and you never know how they might help you in the future.”

Two experienced recruiters were involved in judging the national final. Karen Loveland, a senior consultant at Cameo Consultancy, is involved in recruiting positions at all levels, and Rachel Berns who runs her own HR consultancy business and has worked in HR for more than 14 years.

"We were very impressed with the high calibre of candidates. The interviews were outstanding. I interview people every day and I would love to work with you all individually as I could get you into jobs straight away,” said Karen who also reminded people to think carefully about how they can make their CV and covering letter stand out.

Rachel added: “It has been a pleasure to judge this competition because every single participant’s ability to communicate was exemplary and it was really enjoyable. Congratulations to the winner.”

It was the first year that the national final had been held online and the results were announced via a video on Facebook, which Amy watched at a BBQ with her family.

“We were all gathered round my phone at the BBQ watching the video,” laughed Amy. “I was completely shocked, and I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”

Top tips from the judges:

  • Think about the whole process of applying for a role. Your CV and covering letter are just pieces of paper – what can you do to make them sing
  • Think about how you stand out from the crowd – you want to bring your skills and experiences to the forefront of your CV and make them stand out.
  • Highlight those skills in the covering letter as well.
  • Make sure the recruiter knows you’ve got what it takes to do the role and succeed and why they need to pick up the phone and get you in for an interview.


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