The thought of getting a job when I came to university came with two very different emotions: the excitement of being independent and standing on my own two feet, and the panic of not knowing where to look and what to look for. I found myself hitting a dead end – I knew what I wanted to do, I found the positions that I wanted to apply to, but I did not really know what to do first. “You need to fill out an application” , “you must have your CV prepared”, “send your cover letter” – sentences that came up over and over again, and I was left wondering how a cover letter should look, how to write a “strong” CV and a how to make a “well prepared” application.
Armed with an “if others can do it, so can I” mentality (paired with a “ we all have to start somewhere”), I searched online for everything I could find about writing applications, putting together CVs, producing cover letters, and interview dos and don’ts. Browsing the internet brought me to the University of Sheffield Careers Service website and to their MOOCs on Writing Applications and How to Succeed at Interviews.
These two short online courses give you the basics on how to write great applications and deal with interviews, while fitting a student’s schedule. Considering it’s summer and you may have more time to kill, maybe you could give it a try.
The first MOOC is focused on writing applications. It is a really good start for those who do not know where to begin and it covers everything you needs to know: application forms, cover letters, the right style and format, how to write a good CV, etc. It gives you examples of skills and it teaches you how to write about your own skills. With this you can manage to write a good cover letter and a strong CV, presenting your abilities in their best light to potential employers.
The second MOOC is centered around succeeding at interviews, It is a crash course in how to act at an interview, how to deal with different questions and what techniques to use to settle your nerves and answer promptly. It is a course that I personally found very helpful. Being in an interview is a challenging experience and for someone new at it, I felt overwhelmed by the sheer thought of it, but the experience of this course made it all better. Taking the course enables you to think about what kind of questions you would face, but also to reflect on your set of skills and how to point out that you are the suitable one for the job.
Good luck job hunting!