• The University of Sheffield

How to Succeed at: Writing Applications

This free three week course will help you produce a perfect CV, application and online profile when applying for a job or course.

260,477 enrolled on this course

How to Succeed at: Writing Applications
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
  • Unlimited

    $23.33/monthLearn more

Experts from The Careers Service here at The University of Sheffield share their top tips to help you write exceptional applications, CVs (or résumés), covering letters and personal statements.

You’ll also hear from employers and admissions tutors to find out what they really look for in a candidate. And once you’ve written that perfect application, prepare for the next stage with our course: How to Succeed at: Interviews.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Hello. I’m Katie, and together with colleagues here at the Careers Service at The University of Sheffield, we have many years experience of helping people enhance their chances of success in getting the job they want or securing a place on their chosen course. On this course, we’ll help you to sell yourself, create a fantastic CV, an online profile, and write the best possible application for the job or course that you want. We’re going to share with you some of the best practices you can use when applying for jobs, apprenticeships, placements, and university courses. Each week we’ll look at a different element of the application process, from preparing to apply, to writing CVs, and completing application forms.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds We’ll also learn how to understand more about recruiters, and what they are looking for, by analysing job adverts and course specifications, as well as helping you think in more detail about what you have to offer them. We’ll have insights from employers and admissions tutors from a range of different industries who will share with you what they look for and don’t look for in an applicant. We’ll show you what you look like online to a potential recruiter, and how to make the most of that opportunity. We’ll also give you top tips on how not to be knocked out of a short list.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 seconds We hope that with the help of this course, you’ll be able to identify your own strengths and skills, and tackle applying for your dream job or course with confidence. And, once you’ve mastered the perfect application, you might also want to check out our next course, which is all about succeeding at interviews, and will help you over that final hurdle to securing your dream job or place on a course. So, why not take advantage of the insights and expertise we’ve put together on this course, and give yourself the best possible chance at getting that interview by making an impressive application.


  • Week 1

    Preparing to apply

    • Welcome to Week 1

      In this section, Careers Advisor Katie Casserly welcomes learners and introduces the objectives for the course.

    • Understanding yourself

      Before making an application, it's important to first of all reflect on the skills that you have to offer.

    • Understanding jobs and courses

      Analysing job adverts or course descriptions effectively will enable you to match your skills to their requirements.

    • Making the match

      Learn how to promote yourself through positive writing and make the recruiter or admissions tutor want to know more about you.

    • Summary of the week

      At the end of the week, we sum up what we have covered and take a glimpse into next week.

  • Week 2

    CVs and covering letters

    • Welcome to Week 2

      In this section, Katie describes how to use the information from last week to create a stunning CV and covering letter.

    • Create an effective CV

      CVs may be requested as part of the application process. In this section we provide tips to help you create your own CV to provide a positive first impression.

    • Develop a professional online profile

      Many employers use social media to advertise jobs and find new recruits. Learn how to use social media to your advantage to raise your profile and promote yourself.

    • Sell yourself in your covering letter

      A good covering letter will encourage a recruiter to read your CV or application. In this section we will look at how to write a covering letter to market yourself effectively.

    • End of week summary

      See what you have learnt by our end of week quiz. Hilary will also sum up what has been covered this week.

  • Week 3

    Application forms and personal statements

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Katie introduces the final week of the course, which looks at how to complete application forms for jobs, placements or academic study.

    • Outstanding application forms

      Learn how to become a STAR applicant as we share our top tips for answering some of the most common types of application form question.

    • Brilliant personal statements

      Faced with a blank page on which to write about yourself? With the help of employers and admissions tutors we explore how to write a brilliant personal statement.

    • End of course summary

      To sum up our learning from the last three weeks, our recruiters give their top tips for avoiding the ‘No’ pile. Take our end of course quiz to test your learning.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Improve your chances of success in getting a job or securing a place on a university course
  • Apply best practice techniques when applying for jobs, apprenticeships, placements and university courses, from preparing to apply, to writing CVs and completing application forms
  • Identify what recruiters are looking for by analysing job adverts and researching employers and institutions, to find out how to adapt your offer to suit their requirements
  • Develop a better understanding of your strengths and skills to tackle applying for your dream job or course with confidence
  • Improve the way you promote yourself effectively through positive writing and a strong personal brand, creating an identity that looks impressive to a recruiter, whether that's an employer or admissions tutor

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone applying for jobs or courses. It will be of particular interest to those in the early stages of their career, or those who are out of practice and need to update their skills. No prior knowledge or expertise are needed.

Who will you learn with?

I lead the Information Team within the Careers Service. I strive to keep abreast of technological changes which enable the Service to develop a range of interactive & engaging resources for all users.

I am a part of the Careers Service information team providing employability support.

I am an Employability Project Assistant at The University of Sheffield Careers service. My role incorporates projects that help students from disadvantaged backgrounds enhance their employability.

I work at The University of Sheffield Careers Service. I organise employment opportunities for students and graduates with a particular focus on those from underrepresented backgrounds.

Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.


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