Skip main navigation

How to get that dream job or course this year

Many FutureLearners have told us that they hope to find a fulfilling new career or start a new university course this year. Here, Pamela Hafekost of The University of Sheffield offers some tips on the first step to achieving these goals – writing applications.

A graphic which reads "58% of CVs sent to Google have typos"

When it comes to writing applications for jobs or courses, do you struggle to find the right words to tell the recruiter or admissions tutor why you think you’re the best candidate?

Maybe you’ve submitted an application recently, but not received that call or letter inviting you to interview and you’re wondering what, if anything, you’ve done wrong?

Most recruiters and admissions tutors get large numbers of applications so, if you’re going to stand out from the crowd and impress them, you need to give your application careful thought and get it right.

Fix the common errors

Your application may have been rejected because of some simple errors. Here are a few common ones:

  1. You didn’t explain clearly why you wanted the job or course. Omission of this information will generally be assumed to indicate no real interest.
  2. You didn’t provide enough information about your skills or you listed a large number of skills but didn’t provide evidence of how you acquired them.
  3. Your application lacked focus. Everything was included despite much of it not being relevant to the job or course.
  4. Your application had a significant number of basic mistakes in spelling and grammar.

These avoidable errors can mean your application hits the reject pile at an early stage in the selection process.

Learn how to succeed

So, what can you do to improve your chances of getting that all important offer of a job or place on a course in future?

Well, you could sign up for “How to Succeed at: Writing Applications” – our free online course, which takes two to three hours a week, over a three week period.

We’ll share with you our top tips and techniques for writing applications, CVs (or résumés) and covering letters, to help you make it through to the shortlist. You’ll also be able to collect a portfolio of your work to use in future applications.

Join learners around the world

On the course, you’ll be in great company. When we ran it in October 2014, we attracted a large number of learners from all over the world, who were at various stages in their career planning – from students and graduates who were just getting started, to those who were seeking a new career or returning to work after a career break.

Students at a school in Bangkok learned about writing applications together

Ascot International School in Bangkok enrolled their sixth form students onto the course (pictured above). Mark Allen, Director of IT, says: “The course helped our students to prepare for future job opportunities or apply for further study. They really enjoyed participating and found it useful to engage with and share the knowledge and experiences of other learners.”

To start writing a superb application – and take the next step towards your dream career – join “How to Succeed at: Writing Applications” now.

FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education

Related stories on FutureLearn