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University of Essex Online Careers Resources

About About us us University of Essex Online courses are available to both UK and international students. They enable you to benefit from a flexible approach to study while maintaining the quality and support you would expect from a top UK university.

University of Essex Online courses are delivered by Kaplan Open Learning, an experienced online learning provider. The University of Essex and Kaplan Open Learning have developed a partnership since 2007 to offer high quality online courses. Our structured online programmes allow you to study for your degree in a unique virtual learning environment and still have access to all the support and facilities you would expect to receive on campus. Whether you’re a student who has just completed your undergraduate studies or you’re looking to enhance your professional career, our flexible part-time courses allow you to work and study at the same time.

CONTENTS Where do I start?


CVs and application forms


Interviews and selection


If you’re unsure where to explore, think about the skills you’ve already developed through your studies and experience; you already have your direction.

Where do I start? Looking for a new job, or even a first job, can be an intimidating and confusing process. Some people have a clear goal in mind, while others are undecided about their future. Wherever you are on your journey, we’re here to help you.



It’s really important to be proactive when it comes to searching for a job. These days, many positions are advertised online and you should make sure that you’re regularly checking company websites, recruitment agency sites and job board aggregators. It’s also important to remember that local and national newspapers often advertise positions as well.

The aim of networking is to develop a broad range of contacts through both business and social functions and use them to your advantage when it comes to job hunting. Raising your profile means that you will hear about changes within your sector and any potential career development opportunities.

And finally, don’t forget your friends and family! Word of mouth and even social media can help you get ahead of the crowd.

CONSIDER WORKING ABROAD Working overseas or abroad has become popular among professionals looking for a way to enhance their career. There are many different ways of securing employment abroad depending on the country you aspire to move to, the sector you wish to work in, how long you wish to work overseas for and your individual skill set. If you decide to work abroad, make sure you research practical issues such as visas, tax, employment statistics, accommodation etc. to ensure you make a well-informed decision about your future. 1

University of Essex Online | Careers Resources

SOCIAL MEDIA Social media is a useful tool when it comes to job hunting. Sites such as LinkedIn enable professionals to raise their profile and networking capacity. Recruitment agencies also use such sites to source candidates for vacancies. Other social network sites such as those related to professional bodies, alumni and even Facebook can be used to your benefit. But make sure you would be happy for a potential employer to view the things you post!

VOLUNTEERING Volunteering can be a great way to gain valuable experience in your chosen career area. It can be used to test different types of work to see if they are right for you or to expand your skills and experience to add to your CV.

Lost for words on your CV? Make a list of positive phrases to describe your experiences and qualities. Make sure you sell yourself!

CVs and application forms Your CV or application form is what essentially secures you an interview and hopefully your dream role. It’s your opportunity to shine and stand out from the crowd!



If you haven't written a CV before you're bound to be a little nervous as this, along with your covering letter, is what creates a first impression with potential employers.

Despite all your hard work putting your CV together, you’ll often find that employers ask you to complete an application form instead. Organisations choose to use these as it makes it easier to compare candidates on a like-for-like basis.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what to include; however, help is out there! There are many guides and templates online that will help you to display your strengths in the best possible way. As a general rule, your CV should be no longer than two sides of A4 and should include the following:

When completing an application form you’re often required to provide supporting evidence and detail why you are the best candidate for the job relating to the person specification and job description; make sure you match their criteria.

Your contact information Your education and qualifications Your employment history Your experience References

Remember, recruiters will be looking through a lot of applications; make sure you use the same words the job advertisement uses to show that you match the role’s requirements.

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Employers like to see statistics that prove your claims. For example, if you increased productivity, by what percentage did it improve?

Finally, it's always useful to research what your potential employer is looking for before filling out the application form.

We also recommend that you rearrange and tailor your CV to fit each specific job role you’re applying for. Every CV is different though, and there’s no right or wrong way to organise this information. Whatever layout you use, try to make it as readable and clear as possible, and don’t forget to double-check your spelling and grammar! Careers Resources | University of Essex Online


First impressions are everything. Make sure you’re well-presented, on time and smiling!

Interviews and selection The interview and selection process can be a very nerve-wracking experience but there are measures you can take to help reduce those worries. The key to any successful interview or assessment centre is preparation and making a good first impression.



Preparation is the key to performing well at an interview. As a starting point you should always research the organisation (their website is always a good place to start!). Make sure you understand what it is they do and try to remember some key facts.

Aptitude tests are used to highlight your intellectual performance and will vary depending on the role applied for. Personality tests typically measure traits related to behaviour at work. They tend to measure either numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, spatial reasoning or personality.

It’s a good idea to prepare answers to potential questions as it will reduce the likelihood of stumbling over an answer. You should also prepare questions for the interviewer to show your enthusiasm for the role and to help ascertain if it is the right job for you.

Tests tend to be multiple choice and are usually taken online. A good way of improving your performance is to find examples of the tests online and practise.



It’s important to dress appropriately for any interview and this tends to mean formal attire, such as a suit. If you’re unsure of the dress code, consider giving the recruiter a quick phonecall to find out what would be most suitable. Some recruiters will judge your suitability for a role by your understanding of the office environment and therefore what you wear. Always arrive on time and be positive with your body language.

As part of a selection process you may be required to give a presentation. You will often be given the topic beforehand and set a time limit.

Relax. Nothing can be gained from being on edge so try to enjoy the experience and your true personality will shine through. 3

University of Essex Online | Careers Resources

Practise beforehand, and don’t forget to brush up on your presentation and PowerPoint skills. You should also make sure that the venue has the facilities you require such as a laptop and projector for your slides. University of Essex Online West Gate 6 Grace Street Leeds LS1 2RP T +44 (0) 800 0527 526 E Keep up-to-date by following us on Facebook and Twitter:

Careers Resources eBook  

This handy eBook from University of Essex Online gives tips on CVs, interviews, applications and much more!

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