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.

Category Learning

Comments (19)


  • Ms. Ngreim Hsu Wai

    Yes, I think that this is the useful course for everyone. And I want to know how to write a successful CV. Then I am sometimes afraid of interviews , so I want to know how to do when interviews. What should I do or prepare for interviews to be smart.

  • Tin Maung Maung Lynn

    I am interesting this course because i want to know how to write the resume. I like the online learning course on the other hand save the time and money.

  • Taha Hussein Ali Al-Kebsi

    I am a FILMMAKER a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Digital Film & Television which I am due to complete in December 2012. It has always been my dream to one day be able to produce and direct my own documentary and I strongly believe that getting a degree in the area as well as gaining as much experience as possible will get me closer to my dream. I started out my degree in Iran but due to unfortunate circumstances was not able to complete my studies there. Now, in Malaysia, I started over and I am determine to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. I am a determine individual who is always eager to learn. Through projects and group assignments, I constantly learn to better myself in various aspects including knowledge and people skills. I also believe my Arabic background and language proficiency is an added advantage to serve in your organisation.

  • kawtar

    Thanks for giving this course.I am prepare I elts.

  • Ela Chruscicka

    It’s good to start this totaly useful ( I believe) course.

  • Marie

    Have registered interest. Am looking forward to it!

  • Abdi

    I am very interested to study this short course to improve the way I write my application, CV, resume; so that my application shine and attracte by employer.
    Thanks in a lot in advance and may God bless you as you do so!

  • Murat Bişkin

    Course is great.



  • Elena

    Really like the course

  • Ruben Castro

    Thank you so much for giving this course for free.
    I strongly believe that this will improve the professional perspective of many people.

  • Daniel Q. Kollie

    i ma interesting in the online training course on CV writing. how do i follow up the process.

  • latoya bent

    interesting in doing online course cv writing

  • John

    As an agency recruiter, it will be interesting to see what is included. The vast majority of applications for roles I advertise are generic template CVs with either no covering letter or an obviously generic one.

    On the other hand, the majority of successful candidates I find do not actually apply for the role – I search them out via CV libraries and social media (LinkedIn). I then have to help them rewrite their CV and covering letter.

    So, ensuring your CV works well when “parsed” by CV search software is a good idea. Lots of fancy layouts, graphics, etc., are a bad idea. Remember a machine is going to have to read it, probably before a human.

    And also remember that your CV and application is there to get you an interview, not the job, so fashion it accordingly.

    Good luck to all who decide to take this course. A well crafted application is a rare joy to behold!

  • skholiwe Mngometulu

    words cannot begin to express my appreciate upon discovering that this course was running. knowing how to write an application, whether with the aim to further your studies or to go for a new career, is almost an indispensable implement one needs to be equipped with.
    my main aim is to enrol for the course pertaining to (other foreign) languages, but l would not have missed this one for the world,and l hope l participate from start to finish without any hindrances.

  • mirajuddin

    i would like to know that how to i got job in this organization so please let know the procedure

  • Brinda

    Maybe will do it during the year as I am already doing courses at FutureLearn!

  • K.R. Sahan Wijenayake

    Nice to hear