As online learning has become more popular there is now a diverse range of short courses to participate in, including several on the topics of job hunting techniques and employability. I’ve recently enrolled on two of these to see how useful they are. The two I’ve chosen are:
Course content is in the form of short videos, articles, quizzes and forum discussion and both courses are free to enroll on. I’ve highlighted below what you can learn from each course and the aspects that I found most useful.
Interviews – University of Sheffield
The best bits
- It provides great information on every aspect of the interview process.
Divided into three weeks, this course takes you through practicalities such as dealing with interview nerves, what to wear and getting ready through to how to research an organisation, anticipating questions, dealing with non standard types of interview such as telephone and video as well as tests you might encounter at interview. The video on what not to wear is worth special mention for the amusing efforts the course leader goes to, to demonstrate inappropriate interview looks!
- It provides a framework
With such a lot of topics covered, it would be easy to feel overwhelmed but this course is very structured. The content for each week is clearly laid out and easy to navigate so that you can find what you need quickly.
- You hear firsthand from other learners
The best bit for me was hearing other people’s experiences via the online forum. At the end of each section, learners are asked to post about their own experiences or advice. It is really invaluable and I often found that comments posted by other users showed me different ways of approaching a question or it helped to know that other learners were equally as perplexed or as uncomfortable with certain aspects of interviews as me!
- The course provides lots of opportunities to practice and provides templates and examples.
As each new topic is introduced there is always a short exercise which lets you practise what you’ve been learning about. This isn’t compulsory but I think if you take the time to do it, it’s a really good way of cementing that learning and helping you remember it. In addition there are templates provided to help you think about how you might structure your answers to questions and what to make sure you research about a company prior to interview.
- You can keep going back to the course content.
Once you have enrolled, the course content will stay on your Futurelearn profile so you can keep going back to it.
Interviews by University of Sheffield will be running again on 4th July. Sign up on the Futurelearn website
Unlocking your Employability – The University of Queensland
This course is aimed at students and graduates. It concentrates on employability, from the basics of what it actually means to how you can develop it and communicate it to employers. This course is self paced and you can enroll at any time.
The best bits
- It explains what employability is
The first section of this course looks in great detail at what employability is, how is it defined? We hear from employers about their expectations and what attributes they value in the workplace. This helps you to think beyond your degree, and reflect on your skills from an employer’s point of view, what attributes and skills do you have that will help you to function effectively in the workplace? Teamwork, communication, flexibility, willingness to learn and problem-solving are all mentioned by the employers.
- It provides a framework for developing YOUR employability
This essentially boils down to learning skills through experience. The course shows that you are probably already doing this by playing in sports teams, working part-time, volunteering or being in a club for example, but it helps you to recognise and articulate what exactly you have gained from these experiences. There is a very clear message that everything you do is an opportunity to develop the skills and attributes that will help you in the workplace but the key is reflecting on what you’ve done and working out what you’ve learned.
- It’s motivational
The message is that if you’re getting involved in activities then you’re learning and this makes you employable. The course calls this ‘Living a proactive life’. I like the simplicity of this message, and the reassurance that every activity counts and you’re probably already doing some of them. It makes developing your employability seem achievable.
- It helps you relate your experiences to employability
Making the connection between your experience and your employability can be challenging. This course teaches you a structure called SEAL – Situation, Effect, Action, Learning
The point of this is to help you break down an experience and consider the challenges and how you dealt with them and what you have learned or might do differently next time. It is a way of identifying what skills and attributes you have developed and what you have learned as a result of your experience.
- It helps you de-code interview questions
Using the structure of self-reflection which is taught to you in the previous module, the course examines how you can use the tools you’ve learnt to answer behavioural interview questions. To put this into practice, there are templates for you to record and examine your own experiences, plus insights from employers as to what they’re looking for when they ask the questions. You also get the chance to play hiring manager by watching a recording of an interview and then voting on whether you think the candidate should get the job.
Unlocking your Employability is available to enroll on now.