If you've just graduated from uni or have just finished an internship or apprenticeship and are finding yourself twiddling your thumbs and facing rejection, one idea might be to undertake are a few online courses to help you get closer to your goals. All courses are free with those offered by Future Learn dedicated to a UK audience and workplace. They take place over a few weeks for a couple of hours a week, but lots of them are self-paced if you want to take them in a day, for example to spruce up your CV and put it online. Furthermore, amongst all the worry about not having any money or a firm career path, spending a couple of hours a week developing yourself will give you the satisfaction of having completed something tangible.

Alongside these online courses will discussions where you can learn from others, ask questions and talk to others of the programme about their experiences of finding work. There are also moments for self-reflection so hopefully you'll have more of an idea of what you would like to gain from a career in the next few years, and many will encourage you to  collect a portfolio of your work to help you with future interviews.

How to succeed at: Interviews

This three-week course has been developed by the Careers Service at the University of Sheffield to help you succeed at interviews. They'll help you research the organisation so you can answer that frequently asked question ‘why do you want to work for us?’ with style, provide advice on what to wear (and what not to wear) and go through some common interview questions. The course will also have tips from employers and admissions tutors on what they look for in candidates and cover the types of questions you should be asking them.

Finally, the course helps you prepare for different types of interview including telephone or video or within a group setting and helps you prepare for tests and practical work that may be included as part of the interview process.

Numeracy Skills for Employability and the Workplace 

This three-week course from the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University is designed to help you improve or revise your knowledge of mathematics. You will gain the numeracy skills needed to succeed in both employers’ numeracy tests and the workplace, as well as build your confidence in numeracy. The course looks at where numbers occur in everyday life and what numeracy means in this context. It also looks at the rationale behind employers’ numeracy testing and the skills you will need to be successful. In addition to refreshing your understanding of specific numeracy skills (such as percentages, ratios, averages and currency conversions), you will develop essential skills for interpreting numerical data and understanding statistics.

Business Fundamentals: Effective Networking

This course introduces the principles of networking as a fundamental skill to help develop your personal brand in the world of work. You will craft, and receive feedback on, an elevator pitch, a short statement about your role and talents. You will learn how to analyse the value of your connections, whether you are looking for a new job or seeking ways of being more effective in your current position. The course also covers strategies for self-presentation, keeping in touch with your connections and ensuring that your networking relationships are based on mutual benefit and trust. As well as honing your interpersonal skills in essential areas such as giving and seeking information, the course will cover the fundamentals of creating and managing your digital presence for networking on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. 

Logical and Critical Thinking

We are constantly being given reasons to do and believe things: to believe that we should buy a product, support a cause, accept a job, judge someone innocent or guilty, that fairness requires us to do some household chore, and so on. Assessing the reasons we are given to do or believe these things calls upon us to think critically and logically. This course aims to help you develop and improve these skills. You'll learn how to identify and avoid common thinking mistakes that lead to the formation of bad beliefs; recognise, reconstruct and evaluate arguments; use basic logical tools to analyse arguments; and apply those tools in areas including science, moral theories and law. Critical thinking is a skill often assessed by employers so when it comes to all those psychometric tests you'll be out in front!

Net That Job: How to Write a CV Online

This course guides you through the CV writing process, helping you create a CV online that will help you net your dream job. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to improve your existing CV, not only by making it more digital and putting your CV online, but also through being more aware of what makes a good CV and what makes a bad one. You'll firstly look at all the key skills you’ll need to perfect your CV – the idea is that you’ll build up these key skills so that you’ll be able to see a clear improvement in your CV writing. Secondly, you'll consider how much technology you want your as part of your CV to be, so that, by the end of the course, you’ll be in a great position to put your CV online and net that job.

How to Succeed at: Writing Applications

This courses helps you to understand the skills you have gained through work experience and your studies, and show you how you can match them to job advertisements or course requirements. The course shares top tips to help you write exceptional applications, CVs (or résumés), covering letters and personal statements, and provides insight from employers and admissions tutors on what they look for in candidates. The course then goes on to help you examine your digital footprint and develop a professional profile online. The course is highly participative and includes articles for you to read, videos to watch and interactive material to help you master the art of application and CV writing. There will also be discussions where you can learn from and support each other, self-reflective exercises and quizzes. Throughout the course you’ll be encouraged to collect a portfolio of your work which will help you with future applications.

The Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen

On this course, you’ll meet a whole bunch of thinkers and doers; those just starting out, makers, tinkerers and experienced entrepreneurs. Sharing your ideas with them and other learners will encourage you to have more confidence, to think more, and to do more to create change and solve problems in your world. Together, you’ll explore questions like: Are you passionate about something that you’d like to change?; Have you ever wanted to change something, but didn’t know how to make it happen?; How can you make change happen? Over four weeks you’ll explore entrepreneurial mindsets, consider where ideas come from and take steps to switch on your creativity, enabling you to create, develop and share your ideas. You’ll get the chance to make meaning of the problems you experience, find the confidence to do something with an idea you already have, or address challenges that impact on you or those around you, no matter how big or small.

Career Edge: Design Your Career

This career development course helps you assess your strengths and interests so you can strategise your career opportunities. You’ll develop a career roadmap by identifying which types of organisations and professions best align with your goals, and plan key steps to take you there. This course includes self-assessments, career tests, interactive exercises, goal planning simulations, and a gap analysis which will help you build your own career plan. In this course you'll discover your working style and professional preferences; understand how different types of organisations impact the work experience; be knowledgeable about the different workplace functions and the types of skills required in different roles; evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to focus on what skills you’ll need for your next job; and develop your own career roadmap to build the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.

Career Edge: Communication and Teamwork 

This career development course teaches you how to effectively communicate, collaborate, and resolve conflicts with colleagues and become a stellar team member. You’ll learn through real-world examples and scenarios, which will enable you to be ready to collaborate on day one of your next job or project. In this course you'll learn how to choose appropriate communication styles and formats for different audiences and situations; structure email and PowerPoint communications for maximum impact; form an effective team and build a project plan; plan and facilitate effective team meetings; use known techniques and practices to improve group collaboration; and disagree constructively with peers.

Career Edge: Resume, Networking and Interview Skills

This career development course prepares you to reach out to desired organisations, succeed in your interview, and then excel on the job. Use self-assessments and interactive exercises to help you build a standout resume that will get you noticed. Using simulations, you’ll learn interview preparation techniques that will enable you to ace the interview and start your career journey. In this course, you'll become familiar with job search resources and techniques, including effective networking; learn how to create and curate a professional social networking profile, such as LinkedIn, to showcase strengths; write a compelling CV and cover letter; become familiar with common interview questions; possess techniques for how to approach non-conventional interview questions; and plan out future professional development opportunities for continued learning. 

Career Edge: Analytical Problem Solving and Design Thinking

This career development course will teach you processes for framing problems, isolating the root cause, and taking action to reach a solution. You will use techniques, including hypothesis testing and design thinking, as well as primary and secondary research methods. Problem solvers are in high demand across every industry and profession. In this course you'll learn how to frame problems and structure an analytical approach; apply different problem solving methods to complete workplace tasks; develop and test hypotheses; and use design tools and techniques to generate and refine ideas.

Career Edge: Business and Data Analysis

This course teaches you how to evaluate market and financial data, and present insights effectively. You will develop the foundational skills to use Excel as a powerful analytical and communications tool. Using innovative educational methods, including interactive assessments and games, you will learn, practice, and apply techniques to build confidence in your analytical skill set. In this course you'll learn how to use Microsoft Excel to execute basic analyses; answer questions on market size, market share, and business performance; visualize and effectively communicate data with charts and graphs; speak the basic language of finance, including an understanding of different types of revenue, cost, and key profitability metrics.

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