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The Career centre: the added value of expertise

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Published on Wednesday, 08 September 2021

Many students have come to the end of their studies and are ready to embark on their professional career. Those who still study often look for internships and student jobs.

The University’s Career centre is the point of contact for activities related to employability, and it provides advice on applications and career paths. It offers workshops and interview simulations, personalised advice, information on job markets, and facilitates contacts with professional networks. The Career centre also manages the uni-lu.jobteaser.com web page, which receives offers for internships, student jobs and employment.

Romain Raux manages the Career centre and outlines some of its strengths.

Romain Raux, Project Manager Career centre

Online templates and tips are just one click away to help with the first career steps. What more does the Career centre offer?

Indeed, many sites offer CV templates, sample cover letters and tips on how to prepare for interviews. Although this is in theory meant to help, students often do not realise that the key to success is, on the contrary, the personalisation of their application.

Templates are a good starting point. However students often tend to overload their CVs, adding everything they have accomplished. They might copy a sample cover letter and change a couple of sentences. This application is sent to their 50 target companies, assuming some of them will respond. But this is exactly the opposite of what employers are looking for!

Before starting your application, you have to delve into information, understand the company’s needs and expectations. You have to familiarise yourself with its missions and values, its corporate culture. These concepts and your personal approach must be represented in your CV, the cover letter and also be brought out in the interview.

Using the Career centre means learning to detach yourself from standardised models, to integrate the language of the target company and prepare a personalised application that will correspond exactly to recruiters’ expectations. Bear in mind that a good application, well written, targeted and customised requires a lot more input. Is it not often said that hard work pays of?

Discover the Career centre workshop here.

Most students are digital natives, social media and applications run in their blood. What more can we offer them in this area?

Social networks can often be used to complement a “classic” application, they help highlight one’s knowledge of an environment and contacts and networks. A platform like LinkedIn also helps quickly target the right people. But make sure that you have mastered the tools and their language for your online activity to be effective. For social networks, the Career centre relies on the expertise of its Social Media Manager, Aswin Lutchanah, who advises students on visibility, efficiency and networking on these platforms.

In addition, we offer workshops with an expert in network security, because when your entire professional and private life is stored on a smartphone, it is better to be prepared for possible technical failures, password management needs or geolocation in the event of theft.

Some students may wish to stand out from the crowd creatively. Can advisers help in such instances?

The desire to stand out from the crowd is normal, but one has to choose the right method. In over 15 years in higher education, I have seen CVs in the form of advertisements, Cvs displayed in real life-size on public walls or written on unusual objects, applications in the form of a “humorous” video, cover letters as a song, Instagram stories and many more. It may be appreciated when applying to communication or the media. But if you don’t master this particular communication, or if it’s not tailored to the employer, you risk looking ridiculous. From a recruiter’s perspective, you rarely want to bother with incompatible video files or save a CV written on a box.

This does not mean that you should not try to stand out! There are many ways of showing your creativity. Activities can be listed on your CV or introduced at the right time during the job interview. If you’re active in visual arts, music or sports, you can provide a link to a well-maintained personal page (Tumblr, Flickr, a blog, etc.). Here, our task is to convey the needs and limitations of recruiters, and to guide students in expressing their personality while still respecting the codes and values of the employers they chose.