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Career Services at the University of Zurich

No Success? - 9 Tips 

1. Perfect Your Application Portfolio

Take a critical look at your application documents. Is your resume truly informative, easy to read, and clearly structured? Have you emphasized the qualifications, qualities, and competencies that make you interesting for the employer? Are your resume and letter of motivation tailored to the company?

2. Train Your Personal Presentation Skills

Do you come across as confident with everything under control in your interviews and do you present yourself at your best? Do you exhibit the composure required for the position? Do you look as though you are efficient and socially competent? The Career Services at the University of Zurich offers interview workshops specifically designed for practicing personal presentation skills.

3. Question Rejections

Be honest with yourself and think about why you received the rejection. How was your motivation, credibility, and performance? Did your profile, qualifications, skills, and character match the position? When in doubt, do not hesitate to follow up and ask for the reasons, by email or telephone, and always remain calm and friendly.

4. Know What You Can Offer

Apply for 'realistic’ jobs, i.e. those that correspond to your qualifications and interests. It’s worth defining and questioning your own interests, skills, values, and goals in detail. Here too the Career Services of the University of Zurich will help you with workshops dedicated to making an initial analysis of your skills and competencies.

5. Widen Your Application Strategies

Apply to job ads, write unsolicited applications, attend recruiting events and job fairs, try entering a company via a part-time job or traineeship, speak to HR consultants, register with RAV, keep networking, and talk also to people you may think can’t help you at all.

6. Avoid Meaningless Action

Instead of sending mass applications, write only to thoughtfully selected companies and submit individual applications of a good quality. Be cautious about doing activities (such as restaurant or call center work) that has nothing to do with your professional goals.

7. Conduct Informational Interviews

Holding an informational interview is a key strategy in building a network and identifying career opportunities. The idea is not to focus on a particular job but to receive information from people working in your preferred profession and to benefit from their professional experiences and contacts. This is how it works:

•  Draw up a list of people working in the field of activity that interests you. This can be friends and acquaintances, friends of friends, relatives, family members, alumni, and also people you don't know (experience shows that people are generally happy to provide information).

•  Contact the people (preferably by e-mail) and agree a time to talk. Ideally this will be face-to-face but it can also be on the phone. The first important thing is to make clear from the start that you are collecting information and advice and not asking for a job, and secondly, to propose a talk of not longer than 20-30 minutes.

•  At the talk, briefly introduce yourself and outline your objective. Then encourage your counterpart to talk about themselves by asking questions.

•  Set yourself the goal of asking for the names of further contact persons (and sources of information) at the end of the exchange, so that each talk then leads to new contacts.

•  Don’t forget to write a thank you e-mail after the talk.

  • Watch this video to find out more about informational interviews

8. Set a Weekly Schedule

Schedule around 3 days a week, for example, to scour newspapers and Internet sites, write letters of motivation, and pursue networking activities. Set yourself a realistic time volume but don’t forget to plan free time in which you make a point of doing other things.

9. Develop Strategies to Beat Frustration

• Don’t suppress your frustration but do something about it: Write down in detail what exactly frustrates you and what impact your frustration is having on you and your activities.

• Ensure that you experience feelings of success in other areas (family, sport, hobbies, etc.).

• Talk to others also in the process of job hunting (a trouble shared is a trouble halved) and with friends who will listen and encourage you, but who will also take your mind off everything.

• Relax with sport.

Weiterführende Informationen

Little success

Don’t Despair!

If you are constantly receiving rejections, there may be something wrong with your application portfolio. Have someone else check it for you.