By: Anastasia Athiana, Christos Leivaditis
On Thursday 24/03/2022, an informative seminar for members of our team was organized at the offices of the United Societies of Balkans in Thessaloniki. The seminar, which took place in the context of the “Go on Job” project, concerned professional orientation, employment opportunities, and participation in European programs, for young people aged 15-25. Our columnists had the opportunity to participate in group activities related to building a good resume as well as preparing for interviews. They were also informed about the mobility and volunteering opportunities for young people offered through the Erasmus + program.
The introductory part of the presentation aimed to familiarize participants with the Erasmus + program and the various mobility opportunities it offers. The following are the main types of youth mobility offered through Erasmus+: Youth Exchanges, Training Courses, European Solidarity Corps volunteering, and Volunteering Teams in High Priority Areas.
As part of the Youth Exchanges, young people aged 18-30 from different European countries have the opportunity to participate together in short-term activities, 1-2 weeks long. The goals are to meet and discuss with people from different cultural and national backgrounds, to strengthen their skills, and forge their European identity. Also, those who are over the age can also participate in the programs as team leaders. There is a variety of topics that can be proposed in each Youth Exchange project, so each person can apply them based on their abilities and interests.
A similar context applies to Training Courses. While the structure is similar to Youth Exchanges, this type of action is more targeted, offering the opportunity to delve deeper into the theme of each action. The Training courses are addressed, for this reason, mainly to youth workers, i.e. professionals who work with young people, employing methods of non-formal learning/non-formal education. However, the programs are also open to all interested parties, as strengthening the skills of the participants is a common goal. Also, there is no age limit, so anyone interested over the age of 18 can register.
The briefing also covered volunteer programs, most notably the European Solidarity Corps. European Solidarity Corps program concerns long-term volunteering activities in a foreign organization, for young people aged 18-30. The mobility can last from 2-12 months and is fully funded, as the participants’ transportation costs, insurance, accommodation, and food are covered. Participants also receive a monthly allowance (pocket money) to meet their additional needs during their mobility. Unlike other types of projects, where there is no limit to the number of programs one can participate in, this type of long-term volunteering can only be experienced once by every young person up to 30 years old.
Volunteering Teams in High Priority Areas are a new type of short-term volunteering (2 weeks – 2 months). In this type of volunteering activities, participants aged 18-30 volunteer in an area where it has been deemed necessary to mobilize volunteering actions, in order to complete a project that will create an important local impact. It can involve either a theoretical discussion or an on-field action. As in other types of programs, the participants’ transportation costs, accommodation and food are covered.
The main part of the seminar was dedicated to the presentation of the Go on Job website and its functions. Go on Job is a project funded by Erasmus +. It is a website that facilitates searching for job positions in Greece and abroad, offers opportunities for remote education, and also contributes to the dissemination of the Erasmus + program to the public. A thorough tour of the various modules of the website took place, with participants coming in contact with the tool and being encouraged, at the same time, to utilize the platform to develop their skills and multiply their possibilities to find the job that suits them.
Reference was also made to other job search tools, such as EURES, through which jobseekers have the opportunity to find job offers and employers in all European countries and then submit their CVs and application for each position.
The second part of the seminar was more interactive and gave space for discussion and brainstorming, as it included a workshop related to preparing the CV and for a job interview.
So, what should a resume look like after all? What should it contain and what should we avoid? Based on the discussion that took place, a CV should, in principle, contain the candidate’s name, basic contact information, and information about the candidate’s educational background and work experience. In addition, it is good to have a personal statement or short profile. Another part of the contents of a CV is the set of technical skills that the applicant possesses. The candidate’s further skills, such as knowledge of foreign languages, digital skills, and driver’s licenses, and validating this knowledge with certificates or recommendation letters, naturally increase the candidate’s chances of being called for an interview.
However, the correct structure of the CV, the suitable formatting, and the right recording of the above-mentioned qualifications are crucial. Through the interactive workshop that took place, our team members had the opportunity to highlight the good practices in the process of building a resume, as well as to identify elements that should be avoided in the future. They were also informed about the different resumes they can use, such as the Europass. Europass is preferred for positions in EU bodies and organizations, while for corporate positions, CVs created through Word or Canva is usually preferred.
The final step before finally landing a job position is the interview. So, what are the points a candidate must focus on in order to succeed? What are the possible questions the candidate might be asked to answer and how to deal with them in an interview?
Through another interactive activity, important details emerged, that increase the interviewee’s chances of success. The candidate is wise to exude a professional and thoughtful appearance. They should arrive at the place of the interview in time, so that the candidate shows consistency, which will be deemed important, in terms of his future duties. If in any case, the candidate does not possess the necessary previous experience for the position for which they are applying, the use of knowledge from the academic background but also the comparison with similar situations the candidate has experienced in the past, the so-called interdisciplinary approach, can help to give targeted answers and to cover the interviewee’s apparent weakness in a field. The combination of all the supplies that the candidate possesses and the projection of a pleasant image during the interview will be the allies for success.
We would like to thank United Societies of Balkans for the hospitality and for the very interesting and useful seminar they offered to our writers.
The above action, project, or interview took place in the context of the Balkans in-site informal youth group of which Theodora Vounidi and Annia Korneeva were co-founders. This has been granted with common consent to the Balkan Youth Cooperation since it has been carried out by its founders and volunteers.