Exploring and preparing for employment is crucial.
Yes, making those 9am lectures can seem the biggest struggle of your life right now; but you’ll be thrilled to know that the world of work is just around the corner. Unfortunately though, nowadays it’s not just good enough to just have a 2:1 at a standard university – you’re going to need an abundance of relevant experience too.
But don’t panic, universities offer lots of advice and for the meantime, here are a few tips on how you can build your CV alongside your studies.
1) Join in with societies
I bet you’re sick of people telling you to get involved with a society, but its all for a good reason.
No matter the type of society, showing a commitment to a certain cause will indicate a level of maturity and dedication.
Gaining a position on a society committee will boost your CV to the next level. Any committee position will emphasize to employers that you have taken on responsibility through this leadership role.
Being on a committee can also help with confidence, organisation, and public speaking.
Everyone loves a do-good-er, and you might even enjoy it yourself!
It sounds corny, but giving something back to the community and being kind spirited can really stand you out from the crowd.
You can volunteer in so many different areas and many of these could be career related. For instance, if you study a science subject, volunteering at a hospital or a care centre could be worthwhile.
For students interested in politics, it could be an idea to volunteer for global charities such as Amnesty International and Oxfam or more local charities like food banks and political campaigns.
Volunteering shows employers that you’re good at time management, team work and communication. Equally, companies are always eager to recruit pro-active students who show an interest in the world around them.
3) Part time jobs
Employers will be impressed that you have managed to juggle your studies and socialising with a part time job. It will completely overturn the image of students slobbing about in their pyjamas when they find out you worked 15 hours a week and still managed to do well in your degree.
Any part-time job will teach you transferable skills like customer service, decision making and cooperation. It’s usually fairly easy to relate the skills you have learnt at a part-time job to the employment you’d like to go into, even if it means blagging how managing coffee service is similar to managing an office.
4) Use the career services
The number of free advice services universities have to offer is always impressive. Most career services will hold drop-in sessions where you can discuss your interests and talk over possible career routes.
Likewise, they can look over the content and formatting of your CV and discuss ways in which it could be improved.
5) Study abroad
The level of organisation needed to study abroad is impressive enough, let alone having to sort out bank accounts, phone contracts, flights and housing, often all in a different language!
Going abroad shows independence and maturity which will set you aside from other candidates. Likewise, you’re likely to return with plenty of anecdotes to tell at interviews!
6) Student newspaper and radio
For students considering jobs in anything media-related, contributing to the university newspaper and radio is really impressive and can give you a route into work experience.
Finding internships in these sorts of fields is often difficult so getting ahead start while you study is sensible. You’ll be able to develop your journalistic skills in press formatting and the radio committee will teach you all about the tricks of the trade.
7) Use your holidays wisely
Before booking your two-month trip around South-East Asia, reconsider whether one month could be set aside for some work experience.
Many students struggle to find time to get involved in career related activities during the academic year, so it’s ideal to find internships for the long summer period.
There are numerous websites such as e4s.com or ratemyplacement.com which list summer internships for students in all different fields. If you don’t live in a large city, it might be worth contacting people in Manchester or London to stay with for a few weeks.
It’s easier said than done to find work experience over summer, but here are a few tips on how to land a summer internship!
8) Academic achievement
According to the Guardian, two-thirds of large employers say they use a 2:1 to sift job applications.
Many graduate track schemes, for example, will ask for a 2:1 minimum from everyone who applies. Whether or not this is actually common practice is a different question, but those sorts of statistics emphasize that gaining good grades at university will always put you in good standing for job prospects.
Best of luck!