Making Your Final Year Count
University is so exciting and fast-paced that by the time your second year comes to an end, it can feel quite overwhelming to think that you’re about to enter final year. But fret not. With careful planning and hard work, your career will take off after university.
Utilising Your University Resources
Always make the most of your university resources. Your university should be able to advise you when it comes to graduate careers.
At the start and the end of the academic year, careers fairs usually take place on campus. Make sure you attend – even if you aren’t sure about which path you will take after university – because you may be inspired while you’re there, or you may form a better idea of what you would like to do for a living. While you’re there, talk to as many people and go to as many stands as possible. The saying is true – “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know” – and by making good connections at events such as this, you will open doors for yourself.
Moreover, universities have excellent careers departments that specialise in graduate recruitment. They offer everything from advice about your CV to helping you choose the right career.
Getting Work Experience
When you come to apply for jobs, your degree will highlight that you are able and intelligent, whether you have chosen a broad academic subject or a specific degree that will help you into a particular industry.
However, a degree alone is rarely enough to secure a great graduate position. Most employers want to see evidence of at least some work experience (whether that is with their company or another one), as this is one way they can be sure of your practical ability. Although work experience is often unpaid, expenses such as travel and food are usually taken care of, and you can fit it in around your university commitments, during summer holidays, or on a part-time basis when you don’t have lectures.
Most importantly, work experience gives you a real taste of working life and shows you how your chosen industry operates. It is also an experience that you can add to your CV and talk about in interviews. Employers love to see that you have gained real experience in a similar working environment to theirs.
Volunteering and/or Travelling
Volunteering and travelling are also great things to talk about in an interview.
If you can demonstrate that you are hard-working and committed through your unpaid volunteering activities, this will stand you in good stead and make you stand out from the other applicants.
Travelling, on the other hand, is a great option if you are not entirely sure which career path you want to take yet. You’ll have time to think about all of this while you’re on your travels, and then once you come back and start applying for jobs, you’ll have plenty to talk about when your future employer asks you what you have been doing.
Preparing early is always key. Whether you are going on to study a graduate course or you want to begin your career, it is important to shop around. Look for the best graduate courses in your field. Which universities offer the best benefits? What have postgraduate students gone on to do from that university? These are all questions you should be asking – and if you are unsure about anything, contact the university and they should be able to point you in the right direction.
If you are looking to start your career after graduation, look around to see the jobs on offer. Can you match the skills in the job adverts? If not, could you gain them through some work experience or any extracurricular activities? By matching the skills in the job descriptions you find, you will be fully prepared to apply for your favourite positions after university.
This guest post was written by The Student Housing Company.