Need a job? Career-planning courses can increase your chances by 40% - study
The race to be employed should start as early as possible in college. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Students may scoff at the idea of more classes, especially on what they may regard as alien concerns about the future such as thinking about job prospects.

However, a new study suggests taking a career-planning module would significantly improve their chances of employment after graduation.

The study by the University of Dundee said students were 40 percent more likely to find graduate employment if they attended a module on career-planning, which would require about 200 hours of student effort, including a 30-hour work placement.

They were also 32 percent less likely to be unemployed.

Lead author and Dundee senior careers adviser Ruth O’Riordan told Times Higher Education:

“Many students would admit [that] they had never written a CV or done a mock interview.”

“However, as soon as they started thinking about their careers, the planning and networking with business [that] they did were amazing.”

The study tracked almost 1,000 Dundee students graduating between 2012 and 2014 and their job outcomes using the annual Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey.

Its results also showed the importance of giving credits to students for taking up such career planning modules as it “incentivises” students to take the classes early in their degrees, O’Riordan said

For the module, students must get about two hours’ work experience weekly for a semester, whip up a solid CV and partner with classmates on work-related projects. The module is worth 20 out of the 120 credits students must attain in an academic year.

And the module has proven to be a hit among students, with reviews saying it gave them “extra motivation to work harder” and “renewed interest” in their studies.

A “very valuable” course like this should be mandatory in all degree programmes, even those with “very tight timetables”, according to O’Riordan.

“For students working in any area where there is some kind of vocational choice, this module will certainly give them the edge,” she said.

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