People said uni would fly by and, sadly, they were right. Your final year is coming up and you’re starting to think about what your future might hold…
You want to make sure you’re as ready as possible for the big, (not so) bad world of work, but there are 101 things to think about – and actually do – before you proudly clutch that hard degree certificate. So, right now, getting a job feels a long way off.
But before you know it, it’ll be time. So, how can you prepare over the course of the year for your future career?
Keep adding to your CV
Every time you do anything even vaguely impressive and related to your field, put it on your CV. If it’s not relevant or important enough you can always take it out afterward but the key thing is getting everything down and making sure you remember all that you’ve achieved.
As you come into your final year at university you’re going to want to make sure that résumé is looking its best so don’t neglect it!
Need to actually fill out your CV? Consider the following three points…
Good for the CV and good for the soul; volunteering is a great way to pick up the skills needed in the workplace while showing you care for a cause. You’re likely to have a lot of fun doing it, too!
If you can manage to juggle uni and your social life with a part-time job, consider picking a few hours up at your university bar, a local coffee shop or the big supermarket in town.
Having a job will prove to employers you understand how to behave in the workplace: you’re dedicated, reliable, polite and driven. Plus, you’re bound to get a lot more from it than just those skills – you may even walk away with some wonderful friendships and a bit of extra cash to keep you afloat throughout the summer months before you start full-time work.
If you can get an internship in your field, no matter how short, this will almost definitely boost your chances of getting hired. While its possible with part-time work or even volunteering, you’re unlikely to be working in the direct sector you hope to work in after graduation. Internships, however, will allow you to work in the sector you want to work in.
You’ll meet people who have walked the path you’re about to head down and can give you good advice. You’ll also get a real flavour of what the career you’re hoping to pursue is really like, confirming your decision to apply for a certain sort of job.
This experience will prove invaluable, giving you loads to talk about in interviews and hopefully making you stand out as someone who really knows what they’re doing.
Make most of uni careers service
Most universities have a careers service ready to help you with CV-woes, the sometimes complicated job search and even mock interviews and application processes.
Right now, you have the whole of your final year stretched out in front of you, but those months will slip into weeks and eventually into precious days. You’ll be graduating before you know it, so you want to make use of the university careers service while you can.
Some universities still provide careers guidance once students have finished their studies but there’s no better time to do it than while you’re right there. See if you can book a session with someone at the centre and pop in for an hour or so one afternoon. It’s likely to be very rewarding.
See if your university has any events where you can meet potential employers. In many industries, knowing someone working in the sector is hugely beneficial to helping you get your foot in the door.
Turn up at any networking event relevant to your field, put on a warm smile and talk to people. It might sound scary but you will be so glad you did it should someone remember your name and recommend you for a position – it can and does happen!
Even if it’s too early to start applying for jobs, it’s the perfect time to start getting your name ‘out there’.
Research companies you may be interested in working for and start approaching them. Follow key people on Twitter; send emails with a prospective CV attached introducing yourself and explaining they are welcome to keep your résumé on file; be friendly; and be keen – you never know what might happen as a result!
Work on your LinkedIn
Not only can LinkedIn be great for employers to hunt you down, it can also be great for your job search, too. Get a professional looking photograph, pop in a persuasive bio and fill out your skills, qualifications, and experience.
Connect with people in your field and those you go to university with, share articles related to your field and be sure to update it as often as you do your CV. You never know who might stumble across it.
Smarten up your social media
In the same vein as LinkedIn, you’ll want to make sure your other social media accounts are looking as professional as possible. No employer wants to check out an applicant’s social media account to find anything potentially damaging to their company.
Sort your privacy settings if you don’t want employers snooping around your accounts because they are likely to check. Make sure your display photograph is friendly and not too risqué (no alcohol, nudity, rude gestures, etc.).
Twitter can be great for potential employers to get a good idea of who you are as a person so try getting involved in discussions on industry trends related to your field. This will show employers you are genuinely interested in the sector and keeping up to date with what’s going on in the field.
Kit out your wardrobe
If you look like a professional, you’ll start to feel more like a professional. Ditch the scruffy jeans and worn T-shirt and buy yourself some work clothes which feel like ‘you’ but also make you feel smart as heck.
You don’t have to go crazy and spend your entire bank balance on 1,000 dollar suits but pick up a few staple pieces that make you feel fancy.
Then you’ll be ready for all the (many, many) job interviews which will no doubt come your way soon!
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