It’s June, and if the pressure of exams, work and deadlines hasn’t consumed you, then the anxiety of life after university surely will. So, here are a few tips for current uni students and undergraduates, that will help you navigate your way through the job pool and put you on track to securing your dream job.
Know what your uni has to offer
Uni is a place for education and enlightenment, but the knowledge doesn’t have to stop at the books and classes. Find out what work schemes and programmes your uni has on such as ‘sandwich courses’, which enable you to work in your desired career field for up to a year during your time at uni. These programmes can offer a great taste of the industry and provide you with valuable experience that can be vital to securing a job in the future. Your university may also hold business fairs, offer placement weeks, or even provide mentors who can help with your CV and assist you on how to get summer internships. Don’t be afraid to ask your lectures about the help and guidance your uni provides.
Look for an internship
I hate to say it, but experience is vital. Having experience in your dream industry will always give you an edge. Not only would you be at the top of the CV pile, but you can get a taste of how the industry works; hopefully giving you confidence in your career path of choice and allowing you to figure out if that industry or job is right for you. Ask your uni about internship options and always stay up to date on websites: Gradcracker, Indeed and Glassdoor, which host detailed ads about internships and placements in various industries.
Sophie Phillipson, founder of graduate support network HelloGrads says, “Many students end up getting picked for internships after spending a short stint doing work experience at the same company. If you can offer up your time and skills for a short period, you’ll have had the chance to impress them, and make contacts on the inside. This is a good way to get your foot in the door. While you’re there, make it known that your intention is to apply for the internship.”
Build a portfolio
Sometimes securing an internship can be difficult. That shouldn’t stop you however from gaining experience and knowledge in your desired field. Use your uni projects and assignments where you can, to practice and showcase the work you can do and put together in a portfolio. Although your work is graded submissions, you can still use them to provide to your potential future employer. Put some real time and effort in your work and it will pay off in more ways than one. When you can’t do that, practice refining your craft and hobbies. Do anything you can to contribute to you portfolio, which can sometimes mean working for free or even freelancing.
Search for a job within your chosen industry
Even if it isn’t your dream job or it means working your way up from the bottom, instead of working part-time or full-time in a completely unrelated industry, try and get a job as close to the career you one day want to have. This could provide you with a gateway or a networking tool that can help you get a step closer to your future goals.
Networking is everything! Unfortunately, it’s often a case of who you know rather than what you know. Whenever it’s necessary and appropriate, introduce yourself to people who can possibly help get you on track to nailing your dream job. Try to keep your introduction light and informal, but speak with purpose and confidence, and be ready to explain what it is you do.
Use your connections
Again, it can come down to who you know. It’s not a crime to use your personal connections wisely, to get yourself the job you want. You can respectfully reach out to friends, colleagues and family members who might just be in the right industry to help you out. This could mean good advice on the job or industry you want to work in, and possibly a job or internship.
Be your own boss
The job market is usually saturated with a high ratio of applicants to jobs, but don’t let that discourage you. It may be easier said than done, but remember all the facilities we have. Social media, job forums and websites are tools that you can use to make a living by freelancing in your desired industry. It may be daunting at first, but 9-5 jobs are only one type of job structure. Use your networking skills, portfolio and internet access to secure jobs that are perfect for you.
Make a Linkedin profile
It’s potentially as easy as having a Linkedin account that could land you a job. Linkedin.com is a great social networking site that has approximately 467 million users and plenty of job opportunities that you could use to elevate your career. Spend some time making a great profile that speaks well of your personality, education, experience and skill set. The Linkedin website also notifies you when your profile has come up in a search and can give you some ideas on how to improve your profile to better suit it to your potential, future employer.
Sophie emphasise that, “LinkedIn is designed for professional networking and to help people secure jobs and businesses fill vacancies. Your profile functions as an online CV and a space to advertise your qualifications, skills and experience. You can also showcase your work by adding portfolios, presentations or videos.
Use your social media accounts wisely
More and more employers are checking out Facebook profiles etc, to see if you’re the right person to represent their brand, even at lower level positions. Try using your social media accounts as an online portfolio or profile. This is a great and easy way for employers to see who you are and what you can do. Also, be mindful of what you post on your social media as this could be the deciding factor that gets you a job.
Sophie Highlights that, “Most companies use social media as a recruitment tool for attracting and vetting candidates, so students should ensure that public profiles are cleaned up to offer the very best impression from the outset.
Sophie Phillipson, is the founder of the leading graduate support network, HelloGrads. For more advice, tips and support after graduating, head over to their website.