Following on from our guest blog on Wednesday which addresses managing your workload at Uni – today I wanted to delve into some areas university students will find useful once you have graduated, as securing that all important first role is more difficult than you think.
When I was at Uni, I was promised that once I graduated with a good degree that I could practically walk into any job – in fact they also fed me with other unrealistic expectations such as large salary levels for starting out and going straight into middle management etc. Having spoken to a number of recent graduates and students recently it would seem that the same expectation levels are still being set by the universities – I can see from their perspective that they need to “sell” the places but it is also unfair to set people up for a big disappointment. Taking positive steps forward I would like to address some things you could be doing now to enhance your chances of securing your first role post graduation:
- Take on a part time role – this can be done during holiday times but also as easily done during term time too, I seem to remember a great deal of courses only actually requiring you in the classroom for a few hours a week. Therefore you could structure your timetable to complete your Uni work in the day time and take an evening / weekend / late afternoon job – not only will you enhance your student loan for the all important socials, you will be gaining work experience which you can later rely on for references and to put on your CV. Even jobs you don’t think will be any use to secure a professional role usually are, think about customer facing, time management, cash handling, problem solving, dealing with complaints / conflicts – all good stuff to demonstrate to your potential boss that you haven’t just fallen out of bed and into their office hoping for a professional job.
- Voluntary work – Ask your tutors if they know any organisations or have any contacts who would be willing to let you volunteer your services to, ideally you will then gain some experience specific to the role you wish to pursue when you graduate and you may make an impression which could lead on to being offered a contract post-uni.
- Use your contacts – ask your parents to put the feelers out within their offices and with their friends to see if they can secure you some work experience they always say; “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
It is important to start working on your CV now – start adding pieces of information as it comes to you or as you experience it and ask your tutors to review it for you, make sure you ask for honest feedback and listen to those who can help you most.