Taking advantage of your university’s careers service is extremely important, but the reality is that a vast majority of students don’t even visit, and most of them don’t even think about making the most of what they offer until they are in the final year of university.
University is supposed to prepare you for a career, and one of the ways that they do this is to make sure that you get all the support during your degree to find a job. Many universities continue to offer this service to new graduates, sometimes up to two years later depending on where you studied.
Here are five great things that you can get help with when you visit your university career service.
Find a direction
Some people, like dentists, doctors or nurses, have a degree that normally leads into a specific job. But if you are still a little bit confused about all the options available to you, then it is worth booking a consultation with your career advisor well before you start your final year.
For your initial meeting, they will find out a little more about what you are up to and the things you enjoy. They can tell you more about different industries and types of roles you could explore. If you go early enough you can arrange placements and internships that could help you understand which career you should pursue after graduation.
Most companies and recruiters who are looking for students to take part in their internship programmes will ensure that they share opportunities with careers services around the country, so they are a great resource to help you find a summer internship or an industrial placement.
It’s certainly worth going to meet them. It might be that you haven’t yet developed the right skills or have not thought about other possibilities when it comes to where you could spend your internship. By sitting down with a careers advisor and telling them your career plans you can find something that suits your future plans.
One of the best ways to find your way in the career market is to speak to someone who’s already applied for graduate jobs and internships and has ‘inside’ knowledge about the kind of work you hope to do. Universities have access to a great pool of alumni who work in all different fields, and some of them offer to mentor graduates from their university.
Because you have a shared connection, it makes it easier to be invited to networking opportunities and to help you make those connections that you’ll need once you start looking for a job. It’s also a great way to find out more about the recruitment process at companies that you want to work for.
Interview and CV skills
Writing a resume isn’t a skill that you’re born with, but something you develop. Some universities will offer one-to one sessions for CVs, whilst others will arrange classes so that you can work in a group and find out more about presentation skills, what to include and how to pen the perfect cover letter.
Interview technique is also an important skill to develop. If you can, book a mock interview session – this is a great way of getting some practice in before the big day, and especially important for those who haven’t had a lot of interview experience.
Starting your own business
The career service might look like it focuses on finding graduate trainee positions for students, but they offer some more alternative services too. If you’ve got a great idea to start your own company or want to find out more about loans, business planning and how to start out in general, then the team will be happy to help you with that as well.Don’t forget that you can find plenty of careers and employability advice on Enterprise’s website, from job application tips to interview techniques. Make sure you also visit the Enterprise website if you’re looking for internship opportunities or graduate management trainee roles.