This guest post is authored by Lauren Ferguson, Career Development Adviser at the University of Stirling.
Graduate employers notice students who are proactive in taking opportunities and have a range of experience. How many of these have you done?
Work or study abroad
Employers are impressed by candidates who have spent time abroad. This experience shows you can look after yourself and adapt to new cultures and environments.
Ask to visit an employer or do work shadowing
Employers are often surprisingly approachable. If you are genuinely interested then ask them for opportunities to visit their offices to find out more about them and/or do some work shadowing. It can potentially lead to paid work.
Part-time and summer work
Work experience doesn’t have to be formal. Make the most of your part-time work and summer jobs to develop relevant transferrable skills by seeking out extra responsibilities.
Do an internship
Internships are a great way to get experience and try out an area of work that interests you. They can also often lead to a graduate job. Remember that you need to apply early, closing dates are usually around November/December to work the following summer.
Volunteering looks great on your CV and shows you are proactive and motivated.
Speak to employers at campus events
Employers visit your campus for a reason – they want to meet you. Take the opportunity to talk to them and you might find yourself getting some insider info on the applications process. If they like you, then your application may be fast-tracked.
Become a campus ‘brand ambassador’
Companies like Spotify, Smirnoff, Red Bull, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, Deloitte etc hire student brand ambassadors for on campus promotions. The role is usually centred around Freshers’ week with occasional promotions work during semester.
Learn a new skill
Use your free time productively and learn a new skill. You could start learning a new language or teach yourself coding. Employers will be impressed at your initiative and motivation.
Networking has huge value in helping you get started in your career. Take advantage of any situation where you can meet new people and use LinkedIn to build a professional networking profile.
Get involved with university life
There are loads of different ways you can get involved with your university. For example you could join a club or society (bonus points if you hold a committee position like president or treasurer), help out at your student union, volunteer at open days or become a class representative.
If you try just one of these suggestions each semester then you’ll have made some valuable contacts and created a fantastic CV by graduation. Remember that your university careers service is there to help and can give you information on opportunities in your area.
Thanks for reading!