It’s really never too early to start planning for your future career. If you start putting the building blocks in early then you won’t have a panic when it comes to your final term and you’ll give yourself the best chance to find a graduate job.
We spoke to career advisors at universities in the UK to find out what their best advice was for getting started early. For a lot of students it’s unrealistic to know what job you’ll want to do when you’ve only been at university for a few weeks, but it’s important to be aware of the opportunities that are on offer. It’s not just your degree that counts but the things that you’ve done alongside this.
Here’s our year by year guide to the steps you should be taking to get a great graduate job.
Some universities have career days in first year which are compulsory for all students. But even those that don’t will offer presentations and talks that you can attend to start developing a career plan.
Think about doing work experience
Employees want to start engaging with students as soon as they arrive at university, so it’s possible to get a work placement at the end of the first year. If you start to develop that relationship early on then you’ve got more chance of securing a graduate job. More and more students who start early secure graduate jobs by the end of their second year, so it’s worth it.
Join clubs and societies
It doesn’t have to be all work, work, work at university. Finding fun extra-curricular activities can also boost your hiring potential. You’ll pick up a lot of skills from doing this, including teamwork.
Look for a part-time job or volunteer
Balancing university, a job and your friendships can seem like a challenge, but employers do like to see that you are familiar with a work environment on a long term basis. Your first years at university are ideal for working part time because in your final year, you may want to focus on your exams, dissertation and job applications.
Now is the time to really get your head down and start thinking about what job you might want to do after university. You might want to start with specific industries and then look at companies that hire graduates in that field.
Apply for internships
The focus for your second year should be getting an internship or placement. Closing dates vary, but often it’s before the Christmas break. These placements can be as competitive as the graduate jobs are, so starting early is recommended.
Apply for graduate jobs
Again, it’s important to start early when you are applying for a graduate role. If you want support with your CV or to practice your interview techniques, then your career service will be able to help you prepare. There are also plenty of tips online, from what not to do in an interview to questions you should ask your potential employer.
When you first start at university your future career might be the last thing on your mind, but starting early means getting ahead, and with so much competition, it’s well worth the effort. With the help of your career service at university, you can get a graduate job that you love.
Enterprise offer plenty of internship opportunities to those considering a career in management, and they last from a few weeks to a year, depending on what suits you. If you’re in your final year and thinking about graduate schemes, look at vacancies for our management trainee roles across the country.