photo by pexels

Whilst studying at university it is important to enjoy your time and achieve a good grade, but you should keep in mind you need to prepare yourself for the job market.

Due to the COVID pandemic, the UK job market is even more competitive than normal. A degree alone is unlikely to be enough to secure a great graduate job. Employers want to hire work-ready candidates who have experience and initiative.

 There are many ways students can boost their employability throughout university to help lay a foundation for a career. The following points will help make you stand out to employers after you graduate.

#1: Join clubs and societies

It’s always beneficial to get involved with some clubs and societies at university. Whether it’s a sports team or a film club, they’re a good way to meet new people, create new experiences, and learn new skills.

It’s not necessary to only be involved in clubs and societies that relate to your future career. It is more important to do things you enjoy; you will build transferable skills as you go.

What would look good on a CV is if you take a leadership role in any of these groups. This demonstrates a level of commitment and responsibility and is something to bring up during job interviews.

#2: Use your university’s careers advice

It is worth contacting your university’s careers advice service to help you get a sense of what industries you might want to enter after university.

They might even help you find a particular job to work towards. Even if you have no idea what you want to do, they will offer suggestions and you will be left with some ideas for the future.

You can also ask your uni’s careers service to improve and boost your CV.

#3: Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to get experience on your CV. You might also be able to volunteer in an industry relevant to your future career goals. It is usually of course easier to get a volunteering role as there will be less competition.

You don’t have to volunteer in an area related to a possible future career, any volunteering at all looks great to employers as it shows you are willing to give your free time to work. All volunteering opportunities will give you a host of transferable skills and lots to talk about at interviews.

There may be lots of roles available on your campus or in the local community. If you are unsure you can check with your Student’s Union or careers advice centre.

There are also numerous websites you can check out such as do-It.org

#4: Go to careers fairs

Your university will occasionally hold career fairs, so keep an eye out for them. They will vary from general career fairs with a variety of professionals, to more specific fairs aimed at those wishing to specialise in a chosen industry.

Careers fairs are great for learning about different industries, building contacts, and hearing about work experience opportunities.

Before you attend, you might find it useful to make a list of the companies you want to talk to. Or if you have less of an idea of what you want to do you might find it a good opportunity to window shop for different careers.

#5: Write a CV

Even if you have just started university, it is a good idea to create a CV or update it. It is a useful way to keep track of your achievements as you go and is handy to have if a job opportunity arises.

You should modify your CV depending on the role you are applying for to give yourself the best chance, however, it is first necessary to have a base CV that you can work from. If you want help with writing a CV, you can read some tips from a CV consultant

It’s also worth setting up a LinkedIn profile. This will allow you to make connections online, and you may also be approached directly with opportunities by employers and recruiters.

#6: Internships or work experience

 

If you have an idea of what industry you want to work in after university, the best way to boost your employability in that field is to find relevant work experience or an internship. Work experience is usually organised to fit in around term time so it shouldn’t interrupt your studies.

Work experience might be available as part of your course. You can also look for opportunities online, through careers fairs, and by asking your university’s careers advice service.

An internship or work experience is always rewarding and will make you stand out to future employers. Even if you don’t want to work for that company after you graduate, or you want to try a different industry, it is crucial to help you develop work skills. Moreover, it will also give you a reference.

#7: Get a part-time job

Getting a part-time job will look great on your CV.

Ideally, you want a part-time job that can fit around your studies so that it doesn’t affect your final grade. You will learn skills and gain experience which you will be able to mention at interviews. It will also help you with the expenses of Uni life.

Just working at the Student Union bar or in a local restaurant will make you stand out from other candidates without work experience.  For more information on working part-time at Uni, read 9 tips for working part-time at Uni.

#8: Take on responsibilities around the university

Becoming a student representative on your course, at the student’s union, or in any other capacity that involves taking the initiative and leadership skills, is a great way to boost your employability.

You could also consider being a student ambassador, where you would have to give tours around your university campus. These are all things you could add to your CV which will show employers that you are not shy about taking on responsibilities.

#9: Network

Starting to build a network of contacts will provide you with opportunities down the road. Your lecturers and professors are a good place to start, as they themselves will have plenty of useful contacts in their chosen fields.

It’s also important to get on your tutors’ good side by attending lectures and participating. This will help them write you a good reference and they will have you in mind if an opportunity comes up.

It’s wise to connect with them on LinkedIn. If you have an idea of what you want to do after graduating, they might know somebody that can help.

#10: Learn a language

Having a second language will help boost students' employability in the hyper-competitive job market after they graduate.

The hard work and commitment that go into learning a new language will impress employers.

In the globalised economy language skills are increasingly relevant. Being able to speak a widely spoken language like Spanish, French, or Mandarin would open doors for you.  

There are endless resources online to help you learn a new language, as well as a number of apps, the most popular at the moment being duolingo.

#11: Take online short courses

There are plenty of online courses to help you improve your skills and boost your employability. They are available in almost every subject, from software and coding to culture and diplomacy.

The course doesn't have to be related to your degree or career. Taking any course in your free time shows employers your initiative, drive, and desire to learn new things.

There are many websites that provide courses such as FutureLearn, and a number of universities run free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

#12: Study hard for your degree

It’s also important to stay focused on your degree and aim for the highest grade you can achieve. Employers for graduate schemes usually ask for a 2:1 or 1st degree for candidates.

Work experience is of course vitally important in boosting your employability but you don’t want it to conflict with your studies.

Conclusion

The best ways students can boost their employability throughout university is by taking on extra responsibilities. This will give you the best chance when you graduate and start applying for competitive full-time roles.

The main three ways to do this are by getting a part-time job, gaining work experience, or volunteering. These are all things that employers look out for so that they know you are a work-ready candidate with transferable skills.

You can check out Graduate Coach for more information on all things relating to employability after graduating, including one-to-one coaching

By Harry Gorvin

 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page