March 31, 2015, by NUBS Postgraduate Careers
Spring clean your job hunt!
By Megan Davies
It may seem that between coursework, exams, thinking about your dissertation and eating all the chocolate that the Easter bunny brings, careers is the last thing on your mind at this time of year. However you have passed the mid-point of your course, and so the Easter break can be a useful time to reflect on your job prospects, career plans and strategy and have a good spring clean.
Spring clean your CV!
Have you looked at your CV since you started your course? Have you really? You are all doing wonderful things here in the Business School: many of you are doing interesting research or company-based projects, heavily involved in clubs and societies, or being student ambassadors. Is all of this on your CV? Is your current course even on your CV? (so often we see CVs where it isn’t!) If it is, is it presented effectively?
Print out a copy, grab a pen, and take the opportunity to go through your CV, to ensure it is reflecting you now – not you a year ago. Consider every line – is it useful, is it relevant, are you telling the employer everything they want to know? What else should you add? As you progress in your career and gain more experience and skills, some things will drop off your CV, so balance relevant with recent – playing football in sixth form might not need to be mentioned any more.
While you’re at it – Google yourself and spring-clean your online CV too; close old social media accounts (hello Bebo!), delete or hide embarrassing photos, and ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date.
Refresh your tactics
Are you still receiving emails from job sites you signed up to months ago in a burst of enthusiasm, but never actually read? Open a few now – are they useful or interesting? If not, update your preferences to ensure you receive what you are actually looking for, or even consider unsubscribing.
Having an inbox full of emails you aren’t going to open can be quite depressing (especially if your aim in life is to achieve ‘Inbox Zero’). If you can’t bear to unsubscribe, set up a redirect to a ‘Job Alerts’ folder, and make a regular effort to check what’s in there. You could consider setting weekly instead of daily alerts, to manage the ‘flood’ (although beware: you might miss short-notice vacancies)
Once you are receiving useful, insightful and interesting job alerts and careers newsletters, you are far more likely to actually open them and utilise these fantastic resources.
If you’re anything like me, sometimes all you need for renewed enthusiasm is a bit of retail therapy and some shiny new stationery. Pop to the shop and get a lovely new notebook – this is your new career bible you can fill with notes, ideas and inspiration!
Think about how you can organise your job hunt, especially during the busy exam period. Use that wall-calendar you got at the start of term – write in any upcoming application deadlines, job fairs (Career Week for NUBS postgraduates – from 4th June) and upcoming events. You may even schedule in free time or days to spend searching for jobs, and set regular smaller goals – once a week coffee or lunch with a contact?
This visual reminder to use your time well can keep on track with your job search. Also helpful: calendar alerts to remind you to check on CVs or applications you sent out or send thank you notes.
Prefer online organisation? Consider utilising Pinterest to create (hidden) boards for each company you are researching – use it to collect and curate useful articles or helpful information about them, ready to read and refresh yourself when applying or interviewing.
Restock the closet
Having fully acclimatised to student life, especially for those of you who came back into study from work, it may be a while since you had to wear your suit (hopefully not if you’ve been attending Business School networking events though). Drag it out from the back of your closet – does it still make the great first impression that you want it to? If you’re changing sectors – is it even appropriate for the roles you are now pursuing? Hopefully you’ll have lots of interviews and opportunities to meet with contacts coming up and you want to look your best – what better excuse to browse the spring/summer collections?
Meet new people
The sun is out, and it’s (almost!) warm enough for a stroll in the park. Think about how you can up your networking approach – where can you meet new people and helpful contacts? The social season is approaching – a successful student from previous years mapped out all the events he was attending that summer (weddings, christenings, BBQs, etc), and researched who would be at each one. He soon discovered that a senior partner from his ‘dream’ company would be attending a friend’s wedding, and went armed with knowledge to have a conversation and promote himself. It paid off, and the student secured a job. You never know who you might meet, and where, so be prepared for opportunities! (Note: not a good idea to side-track the father of the bride to ask for an internships; he’s a little busy)
It may feel like yesterday that you arrived here at the Business School, but it was six months ago, and in six months’ time your dissertation will be handed in and you will have emerged into the outside non-academic world. At this time it can be useful to remind yourself:
– Why did I choose to study this course?
– What are my objectives?
– What did I hope to do after?
Are the answers to these questions still the same as they were during Induction Week? For some of you it won’t have changed; some of you will have clarified ideas, or chosen a certain career path since then; whereas others may be more unsure than you were when you started! Whether you don’t know where you want to be or where to start; or you know exactly where you want to be but want some guidance as to how to get there, we are here to help! Email BusinessPCS@nottingham.ac.uk to arrange an appointment – appointments will be available throughout Easter.