January 31, 2018, by Carla
Final Years: How to Boost Your Employability at The Last Minute
By Aléz Odendaal, Inspiring Interns
Your years at university are messy and wonderful. Each new term brings both the opportunity and responsibility to grow as a person. That makes for a lot of change in a short space of time.
But while you were trying to remember everything you’d learned in class, and coming to grips with the ins and outs of oncoming adulthood, you may have forgotten what this journey was largely for: a career.
Now it’s final year and you’re probably starting to think “what’s next?”
You might be asking yourself exactly when did everyone else have time to become a recruiter’s dream candidate while you barely had the capacity to juggle all the elements in the bottom tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Truly, it remains a mystery.
However, it’s not too late. Here are five ways you can boost your employability at the last minute.
1. Get involved in extracurricular projects
When hiring for a new position, recruiters and employers are looking for someone who stands out. This is no different to anyone else. Think about the last party you went to. Who stood out to you? Chances are, the person least like everyone else in one aspect or another. We gravitate towards outliers – it’s just what we humans like to do.
Work this to your advantage by having a CV that shows your drive for a subject through additional projects and extracurricular activities. If you’re into game development, check to see if there are any gaming groups organised through uni, or start one yourself. Into creative writing? Submit your work into a literary competition, and stay active in that community.
It also doesn’t have to be that straight-forward; if you’re studying towards a degree in mechanical engineering, but your true love is in cricket, don’t be afraid to do a deep dive into your uni’s sports club. The aim here is to show you’re a person that does more than the required minimum, and to give your CV a splash of individualism.
2. Ask your lecturers
Professors have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in their fields of concern. They might be approached by friends in the industry to scout for students who would be good candidates for certain positions.
Let your teacher know that you’re looking for a career in this subject. Ask if they know of any available opportunities. If they can’t help you immediately, they’ll likely still keep you in mind throughout the school year and beyond.
3. Attend a careers event
This spring, your careers team are hosting hundreds of events. Make the most of these opportunities. Go to one, or two, or five! From finding opportunities and applying workshops to help you master employability skills, to job and sector insight events providing insights into different sectors, to the Graduate Jobs Fair packed with employers who have graduate vacancies, there are plenty of things you can make the most of on campus right now.
View the events programme.
4. Try to squeeze in an internship
Internships are a great opportunity for you to get to know people in a sector of interest and find out what it’s really like to work in that industry. They also afford you a chance to become invaluable to a group of people who will come to know you personally, which might result in a job.
When it doesn’t, internships still look incredible on your CV because employers will see that you have hands-on experience, and that you are familiar with issues in the industry that you might not be taught at uni. So, one way to think of internships is as endorsements. Having the name of a given company on your CV is a signal to recruiters that your work was up to par for that company’s standards.
Read more about the different types internships.
5. Learn to voice your strengths
Your twenties are not known as a period of intense self-confidence. People this age often have issues believing in their own abilities, and doing this means you can sell yourself short at precisely the wrong time.
Practice identifying your strengths. Know the answer to, “What are some of your key strengths?” and “What can you bring to our company?” It might feel icky to think and talk about this stuff, but you don’t want the first time you do it to be in front of a potential employer.
It’s not boasting if it’s true, considered, and given context.
Ditto for your hang-ups. Knowing who you are, and how you respond to situations, for better or worse, shows emotional intelligence, and makes you a mature addition to a business or company.
Are you graduating this year? Still trying to figure out what you want to do? Don’t forget you can also book an appointment with one of our expert careers advisers on My Career.
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