Having a degree already puts you at a great advantage when it comes to applying for jobs. Being able to prove that you can complete a challenging academic qualification is likely to put you in any employer’s good books. This being said, when it comes to getting your first graduate job, you may find yourself struggling if you rely purely on your degree being enough to ‘wow’ the employer.
I’ve put together some things you can do around your studies at Leeds Beckett which could help your future self get the job you’ve been dreaming of:
Pay Attention to ModulesIt’s never too early to start thinking about your career! It’s useful to pay close attention to each module you complete throughout your course, as your opinion on these will help sculpt the decision on what area of your career you’d like to specialise in. The level of detail in the courses can really help you to understand the industry and make these important decisions. I study Journalism and getting stuck into each module has meant I’ve now decided I want to pursue a career in local newspaper reporting when I graduate this summer.
Network and Make Contacts
The university runs a number of events which can be useful for this, such as guest lectures and meet the industry days. We once had a guest lecturer teach us for a series of seminars, and upon finding out she ran an online publication in Leeds, I made contact and bagged myself my first internship with her. You can find a list of the guest lectures here.
Within many businesses there is an element of who you know over what you know. So, make the most of the opportunities and contacts whilst at university as they’ll be invaluable when it comes to finding employment. As well as using contacts, use your online presence to do this – follow people on Twitter or Facebook and speak to them! Reach out to your LinkedIn network too - you'd be surprised to see how many people will know somebody in your industry that you could get in touch with. I find that connecting with professionals on LinkedIn is a great way to get quick responses when I’m writing an article, and it means I’m then connected to them for future reference.
Get Some Work ExperienceThis is 100% the best way to make yourself more employable in my opinion. It shows future employers you’re dedicated to your development, and if it's unpaid, that you're willing to work for free because you're so eager to gain experience. The university has a team that are dedicated to helping students find placements in the working world. Remember to go for something relevant to your chosen field to maximise the value and the transferable skills. Whilst at university, I’ve completed internships at BBC Leeds, an online magazine and several different local newspapers to gain valuable experience for my journalism career.
Again, show that you have a work ethic. Volunteering can be really enjoyable and rewarding too, and there’s so many places to do it in Leeds! Have a look online or even go into places such as charity shops or community centers – they’re always looking for an extra pair of hands. The university and students union can also help you gain access to this experience too and regularly post volunteering jobs online. There's also international volunteering opportunities here at the university, for example completing projects in Thailand, Fiji or Romania. There's a team dedicated to helping you organise and fund-raise for your trip too! Although I didn’t go abroad, I have volunteered at my local horse riding school. It not only kept me active but really boosted my confidence working with so many different types of people and provided me with valuable transferable skills such as communication and work ethic, for my CV.
While it’s not necessary to stress yourself out about finding a graduate job too early – it’s definitely a good idea to make the most of your spare time and opportunities provided while you’re at uni. If you find yourself struggling, Leeds Beckett have a dedicated Careers Advice team who offer help to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. I hope these tips were useful and good luck with your future careers.