When planning for your future career, it’s usually best practice to see what qualifications you need to enter the industry you’re interested in becoming a part of.
But, in this ever changing jobs environment, you’re going to need that little bit extra to stick out amongst the rest. Getting a first in your degree is a fantastic achievement, but it has to be realised that others can also reach such levels of academia and when they’re applying for the same jobs as yourself, it becomes essential to be able to offer more than just top grades.
There are so many industries now that hold work experience and internships in high regard, that to leave university without either is a dangerous move indeed. It certainly helps that most degree courses do offer a period where you are able to participate in some work experience, I myself had to fill an entire month up with at least two separate employers and was lucky enough to do just that. Being in a working environment can teach you so much and not just when you’re doing the work yourself, but also when you’re observing others in their roles, with the art of shadowing a colleague proving very beneficial. One of my work placements led to an internship, and in truth, taught be so many different elements of my chosen industry (journalism) on top of my studies at university that I believe I learned more through that, than I did on the course I was paying thousands a year for.
The internship (for a football website) lasted over a year for me and I can thank that time for getting me the job I’m in now, but not only that, the moments I experienced are some that I will never forget, as I got to do the Premier League circuit, reporting from the press box at over 35 games. Participating in something like an internship doesn’t have to take up too much of your time and you can treat it like a part-time job, but with more worthwhile benefits that will boost your C.V, as well as giving a chance of recruitment with the company you’re volunteering with.
Take advantage of what’s available
There are so many groups that one can enter into whilst studying at university and most will be available through the course you’re attending. Going back to my personal experience again, through my journalism course we had our own news website for which participation was voluntary, but thoroughly valuable. We all became professional journalists one afternoon a week, seeking out stories and interviewing interesting people, I even did a gig review of my favourite band. Of course every degree is different, but there will be something to involve yourself with that will make employers realise that you’re willing to try new things off your own back. There may be also activities outside of your studies, but still be relevant to the industry you’re interested in, whether you’re looking for jobs in nuclear or a career in teaching.
There may be elements of your course that are not deemed important enough to be placed in the initial curriculum, but instead are offered as extra classes outside of university time or during free periods in the day. Another example from me regarding this area would be the shorthand classes I took. They were scheduled at 6pm in the evenings and were voluntary, but after several months’ worth of going, I had passed an exam that could be added to my standard run of course credits. Again, every course offers different elements of this area, but it is another brilliant way of showing that you want to enhance you skills as much as possible and a willingness to learn goes a long way towards recruitment.