For many of us, the turn of the year may lead to reflection on our goals or ambitions and how we might achieve them. Read on for quick and easy ideas on how to get on track with what you want for the future, through being your best self.
Am I doing enough to get the most out of my studies?
Unsurprisingly, there is no blanket answer to this question as it depends on your individual expectations as to where you want your studies to take you. However, for most students, the greatest benefit of studying for a degree is having taken the first step to realising their career plans and getting work ready.
First things first – your degree will open many doors in your career journey. However, each year, thousands of other graduates will be knocking at the same doors, and it is not sharp elbows but a strong portfolio of employability skills that will help you get through them. If you are asking yourself whether or not you have what it takes, take a look at the key elements you need to consider when you start thinking about your future as a graduate and, depending on how you feel about your strength in each of them, take the recommended actions to fill the gaps.
When trying to decide on a career direction, you need to start by identifying your strengths, your likes and dislikes and your preferred activities. Take time to reflect on your past experiences and think about what about them you enjoyed the most and the least. You can also try our Careers Assessments including Strengths and Motivation at Work, which will help you reflect on your skills in a structured way and give you constructive feedback and suggestions for the actions you could take to address areas for development. If you have not done it already, you should also complete your Career Pulse and start working through your Personal Career Development Plan. And you can book a careers guidance meeting to get personalised expert support and advice from your ARU Employability and Careers Adviser.
While some people may have a clear vision of their career direction, for many, answering the ‘What are you going to do when you graduate’ question may be a little bit more problematic. To find solutions you need to know what options are available and with numerous industries and thousands of job titles circulating the job market, it may be difficult to get your head around your options. A great starting point is to look at the ‘What can I do with my degree?’ page on the Prospects website. From there you can also explore Job Profiles to gain more information on a specific role. You could also use our Job Search Engine to explore vacancies in your area of interest by filtering them by ‘industry’ in the Advanced search – reading job descriptions will give you an idea of the level of job you can apply for and the skills and experience required so you know what to aim for. Activate your Handshake account – the dedicated platform to help you find internship, placement and graduate job opportunities.
Now it is time to reach for your dream job but to succeed, you need to know how to market yourself to employers and persuade them that you are the best candidate for the role.
- Reflect on your skills and update your CV with any degree projects and work experience (paid and/or voluntary). Proof-check your draft with our CV Checker and then review it with your Faculty Employability & Careers Adviser to get advice on how to tailor it for the vacancy you would like to apply for.
- To prepare for a job interview learn how to polish your performance with Interview 360 – our interactive online interview practice tool. Have your stellar elevator pitch ready for when you come across potential employers with career opportunities – a sure way to help your confidence and make you shine.
- Take advantage of job fairs and other careers events run virtually or on campus. Keep an eye on your student email account for invitations to events that will propel your employability and career management skills. Make the most of your Handshake profile and start making meaningful connections with employers.
Above all, remember you have so much to offer an employer but if you want to check you are presenting yourself in the best possible light, improve your career prospects and make the most of your time at university, get in touch with your Employability Service team to receive personalised support to unlock your potential. Email [email protected].
We hope you get the opportunity to relax during the holidays – be safe and well and we very much look forward to seeing you in 2023!
By Magdalena Mucha, Employability & Careers Adviser
Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.