A new year is an opportunity to make positive changes and - love them or loathe them - you may have already been making New Year's resolutions and setting the goals you want to achieve over the next 12 months. Why not include some career goals in that?
As well as the usual clichéd resolutions (my list tends to look like this: 1. spend less time in the Netflix vortex and read more and 2. finally stop taking sugar in my tea) many naturally turn attention to their career plans, which is why as an Employability and Careers Adviser, I have often seen an initial rush of appointments in January.
When it comes to career goal setting, you might already have an idea about where you want your studies to take you and hopefully you are exploring how to get there. (If not, don’t panic – we are here to help!)
Breaking a larger goal into smaller steps is often the most effective way to make it feel manageable, as well as keeping you motivated. To help, I’ve picked out five activities you could add to your resolutions list this year.
A couple of my suggestions are things that current ARU students can do. If you're not studying here yet, don't worry – these activities are all part of the support that's available when you join us.
Come to an event
As a student at ARU, there’s something for you regardless of what you are studying and whether you're an undergraduate or postgraduate.
Whether it's our upcoming JobsFest, Be Your Best workshops, the Be Your Own Boss seminar series, or even a webinar, there are lots of opportunities for you to explore your options, network with employers and build the tools you need to be application and interview ready.
Take a look at upcoming events for ARU students.
Be a volunteer
Many of you are tuned in to and care deeply about global issues and your local communities, so why not volunteer to do something you're passionate about?
Lots of voluntary roles help you develop valuable employability skills such as problem-solving, communication and team work. Interviewers will require you to ‘tell the story’ of how you developed these, and volunteering can help make sure you have a story to tell.
There could be just the thing for you on the ARU Students' Union volunteering page or volunteering website Do-it.
New year, new (online) you
Do you have an ‘All Star’ LinkedIn profile already? Or is it time to invest some effort into updating it and making the most out of the platform?
Your personal brand is your reputation and your digital footprint. To help you build your brand through advice on social media, networking and communication, you can access an e-learning course through our Career Centre (search for 'personal brand').
Join a club or society
Student clubs and societies offer the chance to try something new or explore your hobbies and interests with like-minded people. They’re also an excellent way to develop your skills, make friends, expand your network and add to your CV – particularly if you’ve taken on additional responsibilities like acting as club treasurer, events organiser, or social media extraordinaire.
If you need a little more encouragement, a recent Which? survey reported that 17% of graduates said their extra-curricular activities directly helped them to get a job.
And finally… one of the best steps towards being career-ready is getting relevant work experience. As well as the potential of being paid, work experience helps you to suss out what you like and don’t like regarding the role and the workplace culture.
Whether you have the option to do a placement year as part of your course, or are thinking about a summer internship, there are things that you can do now, such as researching companies and opportunities and preparing your CV and cover letter. If you’re not sure where to start, come and see us. Check our Employability Service drop-in times.
Wishing you a great start to 2020 – what will be your next move?
By Emma Mottram, Employability & Careers Adviser