Our parents and school often tell us the as long as you study hard and get good grades, you’ll be able to get a job easily, then at university many of us are fed this idea some more. While studying hard is important, the reality about getting a career related job is quite different.
As we head towards one of the major exam periods in the year, you will be thinking about your exams, but what about afterwards? This might be the last assessment task you have to battle through. Even if you still have more to go through, it may be worth considering what you’ll do once you have finished your studies.
There are always things you can do to to help your job applications, you’ve probably heard that keeping an updated resume, having interview practice, maintaining professional references are important. These are important, but they are not enough.
Here are some things you can do to help improve your chances of getting ready for a career related job before you graduate so that when it’s time to graduation, you’ve already secured your first job.
Think about what you’ll do
Employers want people who are driven in their career path and clear in the direction it will take. There is a lot more involved than just saying “I’m studying accounting, I’ll be an accountant” or “I’m studying IT, I’ll work in IT”. One of the most effective ways to stand out to an employer is to know which kind of career direction you want to take.
Developing a clear idea of what you want to do when you start your career can save you valuable time. Here are some questions which are designed to get you thinking about your future.
- What kinds of problems do you like solving?
- What kinds of thinking are you particularly good at?
- What skill advantages do you have over your peers?
- What kinds of opportunities do you think are available to those with your experience?
Answering these questions clearly and with strong commitment might be hard at first, but with more time they will become clearer and will help you uncover other important things about what your early career might look like.
Imagine you’re already working
This is one of the most powerful things you can do and it’s also the easiest. The amount of students we speak to who believe that they are “just a student” rather than a professional in the industry they are trying to enter is significant.
If you’re wondering why changing the way you see yourself is important, it’s simply because the way you see yourself will greatly influence how others see you.
When you’re thinking of yourself like a professional already in your field, you’ll start to behave like one, there are many news publications, presentations and free events related to all professional fields. People who work in these areas read and attend these regularly, and there is nothing to stop you from doing so either.
Meet the right people
Professional networking opportunities are everywhere around you, whether officially sanctioned events or you’ve simply seen an opportunity to make a connection with someone, the outcome is the same.
A simple but powerful tip in giving experienced professionals reason to want to connect with you is not that you want a job, that probably won’t give them reason. The best reason is that you’re keen to learn more about the industry you’re trying to enter.
If you’re worried why an experienced professional in your field “would bother” speaking to you, don’t be. In our experience, most professionals out there are keen to support young talent who shows motivation for self improvement and eagerness to succeed in their career.
If you meet someone who works in the field you want to enter, asking if you buy them a coffee and have 15-30 minutes of their time just to learn from them could yield powerful learning for you. When do you this, you’ll then have time to think of a number of questions you might want to ask them about how they entered their field and how things have changed.
There are so many powerful reasons why having a network of professionals who work in the area you’re trying to get a job in will help you. These people may or may not be the people who’ll ultimately hire you, but their collective knowledge could be a great asset to you as you find your first and subsequent jobs.
So when do you start?
When you start to take steps to focus on building the connections and knowledge that you’ll need for your career is up to you. Of course you’re doing that in class, but what you’re learning there is basic technical skills, and that kind of knowledge is very different to the kind that will help you understand the current issues that come up during your career.
There are many sources of relevant industry content and people out there you can help you understand more about your industry. Most of these will be able to help you somehow as you build up your knowledge and network so that when you do need to find a job in your career area, you’re much more ready for it.
Join our FREE insight session on 25th October to learn more about how to get a job after or even before you graduate