These days, more and more students are choosing to go to University. A wider range of degrees are obtainable, and more financial help is readily available. Unfortunately, this means there is more competition for degree level jobs, and it is becoming increasingly necessary for students to become more proactive and use their university time to gain more than just a degree.
The first step that will be useful for most students is to prepare a CV. Most institutions have CV building software available, or there are some free programs online. Look at good examples of CV?s online, and make sure yours sells you the best it possibly can. Think about how your lecturers would describe you, your biggest achievements, and where you want to be in five years time. Incorporate all of this into your writing. Save frequently, and spend a few hours making the best CV possible. This is very worth it, as it should now only be necessary to tweak certain points, you may never need to do a full rewrite.
The next step is to start buying job papers, looking at boards or looking online for work. Whether you need a job now, or you are just browsing, the process of looking, applying for and attending interviews is something that you need to learn and become skilful at. When you finish university, you will need to find a job, so practising now will ensure you have the best answers to the questions you?ll be asked, and you will have the confidence to make a brilliant first impression. If you?re looking at your CV and thinking that there isn?t much there, it?s time to get some new skills.
Team work, leadership and organisational skills are all very easy to gain while at university. Joining a sports team is a brilliant way, and shows potential employers that you are fit, healthy and energetic, as well as capable of working in a team and being driven to succeed. You could also apply to be on a committee, and play a part in making serious decisions for a good cause. This offers you the chance to experience independent responsibility and let you take charge. You could also help boost your organizational skills by getting involved in organizing shows or nights out for members.
Communication and Interpersonal skills are also just as easy to gain. Most universities already encourage this by asking students to write essays to a word count, which means you have to gather information, facts and main points, and express them in as few words as possible, but still in a coherent and well supported argument. To develop this further, you could try and get involved with a newspaper, magazine or even a radio station at your university. Again, joining a committee is an excellent way to meeting people and building on communication and personal skills.
Time management is also a useful skill. Practise working towards deadlines in a sensible manner. Do your course reading when it is set and make sure you have time to plan, write, proofread and edit your essay before you have to give it in. Schedule revision sessions before exams so that you don?t have to cram information the night before. All of these will help you to both gain a higher mark and learn to manage your time better, which will be necessary in a working environment.
Remember that you need to be realistic and work towards giving yourself more than just a degree to make you attractive to employers. Any extra skills and experience you can add to a job role will make you seem like a more suitable candidate, and may even boost the salary the company are willing to pay! Look at what?s available and choose some extra activities too ? you should make the most of your time at university.