In this blog post I’m going to give my personal advice about moving on from university – I hope you find it helpful.
It might seem a long way off but a key piece of advice would be to start thinking about what you might like to do in the future early. This way you can think about where you might like to gain; work experience, volunteering and other skills that could help you in pursuit of a graduate job or postgraduate study. It’s always good to get involved with a society too – anything you can add to your CV is going to be useful in the future.
This brings me onto my next point… In first year leaving university will seem a long way off but time moves fast! Start thinking about work experience early, its invaluable! Employers, universities and other organisations will always ask what work experience you have alongside your degree and it can really set you apart. Lots of employers provide specific summer internships and work experience programmes for students in both their first year and second year so start looking for something early on in your degree.
Applying for jobs
Applying to jobs can be a daunting experience! Be sure to think of skills outside of your degree when answering application questions. I found that the book Times Top 100 Graduate Employers had some good advice on applications, employers, graduate schemes and work experience as well as thinking about what jobs and sectors might be applicable to you.
Often applications involve various stages: online testing, video interviews, assessment centres. It’s a good idea to research what you’re going to apply for during the summer of your second year as applications open early.
Applying for Postgraduate Study
Postgraduate study is another option as a graduate; you can stay on at York, or move elsewhere. If you’re thinking about applying for postgraduate study it’s a good idea to seek the advice of an academic in the department, this could be your academic supervisor or an academic who has taught or supervised you during your degree. They will be able to give you advice and guidance with applying and it’s also a good idea to build a relationship with whoever you decide you want to ask to write you a reference!
Careers at York also gives fantastic advice on future careers and study. They provide a range of services including checking CVs and applications and can help you in obtaining work experience and volunteering. I applied for a volunteering post through the York Careers Gateway, the job-searching site maintained by the Careers department, and have been volunteering for York Young Carers during the third year of my degree.
Careers also invite employers onto campus. During your degree there will be careers fairs with many of the top graduate employers in attendance. Be sure to go along and speak to them and ask questions! Any information you can get may help with an application.
Finally, specific careers talks often take place on campus. Recently the Politics department have had representatives from the Civil Service Fast Stream and from the US Embassy to talk to students. Events like this can help you decide if a career is for you, or for you to gain advice about your application.
Don’t be Disheartened
It’s important to remember that there are thousands of people applying for graduate jobs – don’t get disheartened by a rejection! Be prepared to change your mind or think again. Finally, don’t stop thinking about volunteering, work experience and building your skills that might be useful for employment… even once you secure a job or further study. It can only be helpful!