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Despite being a completely free service, a surprisingly high number of students fail to utilise their university’s career service.
The majority of universities, both in the UK and abroad, will have a team of dedicated professionals on-hand to help you explore graduate jobs, work experience and give you valuable careers advice.
University careers services can offer one-on-one help with CV’s, research and interview tips – plus help you to boost your employability while you are still studying.
Whether you’re in your first year of university or approaching graduation, here’s how to make the most of your university careers service, and boost your chances of finding your dream graduate job.
Just a short consultation with your careers service can be instrumental in helping you define your ideal career. With 44% of students not sure exactly what they want to once they graduate, it's a good time to start thinking about it early on.
Through discussions and self-assessments, your university careers service can help you explore your skills, interests, experiences and qualifications, and ultimately decide which industry and particular roles are right for you.
Knowing which direction or career path you want to go down will help you to feel more prepared for your job search post-university, and provide a great segway into applying for graduate jobs.
“Most universities will have careers guidance professionals to give impartial advice and help you explore or work towards getting into your chosen career path or further study – whether it’s related to your degree or not! It’s very different from what you may have experienced in school, with university careers services being the bridge between student and industry. A good careers service will support you with options for further study and have links with major and local employers; regularly working with them to understand business needs and recruitment trends.” – Careers Network, University of Birmingham
Two thirds of employers look for graduates with some relevant work experience - so if you want to stand out from the crowd when you graduate, it's a good idea to get some experience under your belt.
Careers services are worth a visit to find work experience and internship opportunities - particularly if you’re in your first or second year, and want to build up your CV with some experience while you have the free time.
They have a huge network, so will be able to help you find summer internships, industrial placements or study abroad opportunities to help you bolster your CV.
Careers advisors can also help you to brush up on your interview skills and practice your interview technique.
They may offer group workshops, drop-in sessions or free one-on-one consultations where you can ask questions tailored to your own concerns and areas you need to improve.
Regardless of whether you’re in your first or your final year of university, it’s worth taking 30 minutes out of your schedule to run through some of the most common interview questions, and work on your interview technique with your careers service before you meet with employers.
If you’re interested in growing your professional network, it’s a good idea to attend careers fairs, conferences and employability workshops throughout your time at university.
Careers advisors can inform you of any useful professional conferences or specific fairs, as well as any on-campus employability workshops that can help further boost your career prospects.
We often hear from recent graduates they wish they had used their careers service more effectively – and not just in their final year.
A quick drop-in to your university’s careers service (or a national one such as National Careers Service) can offer a whole host of benefits - from helping you find work experience to add to your CV, to practicing your interview skills and technique before you graduate.
Want to get prepared for when you graduate? Make sure you’re making the most of your university careers service.
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