There are many things that can help your career progress, but the most essential things to start with are: your career plan, CV, covering letter style and interview skills.
For those of you who intend to find employment when you finish your qualification, there may be many challenges that you will face in your search. We have summarised a few areas that will be of assistance to you in your search for employment.
"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom" – a quote by Aristotle. When you are planning for your career, it is important to start with yourself to identify your skills, interests, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, personality, goals, opportunities, threats, experiences, etc. Part of this self-discovery, is also to know what’s available out there for you and where you can go for help and advice.
Personal Brand is ‘what makes you unique’. Creating a personal brand is to create how you want to be known by others and how you promote your uniqueness. Also make a list of skills, attributes and experiences that the employer wants, then, identify what is missing from your brand. Plan on acquiring essential skills, attributes and experiences before you graduate.
Personal Brand is a combination of how you present yourself on and off line. Besides your CV and Cover Letter, your online portfolios and social media accounts are equally important in building your profile. Aim to create a consistent image across all platforms.
LinkedIn & professional network
It is now common for recruiters to use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to research for potential employees. LinkedIn is specifically designed for professional use. This is a place for your Virtual CV, and it is also a place where you can find a job, stay current with trends and information, and be involved in industry specific discussion groups. It is recommended that you start building your profile and network on LinkedIn while you are studying. Connect with teaching staff, peers and internship colleagues as they may become valuable contacts in your long term career journey.
It is important to employers that your speech is clear and can be understood on the telephone. Many customers/clients make their first contact with an organisation by phone, so strong communication skills are vital. If your first language is not English you should take as many opportunities as possible to practice your communication skills in English, both at University and in the wider environment such as when socialising with friends and flatmates. You will find that the more you practice, the more fluent and confident you will become!
Internships, work placements & part-time work
Internships, work placements and part-time work during study will enable you to develop further skills that will help you in your search for full-time employment. Part time work does not have to be directly related to your current study to be beneficial – for example, customer service work will allow you to practice and improve your communication skills.
You can approach some organisations directly, such as supermarkets and fast food restaurants, to find out about part-time work opportunities. Good sources for finding part time work are Student Job Search and networking.
Community & volunteer experience
During your degree, in addition to finding paid work, you should consider volunteer work. Employers consider this an invaluable asset in their potential employees. Supervisors and other volunteers have networks that you may be able to tap into to help find future employment.
If you are interested in volunteering, get involved in the Employability Plus Programme.
Above all, your primary aim is to gain a qualification so study must come first!!! With good time management, you can combine study, part-time work, outside interests and hobbies.
If you want to know more about career planning, attend a workshop. Log into MyCareer click Events/Services to find Workshops.
How to write a CV
A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a document that is marketing you. The key role of a CV is to help you get an interview with an employer.
Your goal is to show yourself as being one of the best candidates for the role. Employers receive dozens or even hundreds of applications for a particular job so you need to put a bit of extra effort into your application to make your CV stand out.
Almost everyone who applies for a particular job is capable of doing it. An employer doesn't just want "anyone" though, they want those who are the best fit for their role and company. How are you going to show yourself as being the best?
Want to know more? We offer student workshops that assist you in writing a CV. To register for a workshop Log into MyCareer click Events/Services to find Workshops.
How to write a covering letter
The covering letter is the first impression you give to an employer. It personalises your CV and provides you with the opportunity to express your enthusiasm and suitability for a specific job. The quality of your covering letter can generally determine whether an employer will even read your CV!
Every job application that you make generally includes a covering letter, even when applying by email. When applying by e-mail you can include a covering letter either as part of the text of your e-mail or as a separate Word attachment.
To learn how to write that winning covering letter, we offer student workshops and tutorials that assist you in writing a cover letter. To register for a workshop Log into MyCareer click Events/Services to find Workshops.
The interview gives both you and the employer the opportunity to discuss your interest in a particular job and assess your ability to successfully undertake the role being offered.
For you, it is your chance to convince the employer that you would be a good, productive employee. It is also an opportunity to find out more about the job on offer, the organisation. Your aim is to show them that you are the best candidate for the job.
For the employer, it is an opportunity to meet you and imagine how you might fit their business environment. It provides them with a means of assessing your behaviour, personality and general suitability for the position on offer. They will be looking for you to expand on the information you have provided on the application form or CV, and are giving you a chance to confirm (or not!) the positive impressions they have from reading your CV. It is also an opportunity for the employer to compare you with other candidates.
Please visit MyCareer, click Resources to find Resource Library to view the Interview Preparation Information Sheet.
To register for an Interview Skills workshop and Mock Interview tutorial log into MyCareer, click Events/Services to find Workshops/Tutorials/Drop-ins.