Internships, placements, internships and placements. These are the words that every student will hear throughout their university journey. Lecturers, employment tutors, careers fairs, the list goes on. And you know what? Sometimes it is ok to challenge the status quo.

Nonetheless, students are faced with dread when such a decision has been made. Career prospects are damaged, transferable skills will not be developed and your uni experience will be lifeless.

You are probably reading this now thinking oh I am definitely doomed.

That is not true.

If you are pro-active enough and understand how to properly utilise the three-year university journey, then graduation will see yourself well equipped for the future. Want to know how? Read on…

Valuable work experience? Try charity shops…

Undeniably, work experience in a charity shop may seem less fancy and invaluable, but it is the complete opposite. Working a part-time job over the holidays is a fool-proof way of gaining and developing transferable skills, which employers love! Soft skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving are attributes which are commonly desired by most, if not all companies.

Quick Tip: Make sure you can balance the Jäger drinking marathons with work.

Societies galore!

So joining the Harry Potter Society may not be such a bad idea after all! By taking part in extra-curricular activities not only displays your enthusiasm to discover and engage with different communities but is also an easy way to take on roles such as:

  • President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

Quick tip: find a society which is relevant to your career aspirations. Want to become a manager? Join a management society. Show off your skills in delegation, organisation and team building, then sprinkle it with experience in being a secretary! Employers will admire that.

Remember to study enough…

Across all industries, graduate positions often require students to enter their doors with a 2:1 or 1st. If you have decided against the idea of internships and placements, more time has been borrowed to focus on your studies! Fight against your 8:45am alarm along with the death-impending hangover and study!

Quick tip: group assignments is another way to gain valuable experience. Presentations and reports carry over to the real working world!

Brush up on those networking skills

Regularly, universities will host events throughout the year with the main focus on careers. You can still go to them. It is a brilliant opportunity to practice your networking skills, gain confidence, whilst giving an insight into what companies and industries are looking for!

Quick tip: Networking can also be done on LinkedIn. Keep continuously updating your profile (even if it is just educational experience) and make yourself known.

Workshops (they’re not all boring, promise!)

From my experience at Coventry University, workshops were offered to students throughout the entire year. Naturally, some are incredibly dull, but that is not always the case (I attended workshops hosted by Google Garage!). You may as well make the most out of the £9,275 tuition fees (hurts every time) and gain some new profound knowledge.

Quick tip: Like the societies, attend workshops relevant to your career interests, it preps you with industry knowledge and who knows, it may even open up some early doors!

Employment services are still your babes!

Regardless if you are doing an internship or not, these people will be your knights in shining armor. They are there to offer advice on how to write application letters, what to do in assessment centres, interview tips…the list goes on! Making the most out of these services can really guide you on a smoother path to acquiring that rewarding job afterwards.

Quick tip: when writing CVs and cover letters, always tailor towards the company your applying for. Sometimes large-scale organisations filter through hundreds, if not thousands of applications. Increase your chances by doing your research.

In light of this, it is also important to maintain a healthy work/life balance. University is a stressful time for all and so it is crucial to maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Yes we all go out (I know I did), don’t sleep enough and miss the occasional lecture. But keep yourself well and the effects will pay off.

Megan Bryant is an Online Marketer for StudentJob UK. Europe’s largest online platform. Offering students and young professionals part-time, undergraduate and graduate positions! Create your free candidate profile now and get hired.

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