In the run up to the launch party for our You’re Hired! Graduate Career Handbook Korin Grant and I are posting a series of blogs aimed at students and new grads which offer some tips on career building. In this second one we look at how you can make the most of your university degree.
Beginning your university course is a really exciting time. You’ve most likely chosen to study something you love, something you excel at or something you’ve always wanted to know more about – and now it is finally here!
As you go through your degree a number of things can change. Your subject might suddenly seem a lot harder, you might fall a little out of love with it or love it even more! You might think that some of the career outcomes are not for you or wish that you’d chosen differently. This is all normal and the important thing is that you do your best to make the most of your degree.
A few tips for doing this include:
- Connect with others in your subject area – You can join professional associations, linkup with alumni, join a student society (or set one up if it doesn’t exist!), get involved in your department or seek out a mentor who studied a similar subject. These connections will help you to learn as much as possible about your subject area which can only help you with decision making.
- Make use of support available – Your Personal Tutor and careers service will be able to tell you about career options with your subject. And you can ask for help with your academic studies to make sure you are approaching revision, projects and essays as effectively as possible.
- Find out what employers are thinking – Most graduate schemes recruit from any discipline. Employers value the transferable skills you have gained and the capacity to learn that earning a degree recognises. What skills, knowledge and experiences will potential employers be looking for in the career areas of interest to you? Will they look for a 2:1 as a minimum criteria or UCAS points?
- Do research – There are many useful sites for learning about where your subject can take you. Prospects (www.prospects.ac.uk) provides a good overview of different subjects. Unistats (www.unistats.direct.gov.uk) can help you to find out where people who have done your degree have gone on to do, what they earn and what type of organisations they work for. LinkedIn (www.linkedIn.com) offers you the chance to research graduates and investigate their career paths by reading their CVs online. You can search by university or by the name of the organisation that someone works for.
- Audit your skills – You can probably pin point specific knowledge and facts that you have learned during your studies, but your degree is about much more than this. Reflect on the types of skills you’ve develop through the activities you’ve been asked to complete in your modules. Critical thinking, autonomy, teamwork and time management are all typical graduate level skills and ones that will help you in any future endeavour. In the Graduate Career Handbook we provide a comprehensive list of transferable skills that you can use to help identify your own skills.
Taking these actions will help you to enjoy your time at university and ensure that you are making the most of the degree subject you have chosen!