Whether it’s in the first year or last month of your college career, there comes a time when you’re going to have to start thinking about your working life after university. Yes, that’s right, unfortunately there is such a thing, and you’re time to begin this not-so-fun chapter of your life will come around quicker than you think. But you will, however, find your college will have something called a ‘Careers Service’ to make sure your transition into the world of work is as smooth and successful as possible. So, in this post, I point out a few of the ways you can utilize and make the most of your university careers service.
Ignore those Emails and Leaflets at Your Peril
If you’ve been deleting and ignoring emails from your careers service then stop and start reading them. Every careers service will differ from university to university, but you’ll find most will keep their students updated with information about jobs fairs and presentations. You also want to pay attention to any leaflets which are handed out or dotted around your college buildings. Sure, a lot of them won’t be relevant to you: if you’re an arts student, you’re not going to be interested in employer presentations seeking electrical engineering graduates for example. But keep an eye out and make a note of any up and coming events or application deadlines that your careers service tells you about.
Go About Job Fairs the Right Way
Most universities will have a number of jobs/careers fairs throughout the year. Some of these will be specifically targeted towards certain careers or students on specific degree courses but often they will be fairly general and open to everyone – from freshmen to finalists. Jobs fairs provide a fantastic opportunity to speak to representatives from different firms and to find out more about your potential recruiters. But it’s easy to wonder around them fairly aimlessly and achieve very little by turning up.
You can avoid making this mistake by planning your trip in advance. This doesn’t need to be anything too thorough, but look at the list of which companies will be there, think about which firms’ stalls you want to visit and have a few questions ready to ask. It’s also worth making sure you take a notepad and look reasonably smart; jobs fairs aren’t interviews, but there’s nothing to say you might not come across the person you speak to later down the line if you get an interview with that firm. If they remember you were the one that looked like you’d just rolled out of bed when you last spoke to them, that certainly won’t help you land the job.
Get Your Resume Checked Over
OK so you might be studying English and you might think writing a resume is an easy task compared to the last essay you had to grind out. But there’s bound to be someone at your university – irrespective of whether or not you have a large careers service – that’s seen many resumes from college students and can pick out flaws and mistakes that were invisible to you. It’s surprisingly hard to write a decent resume for the first time (and for the second and third time I might add). And getting your résumé checked over by the careers service won’t cost you anything, and it could be the difference between getting an interview and being told to shove it.
Attend Practice Interviews and Assessment Centers
Although less common, careers services will often arrange practice interviews and assessment center-style activities. For many college students, the only form of interview experience they’ve had will have been for a part-time job in a coffee shop or the like when they were 17. The application process for top graduate recruiters is a completely different ball game, however. You might be faced with multiple interviews, psychometric tests, and team-working and presentation exercises. If you have the opportunity to practice these and gain an advantage over your fellow job applicants, then take it.
Check for Jobs Advertised through Your Careers Service
When you’re at college and searching for a job it’s easy to fall into the trap of only Google searching the term ‘graduate jobs’, looking at the web pages of firms you’ve already heard of, or looking at a handful of graduate recruitment directories. But don’t forget to keep your search closer to home too; your university careers service will be contacted by more local, smaller firms who are looking to recruit from your university. If you don’t check out what’s advertised at your careers service then you might miss out on these opportunities.
About the Author:
Today’s guest article is provided by Julian who writes about personal finance, careers, and frugal living. He writes and manages the blog at frugaal.com which is a user-driven website that aims to help people find the best financial products.