University can be a wonderful place for students.
It’s probably most teenagers’ first real feel of leading a near-autonomous lifestyle. It’s certainly a life experience like no over and that’s not just down to the sheer expense of it.
I was certainly sold the university dream. I was under the illusion at the start that a degree entitled you to a job but I soon learnt that it wasn’t the case. In 2018, a record 27.9% of the 18-year-old population in England had been accepted into a university, with a total of 411,860 students being placed on an undergraduate course. With those kind of statistics, it’s easy to see why my assumption of finding work easily would be incorrect, especially in the popular sector that I wanted to work in.
I found it so hard to cut through the noise, as do many other graduates when searching for that elusive first graduate job. I decided to further my education and complete an MSc in a bid to strengthen my hand in being recruited but it wasn’t a masters degree that landed me my first job. It was working experience.
It’s paramount that whilst you’re at university you must go beyond your studies and gain experience whilst you’re still learning. Most, if not all universities offer placements where you can gain invaluable experience in the working world. I’d even suggest doing a placement year (usually in your third year). It allows you to earn whilst you learn, strengthens your position as a job seeker when you finally graduate and it’s fairly common for the employer to take you on permanently at the end of your studies, should you impress.
The break between the last semester and the first of the next university year is usually fairly lengthy so that period is a great chance to approach companies/businesses close to home to offer your service in form of a placement. I wholeheartedly disagree with unpaid placements and I feel that minimum wage should be a requirement as they are benefiting from your service but quite a lot of businesses still won’t pay for undergraduate placements but in the long term, it will benefit you. I know some students aren’t in the financial position to facilitate this but if you can do this then I’d highly recommend it.
Why not get yourself on LinkedIn too? From what I’ve experienced from my time at university, students start to become active towards the end of their tenure. Get a head start on the rest of your peers by being active on LinkedIn from the get-go. You could be building relationships and connections - plus you can publish some of the work you’ve carried out at university straight onto LinkedIn. Use it as a shop window.
Speak to a recruiter too. If you haven’t already, you can register with Pitch and submit your CV meaning that you’ll be considered for jobs that are relevant to your degree/experience.