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By Nathan Ghann

1.a) Know what you want

asking-questions-giantIt all begins with deciding what career you want. This should NOT be based on salary level, as you will soon realise as you begin to work that if you do not like a job you will not be motivated to do well in it. Once you have found something you would like to do, it’s important to research the varying types of professions within that industry or sector. For example, a legal profession could equate to being a solicitor, barrister or legal aid in either Human rights, Criminal, Corporate or Entertainment law.  Knowing what you want from start will inevitably increase your focus allowing for better long-term choices. Once you know what you want, then you can start deciding what job roles are available and how people who are in those job roles are finding it and what they had to do to acquire said positions. Be clear on the career or careers you would like to go into.

1.b)  Read Your Books!!

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No point knowing what you want if you’re not prepared to put in work. It was found by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) that the number one thing that employers were looking for were 2.1 or 1.st Class degree qualifications.  University can be a barrel of fun and you will have memories and friends that will last you a lifetime. However, it is important to make your studies and achieving well on your studies the number 1 priority throughout your time, because this is what employers care about!

2) Talk to your lecturers

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Despite how boring your lectures may be, it is important to know that many Universities recruit lecturers who are deemed to be the experts in their field. They usually have years of experience and have widely read on information surrounding the industry you want to enter.  Simply having conversations with them and asking them what they think the best way for you to get into the industry would be or what they feel employers in those industries will be looking for can greatly advance you in securing a job.

3) Be a show off

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The recent AGR Survey showed that the second most important thing to employers where that potential employees could give examples of where they have used and applied relevant skills and competencies.  Prospects UK highlight the four categories these skills fall under are

Self Reliance – being able to be decisive, pro active and self motivating in completing tasks.

People Skills – Being able to work within a team, communicate to variety of people and demonstrate customer oriented behaviours

General employment skills – Problem solving, IT literate, negotiation skills

Specialist skills – Hold qualifications or skills specialist to your industry.

In your day to day student lifestyle look to incorporate these skills via volunteering or at work, then show off these skills on your CV.

4) Start or Join a society

big-societyBeing in a society allows you to learn and develop competence and skills that your employer would like to see you would instantly be able to draw from examples of working in a team, pro active behaviour and problem solving. Being in a society that is relevant to your industry is an added bonus as you can relate projects that your society undertook directly to the job you are applying for.  Don’t worry though your society can be anything that has a wide enough social interest. In my University we had everything from a chocolate making society to a drum and bass society!  It’s even better if you feel passionate about it as you will enjoy it more!

5) Work experience or Placement Year

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As cited by prospects.ac.uk, A recent report from the Department for Education and Skills: ‘Employer and University Engagement in the Use and Development of Graduate Level Skill’, highlighted the fact that many employers preferred graduates from sandwich degrees, because they have gained practical experience and have a better idea about what the world of work has in store for them.

It doesn’t matter what course your taking and it doesn’t matter if your degree is a sandwich or not.  Work experience is essential. Work experience is not determined by the duration but what you experience that’s what employers care about. Offer your services for free for 2 weeks to a month or on Saturday if you don’t have a part time job and note down your experience. Visit http://www.enternships.com/for opportunities to gain work experience.

6) Choose a university based on your degree, not their credentials

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Find a university that is well known for the industry that you want to go into. A University that specialises on your industry will often have relevant events that allow for networking with industry experts and such. Oxbridge and the Russell Group are not the only routes to success.

7) Network like crazy!

graduate-networks

Last but not least network like crazy!!!! Don’t wait for a recruitment fair to network. It’s not enough to just be a student or be a graduate, go to industry events yes even the boring ones. Make sure you talk to people at these events and take their business cards. Make connections and follow leaders in your industry offer some voluntary help for them to gain experience. You will be surprised how much this can secure  you a good job! Elevation Networks is a great place to meet people established in your industry.Visit  http://www.elevationnetworks.co.uk/ and register your interest for their networking days.

Post originally featured on The Lecture Room Blog