As a student going into my third year of University, I know all about the pressure to think about your future and what happens next, It is unimaginable to think that in the early years of primary school we are asked, what do you want to be when you’re older? I wanted to be an elf. As life progresses through secondary school, society tells us we should have a clearer vision for our future; but for those like me who enjoy living on a cloud of uncertainty, finishing our educational journey can be quite a daunting prospect.
None the less, I aim to finish university with a position of strength where opportunities present themselves, not slobbing on the sofa waiting for an email to tell me my job application has been received. In this post I want to share some tips on how you can put yourself in this position.
Build your Profile
Like everything in life, you need to create an identity for yourself, as people will brand you. Thats the guy who creates all the blog posts, etc. I began my university journey by creating a networking group for my accommodation – for the next couple of months I had people saying ‘oh you’re the guy’.
Build your identity – How do you want people to see you, how do you want professional contacts to see you? This can also be done through LinkedIN where you can share your profile and experience with others. I tend to separate my (personal and professional profiles, e.g Facebook Personal , LinkedIN Professional)
Make connections The more connections you have, the more comfortable you will be when leaving university. Make friends with Lecturers and Guest Speakers, as these may be vital contacts in your future career/ even if you don’t see the connection now.
Also use LinkedIN groups, get involved with discussions, this will not only help build your profile but make you more recognisable for future employer’s. There has been an increase in employer’s searching for people on social media networks.
Work experience and social skills is more valuable than academic ability
A student who gets a 2.1 but has an abundance of experience is a lot more valuable than one with a first class degree but doesn’t have many friends. During my university experience I always find time to socialise with friends as well as maintaining a part time job as a marketing representative. It doesn’t matter what the job is – it is experience and it will likely provide you with the team and communication skills to help move you forward in your career path.
Employer’s look for people, not robots! If you are coming to the end of your education and feel you have not done enough, look at what you have got? Friend of a friend, that bar that offered you work during the starting months of university, family members? It is never too late to make a name for yourself.