Going to university is all about the experience: making friends, trying out new things, ‘adulting’… and ultimately, getting that degree so you can go out and get your dream job. But ‘what can I do to get the job I want?’ I hear you cry. Well, you’re probably already on the path to getting it, without even having thought about it consciously.
By now, you’ve probably joined a society or two. Make sure to put this on your CV! It’s great to have extra-curricular activities to showcase the fact you didn’t just spend all your time studying or down at the pub.
Getting involved with student life, or engaging with the public through volunteering is great. It’s something interesting to talk about- that you’ve got Beesoc, or Pole dance, or RAG on your CV might be the thing that makes you stand out amongst the other papers in the pile. The hobbies you start at university don’t have to finish with the end of your degree, either. Outside in the ‘real world’, societies still exist. Graduate life can be very different at first, and it’s always nice to have some semblance of normality with a familiar hobby.
On the topic of CVs, a great idea is to head to the careers service to have yours checked over. Exam season rolls around too soon, and it’s very hard to focus on something like queuing up for a CV check when you’d rather be revising. While you’re at it, set up a Twitter account. Follow as many accounts related to your career path as possible- Twitter is great for keeping up with the latest news, papers, jobs, and getting your name out there as well, simply by retweeting or responding to other academics and employers. Oh, and reposting the occasional meme- sometimes it can’t be helped.
Anyone and everyone at university could be a useful person to know in the future. Go to careers events and gather leaflets, or chat to some of the employers on stalls- they’re genuinely interested in you, otherwise they wouldn’t be there! Be sure to show your enthusiasm and follow up email contacts that you make- who knows, you might be in line for a job opportunity six months down the line!
Not all contacts have to be career-orientated, however. From my first time at university as an undergraduate, one of the best things I took away was my little circle of friends, and that group chat that just won’t stop pinging every twenty minutes. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s a fantastic thing to fall back on after a long day at work and just have some fun reading back the hundred messages from your old university friends.