How do you ensure that out of all the graduating students, you are picked for that all-important role?
How do you find work experience when all jobs require you to have experience beforehand?
How do you develop skills that help you stand out from the rest of the crowd?
The answer - by gaining some employability skills that make you the ideal candidate.
Here are six tips on how to make yourself more employable while studying - both during your school and university years.
Get Some Work Experience or a Part-Time Job
It's important to stress this - every bit of practical work experience that you can get is only going to help your future employability. So if you're still in school, make sure you locate every possible work experience opportunity. This is a fantastic way to get a taste of the workplace and find out what it's like to work in a particular industry that you are interested in. You'll also be able to better connect your studies with the real-world requirements of a job role.
If you're already in Uni, the reality is that many young people do struggle to cope with the cost of student life. It may sound obvious, but getting a part-time job is hugely beneficial. Whether it is related to your degree or working at the student union, it is all valuable work experience. While it highlights your time management skills on your CV, a part-time job will also provide extra cash, which is hard to say No to. Just ensure you find a manageable job for your workload; so find a part-time job rather than commit to a full-time position.
Summer internships are another way to boost your career. It puts your skills into action and highlights your ability to commit to working life. Why not become a Springpod member to find suitable internships with top employers like Airbus, Kier Group and others?
Volunteer to Develop Vital Employability Skills
Volunteering is a great way to gain work experience while helping a good cause! Giving up your time and volunteering for free is highly favoured by employers. It highlights your dedication and motivation, alongside soft skills such as problem-solving and communication. It is also the perfect way to discover what you enjoy doing, and who knows, you may decide that a career in the charity sector is for you. For instance, Cancer Research UK is a well-known UK charity always on the lookout for talented young people to join them.
While studying, you will come across many opportunities to volunteer. It could even be on your doorstep, such as volunteering at university open days. This is perfect to fit alongside your studies. Maybe you could dive into volunteering by spending your summer abroad helping those less fortunate - the ideal balance of travelling while gaining life long memories and experiences!
Clean Up Your Online Presence
Improving your employability isn’t just about getting work experience. Sometimes it can be as simple as sorting out your social media. You may be using it to update others about your life, share memes or sell items no longer wanted. But have you thought about potential employers looking through it?
The majority of employers will google your name as soon as you enter the application process. Hence, it is important to ensure you have a professional and PG social media presence. If you use your platforms in the right way, then social media provides excellent networks to find opportunities and expand your connections. Use the internet in other ways to your advantage by creating a blog or becoming a freelancer. Both of these are good ways to earn money while building a positive online presence.
Join a Club or Society
If you're already at Uni (or starting at one this year), this is something we recommend. One of the first events at most universities is a society fair. This allows you to either try out new sports and hobbies that you might not have had the chance to previously.
Joining a club or society has many benefits that will aid both your personal life and your level of employability. You are sure to develop a range of important skills, such as your ability to work in a team as well as communication skills. It will also give you a well-deserved break from academia, boosting your productivity when you do study. As well as being an opportunity to meet new people, learning a new skill also looks great on your CV and boosts any future job application after graduating.
Speak to Your Careers Leader (or Career Services if You're at Uni)
Any time is a good opportunity to get involved in discovering your future career. Speak to your careers team at school or careers leader to see if they have any suitable work experience contacts. If you're at Uni, use the career services there. They are there to help students like yourself, and they know what will help you. They are always open to chat about your options - be it further studies, or alternatives like degree apprenticeships.
Focus On Your Studies
With all this being said, the number one priority to improve your employability is to focus on your academics - whether you're at school or Uni. While more employers are starting to look beyond just academic results, your subject-level knowledge is still quite crucial. Plus if you're going to uni, you'll be spending about £9250 a year on tuition fees, so make the most of it!
It may not feel that way at present, but your school and Uni years will fly by, and before you know it, you will be searching for your first full-time job. So be prepared by following these tips. Good luck!