Career Advice for Incoming Freshers
Starting Warwick in 2017? Excited? You have got every reason in the world to be excited. Some of you may have also started something about your careers or might as well have chosen Warwick for this reason. In this blog, I will share you my career advice for first year.
Most of the big firms offer Summer Internships for Penultimate Year students only- so you shall wait until the start of second year to apply. This may translate to the fact that first year is about chilling and merely remembering it for many pints you can drown. Okay! End of blog for fresher career advice. See you next time.
But NO, CAUTION! DO NOT just relax.
Below is all what you can do to enhance your future employability in the first year if you are someone who is career driven.
A lot of UK firms offer Spring Weeks or Spring Insight Days for first years particularly financial services firms. Make sure you apply for them EARLY. Take those applications seriously, research your most desired role and try to learn if you do not succeed. Spring Week Applications open in Term 1 of your first year.
Yes! You may be too caught up with the Freshers life at that point, all may be hitting you at once- friends, your course, next year housing, struggles of living away from home, society events, night outs etc.
However, trust me, you will thank yourself later for allocating time to Spring Week Applications if you secure a role. By March, when you get to view the London Skyline from one of the many Canary Wharf windows. And by the time you convert your Spring Weeks to a Summer Internship- you will probably be loving yourself or may as well loving me. If you don’t, that will be pretty sad for me.
Work wise, I have heard that a lot of roles do not teach you much as it is hardly even a week or just a few days in some cases. However, a lot of people who secured a Spring Week eventually were fast tracked to Summer Internship roles in the same firm next year which can be really handy when you want to skip the queue and get noticed. This means your second year is more relaxed if you have a back up option secured. And secondly, the value of securing a Summer Internship with a top recruiter is such that some big firms in the financial services sector retain 60-80% of their interns for graduate roles. I got a chance to talk to a Barclays UK representative in the last Autumn Careers Fair at Warwick University and he mentioned, for one of the divisions, they retained ‘100% of their interns’ and might not have any graduate intake at all for the role.
Don’t worry, all will not be lost if you do not secure a Spring Week- I didn’t. However, the main aim of this blog is make you aware of Spring opportunities early and take them seriously. Neither was I aware of such opportunities early, nor did I apply them with the mentioned drive and purpose. Thus, I want YOU to succeed, if building a career in UK is your thing. Even if you do not succeed in securing a spring week, I will like to banish the myth that they are a pre requisite to quality second year internships. In a few highly specialized roles, this might hold true, however, I have also seen few people securing Investment Banking Internships or Consulting ones without Spring Weeks. The key in this instance being what you learn from your failures. Assess where did I go wrong that I could not make the cut and I am sure your next application will be a much better one.
How do you get closer to where you want to be tomorrow? You start working on those aspects of your personality today. In your first year, there will be plenty of Employer evenings organised by different societies like Warwick Consulting Society, Finance Society, Business School Society etc. Try attending those, participate fully, talk to the Employers there- get a feel and also get freebies and pizza in the process. A must visit is the Autumn Careers Fair where all the UK leading employers have a stand and representatives to talk to. Note down their names and what they said to you for application with the same firm in the future hopefully. Secondly, do try to take up positions of responsibility within Societies like Execs or get involved with your SSLCs.
Lastly, even whether you secure a Spring Week or not, I advise you to make use of your First year summer well- this being the summer when your first year concludes. If you are an international, go back home and maybe do an Internship back home to get experience or UK students should try getting one here. Or since 3 months is a long time, just make productive use of your time if you do not do an Internship- volunteer, learn a course or try anything new that adds to your personality/ experiences. This really helps in your internship interviews when you have good and recent stuff to talk about for those behavioural / situational interview questions.
Once you have done that, apply for second year UK Internships at the end of your first year summer as that is when most applications open.
^ A glimpse of the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf- London