- Student Support & Wellbeing
- Careers & Employability
- Preparing for University
Careers Advice For Freshers
For any prospective students that may be joining the University of Warwick in October, or any university in fact, I have some tips that might be helpful for you in terms of starting a career once you graduate. In your first year, careers will probably be the last thing on your mind. You by no means need to have a career plan set out in your first year, but there are a few things you can do that will make things easier for you later on. They are all things that I wish I had done in my first year, since it is the year that you have more time and less stress – so utilise your time wisely! That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and have fun all the time, but if you have these few things in mind, it’ll pay off in the long-run in whatever career you decide on.
Building social contacts and your network will benefit in ways that you least expect, whether that’s with your career or personal development. You can start off by making a LinkedIn account and building a profile for yourself, whilst also connecting with people you know (feel free to add me on LinkedIn #promo). This will allow exposure to future employers and potential jobs. Additionally, Warwick offers loads of career events where you can talk to representatives from companies, sometimes senior leaders, and make a good impression. This will also boost your interpersonal skills and allow you to create a better idea of what you want your career path to be.
Warwick have a volunteering service that allows you to pick from a HUGE range of projects and determine how much volunteering you want to do. You can do it as a one-off session, a whole term or for the whole year. There is normally a volunteering fair once or twice in the year, so definitely go to the first one and get an idea of what’s on offer. One role that I was drawn to was baking with children, which is basically my dream – but I discovered it in my final year so didn’t have the time to commit to it. So, your first year is the perfect time to do some volunteering. It will look great on your CV/LinkedIn, and you can tailor the project that you get involved in to your desired career path (if you have one), so e.g. for Psychology you could volunteer to help with autistic children.
Aim for a 2:1
For most undergraduate degree courses, your first year grade will not count towards your final mark (or it will only count for a small percentage). Therefore, the only requirement is that you obtain 40% to pass. However, it is really beneficial to obtain at least a 2:1 in your first year, because this is the grade that you will provide if you choose to apply for internships in your 2 year. Also, when applying for graduate jobs or postgraduate courses in your final year, you may need to show that you have consistently performed at the level of a 2:1 or 1 throughout your degree.
In your first year, it is both fun and useful to be involved with societies. It is extra useful to be a fresher rep or apply for any fresher positions that are available on society executive committees. Even though it may seem daunting, it will be something that you can talk about in terms of achievements, leadership and team involvement in internship interviews in your 2 year. Also, it will give you a foundation to work on if you want to apply for any exec positions that will commence in your 2 year e.g. president. Showing commitment to a society throughout your university experience will be greatly admired by employers, but any society exec position overall is beneficial.
If you have any career related questions, leave them in the comments below!