It’s too early to start looking at graduate jobs – or is it?
Having had a career and skills session during one of my sociology modules last week, I thought I would share my thoughts on the topic in this blog post. Students often feel as though their first year at university is way too early to start planning and deciding on graduate jobs. There is some truth to this and I agree that making any premature decisions is not wise. As first years, many of us have just come out of high school and are excited to experience some fun and freedom in a new environment and aren’t necessarily concerned with figuring out what job would be right for us. This can be quite overwhelming to do, as there are so many options and opportunities out there.
Whilst all this is true, I personally disagree with saying that first year is too early to start thinking out job applications. On the contrary, a three-year degree programme is really not that long and the first year is likely to be the least busy one, especially in terms of workload and deadlines. So why not take this opportunity to do some research and look into what we might enjoy doing after graduating. At this stage, it really still is about exploring and preparing yourself for the next steps. Being aware of what you need to do, the work experience you need to gain before making an application and the grades you need to achieve is information you want to acquire as early on as you can. Not only is it comforting and inspiriting to know what you have to do, it also gets you ahead of the game, which for competitive applications is obviously very helpful. Here is a list of a few things I would suggest doing to take a little more control over your future, without of course closing any doors or making any permanent decisions.
- Make a CV
I think this is pretty crucial. It sounds like a lot of work and maybe a little formal and too serious but I really believe that having a basic CV is very practical. This would be one that includes all of your skills and work experience and can then subsequently be tailored and edited for specific job applications. Getting started on making one now will save you time and stress when you actually need it to apply and it will also give you more time to perfect it.
- Take a personality and/or strength test
I think these are really helpful in highlighting what you are good at and what transferable skills you could bring to future jobs. It also highlights the natural weaknesses you may have, which could help you decide if you want to work on those or simply indicate that certain roles aren’t a great match for you.
- Google is your friend
Simply having a look at some different websites can be really helpful to start getting a vague idea. Read about what certain jobs and position require, what they entail and at what firms you got hold such a position. Then research about those particular firms and most importantly, if these firms hold events on campus, go to them. In fact, these leads me to my fourth tip…
- Go to employer events
There are so many employer events organized on campus that it’s hard to keep track of them all! Many societies are sponsored by big employers but the events they organized are typically open to all students, whether or not they are members of that society. These events can be networking events, employer presentations, mock interviews etc, all of which are equally helpful for not only getting to know that firm better but also for finding out more about the profession itself. Many employers also organize events that are exclusively for first-year students, another indication that it isn’t too early to get started and even encouraged.
- Warwick Careers and Skills Office
The university has an entire department dedicated to helping you with your future career, whether you know what that will be or you have absolutely no idea. In any case, they are there to help you and a really good resource to make the best of. So, even if you are in your first year, making an appointment to simply talk and start looking at what you think you might want to do is something I would really recommend.