Kickstart your Career
For those without exams on the horizon (whilst I can’t say I don’t envy you!) having a long stretch of unstructured time ahead, without the deadlines and goals exams offer, can be challenging. These are four things you can put your mind to, that will hopefully help you along your career journey and provide you with a productive way to spend this lockdown!
1. Choose what you want to do
Perhaps you know vaguely what sector you want to go into or maybe you have a precise 10 year life plan, either way it’s worth revisiting what you want to do and why you want to do it. Not only are these two questions that will inevitably come up in your interview, but it’s crucial to review your “why” and make sure it’s still relevant to you. Reach out to people who have or have had careers in the area you want to go into on LinkedIn or through family/ friends/ alumni and ask them what challenges they face, what they enjoy and what skills they think are necessary to thrive in their line of work. The more research you do, the more it will pay off – it’s no good going into an interview not really knowing what the job is, what it entails or why and how it’s done!
Moreover, remember the world doesn’t just consist of bankers, lawyers and doctors – take the time to look that bit further to find something that really does align with your skill-set and what you enjoy. In a rapidly changing landscape of work, there are plenty of new and exciting opportunities – they just take a little more looking into!
Still unsure? Talk to one of the university’s career advisers or check out their resources here: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/careers/help/!
2. Update your CV
Think about the skills, qualifications and work experience that are really valued for your chosen job and give these centre stage. Although make sure there’s still space for any Grade 8’s/National’s/Gold’s – these demonstrate transferable skills and (importantly!) that you have some personal interests. (The Grade 4’s and Bronze’s can probably be skipped… they waste valuable space and the recruiters time!) Often, people obsess over making their CVs eye-catching or a little bit eccentric to stand out from the crowd – personally, I think keeping it simple, clean and professional can be just as effective. Let your qualifications speak for themselves – focus on tangible, measurable achievements rather than soft-skills as these can be inferred! Nevertheless, it’s always good to get a second opinion, and whilst the internet and Warwick both have a plethora of resources on the topic, why not run your CV past someone already in the field and ask their advice?
Whilst, you’re at it – update your LinkedIn profile too so that you have a professional online presence!
3. Work on your skill-set
If, like most people, whilst going over your CV you have found some less than desirable holes in your qualifications or experience, now’s the time to fix them! Whilst, getting experience in an Investment Bank may not be an overnight job, there are no shortage of online resources where you can learn how to trade, read the markets or work on gaining a better proficiency in Excel! Whatever career it is you want to go into, think about the skills (both technical and soft) that you need for it and how you can work towards these online. Taking a proactive approach is not only going to give you a one-up with regards to the skills you have, but shows that you really do want the job, you’re interested in what it entails and you’re willing to go the extra mile.
A great resource to develop skills from programming to ethics are mass online open course, which can be found here: https://www.mooc.org/. Additionally, never underestimate the value of books! Whilst, the like of Youtube and articles can be fantastic to help your learning, MOOCs and books offer both a deeper understanding and a tangible way to demonstrate the skills you’ve been developing and in turn can be a great topic of discussion in a Cover Letter or interview!
4. Work on You!
Having all the professional tick boxes checked off is a great asset and will (obviously!) help you on your search to find a job, however, they will only take you halfway there. Being polite, friendly and a little bit more than a resume are musts – the search for “well-rounded” individuals is no joke! Recently, I attended a Spring Week and whether candidates spoke five languages, were international sportspeople or ran their own start-ups, they all seemed to have a (rather impressive!) edge. Now you don’t have to run a marathon or climb Kilimanjaro (although either of these things will probably do the job!) but think carefully about how you’re spending your free time – it doesn’t have to be complicated, just meaningful and reflective of you. Maybe you volunteer, maybe you take part in flash mobs every Sunday – it really doesn’t matter, so long as it’s something you have a passion for and will make you that little bit more memorable!