“It can’t hurt your chances, right?” I thought when I first applied to work part-time at the university’s Careers and Employability Centre almost two years ago…Whilst not claiming to be any kind of expert, my time working with a team that devotes itself all day to the issue of Employability (making people more employable!) has taught me a few things.
Below you will find an eclectic mix of mini-revelations I received from Careers Advisors, HR Staff and previous interviewers that will hopefully make you more employable too.
Talk to people (“Networking”)
My biggest tip of all happens to be the simplest.
Get yourself out there and talk to as many people as you can whilst you’re here in Birmingham. This could mean something as small as staying an extra five minutes to talk to your course-mates and colleagues about what they’re working on at the moment career-wise, or if they know anywhere/anyone that could help you.
Through talking to friends and colleagues whilst at Birmingham I have found out about part-time job opportunities, grad schemes and sources of advice I didn’t even know existed – all of which have helped me gain experience.
Don’t give them any excuse (“Applying”)
Could you imagine sorting through literally hundreds of applications for a job? …No?
It is important to remember when applying for that dream job/internship/work experience that your application is one of many that will be looked at – so do your best to make it as FOCUSED as possible.
Don’t give them any excuse to filter your application out.
- Make sure you evidence how you fit all of their “essential” criteria described in the job description
- Focus on your skills – it may be great that you were captain of the fencing team… but what did this experience give you, and how will this make you an ideal candidate?
- Check and recheck! There are even dedicated Application Support Advisors at the Careers and Employability Centre who can ensure you send a great application.
Take advantage of the opportunities available
We as students have one of the best careers centres in the country, offering a range of services for first-year undergrads to PhD students up to one year after graduation. Take advantage of them whilst you can.
- Application support: 1-to-1 appointments to look over current job applications for that extra input you’re after
- Mock interviews: nervous about that interview coming up? Go into the centre and you can book a practice interview and receive invaluable advice about how to wow your interviewer
- Jobs Online: there are hundreds of internships, graduate jobs and work experience placements from a plethora of companies waiting for you to apply to them on the Careers and Employability Centre homepage
And if all else fails…
If you are finding yourself stuck in the “graduate market” or are not one of the lucky few who have their careers already planned out, then work in a careers centre…
It can’t hurt your chances, right?