Our Senior Careers Officer Melissa, has some handy advice for those of you who want to boost your employability prospects, check them out!
If you were going on a long journey in your car tomorrow, what would you do? You would probably plan your route, you may check your tyres, fill up on petrol to have enough fuel to get you there. On the way to your destination you may use your Sat Nav for support, you may have to go a different route due to road works or other obstacles. This is all very similar to your future career. It won’t be one straight road, there will be twists and turns and unexpected situations arising all the time that you will have to navigate through.
Employability is not just about getting a job or place on a course, it is having career management skills to be able to navigate your road to success. Here are my top 10 tips to boost your employability:
- Know yourself. You need to think about your skills, personality, values and motivations. Getting a better understanding of who you are will enable you to start identifying your strengths and weaknesses and the types of environments you may or may not wish to apply them in.
- Know your options. Research what you can do specifically with your degree. Websites such as Prospects and Target Jobs can help you think about your options. Also, don’t forget there are lots of graduate schemes available where employers will recruit graduates from any subject discipline and are more interested in your skills and personal attributes. There are probably jobs out there that you don’t know even exist. You can explore these with the university careers service and do some research speaking to us.
- Network! As the saying goes, it’s not always what you know but who you know. Attending events, talking to people who work in the sectors you are interested in and talking to other young professionals can open doors whilst boosting your confidence.
- Gain experience. A degree alone is not enough, employers are particularly interested in what experience you have and the skills, knowledge and attributes you have gained as a result. This could be through a previous career, part-time job, work experience module at university or voluntary work.
- Know what employers want and demonstrate you have what they are looking for effectively. Employers will test you through many ways including CV’s, applications and Personal Statements, interviews, assessment centres and social media. You will need to use very specific examples to demonstrate you have what they are looking for. Use the STAR method by explaining the situation and task, the actions you took and the result.
- Set up a LinkedIn profile. Not only can you use the professional platform to showcase your skills, experiences and talents like a CV, you can follow other people in the areas of work you are interested in, make connections, search for jobs plus much more.
- Get to know the ethos/vision of the employer. For any job you apply for, over the course of your career you should always demonstrate you know the ethos and vision of the company/organisation/school and demonstrate how you would fit in with this.
- Develop realistic goals. Have an action plan where you can break down tasks. There is no point having a career plan if it is unachievable. Set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound targets.
- Demonstrate professionalism. You can have all the qualifications and experiences in the world but if don’t act professional you won’t get the job or move through your career successfully. Be punctual, dress appropriately, don’t leave your phone switched on and follow the rules! Make the recruiter see you as a good fit for the organisation.
- Finally, utilise the careers service on offer to you as a current students at Newman University and for 3 years after graduation. You can access one-to-one guidance sessions, workshops, events, job vacancies, awards, plus much more. As a student or recent graduate, activate your My Career account to open up a world of opportunities.
Remember to plan your journey, make the checks, get support along the way and more than anything – enjoy the experience.