Enhance your employability prospects at uni

With the number of under-25s in further education at an all-time high, there is an increasing number of students going up against each other in the jobs market. So, how can you get the edge over your peers? Is this even possible whilst you’re still in further education? We’ve put together the most effective tactics in our experience, that are perfectly achievable whilst you continue studying, to make you more attractive to employers when you’re about to take the first step on your career path.

Develop a positive working attitude

In the eyes of a potential employer, as important as the quality of your work is the way in which you deliver it. During interviews, an employer wants to establish what you are like as a person and whether you would benefit their business, both in terms of work produced and personality. Channel the passion and self-motivation that you have for your course assignments and apply this to your performance during the interview to help convey your positive working attitude – a trait largely favoured by employers.

Businesses aren’t interested in people with a negative attitude towards work as miserable workers can turn the culture of an office sour, and make your co-workers unhappy – having a negative effect on productivity.

Get familiar with professional social networks

These days, post GCSE students spend most of their time chatting and socialising through Twitter and Facebook. Why not take some of the time that you spend scrolling through your personal news feed and put it to use on the more professional platforms, especially LinkedIn and Google+. These tools can start or broaden your professional network which, in itself, could potentially unlock new career prospects. The idea of networking with industry professionals may seem quite daunting, but if you think that you have an interesting opinion on an industry topic that is worth sharing, you should seriously consider joining a wide range of industry related communities that are available to both LinkedIn and Google+ users.

Students hopeful of a career in something more visual, i.e photography, photo sharing websites such as Flickr and Pinterest can provide a powerful basis for your portfolio – giving potential employers easy access to your work.

Gain perspective

Throughout your course, and the working processes that you will go through, you should get to know your strengths and weaknesses. This should give you a better idea of the roles you should apply for, and the area of the market that you, as a professional, should position yourself in. For example, if you are a writer who thrives under tight deadlines, then a job at a newspaper would be more than appropriate. However, if you find that you don’t react too well to that kind of pressure , then a job in a publishers house, where the deadlines aren’t as daunting might suit you better. You should then apply this to your job search.

Figuring out the areas in which you excel and focussing on them during a job interview will strengthen your case for employment, assuming that you’ve chosen the right job to apply for.

Proceed with an internship/voluntary position

Internships have gained a bad reputation recently, with a large increase of companies filling their less desirable positions with youngsters willing to work for free. However, companies willing to do this are still in the vast minority. Internships and voluntary positions remain one of the best ways to make you more employable whilst in further education, especially in markets that are renowned for employing candidates through their experience over their education.

Generally we advise students willing to undertake an internship to look out for positions within a company that operates within an industry that interests them, although this isn’t essential as most employers will like the fact that you have taken initiative of obtaining work experience, no matter the subject matter.

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