Top degree grades are no longer enough to guarantee top jobs as graduates struggle for employment. Although Britain’s economy is showing signs of recovery, the job market is still flooded with university graduates.
After graduating from the University of Lincoln last year, Dave Lee taught an online journalism course at a college in New Zealand and has since landed a job at the BBC’s World Service.
However, this is a rare success story in his chosen career coming during the middle of one of the worst economic crises for decades. On top of this, with unemployment amongst under twenty five year olds approaching one million and a dramatic spike in applications for university places this year, the job market only promises to get tougher. So how is it possible to get the most out of your time at university and get ahead of the pack, in the race for a top job?
The main advice Mr Lee gives is to view your experience at university as an opportunity to show your dedication and passion for your chosen career, he says: “I think the key is to just cram your time with as much as you can. I was told by a lecturer to treat it literally 50/50. Spend half your time dealing with your course, the other half on extra stuff. It’s the extra stuff that’ll get you the job.”
The student union runs a number of clubs and societies which, while offering an excellent chance to meet people with similar interests, also demonstrates to employers qualities such as commitment and communication skills, valuable in any line of work.
Further to this a part time job while studying indicates a hard working, dedicated and organised potential employee. It is important to remember though that any job while at university should not interfere with your studies.
The activity that Lee identifies as being the most influential quality for employers is getting hands on experience in your chosen industry, he explains
“Work experience shows you can handle the pressure of a professional environment, and any evidence of that will be very valuable. But equally, getting involved in extra-curricular activities – like a student paper, for example – will set you out as someone with commitment, drive and a hint of entrepreneurship. Qualities that every employer needs, I think!”
It’s important to remember that no matter how good you are at what you’ve chosen to do, unless you prove that to employers, that ability means nothing without some evidence to back it up.
The good news is there are plenty of opportunities and advice to get the most out of your time at Lincoln. A great place to start is with the opportunities team in the main building who offer career advice or at the student union where you can sign up for volunteering placements or get involved with clubs and societies.Tweet