Written by Samantha Oates-Miller, Careers Insights and Graduate Support Assistant at the Careers Service
The New Year is often a time for resolutions and fresh starts. As you transition from the exam period to the beginning of second semester, many final year students will be thinking about their future.
Your final semester is the perfect time to make the most of University resources and boost your employability in preparation for post-uni life. Whether you want to add work experience to your CV, gain extra skills, or explore your options, it’s not too late!
Follow our six steps to help you get career ready in your final semester:
- Explore different jobs
Whether you have no idea of what you want to do next, or have a pretty good idea, researching different sectors, roles and employers will help you narrow down your interests.
Look at our Which Career pages to get started with some common sectors, and use Prospects job profiles to learn more about specific roles. Look at the skills you will need for different roles and think about how you can develop them.
To make sure you don’t miss out on new opportunities; register for vacancy alerts on CareerConnect and other graduate job search websites.
2. Get work experience
Work experience is an excellent way of trying out a role or sector that you’re interested in. If you enjoy it, you’ll have gained relevant experience in your chosen field. But even if it’s not for you, you’ll have developed a host of transferable skills that can be applied to different sectors. You can also talk about your experience in applications and interviews.
Use CareerConnect to look for opportunities, including internships and parttime jobs. You can also complete a virtual work experience programme. These typically take around 5 hours, and you can do them from anywhere, making them ideal to complete on the bus, between lectures, or anytime you have a spare couple of hours.
Voluntary work is another way to build skills and gain experience that will look great on your CV. There are lots of different volunteering opportunities on the Volunteer Hub, including volunteering in sport, the community or environmental projects, and at-home opportunities. There are also many volunteering and fundraising societies, and volunteering opportunities through the SU.
4. Sign up for events
This coming semester will be packed with employer sessions, careers fairs and alumni panels. Attending events is an excellent way of exploring different career pathways, networking with employers and gaining insider tips from alumni.
Have a look at the events calendar on CareerConnect to register in advance. If you are interested in working in a specific sector, or want to develop a specific skill, you can use the search function to filter for relevant events.
You’ll also find a great range of events run by the Careers Service, from live Q&As and informal drop-ins, to skills sessions and job fairs, including events specifically for final year students. Come along to Get Career Ready in your Final Semester on Wednesday, 16 February to get advice on how to make the most of your last few months at uni and finish your degree career ready.
5. Connect with Careers
You can use the Careers Service throughout your time as a student, and for up to two years after you finish your course. This includes all of our on-demand resources, including CareerConnect Pathways, CareerSet CV and Cover Letter checker, and video interview practice platforms, Shortlist.Me and Graduates First.
You can also get personalised, one-to-one support from application advice and interview simulations to careers guidance.
If you have any careers-related questions, you can join one of our weekly online drop-in sessions (register on CareerConnect), or get in touch via the Queries button on CareerConnect. Make sure you stay up to date with all things careers by connecting with us on social media.
6. Make the most of student support
While you’re still a student, you can make use of all of the University’s support services. You can find a full list of support services and resources on the Student Support website, which features the Counselling Service, health and wellbeing resources and workshops, financial advice and more. Make sure you find a healthy balance between planning your career, completing your assignments and enjoying some downtime.
Following these steps will help you to boost your employability and feel more prepared for life after University. Even spending just an hour a week focusing on your future will add up to a big difference by summer. Good luck for your final semester, and remember, the Careers Service is here for you!
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