It’s your final year at university – and whether that means endless amounts of essay-writing, an important research project, or revising for end-of-year exams, it’s a stressful time for students everywhere.
But that’s not all – as you enter your final year, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your plans after you graduate, and take steps to increase your employability throughout your final year at university.
University careers services can be extremely useful in helping you prepare for the job hunt, especially if you’re unsure about which industry or roles you want to go into.
Careers services can help you to pinpoint your skills and interests, and find a clear direction – plus they can often provide a mentoring service, introducing you to a grad who is working in a sector you think you might be interested in.
No-one is asking you to have a perfect CV written at the start of your final year (mainly because this doesn’t exist – your graduate CV should be tailored to each job you apply to), but it’s a great idea to start drafting one early on.
Not only will you feel more prepared to tackle the job hunt head-on, but you’ll be able to see where your CV is lacking, i.e. if your ‘experience’ or ‘interests’ sections are looking a little sparse, you have the whole year to fill in the gaps.
Employers love a candidate with work experience, but going into your final year, many university students worry about the impact it might have on their grades.
In reality, undertaking work experience in your final year doesn’t need to take time away from your studies, and it can really boost your employability in other ways:
- Forcing you to manage your time effectively
- Developing soft skills – like communication, teamwork, and organisation
- Giving you the edge on other candidates. Particularly if it’s in a sector that you are looking to go into, employers will be impressed by the fact that you already have experience – you’ll be showing that you really have an interest in that area, and they’ll probably have to provide less training.
Whether it’s an internship two afternoons a week, a monthly contribution to a magazine or newspaper, or working remotely in the evenings, gaining some work experience in your final year can really improve your chances of getting a job after you leave university.
If you don’t want to commit to work experience, there are still things you can do to add to your CV – and organising an event at university is one of them.
Whether it’s a social event, a rally or a conference where you have arranged an external speaker, arranging an event will show that you have transferable skills like organisation, leadership and multi-tasking.
All of these will make great additions to your graduate CV, particularly if you can relate them to the specific graduate jobs or industries you want to go into.
Volunteering or taking part in a charity event can help you stand out to graduate employers.
Not only will it show that you are a well-rounded individual who wants to make a difference, but it will develop a range of fantastic skills to bolster your graduate CV.
Whether it’s taking part in a one-time event, or volunteering on a weekly or monthly basis, getting involved in charity is a great way to prepare for graduation, whilst also having some fun!
Google is every final year student’s best friend – and not just for dissertation research.
It’s also a good idea to start looking into the industries and job roles you think you might be interested in – especially if your degree isn’t one with a clear-cut career path.
Information is everywhere – to get you started, here’s some different ideas if you study a humanities, a STEM or a social sciences subject!
By conducting some research, you’ll not only be gaining a better understanding of different industries and roles (preparing you for job interviews and the working world that lies beyond), but chances are you’ll get excited about the prospect of different industries and graduate jobs – giving you the motivation to excel in your final year.
Whether it’s talks from business leaders, university careers fairs, or employability workshops, attending on-campus events can be invaluable to helping you prepare you for life after uni.
We are hosting events at many of the UK’s top universities this academic year – so keep your eyes peeled to see if yours is one of them!
The prospect of post-uni freedom might seem exciting, liberating and daunting all at the same time – but don’t forget to enjoy your final year while you can.
Take lots of pictures to cherish the memories of your graduate and consider making a photo album or graduate templates.
Despite the obvious stress of dissertations, essays and exams, enjoying your final year (and making the most out of socialising, trying new things and organising your own time) is a vital part of preparing for graduation.
And as far as applying for graduate jobs goes – we’re here to help!
Speaking from experience, we know that final year at university can be a blur. While the pressure of the work itself will be at the forefront of your mind, you’ll also be thinking about life post-university – and that can be both exciting and terrifying.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for graduation alongside your studies, so that when the end of university rolls around, you feel ready and able to tackle the graduate job hunt head on.
Interested in joining our community of final year students? Head over to our student page!
Find more career advice on our Careers Advice Blog – or check out the latest Graduate Jobs!