Amongst the coursework and nights out (or in), it’s easy to forget why many of us came to university in the first place: to get a job. Even if you have no idea what this job will be – and there’s a lot of that going around – the right time to use the UoB’s careers advice is always now.
The first thing you should do when you get to campus, is pick up one of the Careers Network booklets, which are all over the place. I only bothered to do this in my second year and still found it to be a beacon of hope in exploring my options, finding work experience and updating my CV (which had previously boasted of my passing the year 5 cycle proficiency test). Even if it did help me conclude that aspiring to become a Michelin Star chef probably isn’t for me, I was overcome with bitter regret upon reading the opportunities available only to first year students – opportunities I had overlooked. Hindsight is 2020 (by that I mean it’s good vision, not a terrible year). One thing I missed out on doing is The Birmingham Project, an event where students work on a project, attend training sessions and become more employable in just 2 weeks, so you can still make use of that first-year summer. Another employability programme, which I aim to take part in next year, is the Personal Skills Award (PSA). This programme gives you recognition for extra-curricular activities you take part in as well as for external work (which I had been doing this whole time… for no recognition :((( ). You can achieve a PSA over your time at University, so it’s better to start early.
On top of discounts for Papa John’s and Woburn Safari Park, being a student at UoB gets you a membership to LinkedIn Learning, a website you can use to better your employability prospects, develop skills relevant to your area of interest, or learn how to use GarageBand. Other perks of being a UoB student include access to profiling for success, a website full of psychometric tests which teach you your strengths and remind you of your flaws. We also have access to vmock.com, which allows you to upload your CV and have it marked by the computer. An employer once told me that my CV was “funny”; the computer puts it more gently.
The EPS (Engineering and Physical Sciences) College itself can offer a lot of support too. If the idea of a practice interview sounds just as intimidating as a real one, then it’s probably something you should do. You can book one online. You can also book an appointment with a careers advisor to ask any questions you have. If human contact isn’t for you, you can have a field day looking for workshops and guidance (in CV writing, applications, interviewing and more) on the University’s career webpages. And please make use of Careers Connect to get help finding internships, placements and a job.
Can’t wait? Use Worklink to get a job on campus and reduce your many debts. Being registered to Worklink also allows you to get paid for the Summer Vacation Studentships. These are 6-8 week projects covering a wide range of topics and everyone’s fighting over them, just like we should be fighting over the Careers Network booklets. Grab one as you see one. vmock.com can’t fill up your CV for you!