Once you have graduated (or the end is in sight) the job hunt begins. You may not know what kind of jobs you could apply for or how your particular degree will help you. Thinking about employability skills and what the options may be, where does one begin? The question, “how do I find a job?” is a common query that we hear from students, and the good news is that there is lots of support to help you answer that question!
Don’t start with a job, start with skills and interests
The world of work is changing – it’s estimated that over 5 million jobs today will become semi or entirely automated by 2025, and at least 30% of the jobs of the future haven’t been created yet. To prepare students for this changing landscape, we encourage them to think of the skills that they have gained and what motivates them, rather than looking at specific job titles. There are some great skills search websites that can help with this. These help you see what roles and organisations might match skills and motivations, and possibly even highlight some sectors and industries that haven’t previously been considered.
Also it’s important to remember that ‘skills’ aren’t just related to academic knowledge – employers are looking for transferable skills which will be as important in the future as they are now. Skills such as problem-solving, communication, commercial awareness, teamwork and leadership potential will be highly sought after by employers, so any opportunities to develop these skills will benefit a job search. Every degree will have elements of these skills integrated in the teaching, but experiences outside of study will help candidates to stand out to recruiters.
Research, research, research
Research isn’t something that ends with academic studies – in order to find the right job, some research into roles and organisations is needed.
The good news is that employers are generally keen to talk to candidates, and you can do this in a variety of ways. Tools such as LinkedIn are a really good way to begin research into different organisations and connect with professionals who are working in roles you’re interested in. We encourage all our students to create a LinkedIn profile, and most Careers & Employability services will be able to provide guidance on how to do this.
Many employers also hold open/insight days which are free to attend. These are a great opportunity to meet both recruiters and employees to ask questions. Prepare some questions in advance of the event that will test whether the values and motivations of the organisation match your own.
Try before you buy
Thinking about long-term career goals can be daunting, so getting work experience in a role or sector can really help to narrow options. Many Universities’ Careers & Employability services will offer a range of experiences and opportunities for students to get involved with – volunteering, short-term/micro-placements, internships and placements to name but a few. Take advantage of the schemes available in your institution, but also be proactive in sourcing opportunities yourself with employers.
Career & employability services in universities are dedicated to supporting students discover their career aspirations, and can provide tailored guidance for applications. Make the most of the services available by attending events, connecting with employers, coming to workshops, booking a 1-2-1 appointment, and much more!
About the Author
Meet Gianina Harvey-Brewin, Head of Operations and Employer Programming at Royal Holloway University of London
Gianina is an accomplished employer engagement professional and is passionate about supporting students to find and succeed in their careers. After completing a degree in Ancient History from Royal Holloway, University of London, Gianina sought a career in HE. Initially working in learning and development, she also explored roles in events and communications before discovering careers and employer engagement.