Want to get a job you love? If so, you’ll need to be able to prove to employers that you have the skills and experience they are looking for. With more and more graduates competing in the job market each year, today’s employers are looking for recruits who offer more than just a degree. Or as Stuart Rose, Chief Executive of Marks and Spencer put it:
When it comes to CVs, what works is real practical examples of what you have done
So how can you ensure that you stand out from the crowd and improve your ‘employability’?
Well the good news is that you are probably already doing it!
Involvement in work placements, part-time jobs, student societies, sports teams and volunteering all offer opportunities to develop transferable skills and experience. Put simply, what you do in addition to your studies may be the key to getting the well paid job that you always wanted.
Edge Hill Employability Programme
This is an additional 20 credit module open to 2nd year Faculty of Art & Sciences students doing 50 hours (or more) part time or voluntary work between November and March. The Programme is endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and aims to help develop confidence, interpersonal skills, initiative, leadership and management skills alongwith team work and presentation skills - all skills actively sought by graduate employers.
"Because of this programme, I have a new perspective on my potential. This programme has taught me about teamwork, problem solving, management and leadership as well as other skills in a very developed manner. I would 100% recommend this to other students. It is in graduate employability terms the BEST thing I have done/achieved at University. I enjoyed the diversity of the group and view it as an equal opportunity for all" (Sociology & Criminology student 2010)
For more information contact Sue Hepworth, Senior Careers Adviser in the Careers Centre.
What do Employers Want?
Although different jobs will require specific skills there are some which are required by almost all:
Most students will already have these skills, but taking part in work experience or placements, part-time jobs, student societies, sports teams or volunteering is an excellent way of practising them and gaining the real examples that employers are looking for.
What is Work Experience?
It can be anything from pulling pints in the pub or helping out in your local school, to working in an office every week or coaching on a summer camp in America.
Regular or casual jobs for example, bar and restaurant work, care work, IT, mentoring & tutoring, office work and retail are an excellent way of earning extra cash and practising skills such as teamwork, problem solving and customer service. The free Job Club service helps you to find these vacancies.
Some degrees offer time with an employer as part of the course. Placement lengths vary from one day a week over several weeks, to one or two or three weeks full time or even a whole year ‘sandwiched’ between your second and final year. These allow students to gain experience in the sector they hope to work in.
Summer Work Placements
Some employers offer placements (or internships) during the summer holidays. These involve working for an organisation for 6 to 10 weeks between your second year and third year of study, giving chance to gain valuable commercial awareness and practical experience.
To access national placement opportunities, register here to look at the latest vacancies
- Shell Step Work Experience Programme
- National Council for Work Experience
- Prospects - Work Experience
- Fledglings Graduate Placement Network
- Talent Ladder
- Council for International Education Exchange
- Diversity work placement/internship programme links
- BBC Jobs
- Civil Service - Diversity Programme
- Employment Opportunities
- Scope - Graduates
Fancy getting away from the British weather? Opportunities range from teaching in a developing country to working in a bar in Ibiza. Work like this is a great way to show adaptability and flexibility. Our booklet "Summer Work Abroad" is available via our Download Zone and contains useful contact details of organisations that provide summer employment around the world.
Unpaid work is highly valued by employers as it shows a willingness to ‘give something back’ in addition to developing your skills. You can be involved in either one-off events or a regular activity. Take a look at our Volunteering Section or call in to speak to our Volunteering Project Co-ordinator who can help you find opportunities.
Student societies and sports teams: involvement with these often involves motivating people, organising events and maximising a shoestring budget as well as demonstrating commitment and teamwork. Find out more from the Student Union.
Last updated: 09-Jun-2011