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.
"The most important thing the University teaches us as students in order to enhance our employability prospects, is to attain relevant experience in the area we desire to work in. This could include attending work placements that provide us with experience, or undertaking part time work that will enhance our CV."
1st Year Health and Social Well-being student
So how can you ensure that you stand out from the crowd?
Involvement in part-time jobs, student societies and clubs, work placements, volunteering or sports teams 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.
Here are some ideas:
Make the Most of Your Part-Time Job
Every job has value because it allows you to develop skills in one situation (e.g. communication, problem solving or team work), that will allow you to do well in a graduate role. For example, as a Charity Fundraiser you may use analytical skills to keep track of monies donated by corporate sponsors and events, or to weigh up which approaches raise the most revenue. These analytical skills can be transferred to graduate roles that require you to track and process data, figures or other information.
Do a Work Placement
Having relevant work experience is very valuable. It means that you will have real examples to mention on an application form and to talk about at interview. Look at it from an employer’s perspective: if you had 2 applicants with identical qualifications but only one of them had experience of doing the job, which one would you be most keen to interview? Placements can also help you explore career options and ideas and develop useful contacts.
You can volunteer from a couple of hours per month to a couple of days per week. As well as giving back to the community, volunteering offers a way to gain transferable skills. It can help you make new friends, develop new interests and also a network of contacts which in turn, can help you to find a job. In addition you can apply for an Edge Hill Excellence Scholarship – worth up to £2,000! Try thinking “out of the box” about where to volunteer, e.g. a marketing/ PR student can volunteer at almost any organisation since most organisations need someone to market them. Or how about a Film Production student making a podcast for an organisation? Check the latest opportunities.
Join Sports Teams, Clubs and Societies
The Students’ Union offers societies and sports teams covering all kinds of interests. Employers particularly value positions of responsibility within teams and societies so why not take a look to see what you might get involved in. If you don’t see one you like, you could even set up your own!
Choose Employability Related Modules
Some departments offer optional modules which focus on the development of transferable skills (e.g. teamwork, problem solving) and job specific skills (e.g. processing payroll claims using SAGE, or the application of safeguarding legislation).
These modules offer an excellent opportunity to increase your confidence and help you in applying for a graduate job. Ask about the options available in your department.