We’re all students. Yet, each of us are just one amongst 30,686 other students in Cardiff University alone. Being a part of that 94.8% of graduates that enter employment, or further study shortly after graduating, is something we are all striving for in increasingly competitive markets. Scary thought, right? Yet, two thirds of employers look for graduates with relevant work experience… so this seems the place to start making yourself stand out from the sea of students.
It may seem like a daunting process to begin with, but once you get started, building up your CV with relevant work experience becomes an easier and satisfying process. So, where to begin?
Having a clear career prospect will make this process easier. In this case, my first tip is: email relevant companies directly regarding possible work experience. Don’t be afraid, and don’t hold back. Good research skills come in to play here, along with the phrase, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. Use your initiative, email far and wide. If you are ready to make the commitment this is the best way to boost your CV and prepare yourself for the graduate world.
On that note… my next tip is: compiling a strong CV and cover letter. Hopefully you will receive replies from the relevant companies or will have found applications online. In this case, it is time to create individual and relevant evidence-based CV’s and gripping cover letters to get your foot in the door and bag that all important interview.
Having trouble getting work experience? Do not fret! Cardiff University provides many useful services to help with the process. Tip number three: use them! Your Careers Account is a portal full of opportunities ready to apply to, but if you think speaking to an actual person about this new challenge would be useful, there is a team waiting to help. Cardiff University Work Experience Team at 51A Park Place, are ready to help you search for work experience, take a look at your CV and help with advice on application forms. There really is a wealth of knowledge to take advantage of.
For those that haven’t reached that yellow brick road to your career of choice, do not worry. University is the perfect time to experiment with career choices. Maybe you will even find yourself like Dorothy, coming to a realisation that the experience was not what you expected. This is a helpful learning curve, and a development. Meet with the work experience team, apply for various experience, learn from each opportunity.
If you want to get in to the nitty gritty, my final tip would be: the use of social media. ‘Linked in’, the employment-oriented social networking app is a great way to search for possible companies you would like to gain experience with. In addition, acquiring knowledge about them for your application and messaging these companies could be a way for you to stand out from the crowd. Following a company’s social media pages goes hand in hand with this, along with signing up to their newsletter. These little steps help to make sure that you are in
the loop, ready to show your commercial awareness at any relevant point of the application process.
So, it can seem like a daunting task, but, following these tips is a good place to start. If you are ready to get your foot in the door, the experience is out there waiting. Pair your initiative with some hard work and that CV will start building up with invaluable work experience, setting yourself in the right direction for your future graduate life.