Right now with Careers Fairs and
being paraded around it is not difficult to become distracted and forget you've still got the most important ten months or so of your academic career remaining. This is an extremely difficult time for final year students and we here in the graduate-job world must admit some guilt for only adding to the pressure of the coming months, for which I'm very sorry. The nature of the beast is that while you might have the rest of your degree to really commit yourself to and produce your best and most erudite work for, there is the impending abyss of what follows that. And now employers and graduate job boards, like us, are probably slightly guilty of not letting you forget the fact. So with this in mind here are some hard-learned words of wisdom on how to best approach the remaining months at university.
1. Prioritise your university work…
This is highly hypocritical of me, considering my role of attracting as many graduates to use our fantastic website as possible, but would be unkind and cruel for me to recommend anything else. The best thing to have entering the graduate job market is a solid, impressive degree and the highest mark you could have possibly achieved. This is something I have learnt the hard way. I spent much of Third Year enjoying the delights of student life, rather than getting stuck in and churning out the best work I could. Now, graduating with a 2.2 is by no means the end of the world (read this
if you don't believe me
), but there will be more doors open to you if you get a 2.1 and you'll be an even more an impressive candidate if you've First Class Degree in the bag. Before you get carried away with the possibilities of graduate schemes and having a bit more cash in your pocket, get the work done and make sure it is the best you can do.
2. Don't hang around…
There is a period where the majority of
graduate schemes are open
and it will end before you've finished your degree. Although it has already started, you've traditionally got until Christmas and the start of 2015 to get your applications in. Use this period now, and I mean right now, to get some applications fired off. This will not only give you a feel for the graduate market and what's out there, but also show you what is being expected of you. Graduate
application forms are epic things
and will certainly plunder the details of your life. So don't approach them with a spare hour because you won't even begin to scratch the surface of some of these application forms and if you have managed to bosh one out in under an hour, you've probably not given it the attention or dedication it deserves.
3. Visit your careers service...
. Poor, poor Careers Services. They are a much maligned and ignored resource. Always there, just waiting for you to pop in and they will help you with everything from getting your
writing incredible Covering Letters
to knowing what careers are open for your degree. Do take advantage of them, they are lovely people and are there to help you succeed once you've left university. Even if you have flown your university nest, the majority of Careers Services offer their services to their graduates free of charge. They are a goldmine of resources, advice and support, who will be able to talk things through with you and get you in the best possible shape to start your graduate job hunt. But be quick, Careers Services become very busy as the panic sets in across final year students, so go see them as soon as you can, before they are swamped by petrified soon-to-be graduates.
4. Enjoy it…
This may seem like slightly bizarre advice and is all very well coming from me in my 9-to-6 job (Nobody works 9-to-5 anymore) having gone through all the trials and tribulations of Final Year, but you have to enjoy it. People say university is the best time of your life, and this isn't to say it's all downhill from when you graduate, but it truly is. Enjoy the access to inspiring academics, incredible libraries and resources, living with friends you've made for life, going out on mid-week nights out and all the other perks of student life. Enjoy it while it lasts, because it's quickly running out.
Read more from our Graduate Scheme Season blog series: