While your Student Union puts on dances with undiscovered bands, your university Careers Service is hosting events which will get you a job.
Careers Services are the unsung heroes of your graduate job hunt. Along with a wide range of personalised services, from CV help to an in-depth knowledge of various fields, Careers Services are always coming up with new ways to get you thinking about the wide range of careers available-and to help you achieve your career goals.
Here are some of the career-inspiring events happening at your Careers Service this year…
Guest Speakers and Panels
Careers Services have extensive lists of contacts-not just university alumni, but from a wide range of industries. They share this wealth with students by bringing in industry professionals to give talks about their experiences: what they do, how they got there, and what you need to know if you want to do that too.
These are smart people with a lot of information to share, and they can also make great contacts if you manage to grab them for a chat after they finish their piece. Some of these events feature an entire panel of speakers discussing current issues in their industry, which can give you priceless insight.
Why should you go? Attending these talks will give you an inside look which internet research simply cannot offer. It's an easy way to increase your commercial awareness and start building your professional network.
Workshops and Seminars
A staple offering of Careers Services are workshops and seminars. These cover a range of topics and can give you a crash course in several essential graduate job hunting skills. Whether you need help writing your CV, answering tricky application form questions, or structuring a covering letter, there is a team of experts available on campus to help you get it right.
The frequency of these workshops increases as the year goes on but it pays to set time aside early when they aren't yet fully booked, giving you the advantage of more personal time with the experts.
Why should you go? Workshops and focused seminars give you a golden opportunity to improve your employability and iron out any flaws in your job hunting approach before potential employers are considering your CV. Meeting Careers Advisors can help put to rest any niggling concerns about simple things such as cover letter presentation or how to answer interview questions-meaning you'll be better prepared and less stressed when the time comes to start sending out applications.
Career Speed dating
This is a new approach taken by Careers Services to give students and graduates a taster of different industries. Career speed dating can take several forms, depending on whether it is industry-specific or not.
Let's say that you are looking for a career in construction. The career speed dating may involve sitting down one-on-one with a Site Manager for two minutes, then a Quantity Surveyor, then a Civil Engineer, and so on. At the end, you'll have a complete overview of the entire industry gleaned in one whirlwind afternoon.
If you're not sure what you want to do, these events can also give you the opportunity to learn more about a wide range of career paths.
Why should you go? Getting any time face-to-face with real industry professionals is priceless. They will be able to tell you exactly what you need to know and settle any uncertainties you have about that particular role/industry/career.
You may have noticed, but companies take graduate recruitment seriously. Employers are always looking to find the best, brightest and most brilliant young employees for their organisation. As such, the big companies pack off their most engaging and knowledgeable employees to universities to schmooze applications out of you.
From a student perspective, these presentations offer the perfect opportunity for you to make connections with the people who will deal with your application. It is important to make a positive impression-these corporate visitors are often the people who will be saying yay or nay down the line.
Why should you go? Company presentations can be a way to get the ball rolling on your application-and even if you are not sure where you want to work, you will likely gain some wider contextual information which will help you make an informed decision later on.
A few speakers here, a workshop there-it doesn't take much to make a big difference to your employability. Whether it means sacrificing lunch in the canteen to speed date with some scientists, or swapping an afternoon pint for a presentation from PwC, taking advantage of these opportunities is well worth it. After all, you won't be a student forever.