As students will soon be going back to university, many maybe starting to think about their future and therefore their career (well, perhaps). According to a recent survey, 37% of finalists applied to jobs in September or October last year, therefore knowing what you want to do earlier on and getting experience to complement this is becoming increasingly important.

Job search strategy

If you are a final year student, it is important to make sure you have a good job search strategy for when you get back to university before you start applying to jobs. This ensures you know exactly how and where you will be searching for a job. This may sound simple, but it is very easy to just apply to any job out there and hope for the best. For instance, instead of applying to every possible large company , why not think about targeting specific smaller companies? graduate-jobs.com has jobs from both small and large companies so this is easily done. You may also want to think about increasing your networking efforts. Perhaps attend university events with speakers that have networking opportunities and people that can help you out and offer advice within your field. It is also important to manage your online presence, managing your network and making sure you are known and easily contactable. Of course, to get an initial idea on the types of schemes and employers that are out there, attend your university career fairs. There may be more than one in the autumn term and may be subject specific so be sure to check but don't forget that we are attending a variety of these fairs too so be on the lookout!

Placements, Internships and volunteering

If you do not know what you want to do yet and you are in your final year at university, then panic not. You can gain valuable experience whilst increasing your network by placements or internships. If you try to obtain these within the holidays even for a few weeks, this may help in deciding what you want to do but also looks good on your CV. This is great for first and second years too. You may have to apply in advance to some internships, but again, try looking for internships or placements within smaller companies which will still give you a good insight and experience, if not more, than a larger company. You may not be paid for either an internship or a placement, but you will learn a tremendous amount within a short space of time and will likely to shape your career decisions of your future in some way or another.

There are other ways in order to gain experience and to find out what you want to do. Volunteering for instance enhances your CV whilst gaining insights to certain career paths. You can do this with a university society such as Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) or AISEC which both offer great opportunities for students.

So, when you go back to university, start to think about ways in which you can improve your employability and explore your options. Why not share your experiences and thoughts on our forum? A £100 iTunes voucher is up for grabs for the best topic created before 30th September 2011 as chosen by the nice people at graduate-jobs.com.