Graduation may seem a long way off if you are in your early years at university. Yet the recruiting process for many internship and graduate positions starts earlier than you may think. It will help enormously if you are prepared and have a good understanding of the skills you require for certain jobs. You can then plan to develop those attributes and build your graduate profile before you are faced with tough application questions. Not sure what you will be doing with your degree? Don’t panic – all those transferable skills will make you an ideal candidate for a variety of roles. Quoted in The Guardian, Dan Hawes of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau in the UK says:
From day one students should see the start of university as the start of their working life. Think of the skills you need to have when you finish university in three or four years time and then work backwards, so you’re hoarding skills each year.
In one of my first jobs I was asked to accompany a colleague into town to collect some supplies. It wasn’t until we arrived that I realised I was there to move the car from the illegal park if a traffic warden happened by. Tricky situation; I didn’t have a licence at the time. It may not be top priority on your list but learning to drive is a worthwhile skill to pursue prior to entering the workforce.
A great way to develop yourself and your skills is to get involved in some extracurricular activities and work experience while you are at uni. Student support roles will not only assist your peers but help you develop communication skills, leadership, or a multicultural perspective for example. Participating on the executive of a club or student association may enhance your interpersonal, teamwork and creative thinking. Part-time or voluntary work provides insight into a variety of different organisations and their structure, management and procedures.
Here at Victoria University, students can participate in the Victoria Plus Programme which aims to develop leadership and employability through a mix of extracurricular activities and workshops. You also complete an extensive ePortfolio where you reflect on your experiences, learning and skills developed. At the end of this process you will have a good understanding of yourself and can provide examples and evidence of how you gained a specific skill. This all helps prepare for writing your CV, job applications and interviews.
So get involved now and start building your skills base! There are loads of opportunities available. Also have a read of this article about the ten skills students really need when they graduate. It includes everything from business sense to making a good cuppa.