Congratulations on your Uni Offer; It’s not too early to start leveraging your Career
The weeks immediately after graduating from Year 12 can seem like a roller coaster. There are the highs of Formal, anticipating your OP or ATAR and the thrill of receiving Uni offers.
On the other hand, your routine is gone, it’s harder to see your friends, many of whom are moving interstate and every adult you see needs to ask what you’re doing next. You’re not alone if you have no idea, or are faking-it with an answer that serves to stop the questions. That answer might be that you’re going to uni.
Don’t stop at that uni acceptance decision. You need to cast your vision further and imagine yourself at the point of your next graduation – from uni. Getting a good job and therefore starting your career is not a guaranteed outcome of uni.
Many uni graduates are frustrated and un- or under-employed. In fact, on average, 30% of uni graduates have not been hired in their chosen industry, despite applying for many jobs consistently for four months after their uni grads.
You can increase the odds of being part of the successful 70% who make more lifetime earnings, have greater positive impact on the world around them and have overall higher quality of life.
Here are 7 things you should do – in your very first semester of your first year of uni.
1. Fully participate in O-Week. Be brave and confidently introduce yourself to as many people as possible.
This will help you begin the essential process of networking.
2. Attend Club-Week. Join at least one club and become an active member.
This will help you develop as well-rounded, which employers say is a must.
3. Make an appointment at the on-campus career centre, find out what they offer (especially internships) and sign-on.
Employers say that they are much more likely to interview and hire students who have completed internships. Plus this will help you try-out actual work situations and decide what you Do and Don’t like doing.
After hearing this from employers, we started to wonder whether employers value university degrees. Employers seem to be emphasising the importance of all of the activities that students do outside of studying and beyond the classroom.
4. Create a LinkedIn Profile, be an active member and start deciding on how to describe your personal brand, or in other words, what makes you stand-out from other uni grads.
Every year, nearly 180,000 students in Australia graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. Employers sift through page after page of online applications. You need to stand-out and show that you have something special to offer. After you’ve been shortlisted for a potential interview, most employers will Google your name and search for your LinkedIn profile. The sooner you start to clean-up your digital footprint, establish yourself as a future professional and start building your professional online networks the better.
5. Treat your Bachelor degree like it is a future career. Completing a three-year degree can become three years of work experience on your resumé.
To be employable (hireable) you need to have:
a. technical skills for your chosen industry,
b. broader skills like written and spoken communication,
c. specific knowledge about your industry,
d. broad-based knowledge about the world around you,
e. attributes like being personable and showing motivation and,
f. a strong career identity including knowing how you are distinctive from other graduates.
Most things you do at university – attending lectures, participating in tutorials, doing assignments, on-campus extracurricular activities – can tick one or more of these boxes and help you develop skills, knowledge, attributes and identity. Approach everything from this perspective and ask yourself what you’re learning that will make you more employable.
6. Use your Professors’ office hours.
Don’t be just a number. Make sure your uni teachers know your name. Get in the habit of doing this from your first semester. Most uni teachers have great industry networks. Many employers start by calling uni teachers to ask – Do you have any great students or graduates that would be a good fit in our company? Make sure that when it’s your time to graduate that your uni teachers respond with your name.
7. Customise your assignments.
In many of your assignments, you will be able to choose your own topic, select among topics and/or decide what format the assignment will take. Decide what topics and formats will help you along your career path. Can you create a web-page or post a research blog that will shape your professional digital footprint? Employers like to hear specific examples from your uni assignments in answer to interview questions. You can start gathering these examples from your very first semester.