University to Career – Making the Step Up
Leaving university after 4 years of hard work, determination and effort, then it all comes to an abrupt halt can feel like the end of a great journey. You have invested 4 years or more of your life into securing a degree, whilst juggling your social life and work commitments. Once you find out those final results, the tension subsides, you celebrate with loved ones, you may or may not have a job ready to start but you will still think to yourself, now what?
Without even realising it you will have developed as a person both personally and professionally whilst at university, you will more than likely identify yourself as a student but this must now evolve further. You will have become adapted to a certain lifestyle whilst being at university and now you are suddenly expected to join the world of work and accustom yourself extremely quickly to your new role. For anyone who is stepping onto a professional career path straight from university this can seem intimidating. Here are 4 tips that can set you in the right direction and help you make the step into the world of work.
Define What You Want from Your Career
Know what you want to do, it’s that simple. After studying at university you should know which area of work interests you the most, employers don’t like vague applications so having a few different CV’s that are tailored to distinctive job roles but still use the same skills, experience and qualifications will help make you stand out from the crowd.
Following your interests will also help you get a job that you will actually enjoy, so don’t just choose an industry because it pays well! Think long-term and what direction you want your career to take. Developing your career is a continuous process so don’t worry if you make mistakes along the way, just make sure they are your decisions and you have not just taken a job to please friends or family.
With continual technological innovations and advancements, you have to keep your skills and knowledge honed constantly so that you further your career and don’t get bogged down in the same position. Whether this is through informal or formal training opportunities, seminars or roadshow’s, take the chance to better yourself. Learning to love what you do and finding fun in your workplace will also help you advance.
Use Social Media
Social media has become an intrinsic part of almost everyone’s lives, especially “Generation Y”, those born in the 80’s and 90’s. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can be the difference between having your dream job and not having one at all. Show that you are being proactive by discussing interests relevant to the career that you want, this will make your name stand out to employers. Having a personal brand is great but having a professional one is even better. Your online profiles are extremely important as employers will more than likely check out potential candidates for a role on social media before inviting them for an interview. So be sure that all the information you want to keep private is not publicly accessible and all the important facts for employers are on display.
Having a strong LinkedIn profile will be your most valuable asset for finding work online, whether that is being proactive and applying for jobs or being headhunted. Making full use of your digital presence will maximise your opportunities in the job market and increase your appeal to employers.
Be Responsible For Yourself
Take control of your life and be responsible for your actions. University is a structured environment where most things are taken care of for you, you just have to show up and put the work in! For those of you who perhaps lived away from home or lived independently whilst at university, you may have a greater sense of duty and realise that your behaviour and attitude are your own responsibility.
In some cases, your parents may have provided support to ensure that you were ok and had everything you needed. This is completely reversed in the world of work as your career is in your hands and your hands alone. You must learn how to prioritise your workload, manage your time effectively and make sure you do your job to the best of your ability.