Most students will have one thing on their mind the whole time they are studying at university or polytech – what comes next? Gaining the qualification is one thing, but getting a job once you’ve graduated is another. Especially in schools such as law or engineering where everyone will be vying for the same jobs, the pressure to stand out and set yourself apart can be overwhelming. One of the best ways to do this is to build up work experience while you study. The sooner you begin, the more you can amass, and the added bonus is getting to save money while you work. It can be a bit daunting to break in, but it’s absolutely worth it when it comes time to send out job applications at the end of your degree. These tips can help you get started and make the most of your time studying.
- Talk to your professors. The best thing you can do is start getting in the habit and practice of finding leads and following them up. Your professors may not be able to find you a job, but they might be able to put you in touch with someone who can help. Of course, they’ll only want to recommend you if they think you’ll be reliable and competent, so make sure you stand out in their classes. It’ll ultimately be up to you to get in touch with contacts you’re given and make the opportunities for yourself, however.
- Start small and work up. You may not be able to jump straight into a job that’s 100% relevant to your major. They often require some experience, and are highly competitive. However any work experience is better than none, and if you start out with a job that involves some of the skills required, it puts you in a much better position to apply for more specific jobs down the track. SJS is a good place to start looking for jobs.
- Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to gain experience – as long as you aren’t being taken advantage of for a job that should be paid. If you aren’t learning any new skills, a volunteer position is only benefiting the employer. However if you get a relevant position that teaches you key skills, the experience is invaluable. It also shows that you’re extremely dedicated and ready to learn. There are many volunteer positions always looking for someone to help out.
Getting work experience while at university means you don’t have to start at square one when it comes time to graduate.