Careers Adviser, Helen, advises new and returning students on how to make the most of their time at university…
Congratulations! All that revision was worth it and you’ve made it to university!
The chances are that you are feeling a mixture of excitement and anticipation, perhaps combined with a little anxiety about what life as a student is going to be like. No doubt the thought of career planning is at the very back of your mind right now – and understandably so!
Most people come to university to learn, to have fun and to enhance their career prospects. The latter is where we can help at Careers & Employability (based at 51a Park Place). If you’re a returning student – it’s still not too late to make the most of the services available for you! If you’re graduating or have recently graduated, get all our tips for graduate life here.
Throughout your time at Cardiff we are available to help with any of your career related questions or concerns. We can help you prepare a CV to apply for part-time work, we can assist you with tricky application form questions, with interview preparation, with organising work experience, with career planning in general and lots, lots more.
You don’t have to wait until you have a clear career goal in mind before you can come and see us, if you want help generating some ideas we can help, or if you simply want to know where to get information on a particular career just ask.
Here are our top ten tips to help you make the most of your time at uni:
- Get involved! Join university societies; take part in team sports and activities. Have fun! (Whilst developing attributes which employers will look for in the future).
- Work hard in first year to aim for a 2:1. Even though your first year results won’t count towards your final degree, if you decide to apply for work experience in second year, your first year results will be the only evidence employers have of your academic potential.
- Attend the careers sessions which take place in your school as well as careers fairs, employer presentations, and events organised by Careers & Employability which take place at various locations on campus. These are excellent opportunities to speak with employers and to start finding out more about the career options available.
- Use Career Central – Careers & Employability’s jam packed online resource: (https://careercentral.cardiff.ac.uk) to start researching career areas of interest.
- Try to organise some relevant work experience, for instance during your first year summer holiday. Graduate employers love to see students with work experience! You may even be able to find a paid internship.
- If you plan on applying for work experience, first take advice on your CV by attending a Drop-In session at Careers & Employability (available Monday-Friday).
- Consider your strengths and weaknesses and bridge any skills gaps. For instance, if the idea of giving a presentation terrifies you, attend free training workshops with the Skills Development Service (SDS) on presentation skills (and also on teamwork, networking ect).
- Start to develop your commercial awareness. This is an important requirement for most graduate employers. Get into the habit of reading a good newspaper and the relevant publications for your subject area – remember you can’t cram commercial awareness the night before an interview!
- When you get here, use your Careers Account to find out about employer presentations, careers talks, fairs and events which can help you explore a wide range of career areas. Click here to book an appointment!
Find out first-hand what graduate employers want from you…
Boost your employability with the Cardiff Award!
Do you want to boost your chances of getting a job after uni as well as gaining work experience and transferable skills? Then find out more about the Cardiff Award!
Do you have entrepreneurial aspirations? Find out more about Enterprise
If your true passion lies in business and entrepreneurship, you’re in luck – Cardiff University boasts its own Enterprise and Start-up service which can help students develop business ideas and then bring those #ideastolife. Find out more on the Intranet page here, or check out their Interview with an Entrepreneur blogs to see all the businesses they have helped to get off the ground.
Your feedback and help please
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Best of luck and enjoy your time at Cardiff!
Helen, Careers Adviser.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and Money, Careers and Employability, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing, Disability and Dyslexia and International Student Support. The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.