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UETP News

The first transnational meeting of the project UETPNET - University Enterprise Training Partnership Networking for upgrading skills using online tools is going to take place in Athens in the 13th and 14th of January 2011.

Top tips for improving your employability PDF Print E-mail

While it's cold, wet and windy outside make the most of being stuck at home and improve your job prospects.

A few years ago when you were asked what you were going to do after school you probably said ‘go to university’. Well, congrats, you made it! But what next? With more students graduating from university each year than ever before and an economy that is still blindly stumbling its way out of recession, modern graduates face unprecedented pressures. Employability has become a key focus.

No one enjoys the process of looking for work - that’s why we’ve put together our top tips for improving your employability. The more of these employability skills you’ve got under your belt the quicker you should find yourself a job.

Improve your employability: Join clubs/societies

You’ve probably been told ever since you first started to think about your personal statement on your UCAS application that extra curricular activities such as sports teams and other clubs are great for your CV and employability. It was true then, and it’s true now. However ‘I play football’ isn’t enough - the reason that these things can help your employability is that they can show aspects of your personality that may not be clear from your qualifications. Teamwork, drive and leadership are just some of the qualities that such activities can illustrate - all of which significantly improve your employability.

If sports aren’t your thing, there are a whole host of other societies available at university to impact on your employability. Also, don’t just settle for being IN the society, think about running for a position of responsibility - social secretary, treasurer, maybe even dream big and run for president. Yes we can! Anything that shows you are willing to take on extra responsibility and put yourself out there will only help your employability with prospective employers.

Improve your employability: Get involved with your student union

Getting involved with your student union is arguably one of the best things you can do to max your employability while studying. Say your uni has 20,000 students (many have a lot more), you could be one of just a handful of people who are responsible for the entire student body. Fighting for student rights, dealing with the local community, and essentially ensuring that every student has as happy a university experience as possible - you’ll arguably learn more doing a job like that than in your entire degree, and give your future employability a huge boost.

Due to the nature of the job it’s the ideal grounding for a job in management, or, if you’re brave enough... maybe even politics!

Improve your employability: Internships and work placements

It would be great if your degree was enough, but in this highly competitive environment potential employers will often look at your experience before your qualifications to assess your employability. The problem with that is that you’ve just come out of uni, so probably don’t have much! This is why if you can get summer placements or, even better, do a year in industry during your degree, you’ll drastically improve your employability prospects.

The right work placement could be the bridge between your degree and your career - once you find one do everything you can to make yourself irreplaceable, and if you’re lucky you might not be replaced.

Click here for more information about internships and work experience.

Improve your employability: Study abroad

If your uni or course offers a study abroad scheme it’s something you should absolutely consider. Besides the obvious benefits (would you rather spend a winter in the UK or a summer in Sydney?) it can really help your employability in the long term. By getting an alternative educational experience you are making yourself stand out above everyone else who got the same degree as you without the year abroad. By absorbing yourself into another culture you’re also gaining significant life experience that can only help you down the line. Put simply, your employability will be improved if you do as much stuff as possible.

Visit our guide to student travel for more information on studying abroad.

Improve your employability: Go travelling

Yeah, life’s tough, isn’t it? It may sound odd but employers want people with a bit of life experience. If you’ve gone straight to uni from school and then straight into the workplace after uni you’ve known very little besides full time education. Going travelling shows that you’re willing to take a risk and open yourself up to new experiences.

However it’s not all about sitting by the pool and full moon parties - if you get the opportunity to help out with some volunteering work (or better still get a full-time job) while you’re away you’ll essentially be killing two birds with one stone.

For advice on travelling click here to view our guide to student travel.

Improve your employability: Learn a new language

It’s never too late to learn a new language, and there’s no greater motivation than to find yourself a good job. It can be hard to think of things that make you stand out significantly over here, but imagine (if you spoke Spanish) heading to Spain to look for work. You’d automatically have one massive advantage over every local who applied for the same job - excellent (we hope) English!

Besides the major European languages, other languages that - according to experts - will improve employability over coming years include Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese.

Improve your employability: Clean-up your online reputation

Just a few short years ago social networks were exclusively understood by the techno-savvy younger generations, and the thought that potential employers would even know what they were, let alone use them to research applicants, would have been laughable. However, the times they are a-changing, and it’s certainly better to be safe than sorry. Increase your security settings, delete photos that might show you in a less flattering light, and never let yourself post while intoxicated! If you’ve done the hard part and got an employer’s attention, you don’t want to fall at the final hurdle thanks to drunken photos from Malia 2009.

Improve your employability: Use the web as a showcase

You can also use the web for good. Setting up your own website can be a great way of producing an original, and interactive CV that will certainly up your employability. Thankfully you don’t need to be an expert to make your own website anymore - using sites such as Wordpress or Tumblr you can create your own page in a couple of hours. Here’s my (slightly crude and outdated) page created on Wordpress - imagine what you could produce if you actually knew about this stuff! A well presented interactive CV can be the perfect vehicle for your turbo charged employability credentials.

 

Author: Robin Edds

Source: http://www.studentbeans.com