I was going to write this as one big post, but decided the key messages might get lost so this is part one of two blogs on the theme of helping yourself. Today’s post is going to look at the help available from all of the team here in Student Careers & Skills and part two (coming soon) will address the practical things you can do progress your career plans or job search. Think of it as helping you to help yourself!
One of the positive things about deferring all job and career related thoughts until the spring term, is the prospect of getting help right here, right now. Student demand for appointments is so high during the autumn, that we can’t possibly meet the need. Fast forward to January and you will see just how easy it is to see a careers consultant or a job search adviser.
There’s no question that deciding what you want to do with the rest of your life can seem pretty daunting. And it’s this perception of “career planning” (which sounds dry at the best of times) which can alienate – and scare – a lot of students. Let me be the first, but hopefully not the last, to reassure you that this is not the approach we take. We’re not going to cast you to the four winds if you haven’t got your career mapped out for the next twenty years (who has?).
You can use a careers appointment as a jumping off point to help explore your options but the conversation doesn’t need to stop there. We can also help you:
- Define and refine your goals
- Develop your understanding of the graduate job market
- Polish your applications and prepare for interviews
- Interpret and make sense of sector information
We can’t (and won’t) tell you what to do, so if you’re expecting a “quick fix” prepare for disappointment. But, we will support you through every stage of the job search process and help you make an informed decision about your future career path.
Although the event schedule is less frenetic than last term, there is still plenty of opportunity for you to meet employers, talk to alumni and generally brush up on your knowledge and understanding of the graduate job market. And by graduate market, I do mean the full range and breadth of opportunities, not just the big corporates or high-profile graduate schemes. There are plenty of exciting and challenging roles beyond “The Milkround”.
Over the coming weeks we have nine sector events, covering fields as diverse as life sciences, gaming, HR, marketing, international development and publishing. We’ve been running these niche events for a while now and always attract top-notch speakers (including Warwick grads) who share their experience of getting in and getting on. Don’t just scan online sites for info – come and listen to the people who really know and understand the sector. There’s a chance to network afterwards, so this could be the first step in building those all-important career contacts.
And if you don’t fancy the trek across campus, then you can still get the lowdown through podcasts, films and profiles.
There’s no doubt you’ll have heard, read and seen the term employability – unless you’ve been hiding under a particularly big rock, in complete isolation. Now I have to declare myself here and state that I am not the biggest fan of the term, but I am fully on board with the concept. Employability is not simply about getting a job: it’s about understanding – and responding to – the current, and changing, needs of employers.
A decade ago, for example, very few people were talking about digital literacy in the context of employability – how things have changed! Part of keeping yourself employable is horizon-scanning and know what employers need now, and in the future. The key to this is developing a really broad skill set that will allow you to flex and adapt throughout your career, whatever the sector. We can help you do this through our comprehensive skills programme and by encouraging you to exploit other development opportunities (student societies, volunteering, enterprise)
If there’s one question on every student’s lips it is, “will I get a job?” With the £27K price tag attached to most undergraduate degrees, there is now a much greater focus on employment outcomes. Fortunately we can give you access to a really rich and robust source of information through GEMS, also known as Graduate Employment Market Statistics. Or, for the uninitiated, What do Warwick Graduates Do? Did you know that 80% of Warwick graduates from 2012 went into graduate-level employment or further study? Pretty encouraging, particularly given that some grads make a positive choice not to find permanent employment at this stage. Some people just need more time to decide and weigh up the options.
Destination data should not define the outer limits of your career planning and job search, but it can be a very useful way of generating ideas. You might just be surprised at what you find! It’s easy to hold on to those long-held assumptions about who does what and where, but sometimes a little fact-checking goes a long way.
Jobs, internships, work experience
(Well, access to. We can’t deliver a job signed & sealed to your door!)
Warwick students and graduates can tap into our vacancies database, myAdvantage, which has the latest graduate job vacancies, undergraduate/graduate internships, work placements and part-time work opportunities, across all sectors and sizes. All of Times Top 100 graduate employers are registered with us (65 of which have attended an on campus event this academic year) and we and have an excellent reach into the SME sector. In total, we have 3000 employers with an active account, keen to recruit Warwick students. There are plenty of jobs sites out there and we certainly don’t claim to have the monopoly on the graduate job market, but myAdvantage is a great place to start.