So it looks like we’re leaving lock down. This has been an experience to say the least. I would like to start out by extending my sincere condolences to everyone who has been negatively impacted by this virus – from the loved ones of those who are no longer with us, to those who have been made homeless and redundant due to this unanticipated global storm.
I myself and many others were affected in a different way. For us as students, we quickly became aware of hurdles we were previously not aware of before. I’ve been speaking to people from my local area and quickly realised that not everyone is getting the same information, or knows what to do next. Here are a few suggestions:
1. If you were in your final year completing a qualification…
For those of you who have not decided what is next yet, do your research. Speak to careers advisors from your institution to get some steps in the right direction. Do not make the mistake of doing a panic masters when the career you want to go to is looking for an accredited qualification for example. These could take the form of a masters, a postgraduate diploma, certificate, or any other professional qualification that is the recognised standard for the industry you want to go into. I have heard this quite a few times now from careers advisors- people jump into doing a qualification under the impression it will make them stand out, but they are passed over for job opportunities if they do not have the required accredited professional qualification.
2. If you are a first or second year undergraduate…
You could do the above too! Nothing is stopping you from researching earlier, just make sure that when you are in your final year that you check to see if requirements have not changed for you. It’s shocking how GCSE grades for me were letters, and now it’s numbers. I can’t even pass down some of my revision materials to people a few years below me- the content has changed that much. So please stay up to date with the requirements for job applications for your year when you are in final year. Also take some of your time now to prepare for your next year so you won’t come back totally forgetting your accumulated knowledge.
3. Work experience/internships…
…something outside of your education which shows a commitment, and is relevant to the industry you want to step into. Most of us are aware of the ‘needing experience to get experience’ conundrum. Maybe you have your sights set on the big city firms which is awesome, press on and reach for that! Bear in mind that they are often looking for you to have experience already, as a sign of commitment and determination to show to them you have some inside awareness of the industry, so you can start local. Google is your friend here- look up the contact details of the businesses in your area, and then actually contact them. The worst they could do is decline. But if you don’t ask, you won’t get.
Keep pushing in the right direction, and the right door will have to open for you.
Phoebe Dampare Osei has just graduated with a Psychology degree from the University of Warwick