Careers Advice 4 min read

How to boost your employability while at university

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*Written by CV Library *

Today’s job market is incredibly competitive for graduates. Because of this, having a degree on its own may not be enough to ensure you land your dream role. Therefore, you need to go that extra mile to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

While this might sound scary, don’t fear! There’s actually a lot you can do to increase your employability whilst at university. And this doesn’t have to involve long, boring hours in the library. In fact, there’s many ways you can actually have fun whilst strengthening your CV.

So read on for more advice on the best ways to boost your employability during your time in higher education.

Volunteer
Taking on volunteer work is a great way to give back to others, meet new people and develop your transferable skills. Whether this is an hour a week helping out in your local community, or spending your whole summer abroad, it all looks good on your CV.

What’s more, volunteering activities require you to develop and learn new skills. For example, you’ll likely be working with others in a team, so you’ll need to be able to co-operate and communicate effectively. You may also have to solve problems and think on your feet at times.

two men and women wearing blue volunteer-printed crew-neck t-shirts
Photo by rawpixel / Unsplash

These experiences will provide you with some great examples to shout about in your job applications and interviews, helping you to demonstrate how you applied your skills in the past.

Join societies and communities
Joining a society not only looks great on your CV, but is a chance for you to get more involved with your university. You could try a new sport, play a musical instrument or write for the university magazine.

Getting involved with a society also means you’ll have to be organised and manage your time around your studies – time management is another trait that employers look for in candidates, so this will look favourable on your CV.

You could even run for captain of your society. Many will include a few head roles, such as ‘social secretary’, ‘event organiser’, ‘captain’ or ‘vice-captain’. Taking on a role such as this will show that you can lead a team – a great skill in the workplace. What’s more, this will come in useful if you’re applying for a senior or management position.

Get a part-time job
Do you want to earn some money while gaining valuable work experience? Getting a part time job is a good way to learn new skills for when you enter full time work. And your part-time job doesn’t always have to be related to your field.

If you work in a busy restaurant, you’ll learn about working under pressure, or if your job is in a retail store, you can learn about managing money and communicating with customers.

MacBook Pro, white ceramic mug,and black smartphone on table
Photo by Andrew Neel / Unsplash

No matter what role you work in, you can talk about the transferable skills you’ve learnt from your part-time job on your CV. Plus you’ll be able to provide a reference if your future employer asks for one.

Take on some work experience
Consider doing some work experience, whether that’s an internship, work shadowing, or a two week placement. This will give you some great talking points for your CV.

Internships are a good option because they can be paid and give you a chance to actually try out the work that someone in the role does. And, while they can be competitive to secure, if you land one you’ll gain a real insight into working in a specific industry.

MacBook Pro near green potted plant on table
Photo by Kevin Bhagat / Unsplash

Whether that’s your industry of choice, or a role you hadn’t considered before, it can all be useful. It will give you the opportunity to discover if you will enjoy working in that area, helping you find a clearer direction for your post-university career path.

What’s more, if you work hard, you may even get a job offer for after you graduate. And if this isn’t a possibility, you’ve still made some industry connections to refer back to when you’re searching for your first graduate job. They might have friends in the industry they can connect you with or recommend a company to work for.

Learn new skills
During your three years at university, you’ll probably have a lot of free time in between lectures (occasionally reserved for a Netflix binge!). So make use of this time when you can, to learn a new skill. This can give you something different to talk about on your CV and help you to stand out.

Why not learn a language! There are many apps you can download to learn words and phrases. Some universities will even offer classes to students keen to do so.

programming codes
Photo by Branko Stancevic / Unsplash

Employers will value that you’ve taken the time to learn a new skill. Plus bilingual speakers are in demand with companies in our multicultural society.

And if learning a language isn’t your cup of tea, you could try an online course in your free time. You could learn about SEO, marketing or other digital skills which can help you in the workplace.

Boost your employability as a student
University isn’t just about the learning you do in the classroom. It’s about boosting your employability and preparing you for the world of work. So make sure that you use this time wisely to help you land your dream job after you graduate.

Get more careers advice from CV Library including a cover letter and how to optimise your job search at www.cv-library.co.uk/

How to boost your employability while at university
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