Top Career Tips while at uni: A heart-to-heart with a Graduate

Top Career Tips while at uni: A heart-to-heart with a Graduate

University was the best time of my life – I made the BEST friends, went to some really great events and studied a subject I actually enjoyed! But at the end of the day there’s a future to build! Here are some top tips for each year of your uni journey:


Going into Year 1: Fresher than a lager

You may think that work experience is a concept you left behind back in Year 10. However, it’s still super important to gain experience in your desired industry during your time at university. It’s also an easy way to find out if your future career is more than just ‘your type on paper’! You could do this during first year’s long summer…in between many nights out of course! If your course is anything like mine, we often finished the academic year quite early. This was usually around mid-May until the next year began in late September, giving you plenty of holiday time. 

Start by choosing two careers in two different industries. One should be related to the course you’re studying. The other could be something else you enjoy or plays to your other strengths. For most courses, the first-year grades don’t count. All you need to do is achieve a Pass grade for the year. This takes the pressure off you, creating opportunity for you to gain solid work experience. As well as building friendships, having fun and getting a part-time job. 

You will most likely need a job as Student Loans don’t give you a great deal of money. Therefore, it’s still a great opportunity to experience the working world as a young adult before graduating. All the trials and tribulations, as well as the highlights, of said job will prepare you. Hopefully this will leave you with less nasty surprises about the working world. I.e, when it comes to difficult clients or colleagues – especially if the job is customer-service based, trust me! 

While building friendships for life is a done-deal, you’ll also find it useful to have your acquaintances on social media. They may come in handy as contacts. Doing this could be super important in the future – you never know what job you may fall into. But knowing people who are already in that industry can open doors for you! Societies are an easy place to start so make sure to join at least two! In addition, this will help to build your personal development as an adult via important society discussions about our world. They usually do fun events with drinks and music too 😉 


Going into Year 2: Serious but the fun’s not over

Make time for job fairs and building contacts in more depth. Try to approach people you haven’t spoken to yet at societies or friends-of-friends when you’re out. You won’t have massive amounts of time (depending on the contact hours) for your course. Focusing on your studies is crucial during this time. As you probably already know, some of your second-year grades will count towards your final degree classification. 

This is the year when the work will become more difficult compared to your first-year work level. In my experience, and those of my classmates, a lot of things you learned in your first year become irrelevant in the second one! I know, a bit unnecessary, but this tends to be the case with various courses during Year 1. My tip here is to be prepared for that tougher syllabus and larger work-load to set in. 

Make time to plan so that you can still create a healthy work-life balance. One where you can still go out with your friends, but that doesn’t leave you drowning in assignment deadlines! Set yourself a rule that can help encompass this – for every night out, attend a Society meeting! An easy no-hassle example which could really help!


Going into Year 3: SO much work, final prep

This is the tough one! I remember my friends and I tearing our hair out at the pressure of our final year! The difficulty of the work was the same as the second year. However, the dissertation alone was 10k words! 

It had to be complex and of course very word-y. To my horror my lecturer and I had muddled up which word count I was supposed to do for my dissertation module! It meant the whole thing was an absolute rush and the rest of my time was then cut short. What NOT to do in your final year! But all being well for you, you’ll be able to attend a couple of graduate fairs during this time. 

These events are perfect to see what you might want to do now that your degree is coming to an end. If your course isn’t vocational and you have a few different interests, it’s the perfect place for you to find out. You can sign up right there-and-then to a graduate scheme if something piques your interest. 

My favourite was GradJobs Live at Birmingham’s NEC. It had a range of diverse roles, from Linguistics for the RAF to the Aldi Management Fast-Track Scheme! There really was something for everyone no matter what your skills are and your degree is. 

Nowadays, Covid has halted things. Yet, there are still plenty of fairs across the country and online. Your own University is always a good place to start. 

Hope you enjoyed my tips to for each year of your University experience! For post-grad opportunities, keep an eye on our site