I graduated 2 years ago and am one of the lucky ones who found a job straight away in a great company. I realise though, that there is a lot more I could have done during university to prepare myself for the application process. So I am writing this post with the benefit of hindsight for those in university, to help you build the foundations for your career.
Build relationships with your tutors. This is important for two main reasons. Firstly, when you are in work the majority of your colleagues will likely be older than you. Building a relationship with your tutor will help you find it easier to build relationships with others of a similar age. I cannot stress the importance of building a rapport with your more experienced colleagues, so start now and it will come naturally to you later. Secondly, this is key for references! You will need tutors to know you so that you can ask them to write a reference when you applying for jobs!!! The better they know you, the more they can comment.
Develop your communication and interpersonal skills. I promise you, this is one of THE most important things a candidate can show off in interviews and assessment centers so start growing these at uni. This means- learn how to be friends with everyone, learn how to use persuasion techniques and become a pro at presenting. Any opportunity to present, take it! Keep doing such things over and over (how ever hard it is at first) until you are so used to it, it doesn’t faze you anymore. These will become everyday things at work, so learn to love it!
Learn to be a leader. Whenever you have the opportunity, take the lead. Don’t be the pushy ‘manager’ type person who delegates everything, be a leader who is almost the ‘informal manager’ who people CHOOSE to follow. If you can, start your own society, something you are passionate about. You will gain so many different skills about leading/ budgeting/ planning…etc, and it will work wonders for your CV.
Keep a log of ‘examples.’ What I mean by this is, during interviews you will be asked countless questions of 'Tell me an example of a time you had to… overcome a problem/ take the lead/blah blah blah. When you complete a project, write down answers to these types of questions and by the time you graduate, you have a great log of examples ready for you to use. Interviews will be so easy!!
Ok thats all for now- I could probably write so much more!! I’ll keep thinking