It's about this time of year when students all over the country start thinking about their future.
First-year students have usually settled into university life by now and are looking forward, sandwich course students have started looking for placements, and final year students can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever your circumstances, we're here to help kick start your career, and your future, with our tips and tricks. But before we begin we want to remind you to not worry about the future. It's easier said than done but just remember someone has walked a similar path as you and, while it may not seem like it right now, things will work out no matter what path you follow.
We'll start with the most obvious, but critical, tip. We can't stress enough how important experience is, particularly in this day-and-age when the currency of a university education isn't worth as much as it used to. If you can't find paid experience learn some new skills online. There are various online services, such as Lynda, that offer courses in a number of areas including design, photography, and business. It doesn't matter how you've learnt the skill, the important part if that you've learnt it!
It can be easy to 'spray and pray' with applications, but sending broad CVs isn't going to help you score that fantastic job. Read the job description and the company's website then use their tone of voice in your CV. It will show you understand the business beyond of what they do. That, however, does not mean taking copy to bulk out your CV; it should be 2 pages for a student/graduate so remember to keep to the point.
In the same vein as above, don't spray and pray to jobs you don't really want. If you're not finding a job you want on job boards, take a break to regroup and analyse where you could be going wrong with your search. You might need to visit more job-specific boards or call up employers and ask them directly if they have any opportunities - this is particularly necessary when applying to smaller companies. Look beyond your comfort zone, you'll be surprised how far it gets you. Even if calling around doesn't get you a job, it still establishes you in the employer's network; a network that they'll share with other employers and will help you in later life, which leads us to our next tip...
Attend events, talk to people, connect on LinkedIn, whatever you do just get your name out there! If you don't know where to start try asking your parents about their networks. Once again, you'd be surprised what a bit of asking around can do for you. Attending events and talking to new people can be nerve wrecking, but don't let it scare you away from a potential job opportunity!
Entering the world of work can be scary, and so can job descriptions. When you're reading through one don't fear skills you may not have, just be honest with yourself about whether you can learn a basic understanding of them. If you can or, in fact, do have a basic understanding of them, then have confidence in your ability and apply for the job. Employers don't expect students to know everything; just be honest with them about what you can do.
After reading this you might be a bit overwhelmed with all the tips just to find a job, but they are vital nuggets of knowledge that will help you. Our final tip is to remember that searching for a job isn't always fun. We know it can feel stressful but try to stay positive and don't get disheartened. Everyone was young once and potential employers should acknowledge that this process if new for you; a small mistake won't get you blacklisted from being hired. Speak to anyone who has searched for a job recently and we guarantee they have some embarrassing stories to share too!
Here at Opus, we have a number of graduate and placement opportunities so if you're looking for a job check out our Work For Us page. Some of our latest jobs don't always feature on this list so why not speak to our Head of Internal Recruitment, Annie Budd, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0117 300 6430, for a confidential chat about your future at Opus.