6 ways to prepare for the end of university
by Lizzi Hart, Marketing Assistant at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau.
Third year trickles away like sand in an hourglass. Before all the sand runs out, get proactive and think about -whisper it- your future. No-one can prepare you how your "real life" is actually going to go but these tips should give you a headstart. You might even start to feel like an adult...
1. Consider where you’re going to live
There’s just a few months left until you graduate and unless your tenancy lasts until the end of summer, you’ll need to consider where you want to live. Don’t be scared to consider moving back home if you can: you’ll save money on rent (if your parents charge you, it's still likely to be less than you'd pay elsewhere) and be able to save for the important stuff, like flat deposits or maybe a car. But don’t worry, you won’t be alone: a recent study has shown that 39% of those aged 18-34 are either living or have recently lived with their parents - hence the nickname ‘the boomerang generation’
If you want to stay in your university city, look for cheap house shares just to get yourself started. Remember you’ll need to take a hammer to your overdraft quickly as most banks only give one year of interest-free overdraft repayments.
2. Update your CV and get on Linked In
An up-to-date CV is going to be your most valuable tool when job-hunting. Even putting honestly predicted grades before results day look good.
Make sure your A-Levels are included - your degree isn't the be all and end all. Anything extra-curricular achieved during University will help convey you as proactive and hard-working.
Linked In is also a great place to be advertise yourself. Create as detailed a profile as you can, just like your CV, and think about your profile picture - one from a night out isn't going to cut it. Follow companies that you respect or admire and be sure to link to your previous employers to validate any experience you might have.
3. Apply for summer internships
Whether abroad or in the UK, now is the time to be applying for valuable career experience. By law, internships shouldn’t be unpaid but if it’s really, really worth it, negotiate travel costs or food allowances. When you’re after integral work experience, and the experience could lead to a job, don't be snobbish about taking minimum wage. Think long term riches, not short term cash-flow.
4. Join ALL the job websites
...especially graduate recruitment companies, as they’ll be looking for fresh-faced University survivors. Make sure not to settle for one company. Think of the job sphere as a market – if you don’t go to every stall, you’ll never see everything on offer.
If your ideal employer is only advertising through one site and you aren’t signed up to them, you’ll never see them and they’ll never see you. Companies can’t disclose what clients they recruit for, so to be safe, join them all.
5. Get a part-time job
If you don’t already have a part-time job, look for retail/bar/restaurant work right now as retailers will be starting to get busy after the post-Christmas dip. Even summer temp jobs will be starting to become available soon, so check out the employers’ websites and plan ahead.
Try and hand-deliver your CV and covering letter with as much enthusiasm as possible. Many employers will be looking for workers with passion and enthusiasm from the get go, so convey this when you hand in your details. If you can boast a part-time job as well as plenty of internship applications, you’ll be on your way to full-time work and no more debts in no time.
If you're looking for a job that's a little different, read 5 summer jobs that you haven't thought
6. Enjoy yourself!
Let’s face it. You’re probably never going to repeat your University experience of just 8 contact hours with the rest of the week to socialise. So on top of all the other advice about being proactive, just make sure you make the most of the final few months living with your close friends, going out during the week and pulling all-nighters.