Your university is the perfect place to start your job search.
Whether you know exactly what you want to do when you graduate or need a little more guidance, reaching out to your university is the perfect place to start your career journey. In fact, they should have resources and support available to help you think about how to plan your next steps to entering the job market.
As a final-year student searching for my dream job, I’m here to take you on my journey to finding just that. We’ve already gone through things you can do to figure out the right career path as well as how to jam-pack your CV with great experience and now we’re going to talk about what your university has to offer.
What sort of support does my university offer?
My university — the University West of Scotland — offers a few different types of support to students still figuring out what to do after graduating. While what your university offers may differ slightly, here are some of the things you can expect.
They have career advisors who are available for meetings to discuss any questions or queries students might have about their career journey.
They also have staff available to read over applications, and CVs, and to do mock interviews which are helpful when it comes to calming your nerves before a real one.
Meeting with lecturers is also an option, which can be great as you get course-specific advice which career advisors might not be able to offer if they are not that familiar with the subject.
The university has personal tutors who are there to guide students with career questions and point them towards any other helpful resources too.
They also have a mentoring programme, where students are matched with a relevant mentor to the subject they study, and they have meetings throughout the year to support and encourage them with different career skills.
The mentors work professionally in the subject area so can give students valuable advice about their job and specific industry overall.
My experience with university support
One of the most valuable things I’ve done so far as to have a meeting with a careers advisor to discuss my options after university, where they talked with me about what industries I am interested in and gave me some ideas about the best ways to find job opportunities within them.
They also helped me with preparing to apply for the Saltire Scholar Internship Programme recently. Someone familiar with the scheme looked over my application answers which was really beneficial as they brought up things that I hadn’t even thought about adding to my answers.
I also participated in the mentoring programme which matched me with someone from the music industry who I could meet with to get help with things such as interview skills, career advice, and strengthening my CV.
I talked with a few of my lecturers about the best ways to approach a career in the industry, and they gave me some tips from their experience on which companies I could look into for job opportunities, and the best ways to approach them or any work experience I should consider getting before applying.
What could be improved?
As great as the supported UWS offers is, there are some things that I think could be done to improve it.
There aren’t many staff on my course, which can make it hard for them to find the time to fit in multiple students for one-to-one meetings.
There are some parts of the music industry that I would like to explore, such as music therapy and classical music, but as my lecturers work predominantly in other areas they can’t offer much advice about these as they don’t have much experience with them.
The careers meetings are mostly online with limited face to face appointments, which can be convenient sometimes but can also make it harder to talk through a piece of work or application in detail.
They also don’t have much time as the appointments are in demand, so they sometimes feel rushed and need to be booked quite far in advance.
The mentoring programme didn’t run as planned for me unfortunately as the mentor I was matched with became unavailable but hadn’t communicated this to me or the staff running the programme, so I ended up missing out on it as it was too late to find a new mentor.
What do other universities offer?
Edinburgh Napier offer employer events and graduate apprenticeships, which sound like a valuable experience to help you meet potential employers and give you that extra stepping stone towards finding your postgraduate career.
They also have a dedicated online platform called MyFuture where students can search for part- or full-time grad jobs, as well as casual work and roles within the university.
Some universities also have on-campus facilities for a student help centre where you can go for in-person advice.
UWS had mainly online resources which can be difficult to search through to find where you need to go for specific advice, and having to email the help desk and wait a few days for a reply isn’t as helpful as being able to get an immediate answer in person.
Glasgow University has a range of job fairs for certain degrees like law and engineering fairs, as well as more general events like an abroad fair to tell you about travel opportunities and experiences you could do that would grow your CV.
They also have lots of open resources on their website to help with all the steps from just starting to think about your future career to securing a role. It’s accessible instantly and is very well organised so you can find exactly what you need without having to wait for an appointment or email reply.
Feeling spurred on to reach out to your university? It’s a great place to start if you’re unsure what your life will look like after graduation. Have a look at your own university website to see if they offer any similar or other beneficial resources, and get in contact with their careers team to discuss your next steps to finding your dream role.