A university degree sounds like a great way to advance your career, whether you’re keen to start out in a new field or are looking to nail that awesome promotion, right? Right! But you should only worry about making yourself more appealing to your future employer after you’ve finished your degree, right? Wrong! We recently chatted with Liz Hendry from CDU’s Careers and Employment team, and her key piece of advice was that you should start making moves to maximise your employability while you study. So how do you do that? We share Liz’s tips below.
Grow work experience early
Employers value experience - all experience. Think about the skills you have learned from your casual and part-time jobs: these are transferable skills and can be built into your resume. Finding it difficult to get a job in your area of study? Go Volunteer provides volunteer work experience opportunities around Australia.
Secure references from your employers
Be mindful of the need for referees: a good reference can be the difference between you successfully obtaining a job or not. So always bring a can-do attitude and positive approach to the job, no matter what the role or how trying the work environment may be.
Network, network, network
Whether you study on or off campus, joining student organisations and professional associations are great ways to get involved in networking opportunities. Loads of jobs and professional experience opportunities that aren’t advertised are instead filled through leveraging personal relationships, so networking is key. Who knows? You may meet your future employer at that industry briefing breakfast, so get mingling.
Start reading job ads
Look for interesting positions, increase your exposure to language used in job ads, and get savvy on companies who advertise the jobs that interest you. CDU students have access to the CDU CareerHub, which is chock-full of awesome work opportunities. Other places to look for jobs are:
- Directly with the organisation you’re interested in
- Online – Seek & CareerOne
- Recruitment agencies
Start working on your resume early
Develop your resume and keep updating it with new skills and work experience so it’s good to go when your dream job becomes available. Lead time for some job applications or graduate employment programs can be very short so having an up-to-date resume at the ready can make all the difference in securing the role. Use a portfolio approach so you can include examples of your work (if appropriate) or create a LinkedIn profile to include on your resume. Stumped on how to write a resume? Book a time with the team at cdu.edu.au/careers; they have plenty of resources and advice to help you slay your resume!
Attend seminars and workshops
Take advantage of all learning opportunities that are offered - you may not get credit for them but they will help you get a job. The CDU Careers and Employment team hold regular face-to-face and online workshops and cover off on a wide range of topics, including:
- Written applications - resume, cover letter & selection criteria
- Interview Skills
Build your personal brand
What skills, professional experience and passions do you possess that set you apart from other job candidates? Are you creative? Perhaps you’re a whiz at Excel spreadsheets, or maybe you can speak another language. Whatever your point of difference, continue to develop it – and most of all – let it shine. LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for showcasing your personal brand: check out the LinkedIn For Students website and learn how to create a cracker profile. And make sure you connect your profile to Charles Darwin University’s LinkedIn page so you can join the CDU Careers group.
Develop employability skills through student experience
Employers look for evidence that demonstrates well-developed “soft skills” including effective communication, ability to work as a member of a team (group assignments, I’m looking at you), good organisational skills, ability to problem solve and use initiative.
So, CDU students and recent graduates, what are you waiting for? Your career starts now! If you’d like further information about how to get job ready, the CDU Careers and Employment team can provide personalised face-to-face or online advice and support services to assist you with your career preparation. Contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.