Your university days are the perfect opportunity to build up your skills and experience before entering the workforce.
In this second part of the series (view part one), we continue to explore the different ways you can make the most out of your university time and prepare yourself for employment down the road.
7. Attend networking events
During the course of your semester, many relevant events (career fairs, employer panel discussions, alumni meet-ups, etc) will spring up. This will give you the golden opportunity to not only meet with industry people and to put yourself out there, but also to build up your self-confidence and communication skills.
Also, it’s way better to make social blunders here than to do them in an actual job interview.
6. Enlist the help of your professors and lecturers
While it may be true that you might not enjoy every single lecture that you attend, you can get an edge over the competition by establishing good rapport with your professor. This may allow you to get him/her to be your reference in your job application.
Furthermore, some lecturers do have a wealth of work contacts and experience and many will be most happy to refer or introduce you to someone relevant to your industry.
5. Take part in competitions
There are several competitions that are specifically designed for students to take part in and to get them exposed to real-life scenarios and situations. Many case competitions exist where participants take the role of a consultant to address the issues and challenges faced by the company’s client.
This allows you to apply the classroom concepts and knowledge you have learnt into an actual business scenario. Additionally, some competitions may even lead to a job offer within the company after that.
Business plan competitions and accelerator programs also do exist for those who are interested in startup’s and entrepreneurship.
Some examples of available competitions include:
- Melbourne Accelerator Program
- Global Microfinance Case Competition
- RMIT Business Plan Competition
- KPMG International Case Competition
- ATKearney Undergraduate Case Challenge and Summer Internships
4. Find a job on campus
Many positions are available on campus that are in the areas of student services, IT support, call center operation, learning assistance, etc. These roles are usually flexible and can cater to your timetable.
3. Get part-time work
Just like getting work on campus, a part-time job is excellent way to build up your skills and portfolio especially if you are doing something closely related to your desired occupation.
2. Engage in a summer or winter internship
Because internships are conducted over a course of several weeks or more, they allow candidates to be exposed to more than one department and project, as compared to part-time stints. This will help you get a better sense of what you are after in terms of your career development. Also, some internships do lead to a permanent position down the road.
1. Start your own business
Undoubtedly, this is one of the best ways to get work experience for yourself while you are still studying.
The act of just starting your own business will speak volumes about you. It shows that you are proactive and willing to take risks, able to liaise and communicate with stakeholders, manage teams and projects, and work within tight deadlines to deliver results.
The best thing is that if you are successful, you will be, in essence, creating a job for yourself.
Do you have other ways to get work experience in university? If you have any career-related questions, feel free to share them in the comments below and I’ll get them answered.