Whoever said young people today have it easy was lying. With an estimated 85 applicants for every graduate position, making that first step on the career ladder certainly isn’t getting any easier.
Fortunately, building up a good set of transferable skills can help set you apart from the competition and make bridging the gap between student life and the professional world far less daunting. Here are some examples of the skills and experience you can gain on campus and help secure your ideal full-time role.
1. Your degree course
Studying for a degree in itself can help you to develop the ‘soft skills’ that many recruiters look for, it’s just about knowing how to package them for job applications and interviews:
- Communication and inter-personal skills
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- IT/ social media skills
2. Positions of leadership/responsibility
Getting involved in extra-curricular pursuits on campus can also help you develop highly valued leadership and team-based skills. Here are just some of the routes to developing this important skill-set:
- Captaining a campus sports team
- Working on a student newspaper
- Getting involved in the student union
- Volunteering as course leader or student liaison
- Organising charity events
3. Part-time/summer work
Working in a bar or shop might not sound that glamorous, but much of the experience you gain will prove useful for when you begin your first full-time job. Perhaps more importantly, working or volunteering alongside your studies demonstrates a sound work ethic and will put you at an advantage to those entering the graduate job market with zero professional experience. Some of the skills you might pick up are:
- Client-facing skills and customer service
- Management/ responsibility
- Problem solving
- Calmness under pressure
- Handling money/ managing accounts
Remember, getting the experience is only half the battle; it’s all about how you market this experience and the skills you gained to your prospective employer or interviewer. With a little creativity, those late nights cramming for exams or cleaning up the student bar can help set you apart as the perfect, hardworking employee.