How to Build Your Career Prospects While Studying at University
For a University student to successfully experience Uni life, there a three primary elements that require consideration. First is of course a focus on studies, secondly is the aspect of recreation and relaxation (the ability to go on a holiday, have a few drinks or simply chill out with mates) and finally, the aspect of acquiring the relative exposure and experience within your field of study to successfully secure a job/ position upon completion of your degree.
For many students, the capacity to balance these three vital elements is of grave difficulty. There are various distractions abundant on campus that blanket our senses and many students lack the confidence/ knowledge to garner an all-round university experience. Upon completion of a Bachelor’s degree, students find themselves in a desperate situation. The top Companies require high academic achievement and viable working experience in their field of study which creates a pool of high competition. Unfortunately, most students lack both these requirements. Yet, the solution behind this dilemma is relatively simple.
Whatever degree a student may be pursuing, there are a select jobs that meet our appeal; for a mining engineer it may be Vac work at Rio Tinto; for a Commerce student it may be an internship at Ernst & Young or PWC. A focused student would do anything to get ahead of the game. So, the question is, how do we go about attaining such credibility?
Simply put, the better the job, the higher the requirements for academic achievement. For international students, the IELTS requirement for such companies ranges between a 7 or 7.5 out of 9 as a minimum average with an overall grade average of at least 65% at University. In addition to basic academic requirements, the big companies require students who have the ability to communicate effectively, to work hard not only as part of a team but to contribute productively to the overall goals of the company.
Most universities endeavour to provide such programs and assessments during the semester. Examples include group assessments in the form of written reports or oral presentations, career festivals and career focus conventions to mention a few. It is of vital importance that students engage in these provisions and strive to better their social skills.
Most University websites have a provision for job searches and they are set up in an efficient way to cater for students from all backgrounds. International students in Western Australia must keep in mind that it is a provision of their visa requirements that they only work a maximum of 20hrs a week (during an ongoing semester) and for this reason seek a casual or temporary position whilst studying. The websites provide students with links for temporary, vacation, permanent and part-time jobs within their field of study and the initial requirements for applying are mostly a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and cover letter.
As mentioned above, the CV and cover letter are crucial aspects of a successful job application. These are a student’s lifeline when applying for a job and the format, method of presentation and summary of information and experience are critical upon delivery. Do not hesitate to contact the student support centre at your university to accurately assess the criteria required for a particular job application and utilize their help when formulating your CV and cover letter. Keep your CV clear and concise, application assessors do not have time filter through pages and pages of information. Use bold text to highlight areas of key interest and title your subdivisions clearly. Bear in mind that these are the primary documents a firm will use to gauge your capabilities, so you want to give them the best impression possible.
The interview is another facet of the job application that requires attention. Students tested on both individual and group presentations during their University studies are far more experienced in the field of communication, proximity and use of gestures. These are essential elements of an interview. In addition is the dress code (a suit and tie is normally the best interview attire depending on the kind of job), which can make or break a job opportunity (a student applying for a Marketing job dressed up like a hobo in a vest and slippers is no doubt walking a thin line). One’s attire projects not only one’s own personality but the persona they hope to bring into the company.
Mental preparation is also an aspect to put into spectrum. Most interviewers have specific questions such as; what you hope to achieve from this job if you were successful; give us a past experience where you had to make a critical decision. The idea to answering these kind of questions is to prepare general answers in advance and adapt them to the interview theme as best as possible. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Interviewers in general appreciate a clear and concise answer to questions, the ability to show comfort and confidence even when faced with a tough problem, a grasp on general knowledge and an ability to formulate quick solutions without much hesitation. It is also in one’s own interest when given the opportunity to question the panel on topics one feel’s requires exposure.
The overall idea behind securing a positive future prospect is not to give up, keep applying to position’s of interest and acquire the right written and verbal approach to applications and interviews respectively. Be confident and go forth strong!