People study with the LLC for a variety of reasons, but probably most of our students are hoping that in some way the course and the experience of university life will enhance their personal and professional development. This may take a range of forms, perhaps progressing within an established area of work or starting a brand new career. But with so many graduates out there, how do you ensure that your course takes you to the post-university future you seek?
Giving yourself an edge in the competitive graduate labour market involves getting ‘extracurricular’ experiences on to your CV – those additional skills, knowledge and experiences that will make your application sparkle. The two most popular ways of doing this are through volunteering and work experience.
There is a wide range of volunteering opportunities that students can tap into, locally and regionally. Locally, you can use the University’s Volunteering Hub, which is accessible from the LeedsforLife website. Some of the opportunities are available at the university so you don’t even need to leave the campus. Many more volunteering opportunities are available on the Do-It website which has nationwide coverage. You can search by postcode to ensure that you pick up things which are within travelling distance of university or home. Volunteering may not be paid, but the transferable skills you can derive from it are still very valuable for your CV and are appreciated by prospective employers.
Many students in the LLC already work, either full-time or part-time, but if you are looking for part-time/temporary work locally, try the LUU Joblink job agency. At the time of writing there are over 100 jobs available through them. If you’re looking for work experience with graduate employers, have a look at the Careers Centre vacancies database. This doesn’t just advertise post-university graduate roles; at the time of writing there are over 350 ‘work experience’ opportunities available which do not require applicants to have acquired their degree yet. Some are year-long placements, some are shorter ones designed to be taken during university vacations (particularly the summer). Don’t be put off if the word ‘internship’ if used – these are paid roles and can be very valuable as an opportunity to check out particular industries/sectors and gain valuable experience, skills and professional references. In the long term, doing an internship/placement may enhance your chance of applying successfully to that company in the future; many employers like to ‘try before they buy’ and hire people they have already had on work experience.
Whatever your long-term plans, now’s a good time to be thinking about strategies to take you where you want to go!