The first advice is the most important:
As this blog goes out, many finalists haven’t got much of an idea what they are going to do when they finish uni in the summer. To them would give this advice: You absolutely should concentrate on revision and your coursework submissions in the weeks leading up to the assessment period. What has been done – or not done – before this time has passed. It’s a good idea to look for jobs but only if you have a good idea about the career you want to follow. Don’t just fire off applications and think you will decide later. Applying for a job seriously is a time consuming business and needs you to be as sure as you can be that you are interested in the job. So, if you haven’t decided on a career, devote some time to working out what sort of things you enjoy doing and also reflecting on what you are good at (spoiler alert – these two things are likely to be similar!). It’s a good idea not to write careers off too easily because jobs are very often turn out to be very different to what you expect. For example, you might think marketing sounds like a great career for you but discover there is a huge amount of data analysis involved and perhaps that isn’t what you enjoy or are good at. So try to avoid the pressure to be applying for loads of jobs before you have done some ground work. Ideally you will have had some work experience or perhaps an internship. So much the better for finding out what a job REALLY entails. But if you haven’t had the chance to hang out with people who are in the sort of job you think you might like, then you could try to think in depth about the things you are good at and the things you like doing.
“… and if you haven’t got the time and mental bandwidth to devote to it, then it is better not to bother. A hastily written application simply won’t get you anywhere so put this aside. You can get to them later.
So, the first piece of employability advice for the summer exam time is to allow yourself to focus on exams and not your career. I have plenty of revision advice too which you can find here .
However, if you are reading this in your final year outside the exam period, there is plenty for you to do. Starting with the most important question of all:
Do you know yourself?
Perhaps this is the sort of question that a psychologist like me asks but nobody really knows why. But let me use myself as a (bad) example: my first career was in the military. I am a person who really doesn’t like being told what to do, hates being shouted at, doesn’t like violence and really needs to question things. None of which is (a) at all compatible with being a soldier and (b) things I was aware about myself when I joined. I had a great experience in the army and learned SO much but frankly I should have thought about it a lot more before I signed up.
At Warwick we offer students an assessment based on strengths which shows you the great things about you that you should capitalise on as well as stuff that maybe you won’t do quite so well at. If you can find this, I strongly recommend you take one. Do beware of less thorough personality tests but if you can possibly find a way of getting this feedback, take it. In fact, take ANY opportunity to get feedback. It is sometimes really really hard to take but if it is well considered, will transform your life. Big claim that – but true. I was once given some very painful feedback which was that I wasn’t good at taking feedback. My revenge on that piece of advice is that I am obsessed with getting and acting on feedback.
So, find your careers folk and ask for help.