The first advice is the most important:
As this blog goes out, many of you are in the middle of exams. 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. In other words, I have all sorts of ideas for things you can do to get ready for job applications before the final exams but you need to have complete focus. You career choices, applications, CVs and all the rest of it can be done afterwards.
Don’t try to take any more new applications on during this time. Applying for a job is a tie consuming business 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.