University Tips Blog
Image of a student attending a careers interview
A headshot image of the author, Rebecca Wills

by Rebecca Wills

Head of Careers at Lincoln Minster Senior School

posted on 5 Mar '24

Think employability – a guide to careers support at university

Many students choose to go to university to improve their future career prospects, but with so many graduates now entering the job market, a degree alone is not always enough. It is therefore very important that you work on developing your employability skills throughout your time at university, and university careers services are experts in offering a range of support to help you achieve this successfully. I will provide a guide to this here – and plant some seeds, so hopefully you take advantage of it!

Careers service support is available throughout university courses

In your first year, you might need help finding part-time work or student ambassador roles, and many careers services will source and advertise such opportunities. They will also have the expertise to support with CV creation and job applications.

In second or subsequent years, you might need advice when searching and applying for work experience, placements and internships, all of which are excellent ways to boost employability skills and add valuable professional experience to your CV.

The final year is when life beyond university becomes a reality, and you will certainly benefit from careers support (although many would benefit from accessing it earlier!). University careers services are specialists in the graduate labour market and support students to search and apply for graduate opportunities. They can also advise on postgraduate study options and careers in academia.

Career fairs and events

Careers Fairs take place regularly at university to enable you to meet potential employers. Other events such as presentations, workshops, industry trips, employer panels, mock interviews and mock assessment centres all contribute to ensuring that you are well informed about your career options, and well prepared to tackle the various application processes.

Alongside events and activities, the careers services also offer individualised careers information, advice and guidance. Career guidance meetings are available with qualified, specialist careers advisers. You can explore your future plans and career aspirations with an adviser and develop action plans to help you achieve your goals. Careers advisers can help everyone make their next steps into work or study – even (and especially!) those who have no idea what they want to do.

Ongoing careers support

Universities take graduate employability very seriously (it also feeds into league table results!) and there is always lots of support available. Sometimes it is embedded within degrees and included as part of the course, but often events, activities and opportunities are extra-curricular and optional, so you need to make sure that you are proactive in engaging with the careers service to make the most of what’s on offer.

"Once you start a course, my best advice is to find out where the careers team are located at the university, what support is on offer and get involved with it! You should also look out for Skills Awards which lots of universities offer – these are programmes which students can follow to develop and record their experiences and skills."

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