There are two sides to your life at university – there’s the side where you’re exploring life away from home, and getting used to the idea of independence.
Then there’s the small matter of your future! Many attend uni in order to gain skills for better employment, namely a career. Some know what they want to do, others don’t.
So we’ve put together a guide to thinking about preparing a career while still a student. These steps should definitely take you in the right direction…
5. Be prepared
If you ever stick to one thing in your life, make it organisation. Dreams don’t become a reality without keeping your feet on the ground and planning ahead.
We know what you’re thinking. It’s tough being prepared. But it’s actually easier than you think. And once you’ve mastered the art, it’ll stay with you forever.
Learning how to budget is a major move you can make. Careers inevitably revolve around money and using it effectively. Controlling your finances is key.
Also get into the habit of planning a schedule that incorporates work, and other things such as R ‘n R. You won’t succeed in a career if you’re always half asleep!
4. Use resources
This is an easy tip that’s even easier to forget. Your uni is packed with resources, the variety of which you may never have access to again once you graduate.
Think about it! From the library with its books, DVDs and online archives to the gym, to the quiet spaces you just don’t get in day to day life… make the most of these!
There are people to network with too. Some of your fellow students could become future business partners. Bend the ears of on-site pros for the best career advice.
People don’t hold your hand out there in the adult world, so while you’ve got so much at your fingertips, dive in and enjoy the experience you’re paying good money for.
3. Absorb knowledge
Paying attention at uni isn’t only done at lectures. This is a whole new thing for you, you should be keeping your eyes and ears open and drinking it in.
Now, there will be ample opportunities to mix with different groups of people and hear about their lives and approach to work. Listen and learn from them.
Don’t just focus on your chosen subject. Take the time to read about other areas and broaden your horizons. A rounded view is a great asset to have in a career.
Just because you want to study art, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be interested in stuff like sport or even plumbing! Think outside the box and the results will surprise.
2. Work experience
Chances are you’ll be holding down a part time job to top up your inadequate student loan. This is a necessary evil in some ways, but a force for good in others.
Here’s the thing. The sooner you get accustomed to a 9 – 5 job, or something more flexible, the easier it’s going to be once you get out of uni and into the workplace.
There are lots of jobs out there that get you into the habit of working – they may not be what you want to do, or very glamorous, but they provide a valuable experience.
If you want to get stuck into something in your chosen field, that’s good too! Keep your ear to the ground, via contacts or websites, for news of any openings you can fill.
1. Start a business
Sounds dramatic, but have you thought about setting up a career while studying? It’s a lot to take on, but if you have the drive and ideas it could be the best decision you’ll make.
Take the plunge. The important thing is to find a gap in a certain market, or something that’s never been done before. This latter one happens occasionally!
Even if it doesn’t come to anything, and provided you don’t spend bags of money, it’s still a great learning experience for when you try it again later on.
You’ll certainly need all the funds you can get – making extra cash on the side is always a good move. Read more about how to do that here.
Useful ideas for uni students.