As a future graduate, I always get asked the same questions…’What experience do you have?’ ‘When are you going to get a job?’ or ‘How are you going to get experience?’ The questions are asked by university lecturers, friends and future employers. The ‘interrogation’ happens so often it starts to overwhelm me about graduating.
I then started asking myself certain questions.
Will I have gained the desired experience by the time I graduate that positins me above the rest of my cohort? What makes me unique?
As I go into my fourth year of full time tertiary education, with graduation in sight, I admit I felt the increased pressure of getting the experience that will support my future career aspirations. For me, my mind is either running at zero “I’ve got plenty of time until I graduate” or running a thousand miles an hour “I need experience right now!” Not to forget the want, and pressure, to maintain a social life, boost my GPA, stay active and get the full recommended 8 hours of sleep a day…. how am I meant to achieve all of that? It can get overwhelming.
What is the purpose of me writing this blog? Today’s workforce is not just about having a degree. You are ‘highly encouraged’ to have relevant industry experience in addition to graduating. An internship, work experience, part-time work or volunteering; experience will enhance your prospect of snatching that graduate job against your fellow graduates.
For me, finding a job in the industry that I am studying in, gave me the satisfaction that the hours of theory I have learnt in lectures, regurgitating tables in assessments and memorising theories for exams… ARE worth it.
The pieces are starting to fit in my university puzzle.
University is providing me with the theories and concepts, and the workplace is providing the practice. I am more confident in class as I am applying what I have learnt into practice.
After nearly two months of working part time in the industry, what have I learnt?
- First impressions count. Always present yourself in a position and image that if you were the recruiter, would you hire yourself? This goes for presentation, resume layout and communication skills.
- LinkedIn is an important part of employment. Start early and develop your profile as each new opportunity arises, put yourself out there and place yourself as a professional from a young age.
- Always ask for feedback and show curiosity. If you don’t get the job you applied for, develop yourself and learn from the experience.
- Be prepared. Do your background research, because when you do apply for that dream job and get an interview, you want to be the standout candidate.
So, I say when in doubt, take the risk and ask questions, be curious, as my grandfather used to say, “they can only say no” – or as my boss said, “get fired” …but, imagine the possibilities beyond that.
Chloe Lindsay – Graduate Consultant