Week 6 – Jenni Hanford

Although there’s always a lot to do at University, sometimes too much when you think about lectures, tutorials, deadlines, self-study, societies etc, it’s important to think about life after it’s all over, a very sad thought indeed! University is about enjoying a whole new life experience; making new friends, learning new subjects, living independently and much much more. However, all the things you do at University can, and most probably will, affect your chances in the ‘outside world’.  It’s really important to capitalise on your time at Lancaster University and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities it has to offer.

In a previous blog I mentioned the Lancaster careers service and target connect. This service is really important and has so much to offer, offering a wide range of sessions, which help you to prepare for future jobs. There are also various opportunities to attend talks that will enhance your current studies, dependant on your subject and year of study. Lancaster has brilliant connections with many different firms and there are often talks and workshops from such industry leaders, which can be very helpful in knowing what they are looking for, but also provides networking opportunities.

A strong CV is very important in getting any job, whether it is part-time or a graduate opportunity. Target connect has many sessions which it runs and these vary depending on the type of CV you want to create. I have attended a number of the different sessions and they were very helpful in focusing in on a concise and effective CV, explaining the key dos and don’ts to creating a winning snapshot of you for employers. Even if looking for a job is a long way off, it’s a good idea to have a CV ready to go that you can add to over the years whilst you’re at University, so that it isn’t a rushed job when you need it!

Work experience is very useful when applying for future jobs, as you can easily evidence relevant skills you have developed, which match your desired position. It also demonstrates that you have the motivation and ability to secure a job/internship/placement and, if it is in the field you are applying for, shows you are focused and dedicated to your future career. Work experience is also very helpful to you, in deciding exactly on the career you want. It may be the case you don’t enjoy certain work, which is actually great as it can guide you into a career you’ll definitely enjoy, but it’s also still experience and helps you to understand the ‘working world’, which is very useful for interviews.

Many job applications, especially in audit firms, require the completion of psychometric tests. Each firm differs slightly in the tests they conduct, but they’re all the same in principle. They cover the areas of numeracy, logic and verbal reasoning, normally completed online and are multiple choice. If you progress to further stages, you may be required to complete a paper version, to ensure you were the one completing them online! Many people say you can either do them or you can’t, which I don’t believe is 100% true. There are many examples online for you to practice with, and I also bought workbooks on each test type, which definitely assisted me in completing the tests successfully.

A good quality degree classification is very important in any job interview, so focusing on your studies from the start is important. There are many different job opportunities and they all want different degrees/grades/skills/people, so you need to look carefully at job descriptions and the necessary requirements.

In job interviews, it’s important to evidence the strengths required (specifics found on company websites) through activities and experiences you have encountered. To produce strong interview responses, you need to have participated in lots of different activities, which you are passionate and can talk about.  This can easily be achieved by; joining various societies at Lancaster University, taking advantage of the many volunteering opportunities on and off campus, getting a part-time job/work experience. If you have lots of different things to talk about, you will come across as very interesting in your interviews and evidence many skills that the company are looking for.

Apply early! There is always a job deadline but it’s better not to wait until the last day to submit your application. I suggest this because it means your application is less likely to be rushed and you may be more likely to get the job, as if the position is already filled before the deadline (job dependant) or they can only take a certain number of people, you may miss out.

Hopefully this weeks post has been helpful in providing a few tips in preparing for the future! I find it really scary, but if you take everything one step at a time and do it in stages, it becomes a lot less stressful and a lot easier.

Thanks for reading,