Advice for University Students, from a University student!
Graduation represents a time to reflect, reminisce and celebrate completing a degree in a new city and developing as a person. However, graduation can also be a scary prospect for people who are unsure of their next steps, especially in the current state of the job market. For me personally, the pandemic resulted in my 12-week long summer internship being cancelled leaving me disappointed. I was left to ponder how to utilise my summer wisely to give myself the best opportunity to secure a graduate scheme for the following year. Securing a summer internship or a graduate scheme is a complicated process involving many steps and can be a daunting process when you first start. Before you start looking for internship opportunities online, it is important to define the type of internship you are looking for. There are many websites such as Bright Network that direct people to a plethora of internships in a variety of different fields.
Networking is one of the most vital skills that you will need to secure an internship or graduate scheme. People with a large network will be at an advantage as they will be able to gather advice and tips from a variety of people to broaden their horizons. Fortunately, there is plenty of help available, I thoroughly recommend attending panel events and career fairs to broaden your network. Take your CV and covering letter to these events and show them to people, network and exchange contact details with recruiters. Any advice given to you at these events is vitally important as getting your CV right is key. When applying for internships or graduate schemes it is important to demonstrate the employability skills you have learnt through real life situations. Examples of the employability skills employers are looking for are communication, innovation, leadership, problem solving and teamwork. I advise you to get in touch with your university if you are struggling with your CV as there is always plenty of support available. Personally, I actively sought out help from my university and reaped the benefits when I received tailored advice.
Writing an outstanding cover letter is also pivotal as this is your introduction to the company you are applying to and it should stand out as it is competing with many others. Research is key as you will impress employers by demonstrating knowledge of the company. If you are not confident writing this, Graduate Scheme Success can help as they offer unlimited access to an online portal and personal mentoring 24/7. Your CV and cover letter needs to be adapted and appropriate for the company you are applying to. InsideSherpa offer a breadth of virtual internship opportunities with top companies’ such as BCG and Citi. Completing these programs shows initiative in difficult circumstances which will impress employers. Volunteering is also something you can get involved in; it might not seem to make sense to work for free, but it does. You can prove yourself and get glowing letters of recommendation.
If you get past the initial stage and online test in the application process and are asked to go for an interview with the company, be prepared! Research as much as you can about its ethos, position in the marketplace and any unique factors at the company. As with anything else, the more practice you do the more successful will be in the interview. Graduate Scheme Success can help you practice and gives you tailored advice to remove any nervousness in the process.