This time of the year as the end of semester approaches it’s good to take stock of how things have gone. Which of these most closely matches you?
- I finished everything l planned and all went well…
- Plan? I didn’t have a plan…
- I started out with good intentions, but things have spiralled out of control and I’m now thinking “I should have done so much more!..”
No matter what category you fit into here’s some good advice to reflect on.
If you’re doing graduate job applications and have received any rejections do make an effort to contact the company’s graduate recruitment team for feedback. Find out what particular area of the application or interview you weren’t successful with. Even if you receive a standard email along the lines of ‘This organisation is unable to give feedback due to the high volume of applications’ try ringing them to ask (very politely) if anyone could give you any tips for future applications/interviews. After all, you don’t want to make the same mistake twice.
In terms of time management, and trying to fit everything in, consider all the things you didn’t do that you thought you would (or know you should have). Aside from any part-time work and sports or clubs/societies, your degree probably takes up most of your time (or at least it should!) A friend of mine, now employed doing research, gave me good advice for getting through coursework and exams. He set aside one day a week and wrote 3 to 4 pages and by the end of the year found he had finished his work without late nights. Obviously it all depends on your degree, but choose an appropriate amount of time each week (maybe broken up into mornings or afternoons) and get into the habit of doing nothing but your degree work during that time. It will surprise you how much easier things are near deadlines and exams.
Finally, take on board all the feedback you’ve been given by recruiters, Careers Advisers, academic staff etc, or from coursework you’ve handed in – this can help you with how to manage your time better. If you’re struggling to find time during the week to fill in applications, whether for jobs or postgrad study, do spend a few hours at the weekend or evenings each week. You don’t want to miss out on something you’d be interested in and have to wait for next time to apply again. The hard truth is that if you’re not willing or able to give up some of your free time to apply for things you’re not likely to get that graduate job or course. But if you stay positive, get organised and keep applying you will see results.