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7 things first year students can do to boost their employability

Our student blogger Maeve McDermott read the TARGETjobs Careers Survival Pack and here are her key takeaways. Number 4, get to know us better!

Your first year of university can be overwhelming. Moving to a new city and navigating a newfound independence, whilst mastering the art of referencing and attending lectures can mean that thinking about your future career is pushed to the bottom of your list of priorities. However, it is never too early to think about ways to boost your employability while still enjoying everything else that comes along with university life, and TARGETjobs Careers Survival Pack is full of tips on how to just that. Act now and thank yourself later and you can save yourself from that final year rush.

  1. Plan your path 

Thinking about your career early on can be daunting, so it’s useful to chart your direction and decide which route you are going to take so you have a structure to follow. Will you choose a sector/industry to work and look for employers in that sector? Or will you be more flexible about the role and sector, and instead focus on the employers you like and seek out their opportunities? Either way is perfectly fine, but it’s good to choose one path so you can effectively plan your career as early as possible. 

2. Clubs and societies 

Joining clubs and societies is not only a great way to meet people and have fun, but to gain those vital transferrable skills. Teamwork and problem-solving skills are part and parcel of being a member of any club or society, be it Brazilian Jujitsu or the Vegetarian Society, and it shows that you’re committed and have interests outside of your studies and your social life! Plus, having a role of responsibility through running events in any clubs or societies can demonstrate communication and organisational skills, which are sure to impress future employers – and can enjoyable too!

3. Part-time jobs and volunteering 

Part-time jobs and volunteering opportunities also give you the chance to build on those transferrable skills. Whilst stacking shelves or picking up litter mightn’t be what you want to do long-term, the ability to juggle work and study can demonstrate a strong work ethic to employers and really help you to stand out. There are plenty of rewarding and interesting volunteering opportunities available through Volunteer SU who are always looking for people to offer their time, and part-time work both on and off campus are advertised on MyFuture.

4. Get to know your university’s careers service

Explore what your careers service has to offer. From consultations to employer events to international study tours, your careers service is bursting with resources to help you boost your employability alongside your studies. Visit the QUB Careers website often and follow their social media to keep up to date with opportunities and events. Careers fairs and employer events are a great way to meet and network with employers directly – something that you can never do too early.

5. Develop a good study routine 

Establishing an effective study routine from the get-go can really work in your favour. Even if your first year counts for very little, having impressive first year grades will come in handy if applying for internships/work experience in 2nd year, as employers will only have these grades to base their decisions on. Plus, it’s good to develop those study skills early on in your university career to avoid the final year panic.

6.Look at work experience/internships

Be sure to check springtime deadlines/exam dates as some employers offer insight days, work experience, or internships for first year students. More and more large companies are offering these types of opportunities and having these names on your CV can look really impressive to future employers and can be a great way to decide whether an employer is right for you. After finishing your exams and assignments, what better way to start your long summer break than gaining valuable experience and building up your CV early on in your university career? 

7. Register with TARGETjobs 

Registering with the TARGETjobs website means you’ll get sent details of careers events, work experience and tips to improve your employability. They also run the Undergraduate of the Year Awards with an award exclusively for first year students, so what are you waiting for? TARGETjobs also run events to introduce students to employers, with some exclusively for first year students and some open to all year groups, such as webinars that can help with your employability. Have a look and see what’s on offer at targetjobs.co.uk/events

Doing just a few things per semester to boost your employability doesn’t have to be overly time-consuming. It’s really as simple as joining a club, volunteering for a few hours or attending an employer event and it can really pay off in the long run. Any effort you put in now will really help you in the future, and your final year self will be forever thankful!

Read more advice from TargetJobs here. 

Categories
Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employers Study abroad volunteering Work abroad work experience WORK EXPERIENCE AND PLACEMENT FAIR

Over 60+ Amazing Companies You Can Meet at the Work Experience & Placement Fair

Whether you are looking for a summer job, a placement or an internship, you can meet a host of employers from every industry with opportunities for students just like you. Here is who is registered to exhibit at the Work Experience and Placement Fair on 24 Feb.

            EY (UK)

            Catholic Guides of Ireland Northern Region

            Le Pritchitt & Co Ltd

            Grant Thornton

            Civil Service Fast Stream

            National Trust

            Teach First

            FinTrU

            AquaQ Analytics

            Synopsys

            Think Pacific

            KPMG (NI & ROI)

            RNID

            Probation Board for N.Ireland

            SIG

            Cloudsmith

            PwC

            Arthur Cox

            Herbert Smith Freehills

            Specialisterne NI

            Version 1 Ltd

            Farrans

            Regional Medical Physics Service, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust

            Diaceutics

            CK International

            Rakuten Blockchain Lab

            IAESTE – British Council 

            Orchardville

            Christies Direct

            GCD Technologies

            SpotX

            Chartered Accountants Ireland

            RPS Ireland Ltd

            Coffey Construction (I) Ltd

            Alloyed Limited

            Childline

            First Derivatives

            Design ID Consulting Ltd

            Centre for Effective Services

            Citi

            TUSLA Child and Family Agency

            Civil Service Local – Cabinet Office

            ASM Chartered Accountants

            3EN Cloud Ltd

            McLaughlin & Harvey

            ReGen Waste

            For Purpose

            BBC Northern Ireland

            Inspire

            Celerion GB Ltd

            Foods Connected

            Spirit AeroSystems

            Allstate Northern Ireland

            Leonard Cheshire Disability

            Nitec Solutions Ltd

            EOS IT Management Solutions

            Glen Dimplex

            Henderson Group

            Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK), Ltd

            Symphony Talent

            Shelter Northern Ireland

            CavanaghKelly

            Eli Lilly and Company

NI Screen

Have you registered for the fair yet? If not, you can register here.

Categories
Creative careers cultural careers Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employers Networking not for profit work experience WORK EXPERIENCE AND PLACEMENT FAIR

Expert Guide to Networking as a Student

Throughout the academic year, the Careers service at Queen’s host employer events, fairs and industry insight opportunities. These are a great networking opportunity and offer the chance to ask questions of some key players in your target industry. 

However, often the word ‘networking’ can fill you with dread. Don’t fret – it’s something you do every day. “Networking is something we do everyday, often without realising it!,” says Emma Lennox, Queen’s Careers Consultant. “It’s about reaching out to people, sometimes with an objective in mind (potentially employment-related) and sometimes not.

It’s about connecting online and in person. If online, be professional, join groups and post meaningful comments, expand your network and be curious!” she says.

Before the sessions

Emma suggests doing a bit of desktop research before attending an employer event so you know who is going and what you might want to ask. While the guest speakers will be doing much of the talking, it doesn’t hurt to have a short bio prepared in case you are asked. According to Emma, this should answer three key questions: Who are you?

What do you do/study? What are you looking for?

At the sessions

Emma has prepared the following cheat sheet of questions you can ask employers at networking events:

How did you start in this area of work?

Where do you see a person like me fitting into this field (industry, company)?

What professional associations should I join?

What professional publications should I read?

What are some of the problems and issues your organisation faces?

What are the most necessary skills for these types of jobs?

What are the trends affecting your business?

What’s a typical career path for someone coming in at my level?

Can I keep in touch with you and let you know my progress?

Read next:

Managing your LinkedIn Profile

Categories
internship placement work experience

Where to find a graduate internship

Graduate internships are short-term paid opportunities for graduates to gain work experience within a company or organisation. The below directory can help you find the right opportunity for you.Graduate internships are short-term paid opportunities for graduates to gain work experience within a company or organisation. The below directory can help you find the right opportunity for you.

Career Boost 

The Career Boost Programme connects Science, Engineering and Technology graduates with real jobs in innovative SMEs. 

Assured Skills

The Assured Skills Training Programme is run by the Department for the Economy. They offer a useful stepping stone into a particular area of work. 

Graduate Talent Pool

Internship opportunities for graduates across the UK

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

UK-wide programme with projects involving a partnership between a graduate, organisation and university or research organisation

Discover KTP at Queen’s

Step

Internship opportunities for students and graduates in the UK. 

Rate my Placement

Access paid placements and internships in the UK.

Targetjobs Internships

Find your perfect internship or placement.

Prospects

Filter your search by ‘work experience’ to access internships, placements and more.

Gradcracker

Placement, internships and graduate jobs in science and engineering.

Inside Careers

Graduate jobs and work experience opportunities in the finance sector.

Student Circus

Accessible via MyFuture, this site has information tailored to international students in the UK.

Inside Sherpa

Access free virtual short-term internships in a variety of sectors

Work abroad

Access placement, internships and work experience overseas via Global Opportunities.

For up to date information on placement and internships, visit MyFuture