Three ways to prepare for grad careers while at University

Three ways to prepare for grad careers while at University

All University students have highexpectations when it comes to gradcareers and some may even be looking forward to starting one when theyfinish their studying. However, reality can hit hard.

Employment rates for graduates in the UKare quite high, with the graduate employment rate sitting at 87.7% in 2018. Thetrend for employment rates indicates an increase across all qualificationgroups – however, the rise is the greatest amongst non-graduates.

So, what happened to the other 12% ofgraduates? Well it could be that they are just not prepared for life at workafter life at University. Many universities try and combat this by offeringadvice and career counselling services to help students to prepare for grad positions – however, studentsneed to remember that a lot of their success depends on their actions.

Your successful career starts atUniversity, so you need to start preparing for it right now.

Don’t know how to? Let’s show you:

#1 Take advantage of placementprogrammes at University

Many Universities offer industrial placementsor sandwich years for students but how do they work?

Placements are structured programmes ofwork which entail a student spending an academic year working for a business aspaid employee, before returning to University to complete the final year oftheir degree. They are a great way for students to gain valuable workexperience and skills before they graduate.

They can be a great way to get your foot onthe ladder as the company you work for may decide you are future talent, anduse the time to expose you to their culture and team ethics. You will start toget familiar with your potential future colleagues and work surroundings if youdecide to join after you have completed your degree.

Getting professional work experience likethis can be invaluable to you when you are searching for grad careers. A lot ofUniversity degrees these days are very theory based which can leave employersworried that students will lack the skills and practical knowledge needed whenit comes to the world of work. If the employer sees an industrial placement onyour CV though, they will know that you have some experience of work and sothey will know you are work-ready.

#2 Volunteer or undertake an internship

Internships are similar to placements asthey are paid, but they usually only last between one and four months (usuallyin the summer holidays). Again, they can be a great way to find out what it islike to work for a particular company, or to work in a particular sector.

Internships can be a great way to learn theculture of a company, the company values, how to operate certain software andequipment, what it is like to work for different sizes of organisations, andalso how to collaborate across teams.

Volunteering is also another way to getsome work experience, but you won’t be paid for it. However, employers tend tolook kindly on volunteer experiences as they can help to shape a student’sindividuality by encouraging them to participate in selfless acts which canalso teach them reliability, responsibility and selflessness.

#3 Start working on your professionalimage creatively

As well as taking on an industrialplacement, volunteering or even an internship there are other more creativeways you can use to help improve your professional image. The best way to do thisis to work as a freelancer, creating websites for example, or tutoring.

Freelancing won’t work for all careers ofcourse, for example if you want to be a Dr you can’t really freelance as one.However, you can showcase your skills in other ways, by writing a blog forexample. Blogging on your specific subject areas is a great way to show yourprofessional knowledge as well as offering advice to other students in yourfield. Blogs can show future employers your creative side, and show that youare a person who can think outside the box.


Following all of these tips won’t guaranteeyou land a job after graduating, but they will improve your CV and help youfeel more confident when applying for gradopportunities. They will also help you if you have graduated butaren’t sure what career path to take.

Good luck! 

Simon Thompson

Simon Thompson is CEO of Simon is a recruitment professional that pioneers the usage of video in recruitment and fully committed to helping young people find employment.