2012 Student and Graduate Career Planner
Aside from enjoying the social aspect of university life, it can be daunting to think about your future career when in the midst of gaining a degree. To help you get the most from 2012, this handy timeline from graduate recruitment website Milkround will help guide you to a top graduate job, whichever year you're in.
Freshers and mid-terms: in the first month of the year it's often best to gather your thoughts and think ahead to what you want to achieve in the coming year. It's never too early to be considering your career development, so whether you're a fresher or mid-term student, looking for ways to enhance your CV should be paramount. This doesn't have to be via some form of work, it could mean getting involved with a university club or society that will get you learning crucial practical and management skills: being a social secretary or society treasurer will impress employers.
Finalists: you'll need to act fast to secure a place on a graduate scheme as many close their intake in December. There will still be some open, but check for those with deadlines coming up and apply as quickly as you can - sometimes employers are inundated with applications and have to stop accepting new applications ahead of their original deadline.
All years: If you're looking for work over Easter, keep an eye out for companies offering Easter internships in February: this is a prime time for employers to advertise for positions. These are ideal to get an insight into a job for non-finalists, but if you're in your last year of study you might find an internship can act as a foot-in-the-door to a company. A successful Easter internship could lead to a starting role come summer.
For those who have applications onto graduate schemes accepted, you'll need to be ready for interviews and assessment centres. To prepare, try taking some online psychometric tests as many employers use them as part of their recruitment process.
Finalists: this is your chance to take a break from applying and assess how the job hunt has gone so far. Consider talking to your careers service for advice on next steps. If your applications to graduate schemes weren't successful, or you missed the deadlines of the ones you had singled out before Christmas, don't be disheartened. Graduate vacancies will be available in the coming months.
Whatever your year of study, keep your career at the back of your mind, but concentrate on finishing your degree. After all, this will be the qualification many employers are most interested in on your CV. Then make sure you have a break when you finish all your work!
Freshers and mid-terms: if you've just come to the end of your first or second year, the summer vacation offers plenty of time to develop your career. Internships, placements, work experience or shadowing are all worth considering, particularly if you've got a firm idea of what job you want. If you can't find any advertising jobs don't be afraid to contact employers directly to enquire about a week or two of unpaid work or shadowing to get a feel for an industry or job role. These can be viral networking opportunities and look great on a CV.
Job-seeking graduates: the summer offers numerous graduate recruitment fairs around the country where employers actively recruiting graduates will be keen to speak to you. Go prepared with CVs and dress smartly - you could be effectively interviewed by every company representative you speak to.
As attention turns back to university study while graduates look to the working world, if you're a returning student you should start to narrow down what industries suit you best - perhaps visit your careers service for advice. Before your course and the inevitable busy social side of university starts in earnest, be sure to have your CV updated and employers-ready so you're fully prepared for any career opportunities that will arise.
Finalists: be aware that graduate schemes open in October and some close in December: having a prepped CV will make those applications so much easier to complete before the strict deadlines.
Freshers and mid-terms: enjoy the first weeks of term and get involved with clubs and societies. If you're keen to ensure you've got some money throughout the year, employers in university cities and towns will have vacancies to fill to cope with term-time demand. Check high street windows for signs or your university's career service.
Finalists: time to start attending company presentations and careers fairs on campus to talk to potential employers. If you are applying for popular areas such as accountancy, banking and business management, or looking to join a major firm, check the closing dates for graduate schemes as some close as early as December. Some companies will organise first interviews on campus and at regional sites so be prepared for these.
Freshers and mid-terms: this month a focus on your studies is the wisest course of action and enjoying university life either for the first time or having settled in the previous year. Keep an eye on career events and opportunities for finalists to engage with employers so you know what to expect when it's your turn to start job hunting.
Finalists: get those applications for the initial graduate scheme deadlines finished and sent - many are heavily oversubscribed so getting an application in early can be vital.
Freshers and mid-terms: it's worth considering if you'll want to look for structured vacation work such as a placement or internship for the winter. The vacation can also be an ideal time to get on top of your work so do consider what needs to take priority.
Finalists: if you're keen to join a particular company but they have no advertised jobs these no harm in making a speculative approach to them. The vacation can be a good time to draft up letter and tailor a CV for these companies to send to their HR departments. Don't expect a reply, but there is always a chance you will get a positive outcome.
We know it can be tough right now for returning gappers looking for work, and worrying if you're planning a trip. That's why we've teamed up with our friends at careers network milkround to bring you the best career and jobs advice. Register with them to find out more!
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