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Five career moves you should make at university

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You’ve identified your favourite club nights, perfected your drinks order and learned to ‘down it all in eight’. Overall, your university experience is going pretty well. The freedom, drinking culture and optional lectures are an intoxicating combination for any new student. While we’re all guilty of missing that 9am class after a heavy session, if you’re not careful, the alluring nature of university life could leave you in an unfortunate predicament at the end of your degree – i.e. unemployed and broke. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice all the fun to ensure your university experience leads to a thriving career. These five moves you should make at university.

Make contacts

Going out and drinking can actually offer a considerable career boost. In the world of work, we call it ‘networking’. Instead of going out with your flatmates every day, try joining some societies. These niche groups are designed to help you make contacts that will support you throughout your career.

They regularly run socials that help you get to know like-minded individuals. You might be chugging pints with the next Alan Sugar, David Attenborough or Alfred Hitchcock. In five or ten years, these connections will be invaluable.

Get experience

Most graduates enter the world of work on the same footing. While the specific class of your degree may hold some value, it’s considerably more worthwhile to employers that you have experience in your field.

Your university years are the ideal time to gain experience, as you have plenty of free time and a secure income. Try and find local businesses and ask if they need any volunteers. Or you could look for paid internships. Taking this extra step will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your peers when you graduate.

Try new things

Having a direction in your career is a good thing, but being over-focused can be a drawback. Employers value diversity of experience, and sometimes it’s that secondary skill set that will get you hired over the competition.
Universities are filled with people from all backgrounds. The many unions, societies, and events are a smorgasbord of interesting activities to try out. Take a step outside your comfort zone and try something new. It could be the best decision you ever make for your career.

Perfect your side hustle

It’s always a challenge to secure a role in your chosen field straight out of university. With the threat of Brexit looming on the horizon, the employment market is more unstable than ever. So here’s the secret: if you have the power to make some money on the side, then it’s easier to wait it out for your perfect job.

Having a side hustle is easier than ever. There are countless online jobs that you can do in your spare time to raise some funds, leaving you free to hunt for opportunities to enhance your career.

Make a plan

Finally, but most importantly, have a plan. University is one of the best times of your life, and it will speed by faster than you think. Before you realise, you’ll be kicked to the curb, holding your degree, ready to start your ‘real life.’ While gaining skills and experience is a great start, it means nothing if you don’t have a plan of action.

Check out graduate schemes, look up local companies you’d like to work for, set some goals or even write a 5-year plan. Having direction is the most powerful tool for employment success.

Do you have any advice on what other moves you should make at university? Let us know in the comments below.

Career CamelFive career moves you should make at university

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