The job market has become even more daunting in light of COVID-19 and safety measures, and it has become more difficult to get work experience. However, even in these times, there are a number of ways to improve your employability.
Develop soft skills and experience
Joining a society can not only maximize your student life but also give you valuable skills and experience that can enhance your CV. In particular, you should aim to join a society that you like (e.g., reflective of your interests, hobbies) as one of the committee members - this will help you to develop leadership skills and show your proactive nature, which is something employers value. Another way of getting involved is through volunteering. Through the University of Manchester Volunteer Hub, you can easily apply for opportunities for various causes. You can choose an opportunity based on your area of interest, duration and skills involved. This way, you can give back to the community and develop new skills and experiences needed for the job hunt.
Use Career services and resources to prepare
Whether you’re looking for an internship, work placement or a graduate job, it is important to be prepared in advance. The University of Manchester offers plenty of support - through the University of Manchester Careers portal, students can browse opportunities and book appointments with the Careers team. They will meticulously go through your CV and cover letter, help tailor it to specific roles and give recommendations for improvement. Additionally, you can book mock interviews and assessment centers - the feedback they give you is invaluable and has helped me to refine the way I structure my answers and engage in a group! Additionally, the CareerConnect portal allows to register for events with employers as well as industry professionals - it is the perfect opportunity to network and gain valuable insight into the job market!
At the end of the day, it is important to make the most out of your university experiences. You can try stepping up as a leader in a group project or volunteer to present in front of the class. These small instances can help you develop the much-needed confidence and become discussion points during your interviews. For instance, you can explain how you overcame your fear of public speaking by taking up a specific module, which shows your willingness to learn and to improve yourself. Learning languages and coding in your free time can really help to stand out in the job market as well.
These tips will help you improve your employability and come closer to the career you aspire to achieve - and they will help you feel more productive and good about yourself, too!