Harry Freedman, the author of How to Get a Job in a Recession and careers consultant, writes that the key to getting a job in a downturn is to be as visible as possible.
Students on the verge of graduating can do a number of things before leaving education to provide them with visibility in the employer’s eyes.
The graduate employment market is intensely competitive and preparing for a successful transition into it takes long-term planning and the gaining of relevant skills and experience whilst studying.
While studying it’s important to consider getting involved in any activity that will develop your skills and interests, whether it’s part-time employment and relevant volunteering opportunities.
Some universities offer mentoring schemes to help students to plan and prepare for graduate employment by organising matches with experienced professionals who offer career-focused support.
Such schemes are highly beneficial and, if available, are worth exploring.
Mentoring meetings and activities aim to build student confidence within a professional environment, to develop employability skills and to prepare the student for a successful transition to graduate-level employment.
Mentors do not offer employment opportunities or work experience: but a listening ear, their professional experience and feedback on the career-focused actions that their student mentee takes.
Alternatively, other creative activities can be both fun and skill-building. Involvement in student societies, whether it is drama or politics, not only boosts confidence but provides solid examples of teamwork, leadership and public speaking skills.
Volunteering is another useful way of demonstrating to an employer that you’re dedicated and professional. Certain industries see work experience in the field as a pre-requisite to recruitment and volunteering can be that ideal first step to convincing them that you have what it takes.