Sustainable Economic Development

Improve Your Employability: BEST PRACTICE FOR STUDENTS

1. DO INTERNSHIPS!

The most effective way to improve your employability is to get experience in the field you want to work in. Why? Because internships give you that competitive edge over other applicants. Besides that, they also guide you in determining what kind of job you want to take up after graduation. Make use of your recess and vacations to gain valuable work experience. When looking for internships, go through your contacts to check whether someone you know might be able to help you land an internship.

internshipHow To:
Apply directly to the company or organisation you are interested in or check out the following websites for internship opportunities:

2. VOLUNTEER!

According to a 2013 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive think tank in Washington D.C., people who volunteer are more likely to find a job when compared to those who don’t volunteer. Prospective employers value volunteer work because it shows that you are pro-active and hardworking. It also indicates that you have strong values and good interpersonal competencies. Get volunteer experience in areas which are relevant to the field you want to work in. For example, if you are studying Education, try to volunteer for an organisation that works with children. Why not use your recess and vacations to gain experience volunteering or do some part-time volunteering during the term?

How to:
Simply approach any non-profit organisation whose work you find interesting and can identify with and ask them whether they have any volunteer opportunities. You can also check out the Red Cross Voluntary Service.

3. NETWORK!

Networking is crucial to helping you land the job you want! What’s great about networking is that you can do it anytime you engage with people, even in your free time. Start it off slowly by building on your family’s and friends’ networks and attending relevant professional events. Your goal should be to make relevant professionals remember you and save their contact details. After making their acquaintance, write your new contacts a message asserting that it was a pleasure to meet them and include any other comments that could build on your conversation with them. Also, make sure you keep in touch with old contacts – you never know when you might need their assistance.

network

How To:
Sign up to company newsletters to stay informed on upcoming events and check out the following websites:

4. TRAVEL/MOVE AROUND!

Going abroad gets you out of your comfort zone and signals that you are open minded, courageous, and curious about other cultures. International experience not only sets you apart from other candidates when you apply for a job, it also provides a great opportunity for personal growth and development. Try to combine this step with steps 1, 2 or 3, to make the most out of your time away. If for whatever reason, you are unable to go abroad, at least try to move around and gain experiences in different regions within your country.

travel

5. GET PUBLISHED!

Submit your written work to print media and to relevant journals. Publications under your name make a great impression on your CV and show that you are engaged and know your field of interest. Starting your own blog and writing about issues that are meaningful to you can also be a great way of building a credible online presence. Referencing your blog and any other publication in your CV demonstrates your dedication and enthusiasm for a particular subject.

How To:
Send your proposal for an article or paper to any newspaper, media outlet, or journal whose audience you think might be interested in your topic. Also check whether you have any contacts who might be able to help you here.

6. LEARN A LANGUAGE!

Learning a new language demonstrates that you are committed to personal development and keen to communicate with people from other cultures or nationalities. Plus, mastering another language can be extremely rewarding because it opens up new doors to communicate with people both professionally and personally.

How To:
Check out the following websites for language learning opportunities:

7. GET INVOLVED WITH STUDENT INITIATIVES!

Forming or participating in student clubs and societies is a good way of building and demonstrating valuable skills such as motivation and teamwork. These skills aren’t necessarily evident from your academic qualifications, no matter how excellent they might be. Make sure you can provide evidence of your engagement at university.

student-initiativesHow To:
Check with your university to find out what kinds of clubs and societies they have. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, start your own!

TIP: Set yourself the goal of committing to at least one of these for a given period.

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