Preparing for my future career, gaining work experience and developing my skills
by Aaron Price
Hi! While I’m mainly focused on university life, I always have one eye ahead on the sort of career I could have when I graduate (in just over a year from now!). In this blog post, I will take you through some key elements of my experience while at university that have helped me take positive steps towards launching my career.
Support and services
There are many people I can talk to at University if I would like some advice regarding career plans. My academic tutor is more than happy to talk to me about possible career plans. My academic tutor is a staff member in my department with whom I can book regular meetings to discuss my studies and careers, too. Also, I like exchanging ideas with my friends and family about what I can do. I’ve realised that I really enjoy listening to people’s experiences in their jobs. Hearing about their experiences helps me to form my own ambitions and ideas. I’m uncertain about what I’d like to do after I graduate, but I think I’m starting to formulate some good ideas - and I can testify that some of these ideas have come about through simply listening to people!
In terms of more formal advice about career plans and seeking employment, I have got in touch with the Lancaster University Careers Service on many occasions. The Careers Service is great. They quickly respond to any queries I have regarding adjustments to my CV, working on my cover letters and providing me with information about prospective employers. The job market certainly seems daunting, but the Careers Service gives some assurance that everything will be alright!
My course (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) has placed great importance on developing analytical skills. These skills can be utilised in researching, analysing and evaluating ideas and concepts. I believe the skills I’m developing on my course are relevant to the skills some jobs require. I’m looking forward to applying these skills to ‘real life’ situations once I graduate.
University work does take up most of my time, but I still have enough time for my part-time job as a Brand Ambassador for The Economist. My role involves explaining to students the advantages of subscribing to a prestigious magazine. There are varied responsibilities associated with my job as a Brand Ambassador. In particular, I’ve been involved with sales and marketing.
I’ve also been a bartender, volunteered in a charity shop, and done other part-time jobs to earn some money and to be able to put valuable experiences on my CV. Part-time jobs are a great way of making some money and not committing yourself to extended hours.
I have applied for various summer internships with varying success. In truth, applying for internship schemes is hard work. On top of crafting an appropriate CV and cover letter, candidates are often expected to complete online assessments, research the company they are apply for in great detail, and complete interviews.
Due to the ramifications of COVID-19, internship schemes are highly competitive as there are fewer internships available. Consequently, this year has been even more difficult than usual in achieving the ideal internship. I’ve realised that it’s best to cast my net as wide open as possible and apply to many, rather than a few, internship schemes.
Nonetheless, applying for internship schemes has been a relatively rewarding experience. Attending interviews and talking to employers has been good practice in learning and understanding what employers are seeking. It’s important not to be discouraged when a job application isn’t successful - you must treat it as a learning experience and pick yourself up!
Clubs and societies
I am a member of the Lancaster University Debating Union. Debating and arguing does prove to have its benefits! I’ve sharpened my argumentation and analytical skills by speaking and listening to arguments. Debating has improved my confidence in talking to many people. In competitions, I am part of a team and I believe my teamwork skills have definitely improved. I think these skills are valued by employers and it’s fortunate that I can develop skills whilst having fun.
Being a player for my college football team or running in events for the Lancaster University Running & Athletics Club have improved my teamwork skills. It’s a fantastic feeling to achieve something together as a team, and I believe that being part of a team is a great experience.
Ultimately, I don’t have any concrete plans as to what I’ll do once I finish my degree. I hope that a summer internship scheme will provide me with further understanding regarding what I could do once I graduate!
Aaron is a second year undergraduate at Lancaster University and is studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
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