My three top tips for becoming a more competitive job candidate

by Nurin Rashdan Fitri

#1 Show off the relevant skills you learned during your degree!

While studying a Film, Media & Cultural Studies degree at Lancaster University, I’ve experienced lots of great modules that will help make me more employable in this competitive job market. For example, in the ‘Creative Enterprise’ module that I took, one of the assessments involved working with external local organisations. I worked in a group to create a project proposal and presentation responding to a ‘problem statement’. My group were lucky enough to work with ‘Lancaster Arts’ on finding ways for them to better communicate with Lancaster University students on- & off-campus. Through this group assignment, I was able to develop a broad range of skills such as critical analytical thinking, virtual collaboration, project and time management.

As mentioned in my student experience blog, I took a ‘Short Film Production’ practical module. The film I was involved in making was a psychological thriller about a man alone at home talking to a creepy ‘Postman’. In the film, the audience is kept guessing as to whether the ‘Postman’ is in fact the escaped prisoner that the man just heard about in the news. And of course, there is a plot twist at the end. This group assignment allowed me to develop my technical competence in different production roles and have a better understanding of industry standard film and media practices.

Don’t forget the other skills you’ll develop from attending lectures, practical workshops and doing assignments: skills like conducting research, public speaking, creating presentations, actively listening and being proactive in group discussions.

#2 Make the most of support from your Department and the University Careers Service

The Lancaster University Career Service is well-known amongst students for its great support and services like its Career Portal. The Career Portal has a great many resources and an easy layout. Through the Career Portal, you’ll find all you need to produce CVs and prepare for online interviews and assessment centres.

The Careers Service also offers 1-to-1 appointments, which are popular with students. I’ve attended a few of their Careers Workshops and Webinars. I especially found their ‘Uncovering hidden job opportunities’ workshop really helpful as they told me about additional job-hunting websites for small and medium sized businesses.

The Careers Service share a recording of workshops and webinars for those who are unable to attend at the scheduled time.

#3 Want to network with people? Ever heard of LinkedIn?

If you’ve ever attended any of the Careers Service workshops or talks, you’ll be very familiar with LinkedIn, a professional networking platform. The Careers Service highly recommend that students start building and growing their network with past and/or current employers, colleagues from internships, and hiring managers.

Even if you don’t succeed in a job interview, you never know what the future holds! A friend of mine got a call-back when one applicant dropped out and the manager was impressed by my friend’s first impression.

Being a university student benefits you when contacting professionals who you admire. From my personal experience, professionals who you contact are more open and friendlier than you might expect and will share their career and often overlapping personal stories on how they got their job. Not only will you get a more realistic insight on what employers are looking for in your industry, but they might even recommend you to new and/or hidden job roles or ask around with their own established connections to help speed up your job-hunting process.

Bonus tip - Don’t forget to use the Lancaster University Alumni network via LinkedIn as well!

From my personal experience, I almost always got warm and friendly responses from Lancaster University alumni who I’ve contacted with the intention of learning more about their job roles, company or industry. At one point, an alumnus generously put me in touch with their professional contacts so that I could connect with them.

So, what you waiting for? Get typing and make sure you do your research, be yourself and most importantly be sincere.

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Nurin is a third year undergraduate at Lancaster University and is studying Film, Media and Cultural Studies.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.

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