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Employability and careers advice

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For students worried about developing employability skills during their degree, choosing a career, or getting a job after graduation, advice is often either overwhelming, or hard to find. We’ve brought together a careers advice toolkit so students can learn how to build their skills and work experience while they study, understand how to showcase their skills to future employers, and find their dream job when they graduate.

Bookmark this page, save it to your VLE or online Careers Zone, and add the page URL to your reading list!

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Optimising your employability

Authors of Employability, John Neugebauer and Jane Evans-Brain show how to go about developing early work skills and experience through activities including networking, employment sources like careers fairs, social media and internships.

READ THEIR ADVICE

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Making your skills work for you

Take an inventory of your skills, find out how to boost them, and learn how to sell your skills in a CV, interview and online. Download a free chapter from Lucinda Becker and Felicity Becker’s book Seven Steps to a Successful Career for essential tips.

DOWNLOAD A FREE EXTRACT

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Spotting your transferable skills

It’s up to you to show potential employers what you’ve learnt during your course, and what you can bring to a company. Read this blog post by students at Sussex University who share which transferable skills they developed while they studied.

READ THE BLOG POST

red magnifying glass iconFinding your ideal work placement

So you want to seek a work placement, but what exactly are you looking for? The questions on the table will help you narrow down your search and decide if that opportunity is right for you and whether to apply. 

Top tip: don't apply for something you have no interest in, and no skills for, this is likely to be a waste of your time and can lead to self-defeating behaviour. 

Consideration Question                                                                                    
Practical Matters
  • Do I want (need) a paid or unpaid placement? 
  • Time: What duration can I commit to?
  • Location: Where can I feasibly work?
Type of internship  
  • What type of internship do I want?
  • What working culture am I seeking? (e.g. hours of work, sector)
  • If assessed, how will this fit into my studies?
  • If not assessed, how would this contribute to my degree?
Skills required
  • What are the essential and desirable skills for the role?
Eligibility criteria
  • Are there any special requirements? (e.g. security clearance, visa, degree subject)
Fit with my plans
  • Does it fit with what I want to do in the future?
  • What, if any, on-the-job training might I be offered and so what could I learn?

 

 

Extract taken from Work Placements, Internships & Applied Social Research by Jackie Carter

 

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The STAR technique from Smale & Fowlie

Using the STAR technique to get your message across

When describing the competencies employers require, it is very easy to ramble and not use the best example or include enough detail/information in the answer. The STAR technique (Byham and Cox, 1998) provides a framework to construct a relevant answer to open-ended questions asked during an interview or when completing an application form. The STAR technique enables you to structure what you have to say as follows:

S = Situation – outlines a situation that demonstrates that you possess a personal quality or skill 
T = Task – describes a task which you have completed
A = Action – explains what you actually did in this situation
R = Result – reports the result of your actions

A STAR is really a little story, which you are proud of and which can be told to your advantage. The STAR technique gives you a format in which to tell stories about yourself.

Extract taken from How to Succeed at University by Bob Smale & Julie Fowlie

 

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Your questions answered

 

How to write a good CV?

 

What to do after you finish university?

 

How to become more employable?

 

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