posted 17th March 2017 at 9:00am
Having a job whilst at University automatically gives you bonus points when employers are looking through hundreds of applications.
This shows you’ve been given responsibility within a company, you’ve been reliable, turned up for work on time and have the ability to carry out tasks to the correct standard.
It also provides more of an insight into your time management skills, those who haven’t had a job whilst at University will need to account for that time in other ways.
Volunteering is an equally good way to show similar skills, so if you can do at least one, great! If you can do both, even better!
Time management, additional responsibilities, transferable skills and motivation. With Volunteering not being compulsory it’s a little more difficult to determine reliability and the amount of responsibility you have been given.
In some cases, volunteering can be much more valuable than a part-time job, especially if your placements are related to your future career and your degree, which leads me nicely onto the next point.
Make sure your extra-curricular activities make sense. This doesn’t necessarily mean playing football or dance lessons have to be justified in terms of your degree but if you have volunteering placements that isn’t related it may look like you’re unsure of your future plans.
Try and make sure that any work experience, volunteering etc. have a link to your degree or a link to your future job prospects. Not only does this show you’re actively gaining experience and working towards a goal but also gives you some insight into the skills needed for the role you’re applying for.
Having a broad range of volunteering or experiences can give a negative impression, so be careful.
Leading on from your clear direction, sometimes you just don’t know what you want to do in the future.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but you just need to explain why you have a broad range of experiences. If you wanted to make sure this was the right career or you found a couple of different jobs interesting and decided to try them that’s all you need to say.
Equally, if you didn’t have a job whilst at University, just explain why. Better to fill in the gaps for the employer, rather than letting their imagination run wild.
Each application needs to be unique. Even though the job maybe similar, companies have different person specifications they need to meet.
Have a good read through of the application form before you start filling it in, the same with the job description, they usually include some rough guidelines on what type of person they’re looking for.
Take each criteria and apply yourself and your skills to their essential and desirable traits. This way you don’t leave the employer guessing or finding a reason to not offer you an interview.
If you would like to know any more information about how you can get involved take a look at our Work Ready Scheme, here.