One of the things that surprised me most about coming to Leicester was the genuine investment they made into career development for students. Although I imagine it was something I noticed in their brochures and presentations, the significance of it was definitely missed by my radar until I started studying here.
And they do start early. I remember my first careers lecture being scheduled in my first week of studies. Although the student body, including myself, took it as an opportunity to relax and not worry about notes, the ideas discussed were important even then. They started you off on a ‘Career Development Journey’, which has changed a little since my first year, but the elements are still the same: knowing your motivations, gaining experience and getting ahead.
Looking beyond university was definitely not my priority in first year. Adjusting to everything – from the independence to the level of academic study – definitely took priority. But my top tip is to start thinking about it early. Note that I said thinking; not worrying. There is nothing wrong with seeing a careers advisor at some point in the first semester and discussing options with them. We are lucky here because the advisors are helpful and there are loads of appointments available for anyone to book.
For everyone I’ve met, especially in third year, attending university has always been about the end goal of getting a job at the end. So it’s important to see it as a priority, especially with companies recruiting earlier and earlier for schemes.
Of course, this will all vary depending on the type of career you want to go in to. For example, a lot of people on my course want to pursue Medicine and applications for that are restricted until the autumn term of their final year. But even then, there are lots of wider commitments that you have to fulfill to make your application stand out because of how competitive the process is. This includes having work and voluntary experience that is relevant to medicine – key experience that you can build up early if you start considering your options.
So, that is my short but sweet post about taking that first step on career ladder. Long story short: it’s never too early to talk jobs! Career planning is sort of like an essay – once the initial plan has been drawn up, researching and writing for the final product will follow. If you’d like to know more about my experience, feel free to ask any questions – or if you have experiences to share then feel free to do so as well!
Also as you’ve probably noticed, I love TED talks and this is a particularly relevant one called “How to find and do work you love” which is particularly relevant. Enjoy!