Final year at college? It’s just the beginning of the job hunt

by Jocelyn Weale, gradireland intern

It’s that time of year again. The start of term is fast approaching, and students heading into their final year have a busy time ahead of them. As college life begins to draw to a close, with essay deadlines, final exams, and the odd party crammed in for good measure, it can be very easy to lose sight of what lies beyond. It may still feel a long way off right now, but it’s vital to be proactive in your job hunt activities even before you finish college. Here are a few pointers to bear in mind to ensure you don’t miss the graduate job boat:

  • Check in with your careers service. As soon as you can. Whether you already have a clear idea of what you want to do, or no idea whatsoever (and many don’t), the information and help available from your institution is invaluable for setting out your plans during the next few months. This goes for graduates too; in most cases your institution careers service is still at hand, even after you’ve graduated.
  • Apply early! Be aware of graduate scheme deadlines: many deadlines crop up before the Christmas period, so be careful not to miss out if you’re looking to go into sectors such as accountancy and finance, law or teaching. Applying early may also help to avoid too many nasty clashes with application deadlines and important revision time.
  • Work experience. Make sure you arrange some, particularly if you haven’t got round to this yet. Placements, internships and part-time jobs spruce up your CV, and experience is crucial for entry into many sectors. You won’t find many employers looking for candidates who can’t demonstrate skills outside of the academic field.
  • Speculative applications. There’s no harm in these, either; get a feel for what you’re heading into when you leave the college bubble. Who knows, maybe you’ll even be offered an interview!
  • More study? If you can visualise yourself undertaking further study after college then talking to tutors and lecturers during this final year will really help you gain a valuable insight. Do your research on available bursaries, scholarships and funding opportunities; many of these also have deadlines for applications, so make sure you apply in good time.
  • Time out. If you plan to take a break after college, it’s a good idea to start planning early so that you can make the best of your time and gather some stand-out experiences when you return to face the job market.
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