On-screen text: I have only just started University. Why do I need to start planning now, I have lots of time to think about my career?
Caroline Egan: It’s not just thinking about your career, your first year is a great opportunity to get involved with societies, clubs and activities which are a great way to meet new people, to develop valuable skills, to build up life experiences that will look great on your CV and start to prepare you for life after University, all very important factors that will ultimately help you with your future careers prospects.
Alexander Balcombe, 2nd year Theology student:
One thing I would always recommend to new students when they join the University is to immerse themselves in a society get involved straight away because that is where opportunities start to present themselves.
Some of the skills that I learnt during my time as the chair of the Interfaith Association was teamwork; working within a committee, leadership; leading a committee, and also running projects and also public speaking so I learnt a lot of communication skills.
I don’t have a clue what I want to do so I’m not going to bother until my final year when I will have a better idea.
Carl Jukes: It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do after University; your first year is the perfect time to start exploring your options and start to develop key transferrable skills. Make the most of your first year to explore what activities you enjoy. You can get a taste for different job roles through work experience and job shadowing. Consider getting a part time job. If you are unsure of what you want to do come and see a Careers Adviser at Careers Network who can sit down with you and develop an action plan.
Elizabeth Olapade, 1st year Medical student: Coming to University for the first year, I was a bit unsure as to what path I would like to take in my future and I wanted to find out how I could prepare. I got involved with two schemes advertised by Careers Network; the Mentoring Scheme and the Virtual Careers Fair. I got to chat with employers in fields that I may want to look into in my future and it really helped me gain a lot more about what working in that field would be like and what qualifications and skills I would need to really thrive in this. Also having the Mentoring Scheme helped me settle into university life a lot more in my first year and both of these really helped me gain a lot more self confidence.
I know exactly what I want to do when I graduate so why do I need careers guidance?
Andy Newnham: It is a brilliant starting point if you know what you want to do when you graduate however it is really competitive and you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. At Careers Network we can help you with writing CVs, interview practise, information about recruitment processes and finding out about really great work experience and internship opportunities. We also have our bursary schemes which support you financially to undertake brilliant opportunities in the UK and abroad. Make sure you undertake these opportunities while you can as they are not available to final year students.
Elizabeth Rawlins, 2nd year Medical Science student:
At the end of my first year, I was fortunate enough to receive from Careers Network, the Research Work Experience Bursary which allowed me to go to Spain for three weeks. I was doing some work experience in the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Seville. There I was able to observe the work the team were doing into Parkinson’s so not only was that interesting from a science point of view but I was also able to develop and improve my linguistic skills. The whole experience improved my organisational skills, my teamwork and being able to adapt to a completely new environment.
In your first year, it is important to:
- Meet people through joining societies and clubs
- Develop skills through part time work and job shadowing
- Explore possible career paths through work experience
- Apply for an internship or bursary www.birmingham.ac.uk/internships
- Join schemes and events led by Careers Network
Find out more about all these opportunities: www.intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/careers