Why should I bother with a summer job?/What the fudge is “employability”?

If, like me, you managed to spend all of your savings (LIFE savings) in your first year of University and don’t have much to show for it. You might want to consider earning some money somewhere… After my first year of University I felt as though I deserved a break and so the summer was perfect, I spent the majority of my summer with my then boyfriend enjoying the sun and making more friends.

When I came back for second year I had spent most of my savings, didn’t have much to show for it and was lucky that I could afford things via my loans I got (and no, I wasn’t entitled to any grants) I then came to the end of my second year, realised that I didn’t know how I would be able to afford my rent for my final year. I hadn’t budgeted, and I am not about to lecture you and tell you what to do with your money – University presents us all with freedom with money. So we can all go a bit wild with it.

Anyway, this situation meant I had to get a job at least over the summer following my second year. I hadn’t bothered having a job in my first year citing reasons like “I should concentrate on my studies!” “I don’t want to be distracted” …they were just excuses. I should have continued working a part time job while at University. It meant I had to work my whole summer after 2nd year in a supermarket in my University city. This meant no seeing friends from home, none of my house mates were around and I had to work full time.

I don’t think students should get a job as a last minute “oh my God” moment, like I did. And I think any kind of work experience is useful. Be that working in a supermarket like I did or landing an internship with a company linked with your aspirations. Universities band around this word “employability” a lot. I use it most days at work as I run the employability pages on facebook and twitter for management school students. But what does it mean? It even comes up as a spelling error on here and on Word.

For me, improving employability is most simply, building on your skills to make you more employable. Be that by going to mock interviews/assessment centres, attending a CV clinic, taking on a part time job. Anything like this – make it work for you! For example, if you’re a Management student who wants to work in a bank or large business after graduating and are working in retail at the moment, use any and all opportunities to use those skills to make you seem more attractive to employers. I’ve written about retail on here before so click on the link if you want more info on why retail jobs are worth your time; https://easea.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/why-i-think-everyone-should-work-in-retail-at-least-once-in-their-lives/ so taking the e.g. of retail and wanting to work in a bank. You are organised, dedicated, customer focused and used to handling money! Some steps in the right direction….

As I have said before, many students think degree = job when it doesn’t. Some are even SURPRISED when they don’t a job when some students don’t have the first clue about selling themselves to employers. You have to seize every opportunity to add value to your degree. So be a course rep, join in with your student’s union, get involved with student enterprise. Sometimes it might not feel like it’s worth your time. Or perhaps getting to lectures and seminars and turning in assignments on time feels like as much as you can take (goodness knows I felt that way).

I don’t like the cliched “GO TO UNI AND DO EVERYTHING” view. But do it – and do it properly and it will pay dividends in the end. Constantly check for local jobs and even consider your University for work as well – everything from working in SU bars to the Student’s shop to internships can be found!!

If you want a really long winded explanation of employability take a look here: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/employability/pedagogy_for_employability_update_2012.pdf

It’s a big bad world of work out there! Hit the ground running after Uni 🙂 Good luck to all the Management School students who are graduating in July 🙂

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Author: eemaa27

Blogging and reflecting to keep my writing skills in tune

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