How To Boost Your Employability As A Uni Fresher

The start of your career might seem like forever away. Still, today’s students are pretty ambitious, with many running a business or an Instagram account with a healthy following on the side.

We’re not suggesting that you should jack in the studies, focus on sprucing up your CV and getting a ‘proper’ job right now. However, you should start thinking about how you’re going to set yourself apart from the job-seeker competition when graduation day finally hits.

Whether you know what your career path will be or you’re still figuring out what to have for dinner besides cheesy pasta, here are some ways to boost your employability as a university fresher.


Join a society

Societies are a huge part of student life at some universities, less so for others. But they do exist at all unis, so you ought to make the most of the opportunities they provide if you want to boost your employability.

Joining a society that’s in line with your desired career path has obvious benefits. Once you graduate, not only will your membership show employers that you’re committed to the industry, but that you also have a great number of additional skills up your sleeve that make you a more attractive hire.

Don’t feel that you have to join a society for a professional skill set though. There are plenty of different societies, from faith and culture to hobbies and lifestyle, which provide perks.

By being part of a slightly ‘out there’ society (Quidditch, anyone?), you’ll demonstrate that you’re an interesting prospect with character. The fact that you devoted endless hours to extracurricular activities also shows dedication, organisation and time management – traits which all employers seek.

Plus, you never know who you might get to know. Your fellow members might have some great opportunities up their sleeves.


Start a side hustle

Another way to make yourself more employable as a uni fresher is by starting a side hustle. No one is necessarily expecting you to suddenly launch your own business alongside your studies, but a little bit of self-generated work experience can take you a long way.

Blogging is a perfect example of a manageable side hustle. If you don’t think you’ve got the time or don’t fancy running your own blog, you should consider guest blogging for other sites. That way you can pick up projects as and when you have time.


Get to know your lecturers

In your first few weeks of university, you’ll realise that your lecturers and professors are much more than just ‘teachers’. Very few university lecturers dedicated their entire careers to just teaching. Many of them carry out research on the side, writing books, journals and more.

As a result, they know a lot of people. Not only could getting to know your lecturers open up some brand new networking opportunities, but they’ll also be able to share their wisdom regarding making it in a certain career.


Take a trip to your careers service

Every university has a free, easy-to-use careers service. And you’d be silly not to make use of it.

While these in-house experts are extremely good at getting your CV and LinkedIn profile into shape, they’re also able to advise you on how to get your dream job. If you have a particular career path in mind, your career advisors can help you determine what skills and qualifications you’ll need.

In addition, your university careers service is likely to host different workshops, webinars and taster sessions. This is to help boost your skills and experience different work environments, such as freelancing. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Your careers service will also host a range of career fairs throughout the year, where employers, recruitment agencies and job boards are invited to showcase their latest job opportunities.

Some career fairs may be large-scale for your entire year group; others may be smaller and designed to cater specific faculties and academic departments. Either way, career fairs are a great opportunity to get to know people and prospective career paths.


Get a part-time job or internship

An obvious way to boost your employability as a graduate is by getting a part-time job or taking an internship or two while you study.

While recent headlines suggest that internships involve carrying out menial tasks such as photocopying and making tea, there’s often a lot more to intern life than reported on. For example, the fact that you get to meet a range of industry professionals is a great networking opportunity for you. Plus, you get to list this placement on your CV, cementing in a stepping stone to your first ‘proper’ job.

Since research shows that leading employers prefer work experience among graduates over grades, any employment opportunity you can get your hands while studying is beneficial. So don’t knock that Saturday job at Domino’s either! You’ll gain a wide range of transferable skills which are valued in every workplace.


Consider studying abroad or a work placement

When most people think of university, they assume that it’s three years of studying. However, once you’ve completed your second year, you may find yourself with the opportunity to work for a year (with an actual income!) or satisfy your wanderlust by studying abroad for the year. Make the most of these opportunities.

If you fancy travelling, studying abroad is often the cheapest way to do so. Plus you won’t have to pay university fees for the year. Not only is there more flexibility in what you can study abroad, but you’ll be living in another country for an entire academic year, which will arm you with a range of valuable skills and experiences.

Work placements will also set you apart from your fellow graduates when the time comes. Placements provide the chance to gain specific skills in your industry of choice, preparing you for real-life work and what to expect when the time comes.

Uni is an exciting time. Still, try to remember that your employability is the most important thing to cultivate. After all, this is your future we’re talking about!


About the author: Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.