10 things you must do in your last year of university

If you’re in your last year of university, and staring graduation in the face, you’re probably wondering what the future holds. Here are a few tips on how you can grab every opportunity to make the most of the last year to give yourself and your CV a boost.

1. Consider never leaving
We don’t mean squatting in the halls over summer, but considering a Masters or PhD. If your subject genuinely excites you and you fancy a challenge, it’s an option worth looking at.

2. Visit the Careers Centre
Brush up that CV, get advice on application and job search skills or find out about funding for further study – a visit to the Careers Centre is a must for final year students.

3. Get some work experience
This is arguably one of the most important activities you can do outside of your degree. Employers are on the lookout for graduates with practical skills in their discipline, and transferable skills like communication, leadership and time management. Work experience is the best way to make your CV shine.

4. Figure out why you are the best
Work out what your strengths and natural abilities are. Identify what skills you have learned from your degree. Have you been involved in any societies or sports clubs? What hobbies and interests do you have? Nobody else will have the same education/skills/experiences etc. as you – you are unique, and is your job to tell employers why this makes you the best.

5. Organise something
Your university years are the prime time to put on an event, whether it’s a debate, rally, conference, a social night or presentation from a visitor. As well as being fun, event planning on any scale shows off teamwork, problem solving and organisational skills – three of the top sought-after traits in potential employees, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

6. Network
Whether its online or in person, networking is important both professionally and personally, regardless of the area you plan to work in.

7. Volunteer or do something for charity
Whether you sit in a bath of baked beans, get involved in the university’s RAG organisation or take up long-term volunteering, doing your bit is fun, develops new skills and looks great on your CV.

8. Consider your Membership
Joining a formal society (e.g. Royal Geographical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry) relevant to your discipline can develop your interests, expand your intellectual horizons and provide you with a number of benefits. If your university offers Graduate Membership of the libraries, this could be worth considering if you are nearby and want to use their services or keep your skills up to scratch.

9. Join the Alumni Association
Membership of the Alumni Association can offer a multitude of benefits such as university updates, keeping in touch with your department and fellow students, news of events, lectures and career opportunities, newsletters and special offers and discounts.

10. Buy an interview outfit
We know you’re comfortable in those holey jeans, but if you can work yourself up to buying a good suit now, you will reap the dividends later. A good quality, classic suit, though expensive, will get you through any upcoming interview and is an investment that will serve you well for years to come.

And finally: graduate – and don’t forget to celebrate!

by Joanne Dernie
at Nottingham Trent University

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