Dear First Years,

Let’s be honest – first year can seem a little pointless can’t it? It’s that mix between trying to settle in to Uni, trying to make new friends and trying to not die from your 35th consecutive hangover…am I right? I know, I know; being lecturework-experinced continuously by family, 2nd/3rd/4th/5th years, and well, lecturers about absolutely everything you should be doing to maximize your time in first year is not a huge barrel of laughs. Which is why I won’t be doing that. Instead I shall simply point out something which you already know to be true…
You have quite a bit of spare time on your hands – do something with it.

Take this opportunity, before essays that matter, and exams that count come into play, to get some easy work experience. One day a week, a few hours, anything can do wonders for your CV and make life so much easier for you when you come to apply for jobs. Trust me – juggling final year and trying to get plenty of work experience so that you can prove you’ve been doing more with your time outside of your 12 hour timetable is a pain. And an unnecessary one at that. Start now, then when the inevitable job hunt starts, you won’t be feeling as if you’ve wasted your time. Employers are looking for something that sets you apart, working during University is an excellent way of showing you can prioritize, multi-task and are responsible.

Somewhere between Zen…

Please don’t take this as advice to flunk lectures – that’s not clever either – it’s all about finding that comfortable middle ground; another real skill if truth be told.

…and stressed!

Now you might be thinking, ‘well actually I have already started my search for work experience thank you very much’, if you have that’s great! Congratulations – you are well on your way to truly becoming an exemplary student. If, however, you are finding it a little tricky to locate opportunities, or even if you haven’t started at all –  here’s where we can help.

Careers Network runs tons of events for CAL students, we did last term and we will in the Spring. Attend these to learn from employers in areas of interest to you, what it is they look for. Often they are able to offer work experience or know how you can get some. There is also a wealth of information on how to apply to jobs, how to write CV’s and cover letters and how to prep for interviews, all of this can be found on Careers Network’s website here. You will also notice Drop-In sessions and bookable appointments to talk to an advisor; make use of these we’re here to help.

On February 1st there is a Work Experience and Internships Fair in the Great Hall –  come along to that to kick start the spring term.

But what to do right now? Look at which companies are of interest to you, here in Birmingham or back home, call them up or go and speak to their HR team in person. Now that everything is done from a distance these days, you could find an upfront approach to be to your advantage. Simply go and ask what they might be able to offer you to get some experience. This blog post might give you a little boost if you think I’m crazy: Christmas time, Mistletoe and…’so much to do!

There’s no time like the present! Go and get some work experience!

This post was written by Emily Martin, SET student for Careers Network, College of Arts and Law.