1. Get work experience:
In the increasingly competitive graduate job market it is important to bring more to the table than just academic success. Employers want to see work experience on your CV, and the more the better. Research opportunities in your area and contact as many relevant companies as possible. Apply for internships and placements by all means, but even if they aren't currently advertising any schemes it is worth getting in touch. Drop them an email to explain who you are and what you are looking for. End by saying you would appreciate anything that they could offer you. If you are lucky, they might be able to offer you some work experience but if they can't don't take it personally. There are lots of rules and regulations surrounding it that may prevent them from taking you on but it is good to have made them as a contact in any case. It is also helpful to have a chat with successful professionals in the roles you are interested in to see how they got to where they are today and give you some advice. There's no harm in asking, and the more emails you send the better your chances!
2. Smarten up your CV:
The first stage of any application process is your CV, and if you don't look good on paper then they won't be interested in taking a chance on you in person. Make sure your CV is up to date, with all your grades, achievements and experience listed in order, most recent first. Keep your CV to two sides of A4 and in an appropriate size font and typeface. Above all, make sure your CV is tailored to the role you are applying for. Take some time to tweak each application you send, as employers will know if you have sent out bulk, standard CVs. It doesn't look impressive if you are applying for a sales role and have 'interested in a career in journalism' as your profile statement at the top of your CV. It's silly mistakes like this that could cost you a job, so make sure your CV is spot on to impress on paper and in person.
3. Get networking:
If you haven't already, it is a good idea to sign up to LinkedIn. Create an account to connect with companies and professionals. Edit your profile with your education, experience and anything else you want to boast about. Send messages and invitations to connect, join groups and comment on posts and discussions to build up your presence and reputation. Make sure you use Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites too. Nowadays, if you don't exist online, you don't exist, so to make yourself as accessible as possible to employers, put yourself out there.
Whilst work experience is building in importance, a good academic record will always be important and attractive to employers. Therefore, your degree can't take a backseat while you job hunt. Most employers want to see a 2.1 from their candidates and having that under your belt is a huge weight off your shoulders. So, write that essay, type up those notes and stay on top of reading to really be a dream employee.
5. Make a plan of action:
But before all of the above, getting organised is the first step towards career success. Make a list of everything you want to do. Make contacts, get work experience, fix up your CV and set yourself loose deadlines for each. If you don't have a month's worth of work experience secured by your set date don't worry, as these things do take time. But, make sure things within your control get done when they need to, as it will save you time in the long run. Put dates in your diary, calendar or even make a paper timetable so you can see what needs doing when. Keep notes throughout any work experience you have so you can remember everything you learned and will have handy anecdotes to draw on in interview answers.
So there you have it GRB's top five resolutions to guarantee career success! Do you have any other tips to share? Let's hear it.