Developing your skills for the perfect career after finishing university can seem daunting. It’s a long process you need to be resilient and focused at all times. This blog discusses areas to focus on before beginning university, resources and opportunities King’s offers during university and what steps can be taken after graduating
As ambassadors we get questions from a lot of keen students about additional reading for the courses to give them a head start. Our answer to that is don’t worry, you will have plenty of core and additional reading when you start university, for now just read and explore what you enjoy most about the subject. As Psychology students you will your textbooks for free at the start of the year, so you don’t typically get reading assigned before you start university. You are not expected to have any particular prerequisite knowledge before the start of the course, so you would not be behind at all if you don’t do additional reading.
I did, however, really enjoy finding and reading very broad subject books that were personally interesting to me, it widened my understanding of the subject even before actually starting to study. Before I started university, I also benefited from doing some online courses and programmes regarding my field of interest. Being in the field of psychology I completed a free Yale introduction to psychology course.
To potentially boost your employability skills you can also go online and browse courses to improve your particular skills. That could be courses in essay writing, finance, programming languages and many others.
While most students begin to think about their CV’s, internships and placements in the second-year of university, it is never too early to make a head start.
As a second-year student, here is what I wish I did regarding careers as a first-year:
- Create your LinkedIn account
- LinkedIn can be a great place to network and find people who can potentially be very helpful in kickstarting your career. The earlier you create it the more connections you will eventually have.
- LinkedIn is also a great place to browse potential companies that you might be interested in and follow the content that they post
- LinkedIn can be the perfect digital business card. Even when you feel like you have no work experience to upload on the site just yet, you can always add things like past volunteering opportunities, skills and even small projects that you worked on. When applying for jobs LinkedIn can be a good way for employers to find out more about you.
2. Apply for spring insights programmes
- Spring insights are organised by national and international companies and are a great opportunity for first year students looking to try out specific career.
- Spring insights are available across a lot of very different careers so if you want to get a head start on understanding what a business represents and what it is like being part of a particular company it’s a perfect opportunity.
- They typically last a week over the Easter break, if the company ends up being impressed with your performance, you can secure an internship with them in your penultimate year that could then lead to a potential job offer.
3. Make use of the Careers Service offered by King’s
- Once you have officially started your first year at King’s you will be given access to the King’s careers services.
- The platform King’s Careers Connect allows you to schedule one-to-one talks with professional career advisors.
- When you book an appointment you have an option to schedule either a general career talk- where you can talk about your future career narrow down your interests and find places to look for jobs. You also have the CV and cover letter checking session, this is amazing if you want to keep improving your CV or need something checked before you submit an application. You can even do a practice interviews.
- There are also join opportunities that are constantly uploaded to the website, many of them are exclusively available to King’s students so you can benefit a lot from them
- Our careers service also holds frequent careers events where experts talk through essential skills (E.g., resilience) that are needed for employment and give you tips on how to develop these skills whilst providing essential resources.
- The placement year, which is sandwiched between Year 2 and final year, is a great opportunity to work in the industry for a year to gain real-world insights and also massively boost your CV. You can opt for a placement year either while applying to King’s or when you are about halfway through Year 2. You will be provided with a list of placements to choose from and on the basis of your grades and your acceptance at the placement, you will be working with a team that you have chosen, for one full year. During this year, you will not engage in any academic activity like lectures or seminars. After the placement year, you will return to university to do your final year of studies.
Students who are usually in their penultimate year of studies often apply for summer internships or go on to do a placement year before completing their third-year. This can be a great opportunity to gain more work experience and greatly boost your employability skills.
Here is some advice when looking for internships and placements:
- Research when the positions open for the industry you are looking for. Different sectors of industry (e.g. banking, research, consulting, clinical) open their opportunities to students at different times so it is important to check the websites of the organizations and career sites for updated information.
- Do not leave applications too late. Although a lot of companies and organizations can keep their intern positions open for several months, most of them hire on a rolling basis. This means that even if the deadline has not been reached the job opportunity will close as all the positions have already been filled.
- Do not spread yourself out too thin. It is very tempting to apply for as many companies as you possibly can to increase your chances of being accepted but the application processes often require several rounds of testing and interviews. It is a very tiring and time consuming process. Therefore it might be better so submit your application to a few select companies but spend more time preparing for it.
Although your course develops the majority of your clinical, research and applied skills you need to be able to apply these in the real world. King’s offers two research based opportunities that allow you to work on real world research whilst collaborating with intellectuals and also potentially publishing a journal article!
- King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (KURF): This research fellowship runs during the summer break for 4-6 weeks. You can choose from a range of topics and supervisors and you can also choose to work with another department if you wish. Not only will you be developing your skills and using your summer break productively, but also will earn a small bursary!
- Research Experience Studentship (RES): This opportunity is very similar to KURF but it runs throughout term times in three phases. You will be allowed to pick whichever phase of the term suits you best. These are usually advertised internally so keep an eye on your emails. However, unlike KURF, this opportunity is unpaid but you do have the opportunity to get your name published with an article!
Once you graduate you will be able to access King’s careers and employability for up to one year after graduating. However, overwhelming this sounds, it isn’t that difficult. I am graduating in about 3 months and I am constantly looking for jobs, applying everywhere possible and networking with everyone I know. Networking and consistently applying has opened up several avenues for me. Since your tutor and supervisor know you best, it is also a good idea to talk to your supervisor and ask them if they have any positions available or know anyone who would be willing to hire you. Lastly, converting your internships into jobs is also something people do and it has been great successful in the past in terms of employability.
King’s is a very prestigious university and employers are always looking for bright students who have studied in such highly ranked universities. King’s has all the help you need with applications and developing your CV and all the resources you need to find your perfect future.