Five tips on how to boost your employability as a student
We’ve partnered up with EDGE Creative to give you some top tips on how to boost your employability.
EDGE Creative have vast experience in the design and development of full websites, landing pages and microsites for clients in a variety of industries including automotive, finance, property, retail, recruitment and more. The integrated marketing agency have always been committed to nurturing talent and often acts as a pathway for students into the industry.
The creative job market is extremely competitive with an ever-increasing number of university graduates competing for career opportunities within the web development and UX design industries. That’s why you need to take proactive steps to enhance your prospects and make yourself stand out from the crowd.
At EDGE Creative, we pride ourselves on working with and providing graduates with the opportunity to showcase their talent, enhance their skill set and gain invaluable industry experience to get them prepared. At the same time, we really value the insight of students fresh out of university around the latest trends and techniques.
This article is going to provide some top tips from our team on how students can help themselves stand out in a competitive job market and improve their chances of getting the job they want.
1. Create a portfolio that helps you stand out
An up-to-date portfolio of your work and academic accomplishments can help to provide physical evidence and examples of the skills, knowledge and experience you have.
Portfolios can be beneficial because they:
- Give employers a better understanding of your ability and potential.
- Showcase your extracurricular activities such as internships or research projects.
- Demonstrate your motivation and commitment to personal and professional growth.
- Highlight your willingness to go above and beyond the minimum expectations.
2. Make the most of any opportunities to learn
Learning opens doors to new possibilities. The world of UX and web development is constantly evolving and with new technologies, software and ways of working coming to the forefront there are always opportunities to expand your knowledge.
It can be something as simple as watching tutorials on how to use certain software, taking online courses, or shadowing and learning from an expert in that area. Doing this is a great way to expand on what you have learnt throughout your course and stand out from other students.
Employers are often impressed by people who work to improve themselves as it shows you are motivated, adaptable and willing to embrace change to stay ahead in your field.
3. Gain relevant experience in your desired industry
Experience in your specific industry can help you stand out massively from other candidates. It's also not uncommon for students to be offered roles after university if the organisation they have spent time with have been impressed by their performance.
Industry specific experience will help you:
- Take your knowledge beyond theory, giving you real life experience in a business environment.
- Meet and learn from experienced professionals, while building your professional network.
- Acts as a potential trial employment, giving you a head start on other candidates.
- Show you are experienced enough to be able to hit the ground running in a new role.
At BCU, you are able to undertake a placement as part of your studies, meaning you can gain industry experience whilst working towards your degree.
4. Build up your professional network
Whilst what you know is important in the long run, who you know can play a key part in some of the opportunities that may come your way.
Networking events, alumni associations, industry bodies and online platforms are great ways to make connections and develop relationships that can be beneficial throughout your professional life.
Building a professional network will give you access to a wide variety of professionals, industry experts and potential mentors you can learn from. On top of this, you can gain exposure to different career paths and open the doors to further opportunities.
Get on LinkedIn. Get connecting! Most importantly, go out your way to maintain these connections, getting involved in any opportunities or collaborations where possible.
You never know when a new connection is going to be valuable to your career down the line, or what opportunities will come as a result of another.
5. Develop your soft skills
It’s not only important to build your industry-specific skills, but also to enhance and develop some of the personal attributes that make a top tier employee.
There are going to be times throughout your professional career when you will work on projects in collaboration with other colleagues, suppliers or organisations. This is where skills like communication, teamwork and time management come into play to ensure smooth success.
Problem-solving and proactivity are also invaluable in the workplace environment and will help show that you can have a positive impact on an organisation when unforeseen things happen.
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