Making the Most of Being a Student


Whilst you are studying at University of Sunderland London Campus, we expect your academic work to be your priority. However, we are living in very competitive times and those first few years after graduation can prove tough when trying to find a graduate job. It would be wise, therefore, to use your free time constructively and get involved in activities that help you develop your employability skills. Below I have outlined just some of the things you can do that would make your CV stand out from the crowd. 

1. Internships/work experience

While you are at university, you should try to find some professional work experience. An internship is a short term of employment that is designed to give you experience of working in a particular sector. You will need to consider how this could fit in to your holiday period or the time between your course finishing and your visa expiring. Don’t leave finding an internship until the last day of your course;  think ahead and start your job search early on as the application process can take some time. Click here to explore Internship Websites

Another way of finding an internship is by researching companies yourself and sending them your CV with a covering letter; this is called a ‘speculative application’. Click here to find out more: Speculative Applications

Use your existing contacts: If you already have a part-time job, would they be able to offer you anything more professional? Do you have contacts/family members that are able to help you? Many students find jobs through people they know so ensure that you are letting others know your plans.

2. Voluntary Work

If you have not had any experience of work, volunteering can be a great way of developing some skills in an area that you want to pursue your career in. For example, if you want to work in HR but have never worked in an office before, finding some general office/administration experience would be a good start.

In addition to providing valuable work experience, it also demonstrates to employers that you are motivated and prepared to give your time to a worthy cause. You will also meet new people, develop your English language skills and improve on transferable skills such as teamwork, communication, organisation and problem solving. To find out more click here: Voluntary Work

3. University Opportunities

While you are a student, it is a good idea to get involved with university life. At London Campus, you can apply to:

  • Become a student representative
  • Gain employment as a student ambassador
  • Apply for ad hoc positions such as ‘Student Blogger’
  • Get involved with university societies such as The Debating Society 
  • Get involved with sports, charity events and organising activities

4. Part-time Jobs

Part-time jobs are a great opportunity to develop your transferable skills. See Employability Skills from Part-time Work

Of course, we know that for most of you, a part-time job is essential for supporting yourself financially during your studies. However, if possible, try to find something that helps you develop new skills and looks good on your CV. For example, you may get the opportunity to move up into a duty manager/supervisory role which is a chance to put leadership, decision making, problem solving and organisational skills into practice – so look out for opportunities to develop your job role.

5. Networking

Career Fairs are an an opportunity to talk to people working for the companies that you are interested in. They also have career workshops and CV advice sessions.

We regularly promote these on the London Campus Facebook page (so make sure you ‘Like’ us), Sunspace emails and on this blog. See the ‘events’ posts on this website for further information about what’s on.

Sign up to Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com and start creating a professional network. LinkedIn can also be a source for interesting discussion forums, career related articles, job adverts and specialist groups.

https://www.meetup.com/ have many different groups that could be of interest to you.

6. Careers and Employability Sessions

We regularly hold careers and employability workshops and personal development sessions as well as having various guest speakers. Look out for posters, ‘Like’ our Facebook page and read your Live Campus emails to receive this information.

7. Improve your English

Although I have listed this last, it is perhaps the most important. You already have a good level of English but don’t stop trying to improve it. The ability to articulate your thoughts, create rapport with others and be effective in your written as well as verbal communication could be central to your success at job hunting in the UK.

  • While you are a student, try to spend time and speak with people from all nationalities, not just your own
  • Your written English is central to success at job searching as you will need to produce a CV and covering letter
  • Spend time with native speakers, work on improving your pronunciation, try learning some colloquial language

And Finally…

  • Be positive
  • Be proactive
  • Be resilient

If you wish to discuss any of the above, please email alice.mcdougall@sunderland.ac.uk or call into the careers office on the fourth floor.

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