We interviewed Fiona Kennedy, a Careers Consultant from RGU’s Employability Hub to find out how students can build on their skills and increase their employability whilst studying at RGU. Here is the advice she offered:
RGU has an incredibly high employability rate– 97.6% of UK-domiciled, full-time, first degree leavers from RGU in the academic year 2016/17 were in employment or undertaking further study (HESA 2018). This is attributed to the fact that many of our courses include a work placement allowing graduates to make valuable industry contacts, often leading to job offers.
Employers are looking for graduates who are well qualified with a degree (which may or may not be relevant) and a set of transferable skills that will allow them to undertake and develop in the role available. Skills such as flexibility, resilience, communication, problem-solving, and creativity are becoming increasingly important and currently digital skills are proving to be crucial as organisations have had to move services online.
Relevant experience is not necessarily required but if you have some work experience gained in a previous job, perhaps even your part-time student job, or a voluntary role, and you can demonstrate how the skills gained in this role are relevant to the role you are applying for, then it’s so much the better.
What can students do while in University to increase their employability?
Students who make the most of their time at university can exponentially increase their employability. From day one, students have the opportunity to sign up for a multitude of extra-curricular activities available at RGU. Think about the Freshers Fayre and all those student societies and associations represented there. Getting involved in, and better still, taking a leading role in a society will allow you to develop skills such as communication, leadership, networking and many more skills that employers value highly. You’ll make some new friends too!
Consider volunteering during Open Days or become a Student Ambassador. Volunteering outside the university looks good on your CV too as it can improve your self-confidence and help develop new skills
Does your course offer a work placement or an industry related project? This can be a great opportunity to connect with an employer, develop your knowledge and skills and find out what the world of work expects from you and how to fit in when you enter your first graduate role. Even if your course does not provide such an opportunity you can seek out periods of work shadowing, work experience and internships by being proactive and contacting employers.
Many students opt to spend some time abroad whilst at university, either as part of an Erasmus experience or by spending their summers either travelling or working in summer camps or volunteering. You will have a great time but will also learn how to get along with people from other countries developing your interpersonal skills and many more.
What would you advise someone who is unsure about their next steps?
Make a virtual career appointment with a Careers Consultant via Ask RGU to discuss your options and get help developing a career plan.
What is your number one tip for CV writing?
Always tailor your CV to the role and employer you are applying to. Your CV should be concise and easy to read. Make sure that when an employer looks at your CV they can quickly see how well you match the requirements of their role. There is lots of CV advice on the RGU EHub resource. You can also get feedback on your CV by speaking to a Careers Consultant in a virtual careers appointment which can be booked via Ask RGU.