Alongside academic commitment, your time at university is a valuable opportunity to enhance career prospects. It’s never too early to start researching the job market, explore career paths of interest to you and throwing yourself into the hustle and bustle of the working world! In this blog piece, I want to share some of my experiences and tips on how to effectively engage with career development activities at Westminster.
#1 Part-time job through Talent Bank
If you are looking for a part-time job to lessen the financial burden while still being able to build your skill sets in a professional environment, head to Talent Bank for opportunities to work right at the university. Talent Bank offers paid temporary and part-time jobs across various departments.
Through the previous Talent Bank job working at the Recruiter Engagement Team, I had noticeably improved some soft skills through daily tasks. As I worked with databases regularly, I had the chance to practice data handling and processing. It required a lot of attention to detail as well as the ability to work under time constraints. The role also motivated me to retrieve all my Excel knowledge learned in high school as well!
Tips: Sign up for the Talent Bank newsletter and attend Talent Bank Welcoming Session to keep yourself in the loop of the latest vacancies!
#2 Overseas Opportunities
At Westminster, there is a wide range of global opportunities for students, such as Internship Abroad, Overseas Volunteering, Westminster Working Cultures, Summer Schools and Year Long/Semester Exchange. Abroad opportunities are life-changing experiences to further your career prospects, by enabling you to develop an international outlook and stand out in the competitive global job market.
Upon the completion of my first year, I successfully received the Distant Horizon Award and secured a place in the Summer School programme at Copenhagen Business School (Denmark). While occupying myself with the new subject area of Corporate Image/Reputation Management, I also made a lot of new friends of different backgrounds during the programme and experienced the eccentric yet captivating Scandinavian culture!
Tips: There are limited spaces for these opportunities so if you are thinking of going abroad, you should plan right at the beginning of the academic year. This should give you extra time to decide on your preferred route, to check if you’re eligible, and to fully understand the application process. By starting your application early, you might also be able to apply for a funding opportunity for the duration of your study/work overseas.
#3 Career Mentoring Scheme
If you are feeling unsure of your career paths or insecure about your skill gaps, taking part in the Career Mentoring Scheme can help you to get where you want to be and work out how to get there. In the six-month scheme, you will be matched with an experienced professional who will give you one-to-one employability-focused advice and support. Some examples of what can be achieved in a mentoring relationship include gaining insight into the sector you wish to work for, learning how to correct your skill gaps and developing interpersonal skills, as well as obtaining insider tips on the job application process.
At the early stage of the mentoring relationship, my mentor and I together established a skill gaps analysis and outlined a detailed and SMART career development plan. Then, we had several sessions where my mentor gave comprehensive tutorials on how to close my skill gaps and build self-confidence. I also sought extra supports in polishing up my CV, practicing motivation questions and interviews.
Tips: Before starting your Mentoring sessions, you should be clear of the career goals you wish to accomplish by the end of the cycle and map them out in detail. For more tips on Career Mentoring, read Why You Need a Mentor – Mentoring at the University of Westminster.
#4 Westminster Employability Award
Westminster Employability Award (WEA) is designed to support your personal and career development by recognising your engagement with tailored employability programme while studying at Westminster. By earning points for the completion of activities, you will gain a digital badge (Bronze, Silver, Gold) – adding values to your CV and impressing future employers with your proactiveness.
Tips: You can find more tips on how to take full advantage of WEA on My Experience Completing the Westminster Employability Award
#5 Engage Platform
Engage is an exclusive platform for Westminster students offering a wide range of employability services, job opportunities and career advice. You can find an abundance of career events and workshops that will help you gain industry insights and improve job application, along with a tailored job search for full-time, part-time, internships, and volunteering opportunities. On top of that, you can also book 1-2-1 appointments with a career specialist for career guidance and advice on CVs, interviews, and gain access to a handful of career resources.
Tips: Make sure to make the most of Engage by browsing the site weekly for new events and opportunities. If you are looking to practice your interviews, assessment centres or aptitude tests, head to Engage Plus for a wealth of resources!
#6 Online Learning
University students like us often have little exposure to the professional settings, and so often as we browse through the job description of our desired role, some areas of required skills appear to be alien to us. How to deal with the unpreparedness in this increasingly competitive job market?
Familiarise yourself with some basic knowledge of the industry and your future workplace will be a good starting point. As a student at University of Westminster, you have free access to LinkedIn Learning, an online platform with expert-led video tutorials focusing on three main themes – Business, Creative and Technology. The best thing about LinkedIn Learning is you can choose to leverage your technical or soft skills (or both) at your own pace. Identify what your skill gaps are and head to LinkedIn Learning’s search bar to choose the most suitable course. Partaking in the LinkedIn courses shows employers your willingness and motivation to learn and go the extra mile.
Tips: Don’t overdo and only take courses that can potentially tackle your upskilling need. Spend at least 2 hours a week for online learning activities and make sure to keep a record of key takeaways from these courses. There are also other platforms you can explore and take advantage of, such as Udemy, Coursera, Future Learn.
Click here to read more of students’ stories at WBS.
Find out more about Careers and Employability Service at University of Westminster.