We’ve put together 5 top tips to get your career started before you even leave University.
1. Follow your interests and passion
Aim for jobs based on your interests but don’t expect careers to always reflect study very closely e.g. you may be interested in studying how organisms respond to their environment, but a job that uses this knowledge, such as an ecologist or a developmental biologist, may only draw on it fairly infrequently.
2. Know your skill strengths
Consider the skills required in various jobs – these are most likely going to occupy more of your daily work routine than the knowledge base. For example, do you prefer a numbers-based analytical job involving data collection and analysis which could be equally as satisfying applied to work for an environmental consultancy agency or large scale genome project analysis; or maybe you prefer practical laboratory work or communicating with people?
3. Read the job adverts
Look at the jobs section in New Scientist or Nature regularly, just to get an idea of the sorts of jobs available, their salaries and locations. You don’t have to wait until you need a job to do this.
4. Write a CV
Try writing a CV for a job that you like the look of. It will help you focus on where the gaps are while you still have time to plug them. Be brave and show it to as many people as possible; your tutors, the University careers service, even your friends. The more feedback you get at an early stage, the better your CV will be when you really need it.
5. Get experience
Use your time as an undergraduate to try out one or two careers if you can. Vacation studentships or work-based employment are great ways to see if you like, or equally as important dislike, some jobs – and the experience will look good on your CV.
6. Let people know your interests and network
Many peoples’ career choices are made by chance recommendations and networking. Talk with your tutors about what interests you – they might suggest names or opportunities that get things going for you.