Guiding university choice

Module progress:

Session three: Reading two


As David highlighted in the video ’employability’ is a buzz word that you will hear universities talk a lot about when you are researching where to study. You might not recognise it at the moment but you are already developing ’employability’ skills through your current studies, any employment experience or voluntary work you have undertaken. If you write an essay you are employing skills such as research, analysis, evaluation and communication. Continuing your studies to degree level will develop these even further. However, as David clearly pointed out in the video, a degree on its own is no longer a guarantee of success in the graduate employment market.

A common question many people ask is: Just how do you find out about career opportunities while studying at university?

It might seem a long way off as you haven’t applied to university yet but, as David explained in the video, planning ahead is important even at this stage. All universities will have resources and support facilities to help you develop your career plans. Make sure you make use of prospectuses and university websites to check the careers resources and facilities on offer at the universities you are interested in attending. Questions to think about are:

What support is there for preparing students for the world of work?

  • Careers advice – where you can discuss your future plans
  • Careers fairs – where you can talk directly to employers and find out more about career opportunities that interest you
  • Employability skills programmes – many universities offer tailor-made programmes to prepare you for entering the world of work after you graduate
  • Volunteering opportunities – providing you with the chance to develop your skills and gain knowledge and experience of a particular sector
  • CV workshops and assessment centres – helping you with the more practical aspects of applying for work

What links do they have with employers?

  • Sector-specific events – many universities organise specific occupational events where employers discuss opportunities in their industry
  • Mentoring scheme – opportunity for one-to-one guidance and support from a professional in a particular industry

Do they offer work placements?

  • Short-term internships – for students wishing to gain some work experience over the summer holidays
  • Opportunities to work within the university – a lot of universities run their own internal employment agencies for students to gain short-term jobs, as well as operating Ambassador Schemes.