Top tips from Surrey alumni
As your time with us is coming to an end, you’ll soon begin the transition from student to graduate.
To help you navigate your next chapter, we’ve reached out to Surrey alumni for their top tips for the graduating Class of 2021.
“Start applying early and watch out for deadlines” as employers can stop accepting applications before the deadline has passed, so apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out. Make sure you “tailor your CV and applications to suit the role and company” and “do your research and be enthusiastic during interviews.” Our alumni encourage you to “apply to as much as you can – even though you might not have all the listed requirements, you could still get the job!” “Have patience when applying” and “don't give up. Keep pushing through even if you get a lot of rejections.”
Finding the right job
“Seize every opportunity that you can and don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do after you graduate.” Students often feel pressured to land the perfect job and have their entire career mapped out as soon as they graduate, which isn’t always the reality, so “keep at it and believe there is a job out there for you.” “Your first job doesn’t have to be your dream job, it’s sometimes easier to look for a job when you are already employed.” But equally, you’ll spend a third of your time working, so “find something you love doing, and everything will be much easier.”
One piece of advice that was echoed by several of our alumni is to “get all the experience you can, it’s really important before going into work.” Some recommend “utilising your summer by getting involved in internships – anything to get your foot in the door” while others suggest “getting involved in voluntary work as it’s invaluable.” It’s important to remember that “all work experience is valid and teaches transferable skills” so “don’t remove yourself from any opportunity, try to grasp as much experience as possible.” If you’re still struggling, “be prepared to be pragmatic – go in at a lower level and work your way up to get experience.”
Network and connect
“Networking and making contacts is always important.” As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know but who you know.” Try to “keep in contact with other students as these links can open doors in the future.” Our alumni suggest that you “talk to current professionals to gain advice and learn from their experiences” and “speak to as many people as you can, even if you don’t think it will be of help to you, as they may have a connection in the field you want to work.” You could even use the SurreyConnects platform to “find a mentor who can help you” and share their expertise.
Graduating in a pandemic
You might be feeling anxious about graduating in a pandemic but “don’t let this difficult time stop you from looking for work.” It’s important to “remember that the pandemic will not last forever” and that “things will not always be this hard, times will get better” so “don’t let this situation affect you negatively or discourage you.” Above all, “keep at it and you will be successful.”
If you're a final year undergraduate student, you can find out more about how to boost your employability and the support available on our Dear Class of 2021 webpage.