How can I use time on my own to help me achieve my career goal?

jimrealiJim Reali, Postgraduate

At the moment, we’re experiencing uncertain and, to a large extent, unprecedented times. Covid-19 is in the news every day and, understandably, there is a lot of concern, so many people are trying to avoid unnecessary contact with others and some are needing to self-isolate.

In this blog, I want to make some suggestions about the things you could be doing during this time, to help improve your employability and increase your chances of landing the graduate career you desire:

Career planning

I’ve mentioned it before and I’m mentioning it again – if you don’t know what you want to do, or have some concerns, then take some time to improve your self-awareness and identify your goals. Remember that we have an online Career Action Plan that you can download and also additional resources to find out what makes you tick. (Remember that this level of awareness is extremely important not only when you’re thinking about which career will suit you, but also as preparation for interviews, when you’re thinking about ways to convince an employer that you’re right for the job.)

Remember as well that we have a Career Action Planning Webinar taking place on 25th March, which can help you to make full use of these tools.

Look for opportunities on Aston Futures

Remember that employers are still recruiting and posting lots of different opportunities on Aston Futures – take a look every day to see what’s new.

CVs and applications

Have you updated your CV recently and had it checked by C+P staff? If not, we have a lot of CV resources available online to help you, as well as wider applications resources. Why not check your documents (also think about your cover letter) and submit them to us?

In addition, don’t forget that you can try our CV Submission Service, connecting you to employers. Submit your CV and work preferences via our CV Submission Form and we will aim to send it on to employers we think will have relevant opportunities for you. (Note: we will only send CVs to employers when we have a sufficient number and if we feel that a CV needs improvement, we may suggest an appointment to amend it.)

Have you revisited some of those applications you may have submitted some time ago, to check if employers received them and what’s happening with them? If not, then you might want to keep a record of everything you’ve submitted so far, using our Application Tracker, which you can download from our Applications web page.

In addition, please do remember that we have a CVs and cover letters webinar coming up on 13th May.

Psychometric tests

You might well be aware that many employers are now using psychometric tests and gamification to test candidates during the recruitment process. These cover many different approaches including numerical reasoning, verbal and non-verbal tests, situational judgement tests and more. If you haven’t tried any of these yourself, then this could be a good time to do so, using our free online resources from Graduates First, which you can access through our Psychometric Testing and Assessment Centres web pages.

Improve your commercial awareness

When you get to interview, you know there’s a good chance that an employer is going to ask you why you want to work for them and why you want to work in a particular role.

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you’ll have seen me mention the fantastic job profiles on the www.prospects.ac.uk website, which provide superb insights into a wide range of different roles.

However, how can you find out more about the organisations for which you might want to work?

Get networking (Virtually)

Another perennial favourite: use LinkedIn. If you don’t have a profile already, then create one using our handy PDF. Take time to make sure that your profile is as impressive as it can be.

Connect with Aston alumni to find out more about the organisations for which they are working.

Join discussion groups linked to career sectors of interest to you and contribute to discussions.

Make yourself stand-out with extra experience

Use online resources such as GitHub to create a portfolio of your coding expertise or to showcase previous work.

Consider virtual internships and online volunteering opportunities.

Write some blogs relating to your career areas of interest and post them via LinkedIn.

Practice your interview techniques with Launchpad

We’ve a wealth of helpful information relating to interviews, including our handy interview question bank and also our guide to competency-based interviews, as well as Launchpad, our video interview software which permits you to sit a range of interview questions at home and then review your responses, to identify what has worked well and any areas for improvement.

Book a Skype appointment for some 1:2:1 help

We’re still here for you and very happy to help. You can book an appointment with a Careers Consultant online, via Aston Futures.