Postgraduate checklist: nine things to do before you graduate

JodieAdvice, Postgraduate

Your time as a postgraduate here at Aston is sadly drawing to a close, which means now is the time to think about what your next steps will be and where you want your future to take you. To help you get the most out of these next few months and make sure you leave Aston knowing what your next steps are, we’ve pulled together this checklist of career-related activities for you to focus on.

Read our Postgraduate Careers Guide

We’ve written this careers guide just for you! It’s bursting with handy tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time at Aston. It covers how the Careers+Placements team can help you, what your priorities should be as you approach the end of your degree, some advice for various stages of the recruitment process and more.

Update your profile on Aston Futures

Aston Futures is an online portal we run. Hopefully you’ve already been using it during your time here at Aston, but here’s a little reminder of what you can use it for in case you need it:

  • Search and apply for opportunities (some of the roles on there are exclusive to Aston Futures, which means you won’t find them anywhere else and that those employers are looking for Aston students in particular!)
  • Book an appointment with a Careers Consultant to discuss you career plans or get advice about applying for roles
  • Register for careers events
  • Set up tailored job alerts
  • Check out the Career Discovery tab – you’ll find loads of useful articles on all aspects of the job hunt here.

To get started, you’ll just need to log in using your student username and password – pretty simple, right?

Just a heads-up though – once you graduate, your student log-in details will no longer be valid. But don’t panic, you can still access Aston Futures and everything it has to offer by registering for a graduate account using your personal email address.

Search and apply for graduate roles

As you approach the end of your degree, it’s important that you spend time taking a look at what graduate opportunities are out there and which you like the look of. As we’ve previously mentioned, Aston Futures is a handy starting point but there are lots of other great websites out there that you should also be using. Check out this blog post where we’ve listed lots of websites you can use during your job search.

Book an appointment with a Careers Consultant

Planning out your future can be a pretty daunting prospect. The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone as we’re here for you! Our friendly and experienced Careers Consultants offer 1-to-1 appointments and can help you with all sorts of things, including:

  • Figuring out what you want to do
  • Reviewing your experience and identifying all those amazing skills you have
  • Polishing your CV until it shines
  • Writing an impressive cover letter
  • Refining your applications
  • Perfecting your interview technique
  • Creating a LinkedIn profile
  • Exploring opportunities.

Whether you’ve already got your future all mapped out or you’re unsure what you want to do next, the team will be happy to chat to you. Head to Aston Futures to book an appointment with them.

Update your CV and LinkedIn profile

Hopefully you’ll have gained some work experience and developed lots of transferable skills during your time at Aston. Whether that’s through completing a virtual internship, working part-time, volunteering for an organisation or cause, being on the committee of a society or completing a postgraduate placement, employers will want to know about it. Spend some time updating your CV and LinkedIn profile (you can find useful resources for doing this on our website) to ensure they reflect everything you’ve done so far. Our Careers Consultants can also help you with this – just book an appointment with them to get started.

Get some work experience

You can never have too much work experience. If you’re finding you’re falling down in applications for graduate opportunities though, you may need some extra work experience to give your CV a boost. This is where our wonderful JobShop team come in. They can help you find a part-time job or volunteering role which you can fit around your studies. We’ve also written this handy blog post which lists a number of sites you can use to find work experience opportunities.

Book onto a careers event or three

We run a range of employability events throughout the year, including career fairs, workshops and employer sessions. These cover all sorts of topics to support you whatever stage of your career journey you’re at. To see what we’ve got coming up throughout the year, head to Aston Futures and take a look at the event calendar on there.

Use our online tools

As an Aston student, you get access to a number of helpful resources to help you practise your skills and prepare for the world of work. Whether you want to get ready for an assessment centre or prepare your CV before an application, there’s a tool to help you:

Aston360

This is a really handy portal to use as part of your job search. You’ll be able to access a huge range of careers resources through this including, employer and industry insights, CV and application support, interview tips, information on employability skills and much more!

You’ll also be able to make use of CV360 and Interview360 through this portal. CV360 is an automated CV feedback tool which will help you create a CV that will showcase how brilliant you are – simply upload your CV and get tailored feedback on things like presentation, structure and language in seconds. Through Interview360, you’ll be able to take part in mock interviews and gain an analysis of how you did so that you can adapt and impress employers on the big day.

Graduates First

Use this tool to practise numerical, verbal and logical reasoning, as well as situational judgement. You can also gain experience with and feedback on assessment centre tasks such as case studies and in-tray exercises.

GoinGlobal

GoinGlobal offers careers guides to help you decide if an international career is right for you. You can enjoy access to country-specific guides, global city employment resources and more.

Team Focus

Use this tool to explore your abilities, interests, personality and learning style using free, quality psychometrics. You’ll be able to access a wide range of tutorials and real ability tests used by employers and government bodies.

Head to our Online Tools webpage to access all of the above.

Explore PhD options

Not quite ready to hang up your academic hat? Then a PhD might be the route for you. There are so many benefits to doing a PhD – not only can it help you develop your passion for your subject further, you’ll gain a variety of skills including research and analysis, project management, public engagement and problem-solving. Take a look at this Vitae Researcher Development Framework for more examples.

There’s lots to think about when considering this route though, including financial implications, selecting the right institution for you and deciding what you want your thesis to be about. Have a read of this blog post to get you started.

Jodie, a member of Careers+Placements staff

Written by Jodie Carpenter, Careers+Placements