Gaining Work Experience
Throughout my first 2 years at University, I have made a large effort to gain work experience. It can be quite hard to find internships and software-focused employment in your first two years. Luckily, however, there are many different types of employment you can get involved in and the University Career Service has many useful resources on their website.
Exploring different fields
It is very normal to be unsure about what field you would like to go into for a career. That is why I would recommend spending your time in 1st and 2nd year exploring different fields and finding something you are passionate about. It is perfectly normal for your interests and goal to change.
I came into university with the ambition of being a Software Engineer. This is quite a broad job, and I was not sure what type of software engineer I would like to be. After exploring the different fields of software engineering, I was able to eliminate some of them that I wasn’t as interested in.
Exploring different fields and industries is a normal process, and I am still not entirely sure where I want to go after university – whether to continue with a PhD or go into employment.
Grow your network
Something that I have done over the past 2 years to help me find and gain opportunities is by growing my network of connections. To do this, I primarily use LinkedIn and try and connect with everyone I meet in a professional context.
Networking is all about showing an interest in what people do. It’s getting to know the people around you and building a support ‘network’. This is really useful as you may hear about job openings at companies and get referred to the job by a current employee!
If you want to learn more about networking. I would recommend paying a visit to the University Career Service.
Actively seeking opportunities
Do not be discouraged at rejection from an opportunity. Rejections are very common, sadly, as the job market is very competitive. If you really want to gain experience in the field, it is very important that you actively seek the opportunities. Do not just sit and wait for the opportunities to come to you – try and create opportunities for yourself. While looking for work, take some time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe develop a portfolio of projects? The University career service provides great tools for understanding yourself
The application you submit to a position is what the recruiting managers will be reviewing. Be sure to put your best self forward by putting the best application forward.
Writing good applications is a skill and can be developed. Generally, an application will consist of a submission of your CV and Cover letter – some people may choose to include their GitHub with projects!
For guidance on how to write a CV and submit a good application. Visit:
- Examples of CVs and Cover letters
- CV360 – Instant feedback on your CV
- How to complete an application form
- Explaining your qualifications