Making the transition from student to working professional can be intimidating. The good news is that there are things you can do during your time at university to help give you a much needed head-start. 

Here is how you can prepare yourself to enter and succeed in the working world.

1. Spruce Up Your CV

It may not seem like the most interesting document, but it’s one of the most important. Writing your CV is never easy, and it takes time and effort to ensure that yours is one that stands out from the pile. Consider attending a CV writing seminar or taking an online tutorial to help you craft a winning résumé. It also helps to ask a mentor or someone who knows you well, to give a different perspective on your strengths and accomplishments.

2. Take Advantage of Technology

New technologies have made finding work both easier and more enjoyable, so make sure you take advantage of these tools as much as you can. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn are rapidly changing the recruitment process. That’s why it’s essential to keep your profile up-to-date and professional (the same goes for your website, if you have one). These platforms also mean you’re better able to navigate the job market, exploring relevant potential positions on a global level, quickly and easily.

3. Network

You don’t need to be in the professional world to start networking. Get out there and meet people by volunteering or attending worthwhile events - that way you’ll get at least a little bit of experience in your field. Remember that the people you meet now, may lead to career opportunities down the line.


4. Hone Your Professional Skills

While the professional world is constantly changing, there are certain skills that never go out of fashion, and university is the perfect place to develop these. Knowing how to work well in a team, good communication skills, being able to creatively solve problems, and being self-motivated are all traits that are sure to stand you in great stead when you take on the workplace. Take time to figure out where your strengths lie and then find ways to hone these skills by joining a student group, or entering an academic competition.

5. Visit a Career Centre 

Universities often have free services to help guide you through the job search, helping you find internships, and counselling you on the direction you should take. These career centres may also connect you with previous alumni who can offer advice about what to study further, or how to launch a career. Before you graduate, make sure to visit your local centre and soak up as much advice as you can!

6. Work on Campus

Landing an on-campus job is far easier if you’re a current student rather than a graduate, so be sure to take advantage and apply for one early! Whether you write for the campus newspaper, assist a professor with research, or work as a tutor, these jobs will not only prepare you for the working world but will also extend your network.


7. Guest Speakers and Special Events

One of the best ways to become familiar with your field before you enter the job market is by participating in industry events and listening to guest speakers. Ask questions, take notes, even send a follow up email to these people – it’s a great opportunity to network with experts in your field!

8. Join an Association

Many professional industries have associations with lectures, conferences, and networking possibilities. Find the right one and sign up today to become a part of it, and to keep up-to-date with new developments in your field.

9. Study or Volunteer Abroad

International experience not only allows you to learn a foreign language, but also encourages you to see the world in a different light. No matter what your planned career, expanding your horizons by travelling is sure to bring you closer to your goals.

Still feeling uneasy about life after university? Check out our 8 Personal Skills That Will Be Useful in University and Beyond blog for more tips!

About the Author: Tessa Cunliffe is a South African based digital copywriter and marketer, with a passion for travel and learning. Yoga-inspired and coffee-fuelled. Always planning the next adventure.