I am not a career adviser and whilst I cannot tell you what to do, I can tell you what I did and how it worked.
I am writing this blog for undergraduates from all backgrounds who might need an inspirational speech or some guidance. Here are three ways to get the most out of your university years and potentially the great job you want.
Network. A lot
I think I spoke with more people during my university years than I have spoken with in my entire life. For real. Being at university is a great opportunity to meet people (d’oh). But just think about it! Not only have you got your peers (who one day might be influential) but you also have the academic staff, non-academic staff, and external speakers at various events.
Interact with as many people as you can without being judgemental – the son of one of the cleaners at my university gave me an internship. I met my best friend by making small chat at the cafeteria and I have this great job today because everyone knew I was looking for one. It’s great to have a network but you have to know how to use it too! So, if you are offering something or are looking for something, make sure everyone knows it! You’d be surprised how fast the word gets around.
Be the best you can
You cannot fully appreciate the free time you have whilst being a student until the day it’s gone. And trust me, that day is around the corner.
I understand, we are all young and we need to have fun but, if we all have fun all the time, we are not learning how to take over the world one day. See how that works? You are the generation that will look after the current one; you have to make sure people will be in good hands. So, it’s crucial that you all know your stuff – no matter what it is, master it!
Be knowledgeable and read a lot – I would say that it doesn’t matter what your read as long as you read. But it does matter what you read. And what you read will decide the things you talk about which will impact on who your friends are and what type of people you spend your time with later. So keep up, hang out with the smart kids and always be the best you can! – Why wouldn’t you?
Engage in extracurricular activities
My first real interview was in London. I was seeing a director for an internship within their PR team. He had already seen my CV so, for the meeting, I took all of my 53 award certificates (which I had gathered since I was 7 – I had been to every competition in my middle school, the weirdest ones in high school and some amazing business contests at university). I did not get the internship. But the point is I had something to show. And with those whole 53 pages, could have come 53 amazing stories and lessons. All in all, the paperwork I was carrying with me was my way of showing I was the best I could have been and that I had spent my time wisely.
I encourage all of you to do the same. It’s never too late to do voluntary work or to compete in a contest. And whilst I appreciate some of you might also be supporting yourselves and have less time to do things that look good on paper, where there’s will, there’s a way. And if you do support yourselves, choose your part time job so that it takes you one step closer to the industry you want to build a career in.
If a Romanian female, from a modest background can make her way up to a fantastic PR consultancy like Blue Sky PR – you too can make it, there’s no excuse.