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First year students

First-year Undergraduates: it's never too early!

Welcome to the University of Salford!

You will probably feel that finishing your course/graduation is a long way ahead, and that your first year is not the time to be thinking about careers at all.

Settling in, making friends and getting stuck into your course are all likely to be much higher up your list of priorities. And quite right!

However, at the end of your studies, you will find that employers now expect candidates to offer more than a good academic record and degree,  they also look for work experience (relevant if possible) and evidence of “employability skills” such as communication skills, team work and planning/organisational skills.

Employers also look for “rounded individuals” – they want evidence that you have been involved in clubs, societies or voluntary work in the world outside University. So your 1st year is a perfect time to start building up evidence of these key “employability” skills – whilst having fun at the same time! More information on some of these key employability skills is available on our website.

Remember, everything you do at Salford will count.

How Can Careers and Employability Help?

Careers and Employability can help you make the most of your degree from day one: Make sure you don’t miss out on anything, keep in touch with all the latest events taking place in Careers and Employability such as talks from different professional organisations and employers, career planning and workshops. It may trigger ideas for your own future career plans. Log on to view all the latest news, job vacancies and more. Get interactive through our social media forums.

Not only a great way to earn money to keep you going whilst you study, part-time work will help you to increase your employability skills and will impress employers. Work such as stacking shelves, pulling pints, working in a shop can show that you have time management skills, customer care experience and/ or organisational abilities. Download the Careers and Employability guide to Finding Part-time Work to give you other ideas. You can look for part-time opportunities via our Vacancy site.

If you are applying for a part time job whilst studying at the University, many employers will ask you to send in your CV (resumé). Your CV is your marketing tool. It summarises your qualifications, experience and skills. Start preparing your CV now, not only will this help you if you are looking for part-time work now, it can also act as a template that you can develop as you progress through University. Visit our resource zone to access guides & resources to help you to write a CV and/or covering letter. Copies also available at Careers & Employbility. Visit our Improve your CV webpages where you can further information and times of CV Clinics & workshops.

Visit our webpages for details of how get involved with volunteering and to find out about opportunities in the local community. Local projects include conservation & environmental projects and teaching. Not only can you help local groups/individuals, this will give you a chance to develop some of these all important employability skills.

You need good academic learning skills and study skills because they support successful academic study and achievement. Good academic skills enable you to be better organised, read and make notes effectively, research and produce essays and be better prepared for exams. However, many of these skills, such as note-taking and report-writing are important skills not only for your degree course but also in work. The study skills programmes provide an opportunity to learn about different approaches and techniques to improve. Full details of workshops and one to one provision are available.

Get involved in clubs, societies or with the Students' Union. All of these activities will help develop your personal skills. For example, if you have been involved in sporting activities such as rugby, this can show your team working skills; if you are a member of a role playing group, this can show evidence of your communication skills. As well as having fun or keeping fit, you will greatly enhance your CV.

Languages are valued by many employers and demonstrating that you have these skills can enhance your CV when applying for graduate jobs. As well as helping you when on holiday! The University Wide Language Programme offers courses, at a variety of levels, in a range of modern European and other languages. Please see website for full details of languages offered, dates, costs.

Students of all degree disciplines need to be computer literate and familiar with word-processing packages, email and the Internet. Other useful computer skills include knowledge of databases such as Access, knowledge of spreadsheets such as Excel, and presentation skills such as Powerpoint. The student ICT training opportunities are available for all levels of experience in Microsoft Office, Windows, Email and other software applications.

It’s never too early to start thinking about what you like doing.If you start to plan ahead now; it will make it easier for you to gain relevant experience and skills over the next couple of years and to help you decide what career areas you are interested in. Think about the following areas:

Second Year Modules

For example, before you choose your Second Year modules you may find it useful to consider how your second year modules may relate to your career interests. If in doubt, check with your personal tutor or come and visit Careers and Employability to have a chat with a Careers Adviser. Visit our Careers Appointments webpages for a full list of details of careers advice sessions available. There is a variety of  bookable appointments, including telephone and 'Ask a Question' and SKYPE appointments.

Research Ideas

If you are lucky enough to get a part-time job related to a particular occupation it may also help you to gain an insight into a career you may be interested in later on and help you to make decisions about career choice. This is an ideal time to investigate your ideas in more depth. However, if you  are  stuck where to start, look at Careers and Employability Virtual Library to kick-start your ideas.

Likewise, look at Options with your subject leaflets to find out what you can do with your degree; these are available in the Careers Information Resource and also available online.

A Final Thought

Those students who develop a career management strategy early in their university life tend to be the ones who are successful in making the transition into graduate jobs most effectively. Worth thinking about….