There’s a reason we put ourselves through the ringer, jump hurdles and swing for all those fences when it comes to the job hunt. Why? To be in a position to do what we love for the rest of our lives.
But we live in scary times where just having a degree isn’t going to cut it any more. ‘Oh, you have a 2:1? That’s fantastic! You and the other 2,837,400 applicants…’
It’s what you do outside of the lecture theatre that shapes your future these days. So let’s explore that, by looking at this list of the best non-academic thing you can do to assure your dream job.
Reading doesn’t necessarily have to be academic for it to be useful to you, but I’m not necessarily talking about re-reading the Harry Potter series for the 11th time (yes we know and it’s fine, we all do it).
Fiction-head? Read some classics or something complicated to expand your mind and boost that vocabulary. Prefer non-fiction? Read the biography/autobiography of someone you aspire to be like, see how they got where they got and let them give you the keys to more success.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, we hear President Barack Obama has some pretty good suggestions.
At university, there are a ton of opportunities to practice leadership and work on your organisation skills.
If you’re in your first year, consider running for your residents’ committee (you know, that group of second years with matching hoodies that looked after you when you went out clubbing?) If that doesn’t float your boat, find your favourite society and run for an exec position. You’ll be amazed at what it can do for you.
Build a brand
In real life, you’re smart, ambitious and going places. And that’s exactly why your social media channels shouldn’t be a picture diary of all the places you’ve chundered in the past 3 years.
Building a personal brand is crazy important in this day and age. Your digital presence is something people can find easily, so they should see the story you want to tell. Crafting a brand means putting in some time outside of uni to make it happen. Follow these tips carefully and you’ll be on your way to your dream job yet.
Write a blog
‘But blogging’s just for journalists!’ I hear you whine to your computer screen. ‘Nooooo!’ bellows back the tiny god hidden in your web camera.
The benefits of showing that you can express your thoughts clearly and concisely will serve you well in pretty much any dream career.
Employers especially love it if you have interesting things to say about your chosen career field. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to show you understand good design off your website building skills if you got them. Remember, HTML rulez d00d.
Whether you dance, recite poems, or play music, the point is to get up in front of people and do something. As well as encouraging you to think creatively and alleviating boredom and feelings of stagnation, performance helps you build up a ton of confidence.
Nothing like an audience full of people to prepare for having all eyes on you as a new starter in the workplace. And if you don’t do any of these things already, check around your uni, there may be some people that can help you out.
Play sports, hit the gym, Rocky Balboa up your stairs at home, whatever floats your boat. Exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you happy, and if you’re happy, you’ll be focused. If you’re focused, you’ll be dream job interview ready.
Plus, having a simple exercise routine and sticking to it will also build your confidence. You’ll boost your self-esteem and feel like you’re adulting properly already. If you need help getting started, try some of these sports for non-sporty people.
This is something that can really mark you out from a crowd, simply because most people don’t even bother.
Doing things for charity and working on projects that help others shows you can demonstrate commitment and dedication to a cause even when it doesn’t stand to immediately benefit you. It also develops your emotional intelligence, which will help you understand and liaise better with your future colleagues and make you a pleasant person in the office.
We’ve all seen those ‘grad holding sign in busy train station swings dream job’ stories in the news. Why not take it to the next level?
Take this guy, for instance, who took out a whole bunch of cheap Google ads that would pop up when people searched for the advertising CEOs he wanted to work for. Or, this guy, Adam Pacitti, who famously spent his last £500 pounds advertising himself on a billboard. You don’t have to go to this far, but from cold calls to QR codes, there’s plenty of ways to get yourself out there.
Okay so, your post-sixth form Malia trip isn’t necessarily going to help you get your dream job, but there’s plenty of ways to make travelling relevant to your job hunt. Putting a trip together requires organisation, problem solving skills and responsibility, all of which sounds suspiciously like employment to me.
Working in another country, on the other hand. will teach how to network with strangers, throw yourself into the unknown, maybe even how to pick up a few words in another language. So if you get the chance to do a Year Abroad definitely do. Just try not to have anything too nightmarish happen to you in the process.
Wake up, people. We’re living in a Black Mirror-ish age these days. But there’s no need to be afraid of it. Take the initiative, teach yourself some digital skills and become a tech badass just in time for 2017.
There’s a huge gap between the amount of people with digital skills and the amount of people we need with digital skills, and that’s across all the industries. If you can set yourself up to fill that need? Dream job, ahoy.
Feature Image © The CW