It's the beginning of the academic year and looking for a job at the end of your degree is likely to feel a very long way off. There is a whole lot of hoops to jump through, coffee to consume and essays to write before that even gets to the top of your priority list. I totally get it. But there are things you can do now that will make that job hunt process so much easier.
This is much more than researching the graduate schemes and schmoozing the right people in networking events. This is about being clear about what you LOVE to do. It's about finding out who you are, what your strengths are, what you care about and using that as a guiding way to find work that you are interested in when the time comes.
Here are six ways to help that job hunt right now:
Join societies and groups on campus that excite you. This isn't about which ones will look best on your CV or which one your best friend is joining. Join the groups where the projects and ideas really interest you. Or choose the societies which have the people that interest and inspire you. Be around those who can help to really stretch, grow and inspire you.
Say yes to opportunities. Look for and say yes to opportunities that interest you. Keep your eyes open for projects or events that you can use your skills and experiences in or that will help you grow new skills. These may be within the university or outside in the community and your local voluntary society is a great place to start.
Find people who inspire you. Follow people on Twitter or blogs who really inspire and excite you. Perhaps they are working for an organisation that you would love to be involved with or their lifestyle may be an inspiration to you. Then move from just following them to finding ways to engage with and learn from them. Respond to their tweets or comment on their blog posts. Send them an email about your thoughts on something they said. Find ways to be more than a silent stalker from afar.
Share what you care about. Start your own blog or use your Twitter or Facebook feed to talk about something you are really passionate about. Are you passionate about the state of the salads in the cafeteria - share your concern and solutions. Want to help world peace - what are your ideas? Stand up for what you believe in, share your passion and engage with those who care about the same things as you.
Be curious. Ask yourself questions and look at how you react in certain situations. What do you love to do? What are you doing when you lose track of time? Who do you know who has a job that sounds fascinating? What is it about that job that interests you? What organisations would you love to work for and which ones would you run away screaming from? Why? If you could write your own job description, what would be the key components of your working day be?
Use your career services. Make use of the career services at your university and be inquisitive and open about next steps. Use this resource to find out who you are and how that might fit with roles once you leave. They may not have all the answers but they can point you in the direction of possibilities you wouldn't otherwise know about.
When you have a clearer sense about what is important to you and what you love to do, then looking for a job at the end of your degree will be so much easier. Take the time now to explore what you enjoy, connect to people, be inspired by possibilities and actively take up opportunities as they come along.Start the job hunt now and perhaps the perfect role will find you rather than you finding it.
Robyn Peel is a coach, mentor and facilitator for 20-somethings who are looking to find fulfilment in their lives. www.robynpeel.com