Want to know the best ways to transfer from university study to actually working in your field? One of our newest star employees, Kim, details how to easily and effectively make that transition.
1. Narrow Your Field
Of course my first tip would be to narrow down your field before doing anything else. However, this is a very industry specific tip which allows you to be quite flexible. Luckily, the major or minors you are studying can help you to narrow this down quite a bit. While you may want to become an all-rounder, you will still need to specialise in certain areas to be desirable in the eyes of an employer.
For example, I work in Advertising, a broad field which lets me gain many skills. But I specialise in SEO and Copywriting.
My advice would be to research your field. If you’re studying Marketing, a very broad field, then research some of the role involved. ‘Account Director,’ ‘Media Planner’ and ‘Market Researcher’ are all Marketing jobs, but they require different expertise. Do your own research to find out what you should specialise in.
While studying you are often met with opportunities to go to certain networking events. I have been to a number of these and have had the opportunity to meet and greet those working at large gyms, advertising agencies, armed forces, start-ups and even Google!
While it’s a great idea to attend these functions in the hopes of gaining internships and connections, it is sometimes difficult to stand out in a crowd of a hundred other students. You should be aiming to attend these functions to grow your professionalism and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Honing in on your networking skills will help you later on in the real world (pardon the pun, I’m a QUT student).
Now, I know you’ve heard this a million times before; but the biggest tip I can give you is to get yourself into as many internships as possible and start early! I started completing internships in my 3rd year of a 4-year degree. But I could have started in my second year if I had of looked into it earlier.
Utilising your internships to hone in on your specific skill sets, as I mentioned earlier, is also a great idea. Let your supervisor at your internship know which areas you are dying to gain more experience in. More often than not they will jump at the chance to offer you as much experience as they can.
4. Time Management
This one’s easy to talk about, but very hard to do. If you’ve gotten to the stage where you are completing internships as well as balancing work, study and a social life, you may find yourself a bit time-poor. Scheduling your time into strict intervals will help you cope with the stress.
For example, before getting too comfortable after getting home in the afternoon set aside 30 minutes to 1 hr of your time where you can focus purely on study.
If you have nothing to do during this time, then take 30 minutes to pre-plan any new assignments you have just been given. Your work load will obviously increase and decrease as the semester progresses, but starting those larger assignments earlier will help you cope as you get closer to those daunting due dates.
Now for my last tip and probably one of the most important (okay, they’re all pretty important): Do your research! Whether that’s before a job interview or just general research of the industry. You would be surprised what you can learn by searching for companies within your industry and compiling a list of ‘dream jobs’ or ‘dream companies’. It gives you something to strive for.
Before I started my first internship I was Googling jobs within the industry and checking each of their key skill sets. My goal was to work in a position with something along the lines of ‘Digital Marketing’ in the title (speaking from success, as I am now a Digital Marketing Assistant) so I set myself tasks of researching what skills employers are looking for. This all helped me grasp an idea of what kind of workplace culture I was leaning towards as well as which skills I needed to gain throughout my internships.
When it came time to start searching for a job in Advertising, I knew exactly what I was looking for and knew that I had the skill sets to apply for it.
If you’ve gotten this far I commend you. It may be a lengthy set of tips but I honestly believe that these 5 things were what helped me prepare as best as I could for the real world. I was able to confidently apply for my role here at Alpha Digital after researching the company and knowing that I had enough skills for the position. I was comfortable when talking to professionals in the industry which made my interview a breeze, as well as the fact that I knew that I was handling my time well enough to make room for a part-time job.
Hopefully you can find relevance within these tips to help you, no matter what your field is in. And I wish you all the luck with your own journey from university to the industry!