How to boost your employability at university

How to boost your employability at university

University is known for being overflowing with various societies, opportunities and events that you can get involved in, but what exactly should you be doing? Ultimately you should tailor your activities outside of lectures to what you enjoy! But if you want some advice as to what activities can be great for your CV as well, take a read below.

Committee Position on a Society

Job applications and interviews will involve competency questions of some sort, which will normally look to when you’ve worked in a team or taken on a position of responsibility. Choosing a society you enjoy to become more involved in and joining their executive committee is perfect to build up your experiences and answers to these questions. The society you choose can be course-based or hobby-based, as long as you’re passionate about the student group, what it stands for, and the events it holds then you’ll be the perfect addition to their team. Also of course the benefits aren’t purely for your CV, you will make so many friends within the society when you are on the committee. Personally, I came back from my year abroad and joined my Law Society committee. I was able to meet so many new people from different year groups and build my group of friends from the limited number of 4th years left. 

Pro Bono Initiatives

If your university has a Pro Bono Society or it is part of your Law Society, this is a great way to do something different and help the community. Opportunities can range from delivering teaching sessions at primary schools, talking to secondary school students about studying law, or talking to prisoners about how they can write a CV and get a job upon release. Your university may also have a legal advice clinic in which you can have some real-life practice of applying law and helping those in need. I took part in the ASPIRE project offered by my Pro Bono Society at the University of Nottingham. I volunteered in primary schools helping to deliver lessons to pupils about important topics such human rights. By partaking in three different sessions, I was awarded the Pro Bono Achievement Award offered by the Society for my efforts which is a great addition to the CV.I also took a placement module in my final year where I volunteered as a Gateway Assessor at Citizens Advice. This is a great way to get a view of real issues and practice your problem-solving skills for a client outside of hypothetical problem questions in exams! If your university doesn’t offer a module like this, look up your local Citizens Advice branch and contact them to volunteer – they’re always keen for students to help!

Networking Opportunities

Traditionally at the start of the academic year, most large law firms will go on a ‘milkround’ circuit of the universities in the UK. This normally consists of every night in a 3-week period having a different law firm giving a presentation about the work they do and their recruitment process. This year, while the circuits are not taking place as in previous years, many firms are attending virtual events instead. This is your number one way to get to know a law firm, talk to lawyers who work there, and ask any specific questions you have about the firm and the work they carry out. Some of these conversations can spark a long-term connection on LinkedIn or inspire you to apply to an open day/vacation scheme. These conversations will also be an invaluable addition to your application. I have had friends who were able to draw upon these conversations in vacation scheme interviews and subsequently be successful!

Law Firm Open Days

Law firms will host a multitude of open days throughout the year. These are the perfect way to firstly see the firm and its offices, but also to find out about the firm’s work and values from the firm itself. You will find out information which goes beyond what is available on their graduate recruitment website, and are able to ask in-depth questions to representatives from all levels of the firm. If you are interested in applying for vacation schemes or training contracts, open days are vital to give your application that added boost. 

Of course this isn’t a definitive list of what you must do at university, but if you’re looking to get more involved and also boost your transferable skills and employability prospects – these activities are a good place to start.

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About the author:
Olivia Burn is a University of Nottingham graduate of Law with Australian Law, where she was a LexisNexis Student Associate. She hopes to secure a paralegal role while applying for future vacation schemes and training contracts.