Time for a reality check

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Question: How many of you have made use of the careers service on campus provided by Lancaster University? For the majority of us the answer to this is likely to be that we have always had every intention of making an appointment, but in all honesty, it hasn’t taken priority above the million and one other things we should be doing at the moment.

Yes, we are made aware of the service during the first talks of Freshers’ Week, but at the same time within days of arriving every fresher is undoubtedly bombarded with talks on lectures, the best societies to join, the best places to go in town, and in reality our future career is most likely to be the last thing on our minds. That careers timeline we are given in our welcome packs, which lets face it seemed so overwhelming not to mention daunting and far away, is hidden at the back of a drawer somewhere, and the closest thing we get to in terms of questioning our future is deciding if we’ve chosen the right course, never mind if it will lead to the career we want. By second year the reality that it does actually matter if we achieve the 40 percent needed to pass or not hits us and the workload will start to amount, yet still graduation seems like a long way off. Before you know it you’re in your final year, trying to complete the dreaded dissertation or frantically trying to find notes for revision when in reality you slept through that seminar.

What we don’t realise is that our time at university does go unbelievably fast. All of a sudden it will be time for your final exams and the stress of trying to find a job once you graduate, especially in this current climate, does in no way help to make your revision any easier. However all this stress could be easily avoided with a few hours planning and a meeting with a careers adviser.

Although we might not already know it, many of us are clueless about the right way to write a CV, fill in an application form, or for those of us lucky enough to get through the application stage, prepare for an interview. With a CV for example should it always be one hundred percent formal, a black and white list of achievements you have gained over your university career? Or should it in fact be a colourful representation of who you really are, and if so what’s the best way to go about it?

As a third year I am ashamed to admit that I was doubtful at first of how much the careers service on campus could actually help me. However after initially having little success with the first few applications I filled in, I decided it was time to make an appointment with an adviser and see what help they could give me. To my surprise they were in fact unbelievably helpful, not to mention friendly. I was offered clear and individual advice on how to present my CV in an eye catching way that would make me stand out from the thousands of other graduates applying for the same job.

With personal tutors often having a couple of hundred students to look after each it can be difficult to find the help that is right for you. Needless to say, this small yet efficient team of six careers advisors: Agnes, Chris, Elaine, Heather, David and Wendy, are not here to tell you what to do or indeed to tell you off for not coming to see them earlier. They are here to help you work out and achieve what it is you want for your future. With the right planning – and a little help from the careers team – you too could have your graduate job sorted earlier than everyone else, giving you the edge you need in today’s difficult economy…so what are you waiting for? Make an appointment with the careers service, situated in University House on Alexandra Square, and get yourself the help you need to plan your future.


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