Loughborough Student Life

Becoming successful and employable

It’s fair to say that most students come to uni with an idea of where they want to be and little idea of how to get there. So, here’s a few tips I’ve picked up about how to get an Aston Martin on your driveway and a mindset for success!

Understanding your strengths, weaknesses and what you enjoy are three key elements for success.

To be able to sell yourself in a business environment means a huge amount of self-awareness. Being able to answer questions highlighting the things you’re good at, as well as being able to show that you’re working on the things you aren’t, is a great way to show that you understand yourself and are willing to learn and adapt.

There’s plenty of stuff to get involved in at university, like essay writing workshops or talks on how to use social media to grow your business, that can help turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Build a career around what you enjoy – this is main thing. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? Understand where your passions lie and build a career around this, this will give you a huge feeling of success in the future.

This came to me last year, when I realised that essentially you can get paid for talking – sales, marketing, PR, recruitment, HR; all of which allow me to use something I’m good at and enjoy in a career.

Whether you’re skilled at finance or even talking, research where this can take you. Build experience around these things with internships or even attending talks and workshops. Work on your strengths and challenge your weaknesses – this is the only way to make progress and become more successful.

Be comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone and get addicted to the feeling of crushing your weaknesses!

Working for free is hard, and probably the hardest thing for poor students… but experience and showing you’re passionate is huge thing for companies – especially if applying for big multinationals.

I also think that internships or work experience before placement years are especially good, as they give you the option to experience a field of work without committing completely to it. It allows you to build your network and your reputation quite early on.

Outside of the traditional hustling, another way is to use social media – a huge platform that can really help you connect with businesses and is very underrated for this use.

If you’re passionate about marketing or want some experience, a great way to find companies who need marketing help is to search using hashtags, on Instagram especially.

Search #plumber or #start-up or #sportwear, message these companies and ask them if they need help with their financing, their website or whether their brand could do with a redesign; tell them about your ideas – there you have it, experience.

This really is a hustle but spending an hour a day connecting and speaking to small brands will help you grow your network as well as get you some experience.

Hustling is hard but you should enjoy it. Enjoy getting to where you want to be, enjoy building your future.

The most obvious piece of advice to from about employability is to get experience; either a part time job or an internship. Having some understanding of a professional environment is a great way to make yourself employable and get experience.

Get involved with as much as you can, there are so many opportunities on and around campus, you could join societies or clubs. All this can really boost your CV and give yourself things to talk about in an interview. There’s nothing worse than getting into an interview and “ummming” your way through examples. Whether it’s focused on the career you want or not, it’ll give you something to talk about, and show that you aren’t 2 dimensional.

Moving on to my next point, it really help you stand out by having a full CV, targeted at what you enjoy doing… regardless of your career path makes you an interesting candidate.

Attending events as well is a great way to get an insight into different careers and also gives you experience and understanding of other people’s experiences. I can’t encourage attending these events enough!

Last week I went to London for a set of marketing careers talks on my own, I’m not going to lie I was nervous, but I really got a great insight into marketing. Not only that but there were internships, a day at the Wall Street Journal and networking, all offered almost exclusively to those who attended, a unique opportunity I could’ve missed out on.

Having confidence in yourself or even faking it is a key skill for success, whether you ooze extraversion or not. Being able to have small talk will help to prevent any awkwardness especially in an interview situation, calming nerves for you and also showing that you have a personality and aren’t just a nervous wreck.

I think for me, this probably helped me getting a job during my A levels by just showing that you can hold a conversation going into an interview and that you could have banter in a team.

Developing this confidence is very hard, but I think putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable is the way to do this. Join a new society, make an effort to start conversations with other people in halls or lectures you wouldn’t normally speak to is a great way to build up this confidence.

Set a goal, take a leap of faith, see where you end up.

You have nothing to lose and you have the time to make mistakes, so join things, build up your CV, work on your weaknesses and exploit your strengths.

Push yourself, work hard now, build yourself up – this will make you more employable and get you that the level of success you want.

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'Hi, I'm Kathryn and a first year International business student. I'm fun loving and interested in everything, so get ready for a diverse range of blogs!'