Results from a study over 1,500 students have found that only 19 per cent of graduates gave thought to their early career before starting their university course.
The Milkround Student and Graduate Career Confidence Report, a study of 1,730 students by the graduate recruitment website, found that although the majority of students didn’t consider post-university roles before starting their course, this changed dramatically during the first year of their degree.
The report found that 79 per cent of first year students had considered the job they might want after university, having developed a greater understanding of the options available to them with their prospective qualifications.
But understandably, the current economic climate is having a huge effect on career confidence for students, with only four per cent of final year students feeling optimistic about the economy as a whole.
Times are indeed tough and many graduates are struggling to find positions straight out of university. But because the job market is so competitive, it is more important than ever for students to start thinking about finding a job before they leave university or college.
“The traditional path to finding a career is not as obvious as it once was and the thought of finding the right career can be quite daunting,” explains Stephanie Fernandes, the IET’s principal policy advisor for education and skills. “The better informed you are the easier it will be and there are many career guides available to equip students with information to get a head start in the hunt for the right position.”
Although you may consider it very early days in your career, it is important that students record what they do during their time on work placement as this can also support their job hunt post-graduation.
The IET's Career Manager is an online skills development and recording tool for members. You can use this to record all the different things you do and skills you learn which will help you in the future when you apply for jobs and also a little further down your career when you begin to consider professional registration. However there are many other services the IET provides that can help upcoming and recent graduates.
“For example, the IET Graduate Advantage package will help new graduates to prepare for interviews, deal with the steep learning curve that comes with your first significant professional experience and make a successful transition from education into early career development and towards a successful career,” says Fernandes. “There is also the option of being teamed up with a IET Young Professional Buddy who will provide an insight into the challenges of finding and dealing with your first job.”