Career planning for freshers

Some simple steps for first-year students to help get started on career planning.

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If you're a first-year student it's not too early to start thinking about your first graduate job. A bit of preparation now can make things easier when you start job hunting in your final year. Here are some ideas of things you could be doing now.

Get started

  • Find out where your careers service is located and see what’s on offer.
  • Make an appointment with a careers adviser to talk about your ideas, plans or concerns.

Get career ideas

  • Research career options to see which areas might play to your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Browse the ‘first destination returns’ from your careers service and speak to alumni to get information about what graduates from your course went on to do.
  • Talk to people who work in your area of interest to find out more about their work area and role.
  • Draw up a list of personal contacts who can help you get into your chosen field.

Leaving or changing your course?

  • If you’re thinking of changing your course or leaving it altogether, make an appointment to see your careers adviser.
  • Want to apply to a new course? Visit www.cao.ie (Ireland) and www.ucas.com (UK) for information on application procedures and closing dates.
  • If you are leaving your course, be aware of the cost implications and the procedures. Check out www.studentfinance.ie, or talk to a careers adviser or tutor.

Get some experience

  • Draw up a CV tailored to the industry you're interested in, then ask a careers adviser to review it.
  • Keep an eye on your careers service’s noticeboards, newsletters and website for part-time or summer jobs.
  • Compile a target list of companies to contact for summer work and make speculative applications.
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