As a recent graduate from Cardiff met I understand that most of us are pretty lazy, and when it comes to university, we want to do as little as possible whilst still gaining good grades and becoming a well-rounded employable person. We may start out the year with good intentions, planning how fantastic we are going to be with our time, writing lists and goals and promising ourselves we will start sorting out the boring things ready to get that all important job. By Christmas we are all back into the regular routine of sleeping through lectures and convincing ourselves we aren’t missing anything important. Then comes the panic reading the week before the assignment due date and spending our evenings in bed with our best friend, Netflix (just one more episode then I’ll start the essay…). If this sounds like you don’t panic! There’s still time before graduation to get yourself up to scratch not just academically, but in other areas too.
A study of more than 500,000 job ads has identified some key attributes that employers look for, so if you can tick all of these boxes you are considered pretty employable: Organised, good communication skills, motivated, flexible and committed. Ok so we know what employers want but how can you demonstrate these things to potential employers? There are a few simple things that once are in your CV will help you to stand out, and UMAX offers so much that with minimal effort can help boost your CV and make you look like the most organised, incredible graduate out there. But firstly, let’s talk about the CV.
I thought mine was pretty decent, I had a few jobs listed on there, my qualifications, it was the recommended two pages long and started with a personal profile that explained which degree I had just completed and how I was a passionate and ambitious individual who loves sport and socialising with friends. I thought I sounded lovely and professional, who wouldn’t want to employ someone who was passionate and ambitious?! Then I went on the CV workshop run by UMAX and realised my CV was not at all what employers want.
The workshop (worth £100 by the way) is free to all students and I would 100% recommend it. If there’s one thing you do after reading this blog it should be to go on the workshop. It’s run by Aimee Bateman who is the founder of Career Cake, an online platform with everything you could ever wish to know about employability and careers, and she is brilliant! Aimee basically showed me that most of what I had written was not doing me any favours and I came away from the workshop thinking this woman is a genius! The workshop is a big wakeup call when you realise what a drag it must be for employers to have to read hundreds of CV’s that are full of people telling them how ambitious and passionate they are, and my CV was definitely one that would get skim read for 2 seconds then put in the “NO” pile.
The advice given at the workshop was honestly like nothing I had ever read before (to be fair my CV had come from a template on google images) and whereas I thought the workshop was going to give the generic advice such as don’t make spelling mistakes, don’t include a photo blah blah blah, it was so much more. Aimee made me realise that employers don’t really care about what makes you amazing, they care about how you are going to add value to their company and make their life easier. Employers don’t care what skills you’ve acquired from previous employment, they want to know how you are going to use those skills in the job you are applying for. Her outlook on the recruitment process will really make you rethink how you are going about your career and how you are going to sell yourself to your future employer. I’m saying no more, you need to do the workshop!
I think it’s safe to say that giving up three hours of Netflix time doing this workshop is super productive and you can justify spending the rest of the week in your normal student funk. Since getting involved with the services UMAX has to offer I feel like I have become way more productive but with very little effort. For example, the volunteering opportunities that are advertised range from one off events to on-going projects so you don’t even have to commit loads of your time in order to really contribute to a volunteer project, something which employers love and will help you to demonstrate your commitment and flexibility!
Another UMAX opportunity that I have taken advantage of is the Cardiff Met Award. A recognised qualification and it really is not hard work at all. You just need to spend a couple of hours submitting a few documents, attend five workshops and complete 100 hours of work experience (which sounds a lot but really isn’t) then you get to go to a fancy award ceremony to collect your prize! A really worthwhile endeavour, I’ve learned a lot about myself since starting it and feel more prepared for the big bad job world.
If there’s any advice I could have given myself during my degree it would have been to spare a little time to ensure I was creating the whole employable package, not just the academic grades because employers are looking for so much more. What are you going to do to stand out and ensure you get yourself that all important interview? UMAX is a saviour for students as it gives you so many opportunities to ensure you develop yourself personally and academically so you can bag yourself your dream job when you graduate!