With all the late night study sessions, last-minute assignment writing, and just general stress that comes with uni, we put a lot of work into our grades. We are told that the higher the grade, the better chance you have at landing that dream job at the end of it all.
But even if you can’t quite push a distinction average no matter how hard you try, there are still ways to close the gap and make yourself a contender for the grad job you’ve had your heart set on since first year.
Get That Real-World Experience
As almost everyone has told you, you need real experience in your field to complement your study and boost your resume. Volunteer and internship positions are the most valuable thing you can do to make yourself attractive to potential employers. It not only shows that you have practical experience in the field they are hiring in, it also shows them that you have a real interest in your study and are actively seeking opportunities to apply your learning.
If you’re struggling to find opportunities, consider dropping in on your uni’s career hub. They could draw your attention to ways of adding experience to your degree, or help you dig up the more hidden positions that you wouldn’t otherwise find.
Show ‘Em What You Got
In more creative fields like graphic design, photography, and journalism, having an online portfolio is pretty much a must. It’s basically an online resume, and is a direct representation of your skills that you can distribute with a simple link.
Start small with a free WordPress, and consider investing if it begins to grow. If you’ve managed to amass a significant audience, it also shows that you’re able to create, maintain, and effectively market a website, as well as cultivate an online brand – skills that are very valuable as more and more industries make the move online.
Book a Plane Ticket
Now this may seem more like leisure then resume building, but think about it. The fact that you’ve travelled shows them that you can organise a travel itinerary – including flights, accommodation, visas, and plenty more – sometimes in a language other than English. Plus, you’ve had to deal with any inevitable hiccups that come along the way.
You will look like an organised, self-managing person who can take care of themselves. It also shows that you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and experience different things. So if an opportunity arises to go abroad, whether academic or otherwise, jump at the chance!
Start At The Bottom
If you can’t manage to grab a position in your field of study, continued employment elsewhere can still be a valuable asset – especially if upward mobility is involved.
Whether you’re a secretary, a retail assistant, or a store manager, demonstrated commitment and development in any position shows that you’re a loyal employee, and managerial positions show that you are able to take initiative for yourself, as well as your subordinates. So no matter how dreary that retail gig can be, it’s still fostering many transferable skills that you can point to during that big grad job interview.
Don’t Lose Heart!
At the end of the day, employers are looking for well rounded, capable people – not exam sitters. While marks can indicate your skill in a field to a certain extent – and they are by no means totally unimportant – there are plenty more indicators of a great worker that can impress a potential employer. So, don’t panic! There are heaps of ways you can beef up your resume if you feel your grades don’t fully reflect your capabilities.