Your Career Starts In First Year!

As a first-year student, you already have a lot on your plate as you adapt to university life, find your way around campus, engage with new subjects for your course, make new friends and enjoy your new-found freedom!  It can be a little overwhelming but also great fun. 

No doubt, your goal is to secure meaningful employment upon graduation.  But, you have another 2-3 years at Uni, you’ll deal with this later, right?  WRONG!!  Your career starts NOW and there is a lot you can do FROM FIRST YEAR so that you are in a strong position to secure employment by the time you graduate.  Here are some tips on what you can do NOW.


Most of our Universities have an active careers service unit.  Their role is to provide students with career advice and connect them with potential employers.  They do this via career fairs, job portals, mock interview programmes, graduate recruitment handbooks, work readiness workshops and more.  Find the careers service on your university’s website.  Go onto the site, register for events, find, and meet the careers service team and start to engage with them and everything they have to offer.


You may think that career fairs are not for first year students.  Wrong again!  Employers come to career fairs to establish their employer brand and they want to meet and engage with students from all years of study.  Many employers offer bursaries, scholarships, vacation employment and internships to first year students and you may be interested in applying for these opportunities.  Don’t miss out!


It is mighty competitive out there!  Potential employers are looking for more than a degree.  Use your time at university to get both an education and a qualification.  Getting an education means exposing yourself to growth and learning opportunities beyond the classroom.  Join student clubs, societies, a sports team, become a tutor, find a part-time job if you can, volunteer, get a side hustle going, take extra courses on platforms like Udemy.  Use any opportunity to build your skills and grow your network.


A LinkedIn profile is a must-have when you engage with potential employers.  According to SAGEA’s (The South African Graduate Employer’s Association) 2021 insights studies, 80% of employers use LinkedIn as part of the attraction strategy and 81% of graduates who were successful in securing graduate opportunities used LinkedIn as part of their job search strategy.  Refer to our resource on how to create a LinkedIn profile.

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