Graduate Employability: Start Early !

By | 14/02/2016

It’s approaching that time of year when final year University students are beginning to think about looking/applying for jobs. There are many websites which can give good advise on how to do this and how to prepare your CV and prepare for an interview. But I do feel that University students need to prepare for job hunting as soon as they start their course. So here are a few tips on what to do BEFORE your final year:

1. Game Jams

Get involved in as many game Jams as you can, for example the Brains Eden Game Jam in Cambridge, or the Global Games Jam. These are very intensive but great opportunities to practice and learn. And a great networking opportunity.

2. Get Networking

This can be intimidating for students, but do your best. Chat to guest lecturers, ask them questions, tell them about the game/project you are working on. A great way to get chatting is to tell them about a tricky problem you have had and how you have overcome it. Leave them a business card (always worth having a few good business cards with a link to your portfolio website). The chances of securing a job after just talking to someone is thin, but if your name comes up again in the future, at least they will know who you are.

3. Get a CV ASAP.

Get advice on how to polish up your CV as soon as you join the course and get yourself on a CV writing course ASAP. All good Universities will provide this service to students.

4. Get a Portfolio Website ASAP.

Start as soon as you join the course. I’ve heard too many student say “oh, I’ll do that in my final year’ but when they get to their final yer they find they are too busy to do it. When they do talk to employers, and the employer asks to see some work, they don’t have anything ready.

5. Spend your Freetime Wisely

If you are straight out of school, once you see your University timetable, you might think…. wooaahhh… look at all that freetime…. cool…. If you are already thinking like that now, then you are already on a path for failure. University is not about being told what to do, how to do it, when to do it, why to do it. You need to be pro-active, spend that non-timetabled time practicing, making your own games/app etc. One thing University WILL teach you is to become an ‘Independent Learner’. That might sound a bit fluffy, but in Industry, you are not going to have someone looking over your shoulder helping you every day. At least at University you will have tutors there to support and direct you, but over time wean yourself off their support and “Learn to teach yourself”. that’s the one most valuable lesson I learned at University.