Believe it or not, going to university isn’t just attending lectures and passing exams. When you are at university you have an amazing opportunity to boost your CV and prepare yourself for life after you graduate. Honestly, as a medical student, I know I have more time at university than your typical undergraduate but the thought of graduating is already making me a little nervous. Here are a list of tips and advice I have gotten to help build those systems and networks to support you in your career.
Networking is an amazing way to make connections in your industry before you even graduate, go to events and talks run by your university, department or the career service and get curious! Ask questions to the guest speakers and keep contact information somewhere you can refer to like and Excel sheet, Notion or LinkedIn. I know it can be awkward or intimidating at first, but faculty love students being passionate about their field of study. Start out a little easier by approaching a familiar face like a lecturer you see often or even more senior student like Master’s or PhD students that run tutorials or lab work. Ask questions about the content they teach or their field of study and get to building those professional relationships.
Of course, you are being educated for your degree, but push your boundaries further. Pursue interests outside of your course and get certifications to boost your CV. I really enjoy learning languages, so I took courses in my first and second year in French and British Sign Language. Equitable access to healthcare is something I am interested in and I am thinking of a way to incorporate more research into this next year. I am trying to branch out my reading from just fiction to some non fiction whether this be through articles, research papers or books.
3. Passion Projects
Just because you are a student doesn’t mean you can’t get involved in volunteering programs or make your own outside of your course. Are you passionate about humanitarian work or tutoring your subject to younger students? I tutor online because I love to teach so I am sure I see some academia and teaching in my future and I also work as a mentor through university outreach but also through a separate program to support Black heritage students access higher education because that is something I am very passionate about.
I know I am a medical student, but other degrees offer various internships you can participate in to get some experience to fill your CV and give you some more confidence in your field before you leave university. Another great place to network too! Keep an eye out for applications in university newsletters or alerts from the careers service. Even if you are just making coffee or doing admin work being in that environment will teach you a lot about the working world and about different roles and responsibilities in the workplace.
5. Laboratory Work
Take some initiative and reach out to companies and working professionals you take an interest in. Email asking about shadowing opportunities, mentoring or supporting lab technicians. This could also be a great opportunity to build rapport with people who work in the company which could help with securing employment after graduation as you already have a professional relationship with them.
I hope these tips were helpful!