How can I increase my employment prospects while studying?
By Ivanka Stritar, Urša Sazonov and Maja Dizdarević
You are aware that just obtaining a degree will not ensure a successful career and employment. Wondering what you can do today to increase your employment prospects after graduation? Active involvement in the study process, extracurricular and other activities, learning about employment opportunities, and developing job search skills are all important factors for a successful transition to the labour market. In this way, you will gain a lot of experience and knowledge, and learn about and develop your abilities and interests, which will help you make career decisions.
Below are some tips that can increase your employability and help you plan your career while still studying.
1. Fulfil your study requirements
- Attend all your various classes, keep regular notes and take your exams as soon as you can.
- Maintain a high grade point average, especially if you are considering a career in academia, or aiming for young researcher status after graduation.
- Try to connect theory with practice in your class assignments, projects, and master’s and doctoral theses, and while conducting research and tackling the real-world challenges that employers face. Look for thesis and assignment topics that many employers advertise themselves.
2. Get involved in the university environment, networking, information sharing
- Follow the event announcements on your faculty/academy website, and news posted by Career Centres and the University of Ljubljana Career Centre’s Facebook page.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and network with people who share the same interests.
- Use your faculty’s library and attend lectures by visiting professors, professional seminars, conferences and summer schools.
- Become a tutor and share your experience and knowledge with a younger colleague. Depending on your faculty or academy, tutoring can be rewarded (e.g. with credit points), and is also an excellent way to develop general skills and enhance your CV.
- Join a student association and/or organisation so you are well informed and involved in their activities.
- If you are a higher year student or graduate, join the alumni club at your faculty/academy.
- Follow the latest developments in your field of expertise. Use all the resources available to you (libraries, seminars, conferences).
3. Apply for financial support for study and mobility abroad (scholarships)
To better pursue your goals and ambitions, you can apply for financial support from the Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, which offers various programmes and announces scholarship calls for young people. The Fund awards Zois scholarships, announces company scholarships, grants various scholarships for education or practical training abroad, and so forth. Types of financial support include:
- Ad futura scholarships for study abroad
- scholarships for secondary school and university student study visits abroad
- scholarships for young researchers participating in competitions abroad
- scholarships to study at the European University Institute
- scholarships for Fulbright programme participants
- Erasmus programme co-financing
- scholarships for postgraduate students from the Western Balkans in Slovenia
You can read more about the scholarship criteria on the website of the Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia.
4. Acquire non-formal knowledge to increase your competitiveness in the labour market
- Attend conferences, seminars and workshops, obtain a foreign language certificate and upgrade your computer skills. UL Career Centres workshops enable you to develop general and specific competencies in various fields (public speaking, negotiation techniques, computer skills, leading small groups, team communication, event organisation, business plan preparation).
- Subscribe to Career Centres e-newsletters and follow our events on the website.
5. Gain your first work experience
- Actively look for student work and full-time job vacancies. Choose student work that is close to your area of expertise. Practical experience will give you an edge over other young job candidates. If you prove yourself with your work, your employer might hire you permanently after you complete your studies.
- Information on job vacancies can be found on employment portals and the websites of the Employment Service of Slovenia and Career Centres.
- Get involved in volunteering in various fields (helping the elderly, the disabled, children from disadvantaged environments, culture, education, legal aid, helping migrants, etc.) – this experience counts, too.
- You can also create opportunities for work experience yourself – look for information on the possibilities and opportunities for developing your business idea.
Every experience counts!
6. Create and update your career portfolio
Record all the knowledge you acquired, work experience, achievements, projects and various study and extracurricular activities. You can use POPR – the Personal and Professional Development Platform. Collect references and certificates and include them in your career portfolio. The career portfolio is your personal record that will help you track and evaluate your activities, prepare your CV and personal profile, and plan your career path.
MOJA kariera : informacije za otroke, učence, dijake, študente, mlade in odrasle, starše in strokovne delavce / [avtorji Tatjana Ažman ... [et al.] ; uredila Tatjana Ažman in Miha Lovšin]. – Ljubljana : Center RS za poklicno izobraževanje, 2014
https://www.mojaizbira.si/ (accessed 1 October 2020)