Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

While go­ing to univer­sity might be the main goal for many, for­mal ed­u­ca­tion is not the only thing that you get out of the ex­pe­ri­ence. You spend th­ese years spe­cial­iz­ing in a cer­tain field and the prob­a­bil­ity of meet­ing peo­ple who share your in­ter­ests is much higher. You also go through a more in­ten­sive phase of self-ex­plo­ration and self-re­al­iza­tion. Over­all, col­lege years make up the tran­si­tional phase be­tween your teenage years and adult­hood.

In ad­di­tion to th­ese aca­demic and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences that you go through, you should also be us­ing this time to pre­pare for your pro­fes­sional life. There are cer­tain av­enues that ev­ery stu­dent needs to ex­plore be­fore they reach the bit­ter­sweet grad­u­a­tion day.

In or­der to be fully pre­pared for the first steps in your ca­reer, use the fol­low­ing tips from the ca­reer ex­perts at Bayt.com:

1. Start prac­tic­ing in your field

As the Bayt.com “Mid­dle East Skills Gap” sur­vey re­veals, there is a gap in what the mar­ket needs and what skills stu­dents are grad­u­at­ing with. This gap is mostly a re­sult of the dif­fer­ence in the en­vi­ron­ment. Uni­ver­si­ties, to a large ex­tent, are the­o­ret­i­cal. Whereas, work­places re­quire ap­pli­ca­tion of that knowl­edge in real-life. This is why col­lect­ing hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence through in­tern­ships, job shad­ow­ing, or vol­un­teer work is ex­tremely im­por­tant to your ca­reer. Not only does it bridge the skills gap, it also gives you an edge com­pared to your com­pe­ti­tion.

More than three quar­ters of re­spon­dents (76.2 per­cent) to the Bayt.com Poll: In­tern­ships in the Mid­dle East and North Africa agree that in­tern­ships “in­crease the job can­di­date’s chances of get­ting hired.”

2. Make help­ful con­nec­tions

The peo­ple you be­friend at univer­sity might not al­ways share the same ca­reer as­pi­ra­tions and in­ter­ests as you do. So while they might be great friends, that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily make them good fu­ture busi­ness part­ners. This is why it’s al­ways a good idea to main­tain friend­ships within and out­side of your per­sonal cir­cles. Ex­plore based on your ca­reer in­ter­ests. Start net­work­ing and mak­ing pro­fes­sional con­nec­tions that will help you when you are ready for em­ploy­ment.

By the time you grad­u­ate, you should al­ready have a list of ref­er­ences who can ver­ify your skills and com­pe­ten­cies as well as a list of key con­nec­tions and ex­perts in your tar­geted in­dus­try.

3. Pol­ish your skills

Com­pe­ti­tion is high, es­pe­cially for fresh grad­u­ates look­ing for en­try level jobs. 68 per­cent of re­spon­dents agree with that state­ment, as ev­i­dent in the Bayt.com “Find­ing Your First Job in the Mid­dle East and North Africa” poll. Grad­u­ates spend an av­er­age of four years at univer­sity, which gives them enough time to run a truth­ful self-au­dit and get a clear sense of their strengths and weak­nesses.

Ded­i­cate some time ev­ery week to im­prove the skills that you feel you lack, and take your strengths to the next level by mas­ter­ing them through prac­tice, re­search, read­ing, etc.

4. Start your early job search

Find­ing a job might take some time. Less than half (48 per­cent) of univer­sity stu­dents find a job within three months of their grad­u­a­tion date. So, it’s a good idea to start your job search WHILE you’re still a stu­dent.

You can ap­proach em­ploy­ers as a stu­dent who is grad­u­at­ing in a cou­ple of months and state your in­ter­ests and fu­ture plan. This way, you spend less time be­ing job­less and you will ac­tu­ally im­press the em­ployer with your proac­tiv­ity and early plan­ning. The first step is to cre­ate a pro­file on Bayt.com and find over 10,000 jobs to ap­ply for.

5. Have fun!

This should come as no sur­prise. Make the best out of your univer­sity ex­pe­ri­ence. While the next step in your life will have its own ad­van­tages, univer­sity is a unique time. Don’t let it slip away from you.

Come out of univer­sity with a strong CV, a fresh load of en­ergy, and an ea­ger­ness to take on your ca­reer jour­ney. Bayt.com is the #1 job site in the Mid­dle East with more than 40,000 em­ploy­ers and over 28,700,000 reg­is­tered job seek­ers from across the Mid­dle East, North Africa and the globe, rep­re­sent­ing all in­dus­tries, na­tion­al­i­ties and ca­reer lev­els.

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