Getting ahead of the game
29 August 2023

Giorgia McDonald, UG Careers Coach shares her tips on what to do over the summer and when to start thinking about applications for next year’s opportunities, especially if you are looking to go on a work placement in your third year.

While you’re all enjoying your summer vacations, university Careers teams and employers are hard at work gearing up for next year and getting things in place for the impending application season in the autumn term. 

Whilst campus tends to be a little quieter during June, July, and August, employer offices are not! Applications are opening earlier and earlier every year, so summer vacation is not a time to sit back and leave your future planning until you return to university. Whether you’re in your first, second, third, or fourth year with us at Warwick, your summer vacation is a great time to get ahead of the game and prepare for upcoming applications. 

What sector/s are you interested in?

Our general advice is to make sure that you have submitted your applications for your preferred roles no later than mid-October. This advice varies from sector to sector:

Finance and Healthcare open the earliest, with some banks opening their applications for their Early Careers programmes as early as mid-July. You’ll start to see some companies also advertising ‘Register Your Interest’ applications over the summer months – we strongly recommend you register for these to be one of the first to know when applications for your top roles open.
Early applications are key to success in the most competitive industries so aim to submit quality applications within the first week of a role being advertised.

What can you do to prepare?

Here are some super simple steps you can follow to get ahead with your preparation for your upcoming opportunities:

Step 1: Research companies and roles

The better informed you are about companies and what they offer, the more information you are armed with to answer the ‘why do you want to work for us’ element of application forms. Get up to date with what they do, their competitors, the industry and the challenges and opportunities for both the organisations and the industry. 

Step 2: Networking 

Have you ever walked into a room full of people that seem to know each other? Ever been daunted by the feeling of not knowing whether you’ll make friends or get along with your colleagues? I have! The start of a new role is daunting for so many reasons, but wanting to fit in and get along with your colleagues is one of the most daunting things for me. To combat this, I recommend you spend some time connecting with your future colleagues on LinkedIn and getting to know them. Not only will this help you when it comes to introducing yourself in person in the office, but it will also help to organically and naturally build the professional network that will undoubtedly help you in future career planning – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This professional network could be the key to securing your dream job after graduation.

Step 3: Make an application tracker 

Keep all of the companies and roles you are interested in one place and refer back to it regularly – update it when you have networked with someone with experience there, and update it again with what interested you in the company at the time of your research. This document will serve as a really valuable point of reference when it comes to writing the all-important applications.

Step 4: Apply early!
Submit a quality application within the first few days of the advert being live. Most Early Careers roles are filled on a rolling basis – the sooner you apply, the better your chances of success.

For help and support with your applications (anytime, including vacation periods!), email ugcareers@wbs.ac.uk.

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