Student Stories

My three top tips for becoming a more competitive job candidate

Nurin Rashdan Fitri found lots of opportunities available to her at Lancaster University to enhance her career prospects. Read about her experience.

Nurin Rashdan Fitri
Studied in Lancaster University BA (Hons) Film, Media and Cultural Studies

First of all, show off the relevant skills you learned during your degree.

While studying a Film, Media and Cultural Studies degree at Lancaster University, I’ve experienced lots of great modules that will help make me more employable in a competitive job market. For example, in the ‘Creative Enterprise’ module that I took, one of the assessments involved working with external local organisations. I worked in a group to create a project proposal and presentation responding to a ‘problem statement’. My group were lucky enough to work with ‘Lancaster Arts’ on finding ways for them to better communicate with Lancaster University students on- and off-campus. Through this group assignment, I was able to develop a broad range of skills such as critical analytical thinking, virtual collaboration, project and time management.

I also took a ‘Short Film Production’ practical module. This group assignment allowed me to develop my technical competence in different production roles and gain a better understanding of industry standard film and media practices.

And, don’t forget the other skills you’ll develop from attending lectures, practical workshops and doing assignments: skills like conducting research, public speaking, creating presentations, actively listening and being proactive in group discussions.

My second tip is to make the most of support from your department and the University Careers Service.

The Lancaster University Career Service is well known among students for its great support and services like its Careers Portal. The portal has a great many resources and an easy layout, through which you’ll find all you need to produce CVs and prepare for interviews and assessment centres.

The Careers Service also offers 1-to-1 appointments, which are popular with students. I’ve attended a few of their workshops and webinars; I especially found their ‘Uncovering hidden job opportunities’ workshop really helpful as they told me about additional job-hunting websites for small and medium sized businesses. And, the Careers Service share a recording of workshops and webinars for those who are unable to attend at the scheduled time.

My third tip is all about networking and getting familiar with sites like LinkedIn.

If you’ve ever attended any kind of the careers workshops or talks, you’ll likely be very familiar with LinkedIn, a professional networking platform. The Careers Service at Lancaster highly recommend that students start building and growing their network with employers, colleagues from internships, and hiring managers.

Even if you don’t succeed in a job interview, you never know what the future holds! A friend of mine got a call-back when one applicant dropped out and the manager was impressed by my friend’s first impression.

Being a university student benefits you when contacting professionals who you admire. From my personal experience, professionals who you contact are more open and friendlier than you might expect and will share their career and often overlapping personal stories on how they got their job. Not only will you get a more realistic insight on what employers are looking for in your industry, but they might even recommend you to new and hidden job roles or ask around with their own established connections to help speed up your job-hunting process.

Finally, I have one more bonus tip: don’t forget to use alumni networks via LinkedIn as well!

From my personal experience of the Lancaster University network, I almost always got warm and friendly responses from alumni who I’ve contacted with the intention of learning more about their job roles, company or industry. At one point, an alumnus generously put me in touch with their professional contacts so that I could connect with them.

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