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As a first year university student, securing work experience can be a daunting task. However, with the right approach and planning, it is possible to break into top careers in industries such as banking, consulting and finance. Here’s a month-by-month guide to help you achieve your goals.
CV, Cover Letter & LinkedIn (July, August & September)
July, August and September: These three months are critical for securing work experience in the future. Many companies, such as Goldman Sachs, start accepting applications as early as July, so it’s important to start preparing your application materials. To make a strong impression, you will need to have a well-crafted CV (or resume) and cover letter. Keep your CV to one page and ensure that every bullet point mentions a specific achievement or skill, backed up with examples. Your cover letter should answer three key questions: why you want to work for this organization, why you want to work in a specific division and why you are the right candidate for the job.
It’s also a good idea to start building your LinkedIn profile during this time, as many companies will perform a LinkedIn search when considering applicants. Make sure your profile is professional and presents you in the best light possible.
Internship Applications, Professional Development & Networking (October & November)
September, October and November: During this time, it’s important to be mindful of application deadlines, which typically come around November and December. If you have not yet applied for any spring analyst programs, now is the time to start submitting your applications. Keep in mind that the more applications you submit, the better your chances of landing a spring analyst program.
While you wait for a response from your applications, continue to work on your professional development. Seek out networking opportunities, attend events and join organizations related to your field of interest.
Interview Preparation (December & January)
December and January: If you are lucky enough to receive an invitation for an interview, it’s important to prepare thoroughly. Research the company and division you are applying to, and practice answering common interview questions. Make sure you are able to articulate why you are the right candidate for the job and what sets you apart from other applicants. Read this article to be prepared from a list of 120+ interview questions
Offers, Networking & Converting Spring Internship to Summer Internship
February and March: If you receive an offer for a spring analyst program, congratulations! This is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and make connections in your field. Make the most of your time by actively seeking out opportunities to learn, network and contribute to your team.
April and May: As your spring analyst program comes to an end, take the time to reflect on what you have learned and what you can do better next time. Make sure to thank your team for the opportunity and ask for a reference if possible. Finally, don’t forget to update your CV with your new work experience and continue to build your professional network.
In conclusion, securing work experience as a first year university student requires dedication, preparation and hard work. However, by following this month-by-month guide, you will be well on your way to breaking into top careers in industries such as banking, consulting and finance.