The few years we spend as students at university either fly by or drag on forever. For many of us, it is the last time we can claim student status (and the nifty discounts that go along with it) before we venture out into the ‘real world’ in pursuit of entry-level jobs and full time wages. To ensure future success, all final year students should make sure they have these five things down pat by the time they don a gown and cap.

1. Utilise LinkedIn

It baffles me if any uni student hasn’t got a LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn can be used as a great tool to gain exposure, connect with like-minded industry professionals and set up future opportunities. Several friends of mine have scored jobs through LinkedIn. It’s certainly worthwhile to keep your profile up to date with your latest experiences and skills.

2. Set up a personal website

A great way to showcase your passions and abilities is to build a personal website. Creating a professional online presence ensures the right information pops up when someone Googles your name. It also helps show initiative before you even walk through a company door and can be used as part of your portfolio of work.

3. Get an internship

Securing an internship and gaining experience in the industry is invaluable. Internships are a learning opportunity that help develop skills, learn new things, build professional connections and get a foot in the door.

4. Clean up your social media profiles

It may surprise you how many photos of drunken nights out and questionable behaviour are posted on personal social media accounts.Make sure you put your best self online as social media is a part of your personal brand. A rule of thumb is if you would not want your grandma to see it, don’t upload it. It is a common practice for employers and recruiters, nowadays, to conduct a social media “stalk” of potential employees.

5. Network, network, network

In my four years at university I don’t think there was a word that was drilled into me more than ‘network’. Probably for good reason, because it’s undoubtedly one of the most important parts of securing a great role after graduation. While the concept of networking seems daunting for some people, start off this process by talking to those already in your social circle and work your way out from there. Attending networking events, clubs and industry seminars can help you put yourself out there and build connections with industry professionals. They may be the ones to help take your career to the next level!

By Amanda Earl

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